Trends and Challenges for Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



It’s gonna be a scorcher, folks. Not the summer, though record-breaking heat is roasting the nation. I’m talking about the July/August issue, which covers one of the industry’s hottest topics, "Electric + Hybrid Vehicles." Rest assured, you’ll enjoy this heat wave.

The automotive space is a broad umbrella comprising EVs, the IoT, wide bandgap semiconductors, strategic supplier networks, power management, and a lot more, and the July/August edition reflects this wide disparity.

Michael de Rooij, with EPC, ponders the use of a dual 48 V and 12 V bus in mild hybrid vehicles, which “can provide an 8 − 15% fuel consumption reduction.” “To support legacy 12 V systems, there is a need for a bi-directional 48 V – 12 V DC-DC converter system,” which Michael describes in his article.

Of course, the general onset of electric and hybrid vehicles has presaged the arrival of 48 V batteries, which we discuss in the aptly titled PSDcast (podcast), “Adopting the 48 V Battery” (check it out here:

And speaking of the PSDcast, we did one back in April with Silicon Labs titled “Galvanic Isolation for Electric Vehicles,” and the company covers a similar topic for the July/August issue.

“Modular EV/HEV circuit assemblies have combinations of fixed and floating grounds, dissimilar voltages between modules, and local (and potentially lethal) battery and power supply voltages. Given these circumstances, galvanic isolation is a necessity,” notes Silicon Labs' Rudye McGlothlin.

Meanwhile, Littelfuse’s Carlos Castro covers a fundamental industry concern – efficient power conversion. “Power losses reduce a vehicle’s driving range … this is why the industry is adopting wide band gap power semiconductor devices that provide higher power efficiency during power conversion.”

Andy Phillips at TDK-Micronas discusses “Optimal Motor Control Thanks to an Intelligent One-Chip Solution.”

“In the field of vehicle electrical systems, communication standards are associated with the transition from brush-type DC motors (BDC) to brushless DC motors (BLDC). This transition requires increased flexibility as well as enhanced performance in motor control,” he says.

MacDermid Alpha's Paul Koep writes about silver sintering, which “has become critically important as the automotive industry embraces electrification as the path to meeting environmental requirements for emissions.”

It’s also critically important to protect against electromagnetic interference (EMI) in automotive power end equipment. “With the rise of mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) solutions, EMI becomes even more challenging, as the battery voltage shifts from 12 V to 48 V in many electronic circuits in the system,” says Sam Jaffe with Texas Instruments.

And finally, Bourns’ Cathal Sheehan emphasizes arguably the greatest concern for EV and HEV owners – battery management. And for EV battery management, “The trend in electric vehicles is for the number of cells in stacks to increase beyond 100S (100 cells) and working voltages to approach 1000V.”

Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD