Report: EV makers slowly increasing power capacity of onboard chargers

BMW i3 Charging

In quest of faster charging times, some EV-makers are gradually raising the power capacity of their vehicles’ onboard chargers. However, a new analysis from Frost & Sullivan predicts that onboard chargers with power ratings between 3 and 3.7 kW will remain the norm, especially in lower-end models, and will account for 62 percent of sales in 2020.

The new study, Strategic Analysis of the US and European Onboard Chargers Market, finds that some 304,683 onboard chargers were sold worldwide in 2014, and estimates that volume will reach 2,235,937 units in 2020.

Lear and Panasonic, suppliers for the Volt and the LEAF, are the most prominent companies in the market, but there are at least 15 major companies that supply onboard chargers. All offer isolated chargers, but many, including Brusa and Panasonic, are researching non-isolated chargers.

“Currently, over 60 percent of components required to make onboard chargers are being outsourced due to high in-house manufacturing costs,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Prajyot Sathe. “Tier I suppliers in Europe and the US have mainly been sourcing components such as electromagnetic interference filters, power factor controllers, and DC-DC converters from tier II suppliers.”

“To cope with the current scenario, major OEMs such as Daimler are expected to adopt the component sharing strategy, which will drive production volumes and reduce the cost of components,” continued Sathe. “Another strategy OEMs could consider is entering strategic alliances to pool the technical expertise of partners and decrease manufacturing costs.”

The current price of an onboard charger ranges from $130 to $230 per kW, but as higher manufacturing volumes and strategic partnerships reduce costs, Frost & Sullivan expects suppliers to be able to lower their prices by 20-25 percent by 2020.

 

Source: Frost & Sullivan