Electric cars of the future General Motors to unveil industry's first wireless battery management system

DETROIT - General Motors will be the first auto manufacturer to use an almost completely wireless battery management system, or wBMS, for production electric vehicles. This wireless system, co-developed with Analog Devices, Inc., will be a key factor in GM's ability to power many different types of electric vehicles from a common battery pack.

WBMS is expected to accelerate the time to market for GM's Ultium-powered EVs, as it doesn't take time to design specific communications systems or redesign complex wiring diagrams for each new vehicle. Instead, wBMS is helping to ensure the scalability of Ultium batteries for GM's future lineup spanning a variety of vehicle brands and segments, from heavy trucks to high-performance vehicles.

Similar to the design of GM Ultium battery packs, which are flexible enough to incorporate new chemical elements over time as technology changes, the basic structure of wBMS can easily gain new functionality as software becomes available. With advanced over-the-air updates provided by the all-new GM Vehicle Intelligence platform, the system can even be upgraded over time with new software features through smartphone-like updates.

“Scalability and reduced complexity are the theme of our Ultium batteries — wireless battery management is critical to this amazing flexibility,” said Kent Helfrich, GM's executive director of global electrification and battery systems. "The wireless system is the epitome of Ultium configurability and should help GM create profitable electric vehicles."

WBMS will help GM EVs balance the chemistry of individual battery cell groups for optimal performance. It can also perform real-time battery health checks and refocus the network of modules and sensors as needed - this helps maintain battery health throughout the vehicle's life.

By reducing the number of wires in batteries by up to 90 percent, the wireless system can help extend the charging range by lightening vehicles in general and opening up more space for more batteries. The space and flexibility created by this reduction in the number of wires not only allows for a cleaner design, but also makes it easier and more streamlined to restructure batteries as needed and improve the reliability of manufacturing processes.

This wireless system also provides unique battery reuse in secondary applications, easier than conventional wired monitoring systems. When the capacity of wireless batteries is reduced to the point where they are no longer ideal for optimal vehicle performance but still function as stable power supplies, they can be combined with other wireless batteries to create clean energy generators. This can be done without redesigning or overhauling the battery management system traditionally required for secondary use.

GM's wireless battery management system is protected by cybersecurity measures that underpin the company's all-new electrical architecture or Vehicle Intelligence Platform. The DNA of this system includes security functions at the hardware and software levels, including wireless security.

“General Motors is paving the way for an all-electric future, and Analog Devices is proud to partner with this respected leader in the automotive industry on next-generation electric vehicles,” said Greg Henderson, senior vice president, Analog Devices, Inc. , Communications, aerospace and defense. "Our collaboration is aimed at accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and a sustainable future."

A wireless battery monitoring system will be standard on all planned GM vehicles powered by Ultium batteries.

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