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Infineon & Neutron Controls Team Up on Advanced Automotive BMS Platform

October 13, 2023 by Jake Hertz

The new BMS platform is built on pre-existing Infineon chipsets to speed up the hardware and software development process.

As more aspects of the modern vehicle become electrified, the battery management system (BMS) has emerged as the backbone of the entire electrical system. By monitoring a battery's state of health (SoH) and state of charge (SoC), the BMS can help ensure optimal battery performance, lifetime, and reliability.

This week, Infineon announced a partnership with Neutron Controls, its design house partner, on a new battery management system platform built to reduce development efforts for engineers.

 

The ECU8 BMS platform

The ECU8 BMS platform. Image used courtesy of Infineon
 

The ECU8 Platform

Neutron Controls says its new BMS solution, the ECU8 platform, can monitor up to 12 lithium-ion battery cells individually per module. The system can be scaled to support up to 1,000 V batteries by combining up to 20 modules. For flexible integration, the device offers a range of communication interfaces, including iso-UART and iso-SPI, dual Ethernet ports, triple CAN-FD ports, and high-side and low-side drivers for external contactors.

 

The ECU8 Platform

The ECU8 platform. Image used courtesy of Neutron Controls
 

The system implants low-level drivers for the various components and MCUs within the system. The goal, according to the companies, is to provide a BMS solution that requires minimal development time while still reaching ASIL-D ISO26262 compliance. The system achieves this by providing designers with a pre-made solution that can effectively monitor the state of charge and state of health in a battery pack.

 

The Hardware Behind the BMS

At the heart of the ECU8 platform are two Infineon MCUs: the AURIX TC3xx and TC4xx.

According to Infineon, the AURIX family of MCUs is particularly well-suited for BMS applications thanks to a combination of scalability, functional safety, and low-power operation. Additionally, the family boasts zero downtime due to its software-over-the-air update concept, meaning that systems can be upgraded without needing to shut off the BMS entirely in the interim.

The TC3xx family is engineered for a broad spectrum of automotive and industrial applications. With up to six TriCore cores running at 300 MHz and delivering 4000 DMIPS, this MCU family offers robust computational power. It also features up to 16 MB of flash memory and up to 6.9 MB of SRAM, providing ample storage for complex algorithms and data sets. Connectivity options include 1 Gbit Ethernet and 12 CAN FD, making it useful for real-time data communication in automotive systems.

 

A deeper look at the hardware behind the ECU8 Platform

A deeper look at the hardware behind the ECU8 platform. Image used courtesy of Neutron Controls
 

The TC4xx series, on the other hand, builds upon the foundational strengths of the TC3xx. It introduces Neutron Controls' next-generation TriCore 1.8 architecture and a scalable AURIX accelerator suite, including a new parallel processing unit, data routing engine, radar accelerator, and security accelerators. These enhancements significantly boost performance, making it apt for e-mobility, ADAS, and affordable AI applications. High-speed communication interfaces like 5G-bit Ethernet and PCIe, along with new automotive-specific interfaces such as CAN-XL and 10BASE T1S Ethernet, provide the throughput and flexibility needed for modern automotive E/E architectures.

Notably, both of these MCUs are engineered to meet the stringent compliance requirements of ASIL-D and ISO26262 standards. 

 

Simplifying BMS Design

BMS are becoming an increasingly integral part of automotive design. Through this collaboration, Infineon and Neutron Controls hope to streamline the development of high-performance and scalable BMS, with the ultimate goal of electric vehicles that perform more reliably.