The automotive market represents a significant fraction of global GDP, and so merits the attention it gets, but the global market for scooters appears on the brink of significant growth. Just as battery management systems are going to be critical for the success of electric cars, BMSs are going to be important to the success of electric scooters. Ion Energy has just agreed to provide BMSs to Spanish startup Ray Electric Motors for the manufacturing of electric scooters.
In an interview with EE Times, Akhil Aryan, co-founder & CEO at Ion Energy, discussed Ion’s partnership with Ray and also touched upon how battery management systems, also known as the “brain of the battery,” are responsible for the efficiency, safety, and longevity of lithium-ion batteries.
“The electric scooter market is poised for exponential growth in the next 3-5 years. We see this to just be the start. A lot of innovative OEMs are mushrooming globally and we expect a significant volume ramp-up to begin from 2023. Ray seems to be well-positioned to capture a large part of the European market and we couldn’t be more excited to work with them,” said Aryan.
Electric scooter and battery
The demand for electric scooters has increased by over 40% in recent years. Scooters users find them convenient for getting around in cities. With the ability to go between 50- and 150 kilometers (30-90 miles) on a charge, their range is suitable for city use. Thanks to the removable battery, the recharging could be done from any household outlet (in contrast to electric passenger cars, which typically require the installation of dedicated charging stations).
The design of the battery is a fundamental aspect for all electric vehicles. One of the parameters at play is thermal management and temperature management. In addition, designing for manufacturability is an essential component of any custom lithium-ion battery package. The electromechanical assembly, the configuration, and chemistry of cells are other elements that are directly connected to the battery structure.
“Ion’s hardware is designed to be chemistry agnostic, which means you can use it across diverse applications utilizing different chemistries — be it NMC, LFP, NCA, LMO, etc. Our software approach enables battery pack makers and OEMs to use the same hardware across their platforms by configuring the BMS parameters. This allows our customers to standardize the BMS across their entire EV platform and accelerate their future launches,” said Aryan.
He added, “Additionally, the hardware supports paralleling that allows hot-swapping of batteries. This is quite important for battery swapping and is the main driver for the early adoption of EVs, especially in South Asian markets like India.”
Battery management system (BMS)
The high-density lithium-ion battery used in the Spanish manufacturer’s scooter guarantees a maximum speed of 125 kph (75 mph) and a range of up to 150km (90 miles) with fast-charging support. “An electric scooter, unlike large EV’s, has limited space inside the battery pack. This is where Ion’s BMS solution plays a crucial role as it integrates seamlessly without the need for re-designing the pack. The BMS is also designed to work with MOSFET-based power distribution unit (or the PDU), thus eliminating the need for additional electronics (current sensor, contactor, etc.) inside the pack.” said Aryan.
The primary role of battery management systems is to ensure that the battery operates within its safe operating area by continuously monitoring its current state and recording performance data in real-time. Aryan pointed out that Ion Energy’s FS-LT BMS offers both safety and performance and is well suited to handle the Ray 7.7.
The FS-LT BMS is built with wireless smartphone connectivity and is compatible with Ion Energy’s cloud-based analytics platform, called Edison Analytics. The platform analyzes the battery and fleet data and uses ML & AI to send over-the-air updates back to the vehicle for improved life and performance of the asset. The application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms can advance the battery industry. AI-enabled energy storage will help collect and analyze data, and using simulations can provide insights to optimize energy use and predict possible failures.
Edison’s cloud technology is designed to process millions of data points per second. It provides real-time data, visualizations, diagnostics, warranty validation and custom dashboards for optimal management of expensive battery assets. With the rise of the Internet-of-Things, it has become effortless to remotely monitor, analyze, and manage battery assets in real-time.
In its first year, Ray will produce a limited run of 1,000 vehicles and plans to scale up to a minimum of 10,000 e-scooters by 2023. The company plans to target the significant metropolitan areas of Europe before expanding into the U.S. and other regions.