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AeroVironment Awarded Patent for Electric Vehicle Energy Data Management and Control; Web-based System Solution for EV Battery Optimization

10 August 2009

AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) has been granted a patent (no. 7,444,192) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for technology that facilitates the optimal charging, management, control and maintenance of battery packs, chargers and electric vehicles (EVs).

AV’s technology is directly applicable to battery packs, chargers and battery-powered EVs that can be linked to the electric utility network and managed by a “smart grid” controller. The technology is designed to gather data from the EV or the charger, and uses the data to determine whether the rate of charge is optimized for the vehicle’s performance, the battery’s long-term health, and the utility’s power availability.

A device employing this technology could create and store a performance profile for the EV and charger. Based on this historical profile, the device could optimize the rate of charge or transmit an alert to the utility or end user.

The technology was developed for AV’s PosiNET system, a Web-based motive power management solution which has been deployed in support of commercial EV fleets in the United States. PosiNET minimizes fleet downtime and optimizes vehicle utilization by providing real-time, predictive and historic reports as well as actionable alerts and equipment usage recommendations to fleet managers.

We launched this technology in the commercial EV market, but there are also compelling potential applications for passenger electric vehicles. For instance, utilities could employ PosiNET to capture and analyze energy usage data from EV battery packs that connect to the electric grid. With these data, the utility—or a third party—could remotely optimize the charge rate or energy load based on real-time vehicle needs and grid capabilities, resulting in a win-win for the utility and end users.

—Michael Bissonette, AV senior vice president and general manager of its Efficient Energy Systems segment

For passenger EV charging, the system would enable vehicle and grid optimization through grid-tied electric charging systems communicating with utilities via the internet. The system could send alerts and other actionable data to utilities which could then remotely control charge rates using the PosiNET system. The comprehensive information gathered by the system could also be used by the utilities for reporting and analysis. These same capabilities could also be applied by utilities to help enable real-time grid balancing on a local level.

The technology behind AV’s electric vehicle charging solutions emerged after AV's substantial contributions to the development of the GM Impact, the concept car for General Motors’ EV1, the first modern electric car. AV created a solution combining high-current charging algorithms with intelligent thermal management to safely increase the useful range of electric battery packs. Today, AV’s electric vehicle charging solutions significantly reduce the amount of time required to safely charge electric vehicle battery packs while maximizing their range, performance and lifespan.

Separately, AV last week delivered its first AV-800, a high-power, heavy-duty, near-megawatt scale electric vehicle (EV) test system to the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) in Warren, Michigan for advanced vehicle testing. The AV-800 will be a part of the new TARDEC Ground System Power and Energy Laboratory (GSPEL), where it will conduct testing needed for the advancement of ground system electric transportation technologies.

The 800 kW single and dual-channel power processor is the latest and highest power system in AV’s line of electric vehicle test systems. It is a bi-directional unit capable of returning energy back to the electrical grid at more than 90% efficiency, and a key component of the GSPEL as TARDEC seeks to attain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The AV-800 is designed to support the development of systems such as large hybrid electric vehicles, high power energy storage systems, power generation equipment, drivetrains, and electrical components. The new system can also perform hardware in the loop testing and parallel component and system development.

Capabilities include charge and discharge cycling as well as performance simulation for battery cells, battery packs, fuel cells and ultracapacitors.

August 10, 2009 in Batteries, Electric (Battery), Vehicle Systems | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

"AV’s electric vehicle charging solutions significantly reduce the amount of time required to safely charge electric vehicle battery packs while maximizing their range, performance and lifespan."

How does this happen? Specifically.

By adding 'intelligence' into the system. With this the car, charger and grid communicate with each other and use the information and feedback to adjust the charging rate as needed.

Perhaps if you read their patent, you would see how it is done...specifically.

Okay. Their patent focuses on a Pb acid based forklift fleet. My question was about how this device would address multiple battery types in new EV transport vehicles. The simple answer is, without the vehicle manufacturer providing access to internal specifications - this device is useless.

But from the logic diagrams in the patent - it provides a good overview of smart charger design ideas for specific manufacturer's batteries. Provided the EV connector gives a charger internal battery data according to some (IEEE?) standard.

Reel, really? The post said; "The technology is designed to gather data from the EV or the charger, and uses the data to determine whether the rate of charge is optimized for the vehicle’s performance, the battery’s long-term health, and the utility’s power availability." and "the system would enable vehicle and grid optimization through grid-tied electric charging systems communicating with utilities via the internet." The technology gathers the data it needs from the EV or it's charger over the internet.

This appears to be over-engineered. Considering the small number of transport vehicles that qualify as EVs, the device is unnecessary at this time.

Yeah but it's the old chicken&egg problem; "if you build it they will come."

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