Continental offers new sensors to protect batteries

Named “CSM” and “BID”, the 2 new sensors seek to extend battery life and prevent major incidents by controlling temperature, electrical flows and shocks.

The former is expected to be integrated this year into an electric car model offered by a world-class manufacturer whose name has not yet been specified by Continental. You are here ? VW? BMW? mercies?

Protect the battery and maintain its performance

Fires in electric vehicles have become rare due to the explosion of sales in the market. However, this is no reason to forget that certain causes are conducive to the development of critical situations. The presence of certain materials and chemicals in batteries complicates emergency personnel interventions. Hence the importance of aiming for zero risk.

Vehicle electrification brings new use cases and therefore opens up more opportunities for our sensor business, as an electric car has all the sensor needs of a conventional car – and more. commented Laurent Fabre, Head of the Sensors and Passive Safety Segment at Continental.

Protecting the battery and maintaining its performance, for example, are 2 additional tasks on electrified vehicles. Current Sensor Module and Battery Impact Detection solutions do both “, he detailed.

CSM

Launched this year 2022, the first of the new sensors developed by equipment manufacturer Continental is a high-voltage battery current control module. It is its main role that gave it the name CSM (Current Sensor Module). However, this device is also interested in the internal temperature of the package. The latter tends to increase significantly with the intensive and sportive use of electric vehicles.

This also includes fast charging phases. ” A lithium-ion battery has an ideal temperature range in which it is very safe and ages much more slowly. confirmed Horst Gering, Continental’s sensor and passive safety program manager.

The software embedded in connected cars constantly seeks to offer electric drivers the best compromise between performance, maintenance of safety and cell life. ” It is better to do this based on exact data », stressed Horst Gering.

CAN interface

Concretely, Continental’s CSM module will transmit to the BMS (battery management system) very reliable ASIL D level (maximum integrity level in automotive safety) information via CAN interface. The electrical current can be read up to 2000 A through 2 channels, with accuracy above 99% (shunt technology) and 97% (hall technology).

Both current measurement technologies provide complete galvanic separation “, specifies the equipment manufacturer in its press release dated May 24, 2022. In addition, the temperature will also be increased very precisely in a range between -40 and 125 °C.

CSM, which integrates a scalable detection platform, offers 2 other very interesting services. Firstly, the possibility of reporting an even more reliable estimate of available autonomy. But also the possibility of detecting the mechanical failures that could be at the origin of the fire if they were not taken into account.

BIM

Second sensor, BIM (Battery Impact Detection) is responsible for locating and evaluating the importance of shocks recorded at the battery level when it is installed under the vehicle floor. Continental guarantees that this system makes it possible to divide the weight of the backpack’s protection by 2, compared to a metallic shield.

How it works ? For this second module, the equipment manufacturer retrieves the PPS pSAT satellite sensors normally used in vehicles for pedestrian detection. Any impact is felt by the pressure change in an air-filled silicone tube embedded in coils at the bottom of the battery compartment.

It is the time difference between the arrival of the signal and the 2 pressure satellites, placed at the 2 ends of the tube, which allows the calculation of the shock zone with great precision. Its severity is evaluated, triggering the sending of more or less important warning signals to the driver. If necessary, the driver can be called to a garage for an emergency check.

decision help

Until now, the electro-driver had to rely on his own perception of the incident to judge whether or not he could still use the vehicle. ” This is not a satisfactory situation because there is poor visibility under a car and it takes a trained eye to assess the actual damage. “, assured Johannes Clemm, managing director of Continental Safety Engineering International in Alzenau.

A coupling of BIM sensors with other devices can allow the system that controls the vehicle to take measures to prevent the start of a fire. So, if the cells were punctured after a violent impact.

2 types of shocks

Two types of shocks are tracked by the BIM module. Firstly, impacts detected at low speed, especially during manoeuvres. Thus, when descending from a very high sidewalk or when driving carefully on a forest path. Please note that this device may be associated with a controlled suspension, with the aim of temporarily elevating the body in order to avoid impact.

Second type of shocks supported by BIM sensors: objects sucked in at high speed when the electric vehicle passes over them. Thus, equipment lost by trucks, such as tie-down straps, which can rotate and damage the backpack.

We remember one of the first Tesla Model S fires, caused by a metal bar that came out of a truck and fell on the road. This is what the American manufacturer decided to add heavy metal protection under the vehicle. Continental now offers an alternative.

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