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What’s a ‘battery management system’ in electric vehicles?

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Welcome to SHIFT Basics, a collection of tips, explainers, guides, and advice to keep you up to speed with mobility tech.

I’ve been watching a lot of electric vehicle restomod videos on YouTube lately. There’s something quite cathartic about watching a rusted old heap transform into a zero emission beauty.

The principles behind electric restomods are simple: take an old car, restore it aesthetically, remove the old engine, fabricate some custom mounts, and throw in an electric motor and some batteries.

In reality, it’s never that simple. There are quite a few more vital components that need to be installed. One that gets mentioned a fair bit, is the battery management system (BMS). But what is it, and what does it do?

It’s all about safety

Its name is kind of self explanatory… the battery management system manages your EV’s high-voltage battery — the big block that makes it ‘go’ — but there’s actually a lot more to it than that.

The reason why many are baffled by battery management systems (BMS) is because it’s basically new tech. There’s not really an equivalent in earth-killing gas cars, but we could say it’s like the ECU. Overseeing what the car is doing, watching out for component failures, and relaying information about fuel economy back to the driver.

Credit: Newtec.de