In the past, automobiles had minimal electrical systems and relied mainly on mechanical systems. Today, there are many electrical functions such as seat heating and cooling, comfort systems, and assistance systems that draw a lot of electricity from the battery. In a 12V vehicle electrical system, higher and higher currents must flow. To prevent the on-board network from failing, manufacturers are installing a second, stronger network in the car — in parallel with 48V direct current (48 VDC).
Yesterday and today
During the 1990s the 42V consortium endeavoured to supply the comfort and driver assistance systems in luxury class vehicles. The idea behind a higher on-board network voltage is a different today. The CO2 limit values set by the European Commission can hardly be achieved for vehicles with conventional combustion engines (petrol, diesel). Alternative drive concepts such as purely electrically powered or hybrid cars are associated with major technical challenges due to voltages in excess of 60 VDC. An on-board network with 48 VDC offers the possibility of bringing simpler hybridisation to market quickly and cost-effectively along with keeping pollutant emissions below the legal limits.
Read more about the advantages, disadvantages, and integration of 48 VDC technology from this free Schurter Group white paper: Link here.
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Filed Under: High Voltage Systems, Power Electronics