General Motors recently announcement it acquired a stake in hydrogen-electric truck startup Nikola. GM will partner in producing the Badger using GM’s Ultium battery platform. Now we are learning that isn’t all that GM has to announce.
In a press released published by GM, it claims to have achieved an industry first with its upcoming wireless battery management system (wBMS). The wBMS was developed with Analog Devices, Inc. and will allow GM to power a variety of electric vehicles using a “common set of battery components.” In addition it will allow the company to bring new EVs to market faster.
“… time won’t be needed to develop specific communications systems or redesign complex wiring schemes for each new vehicle. Instead, the wBMS helps to ensure the scalability of Ultium batteries across GM’s future lineup, encompassing different brands and vehicle segments, from heavy-duty trucks to performance vehicles.”
According to the company, adding the wBMS will allow its batteries to “easily receive new features as software becomes available.” Eventually, the system will be able to receive over-the-air software upgrades.
Kent Helfrich, GM executive director of Global Electrification and Battery Systems, stated “Scalability and complexity reduction are a theme with our Ultium batteries – the wireless battery management system is the critical enabler of this amazing flexibility. The wireless system represents the epitome of Ultium’s configurability and should help GM build profitable EVs at scale.”
The system will be able to balance battery chemistry within individual cell groups and conduct its own real-time battery health checks. Its wiring is also reduced by up to 90% resulting in a lighter vehicles, longer electric range, and more space inside the vehicle.
Furthremore, the wBMS “provides a unique repurposing capability for battery reuse in secondary applications more easily than conventional wired monitoring systems.” The new advanced system will be standard on all Ultium-powered vehicles going forward according to GM. Does this mean it will come standard on the upcoming Nikola Badger? Only time will tell.