Engineering firm NI has been significantly expanding its EV battery testing capabilities over the past few years. The company and its customers are accumulating vast amounts of battery test data, and there’s a growing recognition that this data is an underutilized asset.
During a recent interview, NI CEO Eric Starkloff told Charged that companies in the battery industry need to rebuild their systems to take better advantage of very rich data sets.
“We found with batteries, as we’ve seen in other industries, that it’s all about the data,” Mr. Starkloff told Charged. “If you look at the quality and performance side, for example, our customers are trying to figure out, ‘How’s our battery design going to perform in a variety of operating conditions? How’s it going to perform over different charge and discharge cycles? What are the best ways to charge and discharge the battery to improve its range and longevity?’”
The answers to these questions can be found in the data that comes from the test systems that NI creates with its customers. “That’s what’s used for feedback into the design of the vehicle, it’s used to create the specifications to ensure a long life on that battery, etc—all of those really, really critical things for the vehicle owner,” says Starkloff.
“A massive amount of data comes from those tests, and being able to store, manage and analyze it has become more and more critical,” Starkloff continues. “You may have seen that we’re collaborating with GM, for example, on their data storage and management and analytics, and they’re really leaning into that point, as are others. But, broadly, for most other companies, it’s still a big problem.
“We’ve surveyed our customers and found that more than half of them don’t even collect the data in a way that lends itself to determining the kind of information and insight that they want to get from that data. More than half of them really aren’t able to use that data upstream to improve the design, which is the ultimate goal. So we think there’s a huge amount of opportunity and innovation, especially as this EV application scales as is expected at a tremendous rate over the next few years.”
Don’t miss NI’s upcoming webinars on improving battery test systems: