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Electric car battery comes with built-in 'brain'

Posted: 04 Dec 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electric car  modular battery system  intelligent cell 

Greater range

If a cell is empty, but the others still have energy stored, the car does not have to stop, like it did before. Rather, the empty battery cell simply decouples from the cluster, acting like a current by-pass. The others continue to deliver energy. "Depending on the cell quality, we can therefore increase the range by at least four per cent," explains Pfeiffer. "Over time, this effect is amplified: In the case of an old battery, and if the empty cells are replaced, it is conceivable that a range up to 10 per cent higher can be achieved."

Since one cell with lower capacity hardly affects the overall range of a car, the manufacturers no longer need to pre-sort it. This should significantly reduce costs. In addition, the capacities of the cells adapt to each other over time. This is because the ones that can store less energy are switched off earlier. The cells therefore run longer and, as a result, faster: their capacity decreases. And if a battery cell malfunctions, it is not necessary to bring the vehicle to the workshop. Since the car has more than one hundred cells, it does not depend on any individual one. And if the driver decides in favour of a repair, it is sufficient to merely replace the single cell instead of the entire battery.

The researchers have already developed a prototype of the battery cell. The challenge now is to miniaturise the electronics and embed them into cells. "We want it to cost less than a euro," Pfeiffer says. Part of the development process is being conducted in the EU project "3Ccar."

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