By Nick Gilbert
Researchers from GE Global Research are collaborating with researchers from the University of Michigan and Ford Motor as part of a three-year program to develop a miniature sensing system to be employed in electric vehicles to enhance battery life. The investment on this initiative is US $3.1 million.
According to mechanical engineer Aaron Knobloch, principal investigator at GE Global Research, car batteries are the current bane and future hope of electric vehicles. Since the battery range, life and cost are factors that determine the economic viability of electric vehicles, an improved sensor system and enhanced battery data analytics could pave the way for cost effective and efficient electric vehicles.
Sensors currently in use in electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles only measure temperature, current and voltage to determine battery health. These factors do not provide a complete understanding of battery health and life. GE has come up with innovative, cost effective and small sensors that can be placed in battery areas currently inaccessible to existing sensors in order to measure new parameters that will offer insight into battery performance and help in optimizing battery control systems. The data from the sensors will be analyzed by a team from the University of Michigan to verify advanced models of batteries. This will enable the team to create schemes or algorithm that can use sensor data to optimize battery management and thereby extend battery life.
Ford will incorporate the sensor and analytics system in one of its vehicles to demonstrate the system capabilities.