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Sensata Whitepaper: Advanced electrical protection and fast charging

EV charging systems are rapidly maturing, leveraging DC fast charging with the latest in electrical protection solutions.

Now that the latest Electric Vehicles (EVs) are exhibiting operational ranges that are more acceptable to the general public, the attention has shifted to battery charging times. These EVs are using the latest in wide-bandgap semiconductor solutions and power topologies, with system voltages often well over several hundred volts. EV charging systems are migrating rapidly in the direction of DC-based 50kW to 350kW or even up to Megawatt charging power solutions, which can reduce charging times to under a half-hour.

The need to address the EV-using public’s charging-time desires must also be balanced with the need to maintain safety, performance, and reliability. The significant increase in power, voltage, and current levels being used in the latest EVs and their charging systems present new design challenges.

 When it comes to DC fast charging, the challenges related to higher voltages and power levels present some electrical protection issuess.

Companies like Sensata Technologies are focusing on electrical protection for DC fast charging systems as many high-power chargers are migrating to power levels of 1,000V and 350kW or higher to shorten the charging time.

ADDRESSING HIGHER VOLTAGES IN DC FAST CHARGING APPLICATIONS

Using higher voltage and current levels in a power system can reduce charging times, but it also increases the safety risks as well as other system design challenges. High-voltage contactors used to provide safe circuit continuity during normal operations need to be deployed in tandem with fuses to protect the system in the face of a threatening short-circuit event. Conventional DC thermal fuse technology addresses short-circuit situations by using a melted connection to break the circuit. The challenge with DC thermal fuses is that in overcurrent situations the current may not be high enough to melt the link, creating a dangerous delay in the protection response.

NEXT GENERATION CONTACTORS AND FUSES

The higher voltage and power charging levels in charging systems mean that contactors also need to have a higher breaking capability and is leading to an increased demand for contactors rated up to 1500V and 1000A. Another demand for required functionality is for contactor bi-directionality, which enables EV battery charging from the grid and/or a V2G (vehicle-to-grid) system, allowing for the utilization of grid intelligence in an energy exchange market.

Sensata Technologies’ robust contactor solutions are hermetically sealed and filled with gas, providing the necessary capacity to switch in a relatively small size compared to open-air contactors. Sensata’s high voltage electromechanical fuse, the GigaFuse, is designed for high power applications like DC charging and includes both passive and passive/ active combinations.

DISCOVER THE WHOLE SENSATA GIGAVAC PRODUCT PORTFOLIO AT EIMA INTERNATIONAL HALL 15 - STAND C/22 (Bologna 9-13 November 2022) or visit our website

 

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