Tech Features

A closer look at humidity control methods for EV electronics

It’s a well-known trope that water and electricity don’t mix, but keeping the two separated is often deceptively difficult, because the simple solution of just sealing the box is insufficient on its own. This is because of condensation, which can come from water vapor in the air at the time the box was sealed, or… Read more »

HBK’s digital algorithm can map EV motor efficiency 10 times faster than analog systems

In order to maximize an EV’s range for a given battery capacity and vehicle weight, engineers try to eke out as much performance as possible from the electrical and mechanical systems. Using a process called efficiency mapping, they determine the “sweet spots” of a powertrain—the regions of the torque-speed curve where the system operates at… Read more »

A closer look at axial flux motors

In Issue 49, we reviewed some of the more promising advancements in materials and construction techniques for EV traction motors, one of which—the axial flux design—will be the focus of this article. Despite being characterized as an advanced construction technique, the axial flux design is actually one of the oldest ways of constructing a motor—it’s… Read more »

Wildcat ramps up its focus on EV Supercell breakthroughs

The lithium-ion battery has proven to be an excellent fuel tank for EVs, but there remains much room for improvement. We’re still far from what’s theoretically achievable in terms of Li-ion capacity, safety, cost and charge times. As battery manufacturers continue their quest for improved chemistry and material combinations, they rely on applied researchers like… Read more »

Knowles develops next-generation safety capacitors to meet the growing demand for 800-volt EV systems

As EV-makers continue to upgrade from 400 V to 800 V systems, parts suppliers have been hustling to keep up with the new specs. Knowles Precision Devices, for example, specializes in high-voltage capacitors—it’s a market leader in multi-layer ceramic capacitors rated from about 200 V up to 12,000 V. Looking back just 10 or 15… Read more »

High-voltage EV battery packs: benefits and challenges. More voltage, more better?

In 2020, Porsche delivered just over 20,000 units of its luxury Taycan EV—the first vehicle from a major automaker to sport an 800 V (nominal) battery, which is more than double the voltage of its competitors (and firmly into light-rail and switchyard locomotive territory, actually). It appears that many other EVs will soon follow in… Read more »

Is aviation the best application yet for hydrogen fuel cells?

Q&A with ZeroAvia CEO Passenger cars are well on their way to going electric, and the path to a big market share for heavy-duty EVs such as buses and delivery trucks is becoming clearer. However, aviation remains a new frontier for zero emissions. There are several new powertrain options, and none has yet proven itself… Read more »

Isolation technologies for EV power electronics

A previous article on bidirectional chargers touched on using transformers to provide isolation at high power levels—in which application they are the only game in town, really—but this time the focus will be on achieving isolation at low power levels, such as the feedback signal in a regulator, data communication buses between devices, gate drivers… Read more »

Setting a new standard for battery leak testing

Defective cells can shorten battery life, decrease range, and lead to safety issues. A leaky cell housing, one common failure mode for Li-ion batteries, can allow ambient humidity to come in contact with the electrolyte, triggering an exothermic (heat-releasing) chemical reaction.  Currently, the common practice in the battery manufacturing industry is to test cell packaging… Read more »

Proterra beefs up its battery expertise: Q&A with CTO Dustin Grace

Since its founding in 2004, Proterra has grown to become North America’s largest supplier of electric buses. The company has sold some 950 buses to transit agencies, airports, universities, national parks and private companies in 43 states and provinces. Under its Proterra Powered program, the company provides powertrains to other vehicle makers—school buses for Thomas… Read more »