All Charged Up

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD

Welcome to the August issue of Power Systems Design Europe. Infrastructure and charging are two of the main reasons that the adoption of electric vehicles is not more widespread. If owners cannot charge vehicles at home, and even then at a slow rate, they usually have to charge at a commercial charging station. The cost, variance and availability of those chargers can make it a lottery, especially if the chosen station is fully occupied and the driver has to find a different facility. More and more charging stations are now coming online, many with fast charging, so hopefully things may be improving. Charging station operators are also becoming more proactive and punishing drivers who overstay after charging, which is selfish behaviour that blocks others from using the facilities.

There are two sides to faster charging - one is how much energy that the charger can supply and the other is how quickly the battery can charge safely. To maximize the efficiency of the transfer requires the close monitoring of every cell in the battery pack. This is becoming even more important as those packs get more energy dense. But implementing a monitoring solution traditionally creates problems itself, as it usually requires wiring, which is heavy and takes up space that could be used to add more cells, decreasing the potential range in two different ways. It also adds to the cost and makes the design more complex. The obvious solution is to replace wired communication with wireless, but that is not easy.

We have two articles on wireless charging in this month’s Special Report on EVs, Hybrids and Charging Infrastructure. The first of those comes from Analog Devices. The article looks at how the company has built a wireless solution on components from its existing battery management system and the benefits it can bring. These benefits include making the whole system more modular and scalable. As well as providing data on the vehicles everyday operation, the wireless battery management system can outlive the batteries usefulness for the automotive industry and provide valuable insight on the condition of the battery well into its second life as storage for renewables or other applications.

The second article in the Special Report comes from Texas Instruments. This article focusses on functional safety requirements when implementing a wireless battery system, and the standards that govern those requirements. The article takes a holistic view of the system, including hardware and software requirements to minimize the chance of faults.

The final article in the Special Report this month is from Vicor, and it looks at how the lead-acid 12V battery can be replaced in electric vehicles by a hardware solution driven from the EV’s main battery.

As well as the articles in the Special Report, we will also feature general power articles in out Tech Focus section, along with all the latest news and views from the industry. I hope you enjoy!


Best Regards,

Ally Winning

European Editor, PSD