LG Innotek announced that it had succeeded in developing a Wireless Battery Management System (Wireless BMS) that improved battery performance drastically.
Battery Management System (BMS): BMS is an essential component for electric vehicles that monitors the voltage, current, temperature, etc. of a battery in real time to optimize the performance and life span of the battery. When the BMS receives data from a battery cell, the electronic control unit (ECU) of the vehicle controls the power input/output according to the state of the battery cell. Most of the electric vehicles produced up to now have wired BMS’s on them. Multiple BMS’s are connected via copper cables (wire harness) inside a battery pack. Because of this, the cables and connectors occupy a significant portion of the battery pack’s volume and weight.
The wireless BMS that LG Innotek developed is embedded with an Radio Frequency (RF) communication module that combines essential components for wireless communication, such as a RF communication chip and antenna, into one unit for the first time in the world. With this product, the company is regarded as having proven its competitiveness to occupy the rapidly growing wireless BMS market in advance.
The key advantage of a wireless BMS is that it contributes to reducing the weight of vehicles mounted with a BMS. Once the cables connected to the BMS are removed, the vehicle weight is reduced by 66~198Ib. Removing the dozens of cables and connectors required for a BMS reduces both the weight and volume of a battery pack.
This secures additional space of 10~15% for a battery pack, enabling increasing the capacity of a battery. That is, the mileage of an electric vehicle can be increased further. It has been confirmed that a wireless BMS increases the mileage of an electric vehicle by up to 12mile. The additional space for a battery pack improves the flexibility of battery design and allows, for example, changing the battery pack structure, increasing the added value of this item.
In addition, the adoption of a wireless BMS enhances the reliability of a product that uses it still further. This is because the possibility of a cable or connector failure due to vehicle vibration is completely removed. Furthermore, the assembly of a battery pack previously conducted manually due to the complexity of cable connections can now be automated using a robot, achieving cost reduction.
For these reasons, this type of BMS has surfaced as the main component of an electric vehicle as well as a self-driving vehicle, garnering the attention of global automobile manufacturers.
LG Innotek developed a wireless BMS that provided customers with differentiated value by utilizing the synergy between its BMS production capacity that it had accumulated for the past 14 years and its unrivaled wireless communication module technology.
The company’s new product employs 800V, which is the highest voltage among commercially marketed BMS’s. The company had already succeeded in developing an 800V wired BMS in 2020. Since the charging duration decreases as the voltage increases, domestic and overseas automobile makers tend to adopt 800V as their voltage system for electric vehicles.
To send and receive data for an electric vehicle battery wirelessly, a wireless BMS must be equipped with dozens of components such as an RF circuit, RF communication chip and antenna.
In the case of previously released wireless BMS’s, these components were attached one by one to a PCB. Because of this, the BMS production process required a lot of time and there was too much development burden in expanding the product lineup.
On the contrary, LG Innotek first applied to its wireless item an RF communication module that it had developed using its high-precision, high-density, multi-layer board technology. The RF communication module is composed of a four-layer board and dozens of wireless communication components that were densely integrated into this board. This structure helped the company to develop a wireless BMS on which the battery pack could be mounted much more easily.
Above all, the RF communication module mounted on the company’s wireless BMS is designed to be compatible with all types of communication chips. This compatibility enables applying the company’s Wireless BMS easily to all electric vehicles produced by its clients. This is the reason why LG Innotek is regarded as having a vantage point in occupying in advance the global market that has just started.
LG Innotek established a simulation technology for the first time in the industry that enables virtual inspection of wireless communication quality on its own at the development stage of a battery pack.
The company’s virtual inspection system has proven its effectiveness by showing that the communication quality of wireless BMS’s that it had predicted matched the actual measurement results by more than 95%. The company’s virtual inspection system ensures only products that passed the inspection to be provided to its clients and thus eliminates the need for automobile and automotive component manufacturers to request a separate inspection test.
LG Innotek plans to start mass production of the wireless BMS in 2024. To do so, the company will actively conduct promotional activities targeting major domestic and overseas automobile manufacturers starting the first half of this year, accelerating its move to occupy the relevant market in advance. In addition, the company plans to start the development of an Electric Vehicle Charge Controller (EVCC) wirelessly by leveraging the technology that the company acquired this time.
According to industry sources, it is expected that major global automobile companies will adopt a wireless BMS in earnest starting the year 2024. Accordingly, the size of the global related market, which was only USD 7.16 million in 2022, is expected to grow drastically to USD 1.1 billion in 2028.