Bosch Cloud-Based Battery Management System Extends EV Battery Life

July 10, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Stress has long been proven to make cells of the human body age faster. This is also true for electric-vehicle battery cells. The older the batteries get, the lower their capacity and performance, and the shorter a vehicle's range. In order to help batteries last longer, Bosch devised new cloud services that supplement the individual vehicles' battery-management systems.

"Bosch is connecting electric-vehicle batteries with the cloud. Its data-based services mean we can substantially improve batteries' performance and extend their service life," said Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

Smart software in the cloud continually analyzes the battery status and takes appropriate action to prevent or slow down cell aging. These measures can reduce the wear and tear on the battery, an electric vehicle's most expensive component, by as much as 20%.

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Unlike conventional battery management systems, the Bosch cloud-based system takes into account a broad range of stress factors that affect battery life including many that other systems may overlook. Factors such as having an overly sporty driving style, using rapid battery charging, extremely high or low ambient temperatures, and a high numbers of charge cycles make batteries age faster.

The Bosch system automatically takes measures to reduce or even eliminate these stress factors thereby enhancing battery lifetime. Real-time data collected from the vehicle and its surroundings plays a critical role here. The cloud services utilize this data to optimize every single recharging process. In addition to making automatic adjustments to increase battery life, the system provides drivers with tailored driving suggestions about how to conserve battery power via the dash display.

Didi Chuxing, a leading mobility platform based in China, is working with Bosch to introduce cloud-based battery management across DiDi's electric vehicle fleet. The goal is to optimize battery performance, thus assisting both drivers and fleet operators within DiDi's ecosystem.

New cloud services from Bosch recognize battery stress factors and optimize the recharging process in a way that reduces or even eliminates these stress factors

According to experts, the average service life of today's automotive lithium-ion batteries is 8-10 years or between 500 and 1,000 charge cycles. EV battery manufacturers usually guarantee mileage of between 100,000 and 160,000 kilometers.

Stress Triggers

Bosch designed its cloud-based services to recognize and counteract these stress triggers. All battery-relevant data such as current ambient temperature and charging habits is first transmitted in real-time to the cloud, where the system uses machine-learning algorithms to evaluate the data.

The system offers a continuous window into the battery's current status. For the first time, Bosch contends that its system enables a reliable forecast of a battery's remaining service life and performance.

Previously, it was not possible to accurately forecast how quickly an electric-vehicle battery would wear out.

"Powerful batteries with long services lives will make electromobility more viable," said Heyn.

The smart software uses of the swarm principle: the algorithms assess data gathered from an entire fleet, not just from individual vehicles. According to Bosch, swarm intelligence is the key to quickly identify more of the stress factors for vehicle batteries

Protecting cells against aging

The new insights derived from this assessment of a battery's current status enable Bosch to also actively protect it against aging.

For example, fully-charged batteries age more quickly at particularly high or low ambient temperatures.

Therefore, Bosch's cloud services ensure that batteries are not charged to 100 percent when conditions are either too hot or too cold. Reducing the battery charge by only a few percentage points protects against inadvertent wear and tear.

Bosch points out that data in the cloud will also help improve battery maintenance and repair. The moment a battery fault or defect is identified, for example, the driver or fleet operator can be notified. This increases the chances that a battery repairable before it becomes irrevocably damaged or stops working completely.

Finally, Bosch's cloud-based battery management services also optimize the recharging process itself.

The recharging process harbors the risk that the battery cells permanently lose some of their capacity and performance.

For each recharging process, smart software in the cloud can calculate an individual charge curve regardless of whether it takes place at home or elsewhere. This ensures the battery is recharged to the optimum level, helping conserve life of the cells.

According to Bosch, existing apps with charge timers merely let drivers time the recharging process so that it is carried out when electricity demand is low.

However, the Bosch solution goes much further, providing a specially developed recharging process as part of the its new battery services. The service optimizes both fast and slow charging and controls electricity and voltage levels during the recharging process, thereby prolonging battery life.