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CEA reveals Sigma Cells smart battery for electric cars

The standard multi-cell battery powers on even when a cell fails. Production is slated to begin in September 2019.

CEA’s Sigma Cells battery is the world’s first three-in-one battery solution with integrated inverter, charging and battery-management functions. It can power products ranging from laptops to electric vehicles and has a 15% longer battery lifespan.

This revolutionary technology serves as the battery’s brain, governing the smart use of battery cells. If a cell is about to fail, Sigma Cells finds an alternative pathway, activating the “best” cells and, in the process, preventing downtime.

The innovative battery-management system (BMS) architecture and operating mode deliver the inverter and charging functions by default. In addition to freeing up space in the vehicle, the position of the batteries is flexible. The system operates with traditional grid voltage, which enables any standard electrical outlet in any region of the world to be used for charging. Sigma Cells smart-battery technology meets the requirements of the rapidly growing electric-mobility markets: electric bikes, cars, buses and boats.

CEA used traditional battery architectures to create a multi-cell power supply, and deliver enhanced performance by all three main functions: switching, charging and battery management. The integrated charger and bidirectional system enable fast charging directly off the grid at no additional cost.

“Electric-powered transportation is booming, but the industry must solve several battery-management challenges,” said Philippe Despesse, senior engineer at CEA-Leti. “Currently, if one cell in a battery pack fails, it generates a fault on the whole pack. At best, this puts the battery pack out of service until it can be repaired. At worst, the battery is discarded. CEA switched-cell technology will revolutionise batteries by lengthening their lifespans and reducing weight and size.”

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