The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?

With the growing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles, there has never been a higher market demand for EV connectors and charging cables. According to market research from Verified, the global EV connector market was valued at $28.5 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $109.66 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 18.4% from 2019 to 2026. It can be seen from these data that the development of the global electric vehicle connector market is in a stage of rapid growth, and the future prospects are promising!

Carbon peaking and carbon neutrality are two keywords that have been frequently searched recently. In response to climate change, governments around the world have formulated corresponding carbon peaking goals and measures to achieve carbon neutrality according to their national conditions. As an effective means to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, driven by policies and technologies, new energy vehicles have developed rapidly in recent years. At the same time, automakers are stepping up plans to bring electric vehicles to market.

According to forecasts by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), by 2022, several automakers around the world will launch more than 500 different models of electric vehicles. Driven by the market, companies engaged in the manufacture of electric vehicle connectors have also ushered in a good opportunity for development.

Key components in New Energy Vehicles

After several evolutions, the vehicle architecture of fuel vehicles is not only specific but also very complex. This is not the case for new energy vehicles. The electrified design of the transmission system makes the structure of the vehicle light and flexible. According to the architecture, new energy vehicles are further divided into hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) and pure electric vehicles (EV). Taking a pure electric vehicle as an example, its architecture is mainly composed of five important components such as motor, battery pack, Inverter, charger, and DC-DC converter. Through the operation of these components, the power transmission system in the electric vehicle can be normal Work.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 1: Key components in new energy vehicles and the types of connectors they require

In addition to these important components, an essential piece of hardware is used in the powertrain architecture of an electric vehicle—the connector. Inside the vehicle, the interconnection between various important components must rely on the “bridges” erected by the connector, and even the connector has become one of the key factors to examine the performance of EV/HEV.

There are many kinds of connectors required for new energy vehicle interfaces, and they must perform well in terms of insertion and removal times, current carrying capacity, heat resistance, sealing and waterproofing, and vibration resistance, especially high-Voltage connectors, in terms of quality and manufacturing accuracy. More demanding. There are also some low-voltage connectors in new energy vehicles, which are mainly used in battery management systems, battery balance systems, vehicle control systems and other signal control systems of new energy vehicles. Most of these products are based on low-frequency connectors. Customized products developed by HEV.

Choose compliant connectors for new energy vehicles

The EV/HEV market represents a new segment with unique challenges for all involved in the design and manufacture of EV/HEV vehicles. Among these design and engineering challenges is the development of a comprehensive range of automotive interconnect and charging plug solutions.

In the selection process of EV connectors, the first challenge we have to face is high voltage and high current. The working voltage range of EV high-voltage connectors has been increased from 14V in traditional automobiles to 400V to 800V, and the current is from 30A to 300A or higher. These connectors must have strict design considerations to avoid electromagnetic interference at such high power levels. Hazards such as interference and arcing. In addition, in order to effectively extend the cruising range of EVs, it is necessary to start with the miniaturization and weight reduction of each component. At this time, the weight and cost of the connector are also the key points to be considered.

However, choosing the right connector is not easy in practice. As shown in Figure 1, electric vehicles require many different connectors, such as individual lithium-ion modules that need to be connected together to form a battery storage system. In addition, various drive systems, converters, auxiliary modules, charging and monitoring systems must also be combined and connected to function properly. Below we will introduce the connectors required for several key modules in electric vehicles, and introduce their requirements for connector selection one by one, and list some connector products that meet the requirements.

Connectors designed for charging plugs

Now, the electric vehicle charging plugs adopted by countries vary widely. In North America, Japan, the European Union and other countries and regions, Type1 and Type2 are used for alternating current (AC) charging piles, and CHAdeMo and CCS (combined charging system) are used for direct current (DC) charging piles. In China, the connectors used in charging piles need to comply with the GB/T20234 standard. Tesla has dedicated plugs that meet its own charging standards. For details on the implementation standards and selection of electric vehicle charging plugs, please refer to another article in this public account:

Charging piles and wearables: how to choose the connectors in these two popular applications?

The KW series of JAE Electronics (Japan Aviation Electronics Industry Corporation) is a connector specially created for the electric vehicle charging pile market. Among them, the KW02/KW03 series meet the various indicators of V2H within the scope of CHAdeMO standard specifications. The KW04 series is a connector for fast charging that conforms to the CCS standard popular in Europe.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 2: KW04 series connector (Image source: JAE)

Phoenix Contact’s E-Mobility solution can be used for EV/HEV fast DC charging as well as AC charging, and it can fit a variety of body styles (see Figure 3). The company provides a combined AC/DC connection system that supports AC/DC charging of electric vehicles. The system uses a universal pin connector pattern, and DC and AC charging share a single socket.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 3: The connector from Phoenix Contact E-mobility provides a universal charging plug for all international standards for fast DC charging as well as charging over an AC connection (Image credit: Phoenix)

Connectors designed for battery management systems

The battery is a very critical component in an electric vehicle. In order to ensure the normal and safe operation of the battery, all electric vehicles must be equipped with a battery management system (BMS). During battery charging, the BMS prevents the battery from operating beyond safe limits and monitors the working status of the battery pack at all times during charging and discharging, and then optimizes performance by balancing the cells within the pack, thereby improving battery performance life and capacity. In addition, the BMS can fulfill other functions, such as checking for faults, determining the available energy and remaining service life, etc.

Typically, the performance and reliability of a BMS is defined by the components used within the system, of which connectors are an important component. Amphenol Corporation offers a range of compact, flexible, high-performance connector products for BMS designs. The WireLock 1.8mm Wire-to-Board Connector is a new addition to a family of automotive-grade connectors designed for BMS applications. The compact 1.8mm connector meets the growing demand for miniaturization in automotive applications.

Additionally, Amphenol Minitek MicroSpace is an automotive wire-to-board connector with a unique design that supports many automotive applications including BMS. Among them, the LV214 adapter connector provides two product series of single-row and double-row with 1.50mm and 1.27mm pitch, with active latch function and optional TPA and CPA functions. Among them, the 1.27mm connector has a current-carrying capacity of 1A, and the cable outer diameter is 28AWG to 26AWG, while the 1.50mm connector has a current-carrying capacity of 2A, and the cable outer diameter is 24AWG to 28AWG.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 4: Minitek MicroSpace Wire-to-Board Connector (Image credit: Amphenol)

High Voltage Connectors Designed for Battery Applications

In addition to the electric motor and battery, the structure of an electric vehicle consists of various electrical and Electronic systems, such as inverters, power junction boxes or chargers, etc., which are interconnected by dedicated high-voltage connectors and cables. For designers whose exposure to “high power” is limited to a few hundred watts or less than 10A, choosing the high-voltage connectors required for EV/HEV requires a different way of thinking. For example, when selecting wire-to-board and wire-to-wire connectors, considering harsh application environments such as vibration, stress and temperature, these connectors must meet some challenging criteria such as mating/removing cycles and mechanical robustness.

We know that traditional fuel vehicles are powered by 12V batteries with a rated current of 30A. On EV/HEV, the highest voltage can even reach 1000V, and the rated current can reach up to 400A, which means that the traditional power connector solution will no longer be suitable for EV/HEV design.

In addition to high voltage and high current considerations, EV/HEV connectors also need to meet other specifications. For example, they need to be resistant to harsh environmental conditions such as high temperature, shock, vibration, liquid contamination, dust, dirt, etc. In size and weight, too, strive to provide safe, durable electrical performance in a smaller, lighter package.

Amphenol’s UPC series connectors are suitable for applications such as battery connections, power distribution units, motors, power converters/inverters, BMS, etc. The connectors include EMI shielding, HVIL (High Voltage Interlock Loop) and are used for high voltage and current connections lock function. In addition, Amphenol UPC high-voltage connectors can withstand at least 500 mating cycles, with a wide operating current range of about 200A to 450A, and an operating voltage of 1000V.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 5: UPC series connectors (Image source: Amphenol)

Automakers have been actively looking for smart and high-performance components that can meet the specific high-voltage requirements of next-generation EV/HEVs. To meet this need, TE Connectivity has developed the HC-STAK 25 High Voltage (HV) Interconnect System, a compact, rugged, reliable high performance connector solution that efficiently transfers power from the battery pack to the drive motor.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 6: HC-STAK 25 High Voltage Interconnect System (Image source: TE Connectivity)

TE’s HC-STAK 25 interconnect system addresses EV/HEV challenges such as the ability to reliably handle high power surges over the vehicle’s entire lifetime, while offering superior performance in compact and flexible packaging geometry, weight and cost. component design. In addition to its compact size, the HC-STAK 25 interconnect system and its double-ended fork contacts are scalable, enabling reliable distribution of high power to each set over the life of the vehicle. Since the HC-STAK 25 is a pre-assembled plug, compatible with aluminium and copper, it is very easy to use. At the same time, the product also meets the anti-touch safety requirements of IP2XB, IP67/IP6K9K sealing and V0 flammability.

TE has a rich automotive connector product lineup, and the AMP+HVA 1200 high-voltage terminal and connector system is an important addition to the company’s EV/HEV high-voltage connector series. With voltage ratings up to 1000V and a current carrying capacity of 100A at 85°C, the HVA 1200 connector is designed to ensure a safe and reliable connection between the charging interface, on-board charger and battery. With the AMP+HVA 1200 high-voltage terminal and connector system, automakers will benefit from high-performance interconnect systems for their next-generation vehicles.

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 7: AMP+HVA 1200 High Voltage Terminals and Connectors (Image credit: TE)

The HPK series of Rosenberger HVR connection systems can carry currents up to 275A at 85°C and up to 1000V. With its excellent vibration and current capacity performance, HPK connectors are ideal for typical high voltage EV applications such as connections between batteries, inverters and PDUs. The range includes single-pole, double-pole or three-pole connectors for use with copper or aluminium cables in four different cable cross-sections. Straight and angled cable couplers and corresponding headers are available with or without HVIL (High Voltage Interlock).

The car is changing from “oil” to “electricity”, how should the small connector change?
Figure 8: HPK connector (Image credit: Rosenberger)

Epilogue

According to the latest report from market research firm Canalys, the global sales of new energy vehicles in the first half of 2021 totaled 2.6 million units, a year-on-year increase of 160%. It is expected that the strong demand in the global electric vehicle market will cover the entire 2021. Among them, the two major markets, mainland China and Europe, will be the most eye-catching, and their sales will together account for 87% of the global electric vehicle market. A report released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance is also very optimistic about this market forecast. It is expected that by 2025, electric vehicles will account for about 10% of global passenger car sales, and will grow to 28% and 28% in 2030 and 2040, respectively. 58%.

With the growing popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles, there has never been a higher market demand for EV connectors and charging cables. According to market research from Verified, the global EV connector market was valued at $28.5 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $109.66 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 18.4% from 2019 to 2026. It can be seen from these data that the development of the global electric vehicle connector market is in a stage of rapid growth, and the future prospects are promising!

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