Korean information security company Penta Security will launch a platform that leverages blockchain to collect, store, and share data on electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Until recently, the company had a stronger presence in security for web applications and data.
Batteries for electric vehicles account for the largest proportion of manufacturing costs and are also the source of most concerns regarding the shift towards electric cars. While electric vehicles do not have carbon emissions, the car batteries don’t last forever and are made of lithium, cobalt, and other minerals that need appropriate disposal and better recycling strategies.
While Penta’s blockchain solutions should help with battery recycling, Penta Security’s solution is more focused on data collection to improve the battery’s efficiency and, consequently, the electric vehicle as a whole.
Besides environmental concerns, another matter that needs to be addressed by the electric vehicle industry is the safety of the product. This is not an irrational fear, as there have been accidents following malfunctions. One particular practice that may lead to battery failure is regularly overcharging it. Penta Security’s system aims to detect abnormal behavior during charging and discharging processes so that vehicle owners can take action early on. The system also collects data on temperature, charging time, and maintenance status.
The security company has been working with AutoCrypt, a security solution for intelligent transport systems, in the development of the platform. AutoCrypt has a hardware module that collects the data from the vehicles, and apart from using blockchain, Penta Security is working on a system that can analyze between 100 to 150 data points per battery. One of the goals is to use the data to calculate the future price of electric vehicles. Data will be collected on over 1000 electric vehicles throughout the year.
“Battery data is a key resource for the development of the electric vehicle market, such as predicting electric vehicle risks, recycling batteries, and saving repair costs,” said Sangkyu Shim, CTO Penta Security. “We will protect drivers and contribute to the development of the battery industry.”
Besides addressing consumer concerns such as vehicle safety precautions and the car’s future price, the Penta Security solution can help with environmental concerns. The data analysis will also aim to assess data on battery efficiency and explore recycling waste batteries solutions.
It is a real concern that as more people purchase electric cars, the environmental consequences of the market being unprepared to deal with batteries will offset some of the positive aspects of going electric. In addition, the ethics of the supply chain of the materials used in the manufacturing process are very challenging. For example, most mined cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where almost 20% comes from artisanal mines that often use child labor.
The use of blockchain to address this issue is not new. There are various initiatives for mineral traceability in electric cars, such as Volvo’s partnership with Circulor. The car manufacturer is also working with the startup for the full traceability of battery supply chains. Solutions aimed at recycling batteries are also becoming available such as Everledger’s blockchain battery recycling app. The company also worked with Ford on a pilot to track electric vehicle battery lifecycles through blockchain and IoT.