Volvo Cars have invented a thinking electric car battery, Carup can reveal. Recently, Volvo has received several patents for intelligent and smart battery cells. Volvo’s new technology can control and monitor every battery cell in electric cars. The invention creates enormous possibilities for batteries that charge faster, have longer range and last longer.
The development of electric car batteries is moving at a breakneck speed and seems to be moving almost at a speed similar to Moore’s Law. That would mean that we get twice as energy-dense batteries every 24 months. Several research projects around smart and intelligent battery cells have been started around the world.
Now Carup can reveal that Volvo Cars has gotten several patents for a new thinking electric car battery with intelligent battery cells that create enormous development opportunities for electric cars and other battery vehicles. A battery pack today usually consists of several modules with 1000s of battery cells. A problem so far has been getting the cells to talk to each other and charge and discharge properly. The control systems encompass the entire battery but cannot speak to every individual cell.
According to the patents filed by the inventor Markus Ekström, Volvo Cars has developed technology to get information from each cell and control how each battery cell should behave in the battery. By using an active battery cell material, individual cells must be able to be switched on and off during discharge and charge. An intelligent computer that controls the cells provides a battery that can think for itself.
The intelligent cells open up enormous possibilities for what the battery can do compared to today. For example, the load can be circulated across the cells, which can increase the available torque of the electric motors. It also has overcurrent protection and can, if necessary, disconnect certain cells.
The invention opens up enormous possibilities, for example it becomes possible to update how the battery should behave in the car. According to the patent, some cells can be used to drive the front wheel motor and others for the rear wheels, which could provide completely new opportunities to use the battery more efficiently and with redundancy.
Volvo Cars naturally does not state exactly how the smart battery is manufactured, but they state that new components are used to create an integrated circuit inside the battery, for example using semi-conducting materials, superconducting materials, dielectric materials, polymer materials, organic materials or inorganic materials non-conductive materials.
The smart cells, according to the patent, will be able to have sensors that monitor the battery and measure temperature, pressure and swelling, chemistry to measure aging and acceleration in the event of a crash.
Volvo Cars does not state exactly how the battery performance can be changed, but there are many indications that the new battery will be a game changer if Volvo Cars is the first to be on the market. The technology must work on all battery chemistries. No other car brand has launched an intelligent battery on the market and perhaps CEO Jim Rowan is right in his confident statement that Volvo is not behind Tesla.