GM purchases software for predicting EV battery fires

Could lithium-ion battery fires become a thing of the past?
Loukia Papadopoulos
Representational image of an EV battery.jpg
Representational image of an EV battery.


When driving an electric car, nothing is worse than a battery fire. It puts the driver at risk and makes the car unusable.

That’s why GM has invested in a software startup called ALGOLiON that specializes in predicting EV battery fires. 

This is according to a press release by the carmaker published last week. The statement highlighted what the startup has achieved.

“The company has developed sophisticated software that uses data streams from EV battery management systems to help identify anomalies in cell performance to ensure proper vehicle health management and provide early detection of battery hazards including thermal runaway propagation events,” said the press release about the acquisition.

“The software uses sophisticated algorithms to identify miniscule changes that could impact battery health weeks earlier than other methods in use today without additional hardware or sensors all while the battery is still operating properly.”  

The startup was founded in 2014 by Niles Fleischer, Ph.D., and Alex Nimberger, Ph.D.

“Dr. Fleischer has more than 40 years of experience in the battery industry and more than 80 patents in the field, while Dr. Nimberger has deep military and civilian experience in all aspects of lithium-ion battery operating modes and effects analysis,” noted the statement.

Fleischer expressed gratitude for the merger, calling it a right fit.

“The ALGOLiON team is excited to join GM on its track to an all-electric vehicle future,” said Fleischer. “We found the right home for our technology to play an integral role in maintaining healthy batteries for exciting products and reach customers globally.”

Lithium-ion battery fires have long been an unresolved issue everywhere they are used. In 2021, GM had recalled thousands of Chevy Bolt EVs citing complications with the battery. The whole event proved very expensive and led to the discontinuation of the Bolt which was replaced by a vehicle using the newest battery system called Ultium.

Inherent design flaws, wear and tear and even temperature and motion can all lead to battery failures or worse fires. Tesla has in the past been reported to have suffered such mishaps and Ford had to recall a dozen F-150 Lightnings earlier this year due to a battery mishap. Making matters worse is the fact that EV fires are stubborn to put out. 

Car manufacturers have long been looking for a solution to these problems and ALGOLiON may just be the key particularly as the firm “specializes in advanced technologies including software and algorithms, machine learning, Software Defined Vehicles, cyber security and user-facing applications for autonomous, electric and connected vehicles that are shaping the future of mobility,” according to GM’s statement.