Paul Ryabchuk
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What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

Electric vehicles require advanced software to face challenges such as high maintenance costs, limited range, and lack of charging stations

May 10, 2018

8 mins read

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The electric car market is growing rapidly. In fact, research by Morgan Stanley shows that one billion electric cars will be on the roads by 2050. But on their way to this bright future, electric vehicles (EVs) will have to cope with a lot of issues. Lack of charging infrastructure, quick battery wear-down, and special maintenance requirements are just a few of the problems to solve. Luckily, electric vehicle software can help.

Research by Morgan Stanley shows that one billion electric cars will be on the roads by 2050.

Want to see how this electric car software system works? Intellias, one of the leading Tier 2 companies in Eastern Europe, is ready to share some knowledge with you. Keep reading to find out more about electric car software solutions.

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The electric car battle is on – market data proves it

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

In November 2017, electric car market growth reached a serious milestone – 3 million electric and plug-in hybrid cars on the roads worldwide. Astonishing, isn’t it? In 2017, sales of plug-in vehicles reached 1,223,600 units, with battery electric cars accounting for 66%.

Tesla, GM, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Volvo are among the well-known brands committed to the electrification of cars. But here’s something really interesting: 6 out of 10 of the world’s biggest electric car companies are Chinese. SAIC, BYD, FAW Group, Geely, BAIC, and Dongfeng have electric cars in their own lineups and also partner with European and American brands. In fact, Geely owns the well-known Volvo, which has recently announced the electrification of its entire lineup starting from 2019.

People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers current and future needs. 

People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.

Håkan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars Group

Many famous automakers plan to join the game. BMW has announced that it will have 12 fully electric vehicles by 2025. Porsche is planning to spend $7.4 billion on electric cars.

According to The Boston Consulting Group electric car market forecast, in 2030 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will make up 14% of global car sales, with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) reaching 6% and gasoline vehicles making up 47%.

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

Source: Boston Consulting Group

What’s inside an electric car?

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

Before getting to software systems, it’s better to check out the hardware first. So let’s dig into a typical battery electric vehicle and find out what it’s made of.

The main components of an electric car are:

  • Battery
  • Electric engine
  • Motor controller
  • Regenerative braking system
  • Drive system

To ensure that all parts of the vehicle work properly, it’s a good idea to use electric car design software. This software tracks down weak spots and optimizes the car’s performance.

Electric cars have incredible benefits… but some drawbacks too

As you can see, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) have fewer components than internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and have lower maintenance requirements.

Additionally, BEVs consume less energy. Thanks to the regenerative braking system, electric cars save energy. In short, this technology stores kinetic energy from braking in the form of electricity. Electric cars also turn off the engine automatically when the vehicle isn’t moving.

But the most impressive advantage of electric cars is their environmental impact. BEVs have no tailpipe emissions since they have neither a tailpipe nor an internal combustion engine. And no emissions means no pollution. This is the main reason why EVs have earned government support.

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

Source: Boston Consulting Group

Apart from various discounts for electric vehicles, certain countries are even planning to ban ICE vehicles, which gives a chance for electric cars to take their place. For instance, both France and the UK aim to stop sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

Unfortunately, electric cars also have drawbacks that make people think twice before buying them. Short drive range is one of them. Today, the average electric car can go 183 kilometers on a charge. So yes, it needs frequent charging if you travel far. If that’s not bad enough, the battery holds less charge as it gets older, meaning that the vehicle’s driving range will only get worse.

Deloitte’s report shows that the greatest concerns about battery electric vehicles are driving range, cost, and lack of electrical charging infrastructure.

Greatest concerns regarding all battery-powered electric vehicles

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

Source: 2018 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study

Not only is it expensive to buy electric vehicles – their maintenance costs a lot too. Make no mistake about it: you won’t be able to fix your BEV on the side of the road. Once an electric car breaks down, it requires special servicing. The powertrain of a BEV is so complex that only professionals can handle it, and those may be very hard to find in case of emergency.

To make matters worse, charging infrastructure isn’t very well prepared for BEVs. So far, there are not enough electric car charging stations for vehicles on the go, and the ones that do exist are often hard to find. According to a report by the University of Michigan, in the United States there are only 16,000 public charging stations of all types compared to 112,000 gas stations.

Intellias has years of experience in the automotive domain, so be sure to contact our experts to find out more about solutions for electric car makers
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How can electric vehicle software help?

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

It’s hard to imagine a modern car without embedded software. It’s even harder to imagine an electric vehicle without it. And it’s not a matter of luxury – embedded electric vehicle software is necessary for an electric car to function. In BEVs, software replaces the complex mechanical systems that ICEs have. For instance, in the Tesla Model S, smart software works as a limited-slip differential.

Software for electric cars also helps to manage the vehicle. Since one of a BEVs core parts is the battery pack, electric car battery maintenance is vital. And it’s the battery management system (BMS) that both protects the battery and collects data on its internal state.

Read more: Learn how Intellias has created an embedded solution to help an EU-based auto manufacturer comply with Euro 6 emission standards

But the best part is that electric car software solutions can help BEVs cope with major drawbacks. No, you won’t be able to conjure more electric car charging stations by updating your vehicle’s software, but software can help you connect to existing ones. For instance, Bosch Software Innovations has developed mobile applications for Smart, Renault, and Mercedes-Benz that find charging stations and pay for use.

With charging apps, we are bringing the Internet of Things and electromobility together.

Kai Weber, PM at Bosch Software Innovations

Electric car navigation based on the location of charging points can be a real solution to the problem of charging. Integrated with the car head unit, applications can help you find the closest station and battery management systems can inform you beforehand when charging or maintenance is necessary.

Predictive maintenance software like a BMS is vital for electric vehicles. Since they have special maintenance and repair requirements, a monitoring system for car diagnostics is necessary to help identify problems. To top it off, these systems can even notify the driver about certain parts that need to be checked according to the vehicle’s specifications. Such software will help drivers schedule their electric car maintenance.

Read more: Take a look at how Intellias developed E2E predictive maintenance software for a Canadian software firm that serves automakers

Since customers’ main concern about BEVs is driving range, electric car route planning is essential. To save energy, software systems provide in-depth route analysis and optimization. Electric car smart routing can build the optimal route based on collected data.

Isn’t it amazing that software can help electric cars get rid of so many pain points? What’s even better, software systems can introduce new features to the vehicle. Take Tesla, for example: the company constantly provides over-the-air software updates for its cars. In one of its Model S P100D updates, Tesla even decreased the vehicle’s 60 mph acceleration time to 2.4 seconds.

Electric cars will be autonomous and connected

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

There’s no mystery about it: electric cars of the future will be autonomous and connected. This will happen because an electric autonomous car is cheaper in the long run;

  • easier to recharge than it is to refill a tank thanks to wireless charging;
  • able to improve traffic and provide remarkable energy efficiency;
  • safer both for passengers and the environment.

The only problem is that autonomous vehicle computing, sensors, and connectivity consume a lot of electricity. This means that the driving range of an electric vehicle suffers. However, some of that range can be reclaimed with smart routing and advanced battery technologies.

Clearly, the benefits of autonomous and connected EVs outweigh the drawbacks. Electric car companies prove that. General Motors has recently revealed the self-driving Bolt EV that will get to market in 2019. In October 2017, the Swedish company NAVYA released a fully autonomous bus. It’s the first 100% autonomous vehicle available for commercial use. And it has an electric engine.

Read more: Learn how Intellias helped a Silicon Valley startup to develop an ADAS solution for electric vehicles

Electric cars and software are a perfect match

What Software is Essential for Electric Cars

The continuous growth of the electric car market leads to an increasing demand for electric car software systems. In fact, the automotive market in 2017 amounted to $5.15 billion. According to the embedded system global forecast, this number will reach $7.41 billion by 2022.

Electric car design software helps to evaluate vehicle performance and find weak spots in a BEV’s design. Embedded electric vehicle software increases comfort, safety, and value. And most importantly, electric car software solutions help to cope with a BEV’s main disadvantages.

Since electric cars have special maintenance requirements, software systems help to manage the vehicle. Electric car battery maintenance is possible with the help of battery management systems while smart routing is the answer to the range problem. And you can make the most out of poor charging infrastructure with the help of electric car navigation that’s based on the locations of charging points.


It’s obvious that electric vehicles will only benefit from the autonomous and connected future. A lot of electric car benefits will be reinforced with advanced technologies. And because of government regulations, there’s a great chance that an autonomous electric vehicle will be the only type of car without any restrictions in future.


Ready to become part of the automotive changes? Intellias has years of experience in the automotive domain, so be sure to contact our experts to find out more about solutions for electric car makers.

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