New Industry Products

Volvo Opts For Analog Devices’ Battery Management System

March 04, 2021 by Gary Elinoff

Volvo’s first purely electric SUV, the XC40 Recharge, will rely on Analog Device’s ICs for its battery management system (BMS)

Analog Devices (ADI) and Volvo Cars have jointly announced that Volvo will utilize and rely on ADI for the BMS, and also for its Automotive Audio Bus (A2B). The combination will serve to save weight, and thereby enable the XC40 to travel further on a single battery charge. 

ADI’s Wireless Battery Management System. Image courtesy of Analog Devices
ADI’s Wireless Battery Management System. Image courtesy of Analog Devices


What is a Battery Management System?

In the context of purely electric vehicles, the lithium-ion battery (LiB) is composed of perhaps 100 independent power cells. Although each is designed to be exactly the same as the other, manufacturing discrepancies occur, and the cells diverge even further with use in the challenging automotive environment.

As such, each individual cell needs to individually monitored and controlled in real-time. In particular, each cell must receive charging power in accordance to its own state. This is absolutely essential to battery safety, longevity and efficiency.


Wirelessness is a Key Advantage

To connect each of the hundred or so individual battery cells to a central monitoring and control point would require hundreds or thousands of feet of cabling weighing many tens of pounds. This presents two serious issues.

The first is that hundreds of feet of cable presents a very real possibility of malfunction within the harsh automotive environment. The second is that even in the absence of malfunction, all that cable not only takes up space, but it also represents perhaps fifty or even a hundred extra pounds of weight that the vehicle has to carry. This not only decreases the distance the EV can travel before a recharge, but it also increases the dollar cost of power to travel each mile.


Analog Devices’ Wireless Battery Management System

ADI’s wireless battery management systems (wBMS) eliminates the above-mentioned disadvantages of more traditional harness systems. ADI asserts that the “extreme precision” of its wBMS adds as much as 10 or 20 miles per charge as compared to competitive systems.

Additionally, wBMS meets tough automotive industry safety requirements while providing unprecedented flexibility for OEMs to scale their electrified vehicle fleets. As an example of that flexibility, ADI asserts that its new wBMS will support a range of LiB battery chemistries. These include zero-cobalt chemistries such as lithium iron phosphate (LFP).

As per Lutz Stiegler, Solution Manager Electric Propulsion at Volvo Car Corporation, “The BMS performance is critical to the electric XC40 Recharge delivering on its promise of a silent-but-powerful, carbon emission-free, safe driving experience. He goes on to state that,  “An extraordinarily high level of thought and research went into every single aspect and component in our first pure electric SUV to ensure more miles per charge, longer vehicle life and peace of mind while lowering the cost of ownership.” 


Automotive Audio Bus

In the same announcement, Volvo also announces that it will be deploying ADI’s Automotive Audio Bus (A2B) and the SHARC audio processor in the new XC40 Recharge. The A2B is a bidirectional, high bandwidth digital audio bus, employing a single, 2-wire UTP cable. 


Other Wireless EV BMSs on the Market

Earlier, we reported that General Motors will also be using ADI’s wBMS.

We also reported on Texas Instruments' offering its CC2662R-QI centralized wireless MCU, which establishes a radio link with multiple BQ79616-Q1 battery monitors/balancers.