Why Cyber Security matters for Batteries

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Chris Mobley is the Director & Founder of BlueSkyTec Ltd: a cyber-security business keen on building secure and safe solutions within technological areas. Chris was also Technical Director for a successful engineering and consultancy business started in 2003, before being sold in 2013. Ahead of the show, we asked him a few questions concerning batteries, EV’s, and just why BlueSkyTec is interested.

Q: So, Chris, can you explain how Cyber Security and batteries are linked?

A: Batteries are very expensive – around 40% of the cost of manufacturing a car – and have a limited life (number of charge cycles, etc). Problem one is that because batteries are very expensive, they are a target for thieves. Problem two is that because they have a limited number of charge cycles, manufacturers are adding mobile connectivity to the batteries so that they can monitor the battery’s performance. This allows a manufacturer to monitor the battery for theft and performance. However, the mobile connectivity must have cyber-security otherwise criminals will attack the battery via the internet.
Q: How important is Cyber Security when considering Batteries and Electronic Vehicles?

A: When anything physical is connected to the internet it must be protected by cyber-security. If it is not, there is potential for a criminal to take control of the physical device and do damage to either the device or even the humans around it. In the case of a battery, for example, they could make it ignite and explode, or in the case of an electric vehicle, they could make it crash and injure the occupants and/or other road users.
Q: What is the Business Control Drive MGU? Why are you interested in it? 

A: Battery, Control and Drive Motor/Generator Unit – these three physical things are the parts you need to make an electric scooter/bike/car/drone etc.

The Battery is usually a Lithium-Ion Polymer battery – like in a mobile phone, but much bigger – the Control Unit is comprised of the electronics that control how fast the scooter/bike/car goes, and the Drive MGU – Motor/Generator Unit – is the electric motor that can also act as an electric generator when going down a hill.

Blueskytec is interested because again, these are very expensive items, they are connected to the internet for monitoring and control, and therefore they must have cyber-security to protect both brands and consumers.

 

Chris will be Chairing a panel discussion, The Connected Evolution: Protecting the Customer’s High-Value Assets from Cyber Attack on 24th October at 2.40pm.

Be sure to register for your Earlybird Ticket for access to this and all of our expert discussions at the show.

Interview conducted by Dan Mobley
Edited by Sarah O’Connell*