Getting Electric at the Close of the Summer

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD

Welcome to the August issue! Summer’s nearly over, and here’s hoping you were able to holiday somewhere fun, possibly by availing yourself of our topic this month (EVs, Hybrids, and Charging Infrastructure).

My personal vehicle is a hybrid, though I haven’t ruled out graduating to an electric vehicle, especially since their range falls well within my daily “commute” (I work from home).

And with the gradual build-out of our nationwide charging infrastructure, and if charging stations are as expeditious as gas stations, we could meet our ambitious carbon-neutral goals.

Speaking of which, I recently blogged about a Dutch startup, Rocsys, which introduced a robotic arm that can add autonomous functionality to any EV charger.

This would not only expedite the recharge process but make it compatible with self-driving vehicles, which may or may not include humans at all.

Because as Crijn Bouman, Rocsys co-founder and CEO, points out, “Why should a self-driving car need a human babysitter to charge?”

Our contributors also delve into the rapidly-growing EV/hybrid/charging market, starting with Microchip’s “Silicon Carbide E-Fuse Demonstrator Offers Designers Solution for Circuit Protection in Electric Vehicles.”

In our 400 V world, enhancing the performance of high-voltage protection circuits means that using a conventional fuse, contactor, or relay doesn’t quite cut it. Hence the proliferation of the electronic fuse (or E-Fuse), specifically, an E-Fuse based on silicon carbide (SiC) technology.

In turn, the E-Fuse offers configurability, controlled turn-on and turn-off, on-board diagnostics, and durability to high-voltage transients.

“With an all SiC-based design, E-Fuse has an unparalleled response time to short-circuits, reacting several hundred times faster than even a pyrofuse,” notes Microchip’s Ehab Tarmoom.

Meanwhile, TDK’s Michael Cannon discusses another burgeoning problem (and solution) related to the transition from internal combustion engines to EVs.

For several reasons, EV automakers have had to move high-power electronic control units (ECUs) to areas where they’re subject to extreme heat, humidity, and other harsh conditions.

High-power ECUs support image processing for ADAS, and with the ECUs moving closer to the sensor (and the engine compartment), attaching components with resin electrodes (soft termination) addresses the two common failure mechanisms: flex cracks and solder cracks.

“MLCCs with resin electrodes help to reduce thermal cracks in solder joints due to their outstanding thermal shock resistance. In a comparison test, standard termination products and resin electrode products were subjected to 3,000 thermal shock cycles from -55°C to +125°C,” claims Michael.

And be sure to check out our PSDcasts (podcasts), including a recent one on “The Importance of SiC in EVs.”

Enjoy the August issue!


Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD