Looking (and Hoping) for a Better New Year

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



It’s the dawn of 2023. We’ve just had a year’s worth of live, in-person shows, masks – excepting the Halloween sort – are a distant memory, and no one needs to get re-vaccinated, because other than the flu, there’s nothing to get vaccinated for.

Sounds great, right?

You never know….

The data, however, is…sobering – as of December 21, 73% of new COVID infections belong to the Omicron variant, which has about a three-fold transmission rate as Delta, with a higher reinfection rate, too.

Worst of all, mutations to the variant's spike protein could allow it to infect even vaccinated individuals, but there’s reason for optimism.

For one, hospitalizations are nowhere near peak-pandemic levels. And the leading booster shots seem to be doing their job – Moderna reported a 37-fold increase in neutralizing antibody levels for a 50 µg booster of mRNA-1273 (and an 83-fold boost for the 100 µg), while Pfizer noted a 25-fold immunity boost for a third dose of its vaccine.

If nothing else, the overall danger appears to be somewhat stagnant, at least compared to Delta and the situation a year ago (let alone two).

January’s issue is a great follow-up to December’s Transportation focus, with this month dealing with EV, EV Charging, and Hybrid Vehicles.

First up, TDK’s Jim Fissinger covers “Using 5G to Grease the Wheels of Edgier, more Intelligent Automobile Domains.”

As the title implies, Jim discusses how the various automotive domains help make connected, autonomous, electric and shared (CASE) automobiles a reality.

“The domain-based vehicle architecture is much better suited to the development and development of CASE automobiles,” he says, “but each domain in turn has a specific set of requirements.”

Meanwhile, Nitesh Satheesh, Tomas Krecek, Perry Schugart, Xuning Zhang and Kevin Speer, of Microchip Technology, hash out the challenges of decarbonizing emissions-intensive heavy-duty transportation vehicles and why SiC-based power-management solutions (supported by configurable digital gate driver technology) might be up to the task.

And why is SiC such a great fit for EVs, in general?

“High power and voltage requirements of electric vehicles (EVs) of all types… require the higher efficiency of silicon carbide (SiC) technology to replace older silicon Field Effect Transistors (FETs) and Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs),” say the authors.

And the final article I’d like to highlight comes to us from Paderborn University, a school based in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

In “Transformerless OBCs with Three- and Single-Phase Operation,” The University’s Head of Power Electronics, Dr.-Ing. Frank Schafmeister, mentions how omitting the isolating transformer from the on-board charger can cause issues.

But “by selecting an advantageous Power Factor Correction (PFC) rectifier circuit which forms the input stage of an OBC, high-frequency (HF) pulsating voltage potentials at the battery terminals can be avoided in spite of the missing transformer.”


Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD