The Pillars of Enterprise Battery Intelligence

  • Voltaiq
  • May 6, 2022

Batteries are a global platform technology

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need convincing that batteries are a truly game-changing technology that will transform the world around us over the next several years. Indeed, we founded Voltaiq with the fervent belief that batteries will soon achieve scale and impact similar to global platform technologies like semiconductors and the internet that have emerged in recent decades.

You probably also understand that batteries are complicated, representing both huge upside potential as well as massive downside risk for the businesses that depend on them in some way. To illustrate how batteries can drive value creation, we offer as examples two household-name companies that have harnessed battery power to deliver both spectacular products and spectacular returns: Apple and Tesla.

  • Apple first introduced the iPod on October 23, 2001, a milestone we mark as Apple’s pivot toward a battery-powered business model. At the time, Apple’s market capitalization was just under $6 billion. Today, Apple derives over 90% of its revenue from battery-powered products (iPhone, iPad, MacBook) and the digital services delivered through them, and it’s worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.7 trillion.
  • Tesla, founded in 2003, has had batteries in its DNA from the very beginning. Since then the company has single-handedly transformed the automotive sector, with electric vehicles now broadly regarded as the future of the entire industry. In 2021 they delivered just under one million electric cars to customers, and today the company is worth just over $1 trillion.

So here we have two companies that have built nearly $4 trillion in market value, delighting customers and transforming huge sectors of the economy in the process, almost entirely on the strength of a battery-powered product portfolio. The key to their success? Over time, each has made enormous investments in expertise, infrastructure, and analytical capability to become what we call “Battery-Intelligent Enterprises.” Apple and Tesla deeply understand the importance of batteries to their respective businesses, and have made it a priority to deeply understand and optimize the impact of batteries at every stage: research and development, product engineering, supply chain, manufacturing, post-sale, and finance.

Sure, but those are special cases. How is this relevant to my business?

Admittedly these are two uniquely visionary companies that have enjoyed a combination of deep pockets, brand cache, and strong leadership that enabled them to attract top talent and spend untold millions developing a core competency around batteries. And they have done it over roughly two decades. These days, however, more and more companies are finding that business success will depend on battery mastery. Unfortunately, most lack the time and resources (literally years, and millions of dollars) to reproduce what Apple and Tesla have done. So are there any lessons we can learn from them? How can you jumpstart your battery program, or accelerate it toward a similar level of excellence?

The good news is that a new field has emerged — Enterprise Battery Intelligence (EBI) — to help companies navigate the global transition to battery power. EBI comprises both an enterprise software sector that harnesses data and analytics to maximize business outcomes and minimize risks associated with batteries, as well as a set of data-driven business practices that can be employed to succeed in this new battery-powered economy. We call these practices “The Pillars of Enterprise Battery Intelligence.”

The six pillars are: Quality, Access, Insight, Traceability, Compliance, and Action.

The Six Pillars of Battery Intelligence


Enterprise Battery Intelligence is at its core about using data…intelligently, so it should be no surprise that you have to start with good, quality data about your batteries. (We’re all familiar with the “garbage in, garbage out” rule, and the same applies to EBI).

Aspects of the Quality pillar:

  • Automatically log relevant data for your batteries. This includes time-series data describing how batteries perform across the full lifecycle, as well as metadata describing battery composition, fabrication, and operation.
  • Use consistent data formats, organization-wide
  • Apply unique identifiers to every battery — cell, module, and pack
  • Always use consistent protocols when testing batteries during R&D, product engineering, or supplier qualification/validation

Benefits of the Quality pillar:

  • Clean, consistent, high-quality data enables faster decision-making and response time, and facilitates apples-to-apples comparison and analysis across your business
  • Increased productivity and efficiency, as your most precious resources — your team — can focus on high-value tasks and decisions rather than collecting and cleaning data


This pillar is about getting the right data, to the right stakeholders, at the right time. Batteries impact every part of your business, so just about every function needs access to some view of the data.

“Data silos” are an anti-pattern here (i.e., certain teams hoarding and restricting access to their data), as are “data swamps” — vast, disorganized stores of battery data that no one knows how to navigate. (Note that data swamps are often the result when setting out to build a battery “data lake.”)

Aspects of the Access pillar:

  • Data is digitized, centralized, and shared across your enterprise
  • Data is harmonized into a common format
  • Data is indexed and organized for rapid search
  • Data is highly available in real-time, or close to it (not several hours, days, or weeks after it is generated)
  • Data integrations are available to other tools and systems

Benefits of the Access pillar:

  • Cross-functional data-driven synergies. For example, Finance fine-tuning lease terms and warranty reserves using test data from Product Development
  • Frictionless collaboration across your teams, functions, and external partners


This pillar is about making data meaningful and actionable. Raw charge-discharge or battery composition data will only be useful in limited instances — you need to apply the right analytics in order to use that data to drive important decisions for your product and your business.

Aspects of the Insight pillar:

  • Battery-specific analytics to understand device or system behavior, using industry best practices
  • Broad comparative analysis across batches, lots, programs, and fleets
  • Deep, detailed exploration of individual cell or pack behavior
  • Continuous, automated analysis over the full product lifecycle

Benefits of the Insight pillar:

  • Accelerated product development and improved product performance to drive competitive advantage
  • Accelerated manufacturing ramp time or supplier qualification
  • Reduced product liability and warranty risk through early warning of failure


This pillar is about maintaining a “digital thread” of data for every cell, module, pack, and system across its full lifecycle. We often say that batteries are in many ways like organisms. One way in which this is true is that an individual battery’s “DNA” — its fundamental composition as it is initially manufactured — can have profound implications for that same battery’s longevity or safety many years down the line. So it’s important to track all of this information about (literally) every battery “from birth to earth” (or recycling, or second use).

Aspects of the Traceability pillar:

  • Unique tracking of all critical-to-quality components and processes during production and integration
  • Extensive information sharing from the full upstream supply chain, including materials lots and production parameters

Benefits of the Traceability pillar:

  • When necessary, selective recall instead of “total recall” (i.e., full product line recall)
  • Rapid root-cause analysis and response
  • Appropriate repurposing for second use
  • Facilitates compliance with end-of-life regulations (see next pillar)


A wave of regulation is coming to the battery ecosystem, and in some places it has already arrived (see: EU GPB, UN GTR, CARB ACC II and more). Compliance with these regulations will require a number of capabilities enabled by the four pillars mentioned above (Quality, Access, Insight, Traceability), as well as some new, dedicated functions within the enterprise.

Aspects of the Compliance pillar:

  • A clear owner of battery-related compliance across functions, with full awareness of coming legislation and regulation
  • Full lifecycle battery traceability from initial materials inputs through end of life (see Traceability pillar)
  • An accurate, data-driven assessment of State of Charge (SOC) and State of Health (SOH) over a battery’s 10-year (or longer) useful life

Benefits of the Compliance pillar:

  • Minimize disruptions to business operations by planning with full knowledge of coming regulations
  • Ensure right-to-sell, minimize fines and penalties
  • Maximize residual value in resale, second use, and recycling


This pillar is pretty straightforward — your organization must be able to act quickly and appropriately to the information and insights revealed through the above pillars of EBI.

Aspects of the Action pillar:

  • A culture of using data to drive continuous learning and improvement
  • Agile, iterative workflows (not stage-gate driven, waterfall-type processes)
  • Stakeholders empowered to take action at every lifecycle stage
  • Technical capability to mitigate problems in products that have already shipped, through over-the-air (OTA) updates or otherwise

Benefits of the Action pillar:

  • Safeguard brand and customer experience by intervening before products ship to customers when quality issues are detected
  • Enhance the customer experience by extending range, improving charging speed, and similar through post-sale OTA updates
  • Rapid response to changes in supply inputs, product requirements, or problems detected at any stage

EBI pillars in action

EBI pillars in action

For concrete examples of how using these six pillars can drive customer value and enhance your business, let’s look once more at our two paragons of Enterprise Battery Intelligence: Tesla and Apple.

Post-sale product enhancement

Tesla provides a number of proof points for EBI adding significant value for users of its products, often through OTA updates. Examples include remotely unlocking additional battery power and capacity to improve performance and range, or even to help customers cope with natural disasters. Tesla owners’ famed loyalty is no surprise given how Tesla repeatedly improves the customer experience for products that have already shipped, and it’s all enabled by continuous learning around batteries and the cultural and technical capabilities to take action.

Apple and Tesla are not perfect, of course — like many companies, both have had their share of battery issues after products have shipped. But here, again, both companies employ the pillars of EBI to minimize the downside impacts of battery issues.

Selective recalls

In 2019 Apple had to recall some MacBook Pros due to a battery safety issue. The key word here is “some” — Apple was able to determine which suppliers produced bad batteries on which specific days, and recall only those laptops the bad batteries had gone into. In this instance, Apple had the supply chain Traceability needed to get Access to high-Quality data, from which they extracted the Insight as to which devices to take Action on, through a limited, targeted recall.

Early service intervention

A few years ago, in response to battery fires in a few Model S vehicles, Tesla reduced the maximum operating voltage of its battery packs through an OTA update. This action actually led to a “battery throttling” lawsuit by customers, which Tesla settled in 2021 for $1.5 million, or about $625 per vehicle. While this anecdote may not immediately read as a success story, consider that Tesla was able to keep customer vehicles safe, while avoiding the types of recalls that have stricken more established OEMs’ EV offerings, often at a cost of more than $10,000 per vehicle(!). Here again, Tesla’s adherence to the pillars of EBI paid off handsomely.

It’s time to act

For companies whose business success depends in some way on batteries, the pace of change is accelerating and things are not getting any easier. Competitors are gaining on you, ship deadlines are approaching, supply chains are tightening, and some bad batteries are inevitably finding their way into your products. You need to get smarter and move faster. The time to adopt the six Pillars of Enterprise Battery Intelligence has come.

As detailed above, a key requirement to adopting EBI throughout your organization is putting in place the data and analytics infrastructure needed to enable the six pillars. Apple and Tesla spent decades and many millions of dollars developing these capabilities. You don’t have the time or the money to do the same. Fortunately, there is a market-proven enterprise-class solution available from the company that has pioneered the EBI sector over the past decade: the Voltaiq Enterprise Battery Intelligence platform. We’re here to help, and we’re rooting for you. Give us a call.

  • Voltaiq
  • May 6, 2022