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Investigation of Electric Vehicle Onboard Battery Management Using Relecura

Mar 07, 2023

By: David L. Bay of David L Bay Consulting, LLC

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“Batteries” are among the key enabling technologies of electric vehicles (EVs).  “Batteries”, because of cost and sustainability-related challenges, are also among those technologies currently limiting EV proliferation.  One can easily find trade press articles discussing the who and how component, material, and cost-related issues of EV “batteries” are being addressed, but the landscape of EV onboard “battery management” can best be revealed by careful review of relevant intellectual property.   Onboard EV “battery management” impacts an EV’s range, battery life, performance, and final cost; it has both analog and digital aspects/requirements; it includes interdependent standard and specialized components, systems, and subsystems; it must be robust, reliable, and cost-efficient; and must be nearly transparent to the EV driver/passenger(s). 

Relecura’s intellectual property (IP) intelligence, search, and analytics capabilities enable one to investigate the EV-related battery management technology space - at the component, subsystem, and system level.  A high-level investigation of relevant EV “battery management” IP, including component, subsystem, system, and EV-levels, reveals a young, rapidly evolving, analog and digital, cross-cutting technology space.  The following IP summary represents a starting point.  This starting point, together with iterative applications of Relecura informed by interactive discussions with those learned in the technical and application specifics of onboard EV “battery management” would enable one to develop a better understanding of the technology and competitive landscape of onboard EV “battery management”. 

A summary of the approach as well as selected highlights follow:

  1. Trade press articles discussing EV-related battery, battery charging, and battery life-limiting issues/requirements were read.  Keywords and technology-related concepts discussed in the trade articles were collected.
  2. Component and system providers for EV-related battery and battery applications were researched.  Component data sheets and application notes were reviewed.  Keywords and technology-related concepts provided in the documents were collected.
  3. Using Relecura, several iterative IP searches were conducted, commencing with a very high level look at batteries (in general), EV batteries (specifically), and EV battery applications.  Keywords and technology-related concepts found in the batteries and battery applications were collected from the IP space.
  4. All collected keywords, keyword phrases, concepts, and concept phrases (see above) were consolidated, refined, and modified, targeting words and phrases appropriately consistent with Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).
  5. Using Relecura’s search capabilities together with appropriate Boolean logic expressions, detailed search strings were developed which:
    • Included or excluded specific keywords, keyword phrases, technology-related concepts/concept phrases, and/or specific CPC codes
    • Included or excluded specific content in specific sections of an intellectual property (IP) item (e.g. – Title, Abstract, Claims, etc.)
    • Using Country Codes, constrain searches by Patent Office (e.g. – global, US only, CN only, etc.)
    • Constrain IP Publication date, as needed, to develop a temporal view of the evolving IP space
    • Refine and Iterate and repeat
  6. From a broad collection of possibilities, the “final” search string forced the inclusion of:
    • “Electric vehicle”, “integrated circuit”, and one of several other related keywords/phrases pertaining to “battery management” (screenshot example of Relecura)
    • Concepts/Concept phrases that included “controller (control theory)” or “voltage regulator” or one of several other related concepts/concept phrases (screenshot example of Relecura)
    • Four specific CPC codes (JPG export from Relecura)


A. Search results are strongly dependent upon choice of keywords, concepts, and CPC codes.

a. Relecura’s interface enables one to easily modify a search string to reflect different specific keyword and/or technology requirements

B. Looking back (globally) without constraining the lookback period yielded 3659 documents/1773 families.

a. 94% of the families were published within the past ten years.

b. 67% of the families were published within the past five years.

c. Conclusions:  This IP space is “young” and changing rapidly.

C. IP Family publications during the calendar year 2022 by Region:

Allocation by Country CodeUSWOSouth KoreaGreat BritainCN, DE, JP, TW, CA, EP
Percent of Total Families82%11%6%2%<1%
Table 1

a. Observation:  The United States, with 82% of the published IP Families in CY 2022, dominate this IP Space (JPG export from Relecura)

D. Allocation of the 1773 published families among (global) Current Assignees (full lookback period):

# of Families held by A Single Current Assignee# of Current AssigneesTotal Number of Families HeldPercentage of Families
95Not named955%
2211 (Ford)22112%
Table 2- IP Families Held by Current Assignees (1773 Families)

a. Observations: (Table 2) Family holding count by each Current Assignee varies widely-

1.264 Assignees, each having one family, hold 15% of the IP Families.

2.16 Assignees, each having between 50 – 100 families, hold 43% of the IP Families.

3.105 Assignees, each having between 2 – 50 families, hold 25% of the IP Families.

4.One Assignee holds 221 IP Families, 12% of the IP Families.

E. Reviewing the list of Current Assignees, one discovers:

a. Automobile companies well known for cars powered by an internal combustion engine

  1. Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Volvo, Subaru, etc

b. Automobile companies in the EV space

  1. Tesla, BYD, Ford, GM, Google, etc.

c. Component and system suppliers to Automotive OEMs

  1. Bosch, Denso, Samsung, Valeo, Cummins, etc.

d. Electronic component/Integrated circuit vendors

  1. Panasonic, Samsung, Texas Instruments, Analog Devices, Renesas Electronics, etc.

e. Universities

  1. University Alabama, Clemson, McMaster, Michigan, etc.

F. The rate of IP publication in this space began rapidly increasing ~ 2010 (graph created from Excel and exported from Relecura)

G. End

Conclusion:  The onboard EV “battery management” technology space is dynamic, rapidly evolving, and will become increasingly important for proliferation of electric vehicles.  The intellectual property covering the said space, when investigated using Relecura, can reveal the key technology and market players, drivers, trends, and direction. 

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