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Capacitors For Electric Vehicle Drivetrains

The concept of the Electric Vehicle (EV) market is hard to miss nowadays. We increasingly see EVs on the streets and charging stations are becoming part of the landscape. Knowles offers an array of capacitors for electric vehicle drivetrains.

Electrification of the Automotive Drivetrain

The concept of the Electric Vehicle (EV) market is hard to miss nowadays. We increasingly see EVs on the streets and charging stations are becoming part of the landscape.

There are some key acronyms to understand when discussing the Electric Vehicle drivetrain:

xEV = Electric Vehicles in general, where the ‘x’ stands for some of the additional acronyms defined below.

ICE = Internal Combustion Engine. ‘Normal’ cars that we all grew up with. A driver (no pun intended) for the electronic passives market already and a good use case to keep in mind when talking about existing shared requirements (e.g. safety concerns and AECQ200) as well as new requirements (increases in voltages that components see in xEVs)

HEV = Hybrid Electric Vehicles. The Toyota Prius ® is a famous example of Hybrid drive train technology, where an ICE is used alongside electric motors.

PHEV = Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Like an HEV in that it utilizes a hybrid drive train, with ICE + electric motor, with the addition of a plug so that the vehicles battery can be recharged with mains electricity as well as being recharged through the operation of the ICE. The Chevrolet Volt ® is an example of PHEV technology.

BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle. Think Tesla ® – a fully electric drivetrain that relies on rechargeable batteries. The BEVs need to be plugged in to a power source in order to charge.

There are additional acronyms out there but a key point to note here is a process of increasing electrification – the reduction of reliance on the Internal Combustion Engine and the increase of the number of electronics necessary for vehicles to function.

Impact of Electric Vehicle Requirements on Components

There are some key consequences of this that will impact electronic components used in these systems:

High Voltage. xEVs are based on high-voltage battery systems, such as 400V to 800V for BEVs and 48V for HEVs.

High Power. An area of development is for systems that charge from the grid to handle increasing amounts of power, greater than 3.3kW, to enable fast charging of an EV so that it can compete with a gasoline vehicle that can be re-filled in minutes.

Reduction in size. Subsystems inside EVs are being driven to smaller footprints, increasing component density inside the system. Components need to provide the same high performance in reduced package sizes

High Temperature. Alongside increased voltages converters are being driven at increased frequencies and subsystems are undergoing the size reductions mentioned above – all of these factors combine to create a high temperature environment that components need to be rated to and reliable enough to survive

Reliability. Already a hallmark of components for the automotive market, as drive train electrification continues the ability to market extremely high reliability components and systems will continue to be a requirement for manufacturers

MLCCs in For Electric Vehicle Drivetrains

Modern EV’s, HEV’s and PHEV’s are sparking a revolution in the capacitor technology used in the control electronics. Higher temperatures inside the control circuits mean that conventional plastic film capacitors are no longer suitable for all applications and ceramic MLCC’s are now being increasingly used, with the added benefits that MLCC’s are generally surface mount direct to boards, yielding greater efficiency of assembly and allowing shorter circuit tracks with lower inductance. In many cases this last point allows lower capacitance values to be used, meaning that smaller components or less components can be used.

With the broadest range of AEC-Q200 approved MLC Capacitors, Tandem and Open Mode MLC capacitors, X8R High temperature MLC capacitors and EMI filters up to a voltage rating of 1kV at Knowles Precision Devices we provide for the requirements of EV and HEV systems.

You can learn more about Knowles Precision Devices High Reliability and High Voltage Capacitors for Electric Vehicle applications through our Automotive Products Brochure

You can also view product details and an overview of our Automotive capabilities in general on our Automotive Products Pages