Renesas, EVs and Racing
One of the things about electric vehicles that doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves unless something goes awry is the management of the lithium-ion batteries. This isn’t like a normal lead-acid car battery on steroids. Rather, the cell voltages must be monitored, as well as the temperatures, and there needs to be cell balancing. Should things get too hot or if there isn’t cell balancing, then that tends to lead to the reports about untoward electric vehicle behavior.
Renesas Electronics is a partner in Formula E with Mahindra Racing. Recently I had the opportunity to meet the drivers, Jérôme D’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein, as well as members of the crew. And I just had to ask whether the involvement of Renesas wasn’t simply one of marketing, as in having the company’s name emblazoned on the cars and driving suits.
Turns out that is far from the case, which leads me back to the first paragraph and on to the ISL78714 battery management IC that the company has just launched.
This battery management system monitors and balances up to 14 series connected cells with ±2mV accuracy across automotive temperature ranges. Multiple ICs can be connected together via a proprietary daisy chain so that 420 cells can be monitors (using 30 ISL78714s).
As for Renesas and Mahindra Racing, according to Niall Lyne, Senior Director of Product Marketing and Applications, Automotive Mixed-Signal/Power and Video, at Renesas, “Together, we designed and integrated a low-voltage Li-ion battery management system featuring ISL78714 ICs and RH850 microcontrollers in Mahindra Racing electric race cars.”
And those ICs are now available for full EVs as well as hybrids.
Yes, racing is more than just logos.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
Dan Nicholson is vice president of General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, the organization that had been “GM Powertrain” for 24 years.
Chrysler pioneered the modern-day minivan more than 30 years ago and has been refining and improving that type of vehicle ever since.