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BlackBerry Amps Up BlackBerry IVY with Investment in Electra Vehicles

AUTOMOTIVE / 06.23.21 / Anooj Shah

The headlines dominating the automotive industry as of late have primarily focused on electrification, with news of major OEMs increasing investment in their electric vehicle (EV) portfolio and rolling out exciting new vehicles. From clean energy to cost savings, the switch to EVs for consumers and commercial fleets has never been more attractive; EVs now represent 1% of all cars on the road globally.

BlackBerry is at the center of this industry shift, with 23 of the top 25 EV OEMs choosing BlackBerry® QNX® for their EV software, services, and knowledge. We’re thrilled to build on this strong momentum by announcing our investment in Electra Vehicles, an innovative early-stage company whose flagship product includes an AI-based software management solution for battery packs.

With the rapid growth of EVs also comes challenges around managing the battery packs to optimize lifespan, safety, and costs. These are challenges with real world implications: a popular automaker is under investigation in multiple jurisdictions for reducing available range via over-the-air (OTA) software to manage the battery lifespan, while another automaker spent $900M to recall 82k vehicles due to its EV battery catching on fire.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Effective battery management is also creating new opportunities to reuse EV batteries for energy storage systems, as companies such as Nissan and others experiment with possibilities. The ability to monitor, optimize, and accurately predict lifespan of a battery pack creates new secondary markets where a certificate on the available life and power output of a used battery is valued.

Electra is the first dedicated EV active controls software company that we’ve committed to working with in an effort to address the electrification pain points that the industry needs to solve, like EV range anxiety and battery costs in order to spur mass EV adoption. Electra’s solution set spans from cell selection and simulation (EnPower) to active AI battery management and predictive fleet analytics for production vehicles, (EVE-Ai 360° Adaptive Controls and EVE Ai Fleet Analytics). Electra is uniquely positioned to capture the large market opportunity ahead of them with their focus on adaptive battery management and we are excited to support them on their journey.

The team behind Electra Vehicles are experts in energy storage systems, having leveraged over 300 battery and capacitors of varying chemistries to develop their unique AI models that predict and optimize EV batteries based on individual vehicle, driver, and environmental characteristics. Currently, batteries are managed based on a static set of rules despite batteries facing varying operation conditions based on environmental conditions and driving and charging patterns.

Electra Vehicles’ EVE-Ai 360° Adaptive Controls redefines battery management by leveraging a self-learning control algorithm supported by a digital twin for the battery pack that considers a wide variety of factors such as driving behavior and charging habits across the vehicle fleet to offer insights on the optimal battery parameters for a given set of conditions. Its adaptive controls implement the benefits recommended by the digital twin into direct action by actively managing the battery pack to extend its lifespan and range for each vehicle’s specific conditions.

Electra Vehicles is an ideal ecosystem partner for BlackBerry® IVY™, which simplifies access to a wide set of vehicle data and enables EVE-Ai to run its machine learning (ML) models in the vehicle to offer a more responsive system, while reducing connectivity costs for the OEM. For example, BlackBerry IVY will enable Electra Vehicles to deploy in-vehicle a Dynamic State of Charge (SOC) model that adapts the current draw and charging rate limits of the battery based on environmental, driving, and road conditions derived from vehicle sensor data provided by IVY. The result is extended range for a relaxed driver with diligent charging habits, while preserving battery lifetime for a more aggressive driver who uses fast-charging frequently. This is just one of several modular features that make up the 360 degrees of battery pack charging and driving control offered by Electra’s EVE-Ai software.

Together with Electra Vehicles, we are excited to showcase how BlackBerry IVY and EVE-Ai can enable automakers to implement responsive and real time battery management solutions with the power of AI and without the high cost of connectivity.

Learn more about BlackBerry QNX and BlackBerry IVY.

Anooj Shah

About Anooj Shah

Anooj Shah is Senior Director, Investments & Strategy at BlackBerry