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San Antonio, Texas, USA, September 3-5, 2008

WeA04.1

Fabio Codec*, Sergio M. Savaresi*, Giorgio Rizzoni**

*Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano Piazza Leonardo da Vinci, 32, 20133 Milano, ITALY

**Center for Automotive Research, Ohio State University ,930 Kinnear Road, 43212, Columbus, OHIO

Abstract A new SoC estimation algorithm is presented.

The estimation is performed mixing the Coulomb-Counting

and the Model-Based estimation approaches. The algorithm

was tested on a brand new lithium-ion cell which use a

nanoscale technology able to grant a more powerful and

safer lithiumion battery than the batteries currently on the

market. The cell, called A123-M1, was first characterized

and then identified. The cell was identified with a equivalent

electrical circuits model which is usually called 2th Randle

model: the used test-bench and the identification process are

described. Then the SoC estimation problem is described. A

briefly review of the state of art of SoC estimation is given

and the drawbacks of the methods which are usually used

are presented. Finally the new mixed estimation algorithm is

described: the algorithm scheme and the results are shown.

I. INTRODUCTION

getting more and more attention mainly for the pollution

problem and the increase of the oil cost. One of the

challenges in this area is related to the batteries, which are

the key elements for this vehicles.

The most promising chemistry/technology today is the

lithium-ion one. This kind of batteries are deeply diffused

in the laptop and cell phone market, but they have still

some difficulties to be accepted in the automotive market.

Compared to the lead-acid and nickel batteries, they

achieve higher value of power and energy, but they

require a management system with an higher complexity,

mainly because the lithium is instable and, if it is not

controlled, it can easily explode.

Different lithium technologies are available on the

market: each technology tries to increase the battery

performance and safety working mainly on the electrodes

and materials. The estimation algorithm described in this

paper was tested on a lithium-cell produced by A123

Systems [2], with uses a brand new technology. This

technology addressed the attention of a lot of automobile

makers because it has improved safety and power

performances.

Two research mainstreams can be identified: the first

one is related to the chemistry and the manufacturing

technology, the second one in related to the development

of better management system. The second one can be

partitioned in the design of better electronics and the

development of better algorithms used to estimate the

internal battery property (SoC, SoH, ageing, etc).

This work is related to the second research mainstream,

in particular on the estimation of the battery capacity,

which is one of the most important parameter a Battery

102

The battery capacity, usually called State Of Charge

(SoC), is directly connected with the energy stored inside

the battery and it is influenced by some external

disturbance: ideally it is strictly connected to the nominal

battery capacity and amps extracted from the battery, but

this relation is often non-linear and influenced by the

temperature.

This paper presents a new SoC estimation algorithm.

The algorithm is based both on the Model-Based

estimation and the Coulomb-Counting estimation: it mixes

them so to keep their good characteristics and to avoid the

disadvantages. There are many different algorithms in

literature claimed to be able to correctly estimate the SoC

([1],[6],[7],[8],[9]) but often they cannot be used in an

Hybrid-Electric-Vehicle (HEV), where the measurements

are noisy and with a lot of flaws. The SoC estimation

algorithm presented in this paper is able to deal with noisy

measures and it does not require a precise initialization.

The paper is so organized. In Section II a briefly

characterization of the cell and its model identification are

presented: a model is required by the algorithm because it

uses both Coulomb-Counting and Model-Based

estimation. In Section III the state of arts of SoC

estimation is described: advantages and drawbacks are

shown. In Section IV the new mixed algorithm and the

simple algorithms used in it are described. Finally some

conclusion are given.

II. CELL MODEL

A large number of lithium technologies and batteries

are available on the market; one of the most interesting is

the A123-M1 cell (shown in Fig. 1)[2]. It uses the LiFePO4

chemistry, which is inherently much safer than any of the

Cobalt and/or Manganese-based lithium cells[4], and a

patent pending Nanophosphate technology for the

electrode design, which allows these cells to be

discharged/charged at very high rates.

The basic characteristics of this cell are summarized in

Table 1: note that they are rated for 30C continuous

discharge (70A) and over 50C (120A) for up to 10 second

"bursts" (1C is a standard way to represent the current

respects to the cell capacity: in our case 1C is equal to

2.3A). This is one of the big advantages of this cell respect

to the other LiFePO4 cells which have max discharge rates

around 2-3C.

the A123-M1 cell results to have a very flat voltage

curve, especially in the 10%-90% SoC range;

the Peukerts effect[3] seems to not affect the cell

behavior: the capacities measured at different current

rates are very similar;

we assumed a conventional threshold of 2.6V for 0%

SoC; by using this definition, the real capacity value

of the cell appears to be around 2,23Ah.

3.4

C1

3.3

C2

10m

Maximum continuous

discharge

Pulse discharge at 10sec

Operative temperature range

Cell weight

3.2

Cell Voltage [V]

voltage

Internal resistance (10A, DC)

70A

120A

2.8

2.6

-30C to

+60C

70 grams

2.5

100

C3

C1 = 2.3A

C2 = 4.6A

C3 = 6,9A

C4 = 9,2A

90

80

C4

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

SoC [%]

bench which is shown in Fig. 2. It is based on three main

components:

1. an acquisition board, able to acquire different signals;

2. an electronic programmable load, which is controlled

by the PC;

3. an electronic programmable power supply, which is

controlled to supply current;

4. a PC used to control the overall system.

Three measures are acquired by the system: the voltage,

the current, and the temperature. The test bench is not able

to perform tests at different temperatures: all the test were

performed at ambient temperature.

Acquisition board

Programmable

load

3

2.9

2.7

Programmable

supply

3.1

Battery cell

Main PC

some capacity tests were performed. A capacity test is

performed in two phases. First, the cell is charged

accordingly to the standard charge prescribed by the

manufacturer and rested for at least two hours (by this way

we are sure that the battery is 100% charged). Second, it is

discharged with a constant current.

The SOC-Voltage curves are shown in Fig. 3. We tested

the following current values: 1C, 2C, 3C and 4C.

103

lithium-ion cell: they can be chemical processes based

([9],[12]), black-box based ([11]), or equivalent electrical

circuits based ([6],[7],[8],[10]). All them present

advantages and disadvantages. We chose to identify the

lithium cell using an equivalent electrical circuit based

model, mainly because it is the most intuitive.

In literature there are different electrical circuit models

for lithium-ion cell ([6],[7],[8],[10]). They are all based on

the following components:

a voltage generator, always SoC dependent and often

temperature dependent;

an internal resistance;

a set of capacitors and resistances to describe the

voltage dynamic;

and differ mainly on the way the voltage generator and

the electrical dynamic are modeled (the first one can or

cannot include an hysteresis and the electrical dynamics

can be explain with a different number of components,

based on the complexity of the dynamic to be described).

To identify the cell model, a current pulse test was

designed and executed on the lithium-ion cell. The test is

basically a discharge, followed by a charge, performed

using a pulsed current: each pulse is designed to discharge

or charge the battery of 10% of SoC, while, after the

pulse, the 0A phase is designed to understand how the cell

rests (in Fig. 4 the typical current profile and the cell

voltage response are shown). The test was designed to

discharge the battery down to 0-5% of SoC and then to

charge the cell up to 90%.

Before every execution of the test, the cell was charged

with the standard protocol described by the manufacturer

and then rested for at least two hours: the cell is then

considered completely charged (100% of SOC value).

3

Measured current

Required current

Current [A]

1

0

3.

-1

-2

-3

4

time [hour]

relevant differences were found between the values

collected during charge and discharge then no

hysteresis was modeled;

all the tests could only be performed at ambient

temperature, so the model has to be used only in this

situation.

Volt [V]

3.5

R0

K

0.07

-0.047288

K1

597.56

K2

32.668

K3

1996.7

2.5

measured voltage

2

4

Time [hour]

test.

different current values, so to understand the dependency

of the model components to the current values. We used

the same current values used for the capacity tests.

measured data

simulated data

3.8

R0

3.6

C1

VOCV (SoC)

R2

R1

V0

This test is made by the repetition of two current

staircases, one is in charge and one is in discharge. The

staircases use 1C, 2C, 3C, and 4C current values and are

designed to increase at every repetition the SoC of 5%.

The result of the validation is shown in Fig. 6. The

model is able to catch the cell behavior in a good way: the

max voltage error is equal to 0.04mV while the mean error

is approximately zero.

C2

3.4

3.2

3

2.8

V1

V2

2.6

2.4

45

50

55

time [minutes]

60

65

shown in Fig. 5. It is commonly called the 2nd-order

Randle model:

the voltage generator (VOCV) models the Open Circuit

Voltage (which is the voltage of the cell when it is

rested) as a function of SoC ;

R0 is the internal resistance;

the other resistances and capacitors are used to model

the cell dynamics.

It can be rewritten in the Laplace-transform domain as:

R1

R2

I

+

V = VOCV (SoC) R0 +

1

+

1

+

sR

C

sR

C

1 1

2 2

(1)

K (1 + sK1 )

I

= VOCV (SoC) R0 I

(1 + sK 2 )(1 + sK3 )

Some notes can be made on the identified components:

1. the model components are not dependant nether on

the current nor on the SoC; the values, accordingly to

notation of Eq. 1, are listed in Table 2;

2. the voltage generator is calculated through an 8th

function of SoC: it was identified using the voltages

104

behavior in the following SoC range: [20% - 80%]. This

happens because the VOCV in the other range appears to

behave in a highly non-linear way which cannot be

explained by this simple model. This does not represent a

big problem because usually the battery is used in a

smaller range which fits the one in which our model is

working correctly.

III. SOC ESTIMATION: STATE OF THE ART

Since rechargeable batteries have existed, systems able

to give an indication about the State-of-Charge (SoC) of a

battery have been around. The State-of-Charge is

mathematically defined as:

t

Ahnom I (t ) dt

SoC (t ) =

Ahnom

100 .

(2)

Ahnom is the nominal cell capacity (in our case is

2.23Ah);

I(t) is the current, which is positive when the cell

is discharged.

Several methods, including those of direct

measurements, book-keeping and adaptive systems are

known in the art of determining the SoC of a cell or a

battery of several cells ([1],[6],[7],[8],[9]). Obviously, an

accurate SoC determination method will improve the

performance and reliability, will ultimately lengthen the

lifetime of the battery and will permit the development of

better algorithm for hybrid and electric vehicle.

In Table 3 a review of literature methods is presented.

Some of them are not feasible in an HEV application,

because they require to disconnect the battery. Some

others, like the one based on voltage measures, are more

suitable in small-power electronic application, where the

required power is usually near to be constant and small. In

such case, a voltage discharge map can be easily used to

estimate the SoC: the drawbacks of this method is that it

requires a long period of constant current (zero current if it

uses an Open-Circuit-Voltage map), which is not common

in an HEV application.

Using neural networks, fuzzy logic and Kalman filter it

is usually possible to have a good SoC estimation: the

drawback is the need of an high computation power,

which is not usually available in an embedded system. The

Coulomb-Counting method (current integration) is still the

most used method and the main information source, since

it provides a simple way to estimate the variation of SoC.

Besides it is impossible, with this method, to have an

initial SoC estimate and any error on the current measure,

most of all offset errors, can highly affect the estimation.

Fuzzy logic

Technique

Discharge

test

Applicatio

n field

Used for

capacity

determinati

on at the

beginning

of life

Coulomb

counting

All battery

systems,

most

application

s

OCV

Lead,

lithium,

Zn/Br

All systems

Impedance

spectroscopy

DC internal

resistance

Lead,

Ni/Cd

Neural

Networks

All battery

systems

Advantages

Drawbacks

Easy and

accurate;

independent

of SOH

Offline, time

intensive, modifies

the battery state, loss

of energy

Accurate if

enough recalibration

points are

available and

with flawless

current

measurement

Online,

cheap, OCV

prediction

Gives

information

about SOH

Gives

information

about SOH

Online

Sensitive to parasite

reactions; needs

regular recalibration

points

(current = 0A)

Temperature

sensitive, cost

intensive

Good accuracy only

for a short time

interval

Needs training data

of a similar battery,

expensive to

implement.

105

Kalman

Filters

All battery

systems

Online

Robust

Large amount of

memory in real

world applications

Needs strong

All battery

Accurate

hypothesis on battery

systems,

Flexible

model. Difficult to

even

Online

implement the

strongly

filtering algorithm

dynamic

that considers all

application

features as, e.g., nons (such

normalities and

HEV)

nonlinearities

Table 3 State of art of SoC estimation methods.

The new mixed algorithm uses both the CoulombCounting method and the Model-Based method. Briefly

the Model-Based method is used to dynamically correct

the estimation performed by the Coulomb-Counting. In

order to understand which are the benefits of the new

algorithm, the simpler algorithms and the mixed one

will be shown. All the algorithms were tested on the

staircase test, shown before in Fig. 6 Staircase test

validation.Fig. 6

The Coulomb-Counting method is the easiest method to

estimate the SoC of a cell. The SoC of the battery can be

estimated as:

t

1

I (t )dt

Ahnom 0

(3)

where:

I(t) is the measured current;

SoC(0) is the initial SoC value.

The calculation is very easy and the formulation is

directly connected with the SoC definition shown in Eq. 2.

However it presents some drawbacks:

1. SoC(0) needs to be know or estimated;

2. I(t) is the only signal used; so if the measure has flaws

the estimation will be affected and it will need to be

reset periodically.

The second drawback is the most difficult to deal with. A

lot of reason can cause flaws, especially in an HEV where

a lot of electronic systems are fitted all together.

To get a more clear idea of how the current measure can

be in an HEV environment, in Fig. 7 the measured current

during an experiment made on the A123-M1 cell (charge

at 1C) is shown. The current is measured with a standard

current sensor, typically used on EVs or HEVs. It is

compared with the true current, measured with a highaccuracy sensor (which is assumed to have near-zero

noise). Notice that the measurement noise is constituted by

high-frequency components, bursts and spikes, and a lowfrequency trend mainly due to temperature drifts.

0.5

0

Current [A]

-0.5

-1

Measured current

Actual current

-1.5

-2

-2.5

-3

50

100

150

200

Time [minutes]

shown. Two current measures were used: a measure

acquired using an high-accuracy sensor and one acquired

with a standard current sensor. Even if SoC(0) was

correctly initialized, the SoC estimation starts to drift soon

and without correcting it dynamically, the estimation

becomes wrong easily.

method;

the Model-Based method is able to catch the SoC

variation of slow dynamics (which is not glaring in

Fig. 9);

if a positive offset is present on the current measure

the Coulomb-Counting estimation will decrease faster

while the Model-Based estimation will decrease

slower; so a mix algorithm could try to take

advantage of this behavior because one estimation

compensates the other.

These notes were the starting point of the new

algorithm. Some previous works used a mix approach but

they ware based on a frequency spit of the estimation

based on current and the one based on the voltage[5]. Here

a different approach was used, giving better results.

100

Estimated SoC

Real SoC

80

SOC [%]

nI

60

40

20

Vm

V

+

0

0.5

1.5

2.5

100

Estimated SoC

Real SoC

60

40

20

0

0.5

1.5

2.5

+-

Integral

controller

SoC

+

+

MODEL

nV

complicated, since it requires a good cell model and to

measure both the current and the voltage.

Using the Model-Based method with the A123-M1 cell

model previously identified, and filtering the estimation

(since it was definitely too noisy thanks to the noise of the

measures and the flatness of the curve which relates VOCV

to SoC), we obtain the result shown in Fig. 9.

The estimation appears far to be correct and the filtering

process, needed to have an usable estimation, is too heavy

to get a good result: the estimation seems to be delayed.

80

SoCI

SOC [%]

Im

computable algorithms shown that they cannot be used

when the measurements are far to have no flaws like in a

HEV. However both methods present some advantages.

Evaluating the behavior of the two methods with different

tests, we saw that:

the Coulomb-Counting method is able to well catch

the rapid changes of SoC, but it suffers for every

flaws can arise on the current signal; so it often

106

Fig. 10. The rationale of the estimation algorithm is as

follows:

the current and voltage of the battery cell are

measured (with some measurement noise, introduced

by the sensors);

the current is integrated, and a Coulomb-Counting

estimation (labeled SoCI in Fig. 10) of the SoC is

obtained;

the direct model (1) of the cell is fed with the SoC

estimation and the measured (noisy) current; the

model output is the estimated cell voltage;

a close-loop controller is designed around the cell

model; the direct cell model represents the plant of the

control system; the SoC is the input variable, whereas

the voltage is the controlled output; the reference

output is the measured cell voltage; the measured

current is a disturbance; a simple integral controller is

used;

the SoC input of the cell model is obtained as sum of

SoCI and the output of the feedback integral

controller;

the estimated SoC is the input of the cell model, in the

closed-loop configuration.

It is interesting to notice that the main idea of this

method is to use the Coulomb-Counting estimation for the

basic SoC estimation; this estimation is corrected with a

closed-loop control system, which tries to regulate the

direct-model output voltage at the value of the actual

estimation is a sort of feed-forward component of the

control variable of the control system.

The result we obtain with the mixed method is shown

in Fig. 11. The result is clear: the estimation is very closed

to the real SoC. The algorithm achieves to mix the

advantages of both the algorithms, giving a better

estimation then the simpler algorithms.

100

Estimated SoC

Real SoC

SOC [%]

80

60

40

20

0

0.5

1.5

2.5

very robust towards measurement noise and poor SoC

initialization. As such, this algorithm is well-suited for onboard SoC estimation of Battery-Packs in EVs or HEVs.

V. CONCLUSION

A new SoC estimation algorithm is presented. It mixes

the best features of the Coulomb-Counting method and

the Model-Based approaches. The algorithm was applied

to a Li-ion cell.

In order to apply the new method, the cell was

previously characterized and identified. Unfortunately it

was possible to make tests on the battery only at ambient

temperature.

The results obtained with the mixed algorithm are

very encouraging: the algorithm is comparatively simple

and can be easily implemented on embedded on-board

electronics; moreover is has proven to be robust with

respect to measurement noises and poor SoC initialization.

The algorithm is now under testing on different Li-ion

cell technologies.

ACKWOLEDGEMENT

The first Author recognizes the support of the Ohio

State University Center for Automotive Research (CAR),

and is grateful to John Neal for the support testing the cell,

to Nick Picciano and Raffaele Bornatico for the useful

discussions.

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