How long does the battery last in total? – This is certainly one of the most important questions for manufacturers and users in times of e-mobility solutions. And only a reliable battery can further advance the future of e-mobility. Dr. Stephan Rohr, who founded the Munich-based start-up Twaice Technologies GmbH together with Michael Baumann in June 2018, explains:
Although the battery system is the most expensive and important component in an electric car, it is still difficult to determine the current condition and remaining service life of the battery system. This uncertainty about the residual value of electric cars, for example, naturally inhibits the demand for electric cars.”
Reduction of Total Costs
The Munich-based company wants to counteract this problem with its specially developed analysis tool. Using a virtual expert system, the so-called digital twin of the battery, the two young entrepreneurs calculate the ageing process of the battery down to the cell level. The digital counterpart is intended to predict the service life of the battery and thus resolve the uncertainty about its condition.
By using sensor data and physical as well as data-driven battery models developed by them, the scientists want to close the gap between product development and application.
An automobile manufacturer with 100,000 electric vehicles in the field, for example, has battery costs of over one billion euros. Managing this asset well is becoming increasingly essential and decisive for the market. Twaice provides customers such as electric vehicle manufacturers or fleet operators with the solution”, Rohr describes the advantages of the tool.
The company estimates that battery analysis could reduce the total cost of operating electric vehicle fleets by up to 25 percent.
Sustainability in E-Mobility
In addition, the software opens up new possibilities, such as predictive maintenance and warranty extension. This is because the optimization of technical parameters makes it possible to considerably extend the service life of the batteries. This is interesting not only for the manufacturers of electric vehicles, but also for the battery manufacturers themselves. On the one hand, battery analysis reduces development and test costs. On the other hand, manufacturers can also use the tool to offer predictive maintenance and inspection services. In addition, the software makes it possible at any time to certify the condition, as well as the remaining service life of a battery and thus consider a second use or resale.
Our digital twins enable the digitization of expert knowledge and provide unprecedented insight into the performance and health of batteries in the field. This is essential, not only for the safe and long-lasting operation of electric vehicles, but also for a monetary evaluation, for example when buying a used car”, explains Baumann.
His research work forms the basis of Twaice’s technology. In addition to the economic benefits, the company’s software also aims at the sustainability of e-mobility.
European Start-Up Prize
Rohr and Baumann have been working together since university days. In May 2014, they then began their research work at the Technical University of Munich with the 2nd-Life-Use and Lifetime Maximization of batteries. In January 2016, they developed server-based condition diagnostics for batteries. At the same time, they started their research and development work for a holistic platform. In October 2017 they started the spin-off process, which they sealed in June 2018 with the foundation of Twaice. In the meantime, the company has received several awards for its innovative, climate-friendly solutions. Most recently, they received the European Start-up Prize in April 2019. Baumann is delighted to have recieved this award:
„The European Start Up Award helps us with marketing and enables us to generate a European perspective and initial points of contact for sales outside Germany”. And he adds:
We are convinced that in a start-up the first 10-20 people decide about the success of a company – thus to find the absolute best is the challenge”.
From working students to engineers: At present, many positions in the company are available to dedicated and motivated talents. It is important that they share Twaice’s vision – to make the world a better place with a digital twin.
Twaice is also involved in research projects to keep up with the latest technology. For example, the Munich-based company is currently cooperating with the Chair of Automotive Engineering (FTM) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Under the name bawaii (battery analytics with artificial intelligence), the research team is investigating ways of incorporating the latest developments in artificial intelligence into TWAICE’s hybrid analytics approach.