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New IC reduces battery-management system costs by 80 percent in hybrid and electric vehicles

August 06, 2010 | Paul Buckley | 222901003
New IC reduces battery-management system costs by 80 percent in hybrid and electric vehicles Maxim Integrated Products has introduced a high-voltage, 12-cell, battery-monitoring IC for hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, and any system that stacks long series strings of batteries.
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The integrated solution employs a proprietary SMBus-laddered communication bus that allows multiple MAX11068s to be daisy chained together without expensive isolators. The approach reduces battery-management system (BMS) cost by up to 80 percent, while simplifying battery pack design and precisely balancing cells for maximum energy delivery.

Claiming world-class accuracy, ultra-low power consumption, built-in safety and diagnostic features, and plenty of configurability, the MAX11068 solves the problems associated with safely monitoring large battery stacks and accurately balancing cells. It is well suited for a wide spectrum of battery applications including automotive, industrial, power line, and battery backup.

The fuel tank of the future, HEV battery packs are a critical part of the drive train for next-generation transportation systems.

Lithium-ion (Li+) batteries are expected to dominate the market by 2015, as they offer higher energy densities and, therefore, longer per-charge driving ranges than nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Yet, Li+ batteries are particularly volatile, requiring careful design and sophisticated monitoring schemes to ensure safe operation. Cell overvoltages can cause a rapid increase in cell temperature, producing a thermal-runaway condition where cells can catch fire. Since HEVs often require hundreds of cells in series, the consequences of such a failure are substantial: a fault in one cell could cause the entire battery pack to burn or explode.
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