Infineon Gives the BMS a New Brain

August 07, 2020 by Nicholas St. John

Infineon has released a new IC that will minimize the footprint and costs of battery management systems.

Infineon Technologies has just released a new chip, the TLE9012AQU. According to Infineon Technologies’ press release, this is a new sensing and balancing IC, that is especially designed for hybrid vehicle battery systems. This chip measures the voltage of up to twelve battery cells, with a maximum error of ±5.8mV. Along with this, it can be interfaced with up to five temperature sensors and communicates via an iso-UART interface. The chip also has an internal battery cell balancing function.


The TLE9012AQU. Image Courtesy of Infineon Technologies
The TLE9012AQU. Image Courtesy of Infineon Technologies

Batteries need a brain, and the brain is called a Battery Management System (BMS), which monitors and controls the battery system. This new chip from Infineon can simplify these systems, as it has the ability to not only be the central controller of the system, but also perform many of its functions.

This IC can benefit a BMS system in the ways mentioned before, while driving down cost, without sacrificing performance. This is crucial because these systems optimize and ensure the battery’s utilization. If the BMS fails in any way, it can lead to poor battery lifetime on the current charge, inaccurate results of current battery lifetime and status leading to the possibility of a battery dying on its user in the middle of a task, as well as premature aging of the battery pack.

Obviously none of these can happen when we talk about EVs, these vehicles need to be able to store charge long enough to get us where we need to go, they cannot die on us unexpectedly, and they need to be able to last in order to make these vehicles competitive with their fossil-fueled counterparts who normally offer 10 year/100,000 mile warranties. One of the best ways to ensure proper use of the battery pack is by balancing the charge throughout a battery’s cells. 


The TLE9012AQU

The TLE9012AQU is able to measure the state of charge of individual cells within a battery very accurately, minimizing noise via a programmable filter and performs all of these measurements simultaneously to ensure the most accurate information for how these cells compare to one another.

To fix any noticed issues with cell imbalance, the chip has 12 integrated switches that can supply up to 150mA to any connected load, while also supporting external switches if a higher current is needed. The user has the ability to program the chip independently of the processor to stop cell balancing at a certain point, either being after a certain period of time or a specified cell voltage is reached, allowing the processor to go into sleep mode during cell balancing, thus saving power.

Furthermore, the communication of the module supports up to 20 serial connections via a ring topology, allowing for all communications to remain intact if one device fails within the ring. The TLE9012AQU is suited ideally for batteries with 12 cells per module in order that one chip can be completely utilized per module, and the iso-UART interface, while allowing easy connectivity ensures voltage isolation and data integrity of the received and transmitted signals.


Battery management systems in hybrid and electric vehicles ensure that the capacity of a battery is optimally utilized and that the battery does not age prematurely. Image courtesy of Infineon.
Battery management systems in hybrid and electric vehicles ensure that the capacity of a battery is optimally utilized and that the battery does not age prematurely. Image courtesy of Infineon


An Integral Part of EVs

BMS systems are going to be put to the test as EVs inevitably become a larger part of the economy and percentage of cars on the road, and the TLE9012AQU chips has the ability and promise to advance the capabilities and costs of these systems. Advances such as these both bring EVs closer to the road technologically, as well as economically, both of which these vehicles need in order to be competitive with fossil-fueled vehicles.