The average battery system has several components, including cells and housing. Many also have a battery management system (BMS). But what is the battery management system? And why is it such a vital part of many battery packs? Keep on reading and we’ll let you know!

What Exactly is a BMS?

A battery management system is an electronic control unit that monitors and manages the performance of battery packs or individual cells. This not only helps to achieve maximum efficiency, lifespan, and performance, but also serves an important safety role.

Key Functions of a BMS

So, what are some of the most important jobs carried out by a BMS? Take a look below…

  • Cell monitoring. A BMS constantly monitors the voltage, current, and temperature of each cell within a battery pack. This allows discrepancies between different cells to be found and facilitates balanced charging of cells.

  • SoC estimation. State of Charge (SoC) is essentially how much energy is left in the battery. The BMS monitors this and informs the user of the data. This can then be used, for example, to estimate the range left in a battery-operated vehicle.

  • Balancing cells. Over time, variations in performance can develop in different cells within a multi-cell battery back. A BMS will balance these cells by redistributing charge between them, extending battery life.

  • Overcharge and over-discharge protection. A critical function of the BMS is to prevent overcharging and over-discharging of cells.

  • Temperature management. The BMS ensures the battery operates within a safe range of temperatures. If the battery gets too hot or cold, a BMS can initiate cooling or heating systems to maintain optimal temperature conditions.

  • Communication. A BMS can send data via CANBUS or other systems with information on the state of charge, errors, and other data required for diagnostics.

The significance of BMS will only increase as battery technology advances. With the adoption of advanced materials and chemistries, BMS will have to adapt to meet new challenges. Innovations could include predictive maintenance, enhanced communication abilities, and advanced safety features. At Johnson Matthey Battery Systems, we’ll be at the forefront of these improvements. If you would like to  learn more, please reach out to our specialist.