Intelligent Onboard Networks for the Flexible Production of Electric Vehicles
The shift from cars with internal combustion engines to electrically powered cars of the next generation poses new challenges in the manufacturing world and offers new chances. The change in propulsion system enables vehicle structures to be consistently modularized and holds potentials for optimizations and savings both in production and in maintenance. This approach is shown by way of example using the battery which is a major component in electric vehicles.
Substantial improvements in assembly can be achieved by realizing so-called intelligent energy cells that are equipped with standardized connections. Intelligent energy cells possess their own intelligence, memory and power electronics in order to control energy flows. Intelligent energy cells are capable of self-diagnosis and of communicating their state of health and history. External commands can switch intelligent energy cells into different modes, such as normal operation as an energy source, or a safe transport mode which shuts down all external power connections to prevent an electric shock on touch. Furthermore, mistakes during assembly can be avoided as the cell is capable of communicating and identifying itself.
Conventional centralized battery management systems and communication systems are replaced by clusters of intelligent cells. Hence, a car’s energy storage unit can be manufactured with fixed operating procedures for assembling and handling. The modular approach results in a scalable solution for adjustable storage capacity, simply by assembling a varying quantity of cells. Furthermore, not only different batteries but also different types of energy storage can be integrated into the energy storage system of a car. For example, supercapacitors optimize a car to cope with different driving tasks such as hilly or flat terrain. The approach requires no changes in the mechanical structure but solely a different configuration of energy cells.
The concept can be easily transferred to the whole vehicle by integrating intelligence into all important electrical components such as drives.
By implementing this approach, we expect an impact on the production process of future electric vehicles. The concept also provides opportunities for suppliers and newcomers on the electric automotive market.
KeywordsElectric Vehicle Combustion Engine Battery Pack Battery Cell Wire Harness
This work has been funded by the German Government and the Fraunhofer Society through the FSEM Project. The authors wish to acknowledge the Government for their support.
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