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.
With production of high-performance electric vehicles (EVs) such as the Porsche Taycan and several manufacturers slated to release EVs with 800 V battery systems in 2021, using high-voltage battery systems in EVs is no longer just theoretical. Since vehicles operating at higher voltages can address consumer’s main concerns with EVs, this is a welcome advancement, especially as some countries are announcing regulations to eventually allow only EV sales. These changes include accelerating charging time by increasing power and reducing the weight of vehicles which, among other improvements, helps increase driving range and reduce consumer range anxiety.
In our last 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.
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.
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).
To meet consumer demand for longer driving ranges and faster charging, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers are redesigning vehicles to move from 400V to 800V battery systems. As a result of using higher operating voltages, EV designers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need components, such as multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs), that can withstand voltages well beyond those expected under normal operating conditions. For example, a drivetrain running off an 800V battery system may be subjected to a withstand test of up to 4kV DC for 60 seconds, which is a standard safety test in high voltage systems.
CToday, the design and development of many applications, such as power electronics in electric vehicles (EVs), is driven largely by concerns about size and weight. This means the film capacitors traditionally used by electronics engineers aren’t always the best option. Instead, multi-layer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs) are emerging as an excellent alternative to film capacitors. Let’s review some of the considerations to keep in mind when you are deciding if making the switch is the right choice for your application.
When an engineer designs a circuit, he or she needs to ensure that each component will “do what it says on the box.” In multi-layer ceramic capacitor (MLCC) design, one area that often concerns engineers is the fact that capacitance can fluctuate with voltage, which is known as “DC bias” or “voltage coefficient.”
As countries around the world tighten emissions standards, the demand for fully electric vehicles (EVs) is increasing. However, for EVs to see mainstream adoption, manufacturers must address the primary consumer concerns: longer driving ranges and faster charging. To address these concerns, EV manufacturers are beginning to redesign their vehicles to switch from the 400V battery systems widely used today to 800V battery systems, which can offer twice the voltage and 2.7 times the power density compared to a 400V system.
At Knowles Precision Devices, our expertise in capacitor technology helps developers working on some of the world’s most demanding applications across the medical device, military and aerospace, telecommunications, and automotive industries.