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Electric vehicles have gained popularity as there is a need to find an alternative cleaner and greener fuel resource. With increase in the level of air pollution, it has become the need of hour to switch to emission free vehicles, such as electric vehicles. In an electric vehicle, the traditional internal combustion engine is replaced with an electric motor to generate drive in the vehicle. Electric vehicle essentially has the following major components: battery, battery monitoring unit (BMU), motor controller, electric motor, charger plug, vehicle body, and frame.

Battery is the only source of power in electric vehicles. Performance of the battery depends on the factors such as temperature, charging, and discharging. Functionality of the battery keeps changing, from recharging during braking to discharging during acceleration. Thus, battery monitoring unit is important to utilize and protect the battery and obtain optimum functions out of it. BMU operates on a microcontroller where the battery monitoring software protects the cells from harsh conditions by comparing the predefined values set in the memory to the real-time values. BMU limits the peak voltage of each cell during charging and prevents cell voltage from dropping below the limit during discharging. It monitors the voltage and temperature of the cells, protects against cell over-voltage and under-voltage, safeguards against over-temperature, detects the charge and discharge mode, communicates to the host via USB, and displays the information on the LCD screen present in the vehicle.

Efforts are being made to maximize the efficiency and operation of the battery in order to address climatic changes. Numerous mandates have been implemented by the government in order to promote the use of clean energy and to curb the pollution. This has boosted the market for green energy storing and operating technologies, thereby creating demand for BMU. Lithium ion batteries are widely used because of their light weight, low stand by losses, high energy output and their recent price drop. BMU for lithium-ion battery poses a good development scope for the future market.

Batteries take long time to charge up, charging time and storage capacity are the major drawbacks for the batteries which are anticipated to hamper the BMU market. Poor infrastructure and unavailability of charging stations are poised to create barrier for the electric vehicle market, thereby restraining the demand for battery monitoring units.

The Battery Monitoring Unit market can be segmented on the basis of vehicle type, BMU topology, battery type, and geography. BMU finds application in electric cars, electric bikes, and automated guided vehicles. In terms of topology, it is divided into centralized, modular, and distributed. In centralized BMU, a single controller connects the battery cells. Distributed BMU has a BMU board installed in each cell with battery and controller connected by a single communication. Modular BMU has a few controllers, each with a number of cells communicating with the controller. Based on battery type, it is classified into lithium-ion-based batteries, lead acid batteries, nickel-based batteries, and flow batteries. In terms of geography, North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa exhibits potential opportunities for BMU market.

Global players in the BMU market are Johnson Matthey Battery Systems operating from Poland supplying battery solutions for e-bikes and cars, Ventec iBMS specializes in hardware and software design management for lithium batteries, Lithium Balance developed battery monitoring unit for the 1st electric street sweeper in UK, Linear Technology Corporation, Nuvation Engineering and Canara Inc.

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