The specs of EVs will be tightly correlated to this one component: the battery. Battery design, production, and life span will play a significant role in the success of any given model. Consider the following critical dependencies:
- Recharge time
- Impact of charge/discharge cycles
- Consistency of electrical output
- Manufacturing cost
- Safety record
- Temperature extremes
Evaluation of these attributes must occur again and again, pushing manufacturers to continually innovate to create the most compelling automobile. The winner in the long run will not be the vendor who creates the best battery technology once. It will be the vendor who best implements a company culture around battery innovation, enables a platform for rapid design, and embraces data to accelerate and enhance design cycles.
This is the reason NI is taking a data-centric approach to battery innovation. Today, that starts in design and validation. R&D teams are finding new ways to manufacture batteries, and the data generated by these projects is vital. However, secure and timely access to this data across multiple sources and locations is difficult. Complexities with data formats, test procedures, storage locations, database schemas, and more make managing this valuable data a project of its own.
NI provides a comprehensive solution to address this challenge built on SystemLink™ software. This central platform simplifies the management of battery data by connecting to all data-generating sources to ingest and transform data into a known location with a set format and schema. The connectivity and data gateway create an extensible architecture to easily connect to existing and new validation labs. Then, a complete suite of battery awareness tools allows that data to be visualized and analyzed by the right people at the right time. With NI, manufacturers can standardize and automate their approach to battery data, which allows them to develop better battery technologies faster and at lower costs.
FIGURE 01: NI battery analytics applications for battery validation
Manufacturers then scale those designs into high-volume manufacturing, where focus shifts to process repeatability and accuracy. This is important to achieving profitable production at scale, and more importantly, to ensuring safe and reliable batteries are delivered to the market. With millions of units to monitor and zero margin for error, the attention once again shifts to data.
From cell to module, pack, and chassis, the batteries create a valuable stream of data. This product-centric data taken directly from the batteries is the best representation of the health and stability of the production process. To extract that value, the data needs to be collected, harmonized, and analyzed effectively. Like in the validation space, NI also has a Battery Production solution that can extract this data, combine it with other sources (like MES or ERP systems), and generate meaningful insights about the production process and the battery design itself. These insights can support an array of data-driven or even automated decisions that will improve operational and business KPIs. With advancements in video processing and machine learning, this data is not limited to just test and measurement parametric results, but can even include camera images, like those used to inspect weld quality.
FIGURE 02: NI Battery Analytics Applications for Battery Production
Today, solutions in validation and production are available, but there is significant room to grow. Manufacturers who realize the importance of harnessing their battery life-cycle data and begin to implement infrastructure to extract that data now will have an advantage as the EV market matures. Getting ahead of the game as these technologies are developed will provide the base platform and company culture to drive battery innovation and allow manufacturers to leverage historical data to improve battery design. These companies will be positioned to deliver continual innovation on battery designs that are better than the competition.