One of the primary goals in electric vehicles (EVs) is to increase the efficiency of its power conversion devices. The more efficiently power is converted, the further distance the EV can travel on one charge. For example, by reducing losses in a DC-to-DC (or DC/DC) converter, the converter (and overall vehicle) benefits from improved energy efficiency, a more streamlined design, and diminished heating from components.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, electric vehicle (EV) sales in the U.S. reached record high monthly volume in March 2021 and continued to rise, nearly doubling in 2021. This marks the sixth consecutive year of growth in electric vehicle (EV) sales and the demand is continuing to grow.
As electric vehicle (EV) adoption for both consumer and commercial purposes rapidly grows, so does the need for a more widespread, and faster, charging infrastructure. While we’ve seen vast improvements in charging technology in the last few years, as additional regulations on combustion vehicles are implemented and reliance on EVs increases, further EV charging innovations are needed. Currently, wireless charging is the newest EV charging technology evolving.
Innovating essential high technology systems with demanding specifications is always challenging; making any sort of difference requires extensive resources and deep subject matter knowledge.
But that’s what keeps it interesting.
In a previous article about electric vehicles (EV), we talked about using DC link capacitors as an intermediary buffer in power converters. Today’s topic covers another useful power module component – the snubber capacitor. Snubbers are energy-absorbing circuits used to protect electronics from voltage spikes and transients caused by turning a switch from the On to Off state. Opening a switch intrinsically induces a high voltage across the device, and the snubber provides an alternate flow path for the excess energy to be absorbed by the snubber capacitor and dissipated by a resister or other load.
DC link capacitors are commonly used in power converters as an intermediary buffer between an input source to an output load that have different instantaneous power, voltages, and frequencies. In electric vehicle (EV) applications, DC link capacitors help offset the effects of inductance in inverters, motor controllers, and battery systems. They also serve as filters that protect EV subsystems from voltage spikes, surges, and electromagnetic interference (EMI).
In power electronics, rectification is the conversion of alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). After the AC signal enters a rectifier circuit consisting of power diodes, the resulting raw rectified waveform yields a series of half sine waves with significant ripple. In order to minimize the pulsating DC voltage, a smoothing capacitor is placed in parallel with the load across the rectifier output. As the rectifier voltage rises, the capacitor charges and stores energy like a reservoir. Then when the rectifier voltage falls, the capacitor discharges, greatly reducing the ripple voltage.
In electric vehicle (EV) applications, filter capacitors are a special type of component commonly used as input and output capacitors. Also known as noise suppression or electromagnetic interference (EMI) filters, these particular capacitors act to remove noise and other unwanted signals on the line. On the high voltage alternating current (AC) side of a system, the capacitors often provide EMI filtering, whereas on the direct current (DC) side of a subsystem, they serve to smooth ripple components of the AC and filter out noise.
Achieving high capacitance means going big. But how do you do that while still maximizing board space? At Knowles Precision Devices, we’ve developed a new method for building customizable large capacitor assemblies that capitalize on the vertical space above the circuit board. While stacked capacitor assemblies have been around for many years, these parts do not have very good bump and vibration withstand due to the thin leads used in their construction. These new assemblies from Knowles Precision Devices offer a ruggedized construction capable of withstanding high levels of shock and vibration. This offers a unique combination of capability, durability, high capacitance, and very high voltage in a smaller area, making these capacitors ideal for automotive, military, and aerospace applications.
As a fundamental component of circuit design, equivalent series resistance (ESR) is the measurement of all the non-ideal electrical resistances in series with a capacitor. When current flows through a multilayer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) due to application of alternating voltage, heat is generated in the MLCC due to the losses, specifically ESR. As a result, this self-heating can cause various performance and reliability issues in the circuits of today’s more complex and smaller electronic systems.