Enabling Smaller, Smarter Busbar Designs that Support Higher Power Densities
Driving Forces Behind the Need for Better Busbars
As EVs have gone mainstream, the need for extended driving range and faster charging is accelerating a continued evolution to higher power drivetrains, such as moving beyond 400v to 800v systems. Doubling the voltage can enable a reduction of up to 50% using higher charging outputs. Even though the majority of EVs in today’s market are 400v, industry projects indicate that over 90% of EVs will be 800v in 2027-2030.
Some of the key impact areas specific to busbar design include:
- HIGH POWER DENSITY: With the increasing demand for higher power in electric vehicles, busbars with high power density need to handle a larger current flow in a smaller cross-sectional area, thereby also reducing the size and weight of the components.
- FLEXIBILITY: Busbar technologies need to be more flexible to conform to complex shapes and spaces. This flexibility allows busbars to be integrated into smaller and more intricate designs for electric vehicles, on-board sub-systems, and charging infrastructures.
- INCREASED EFFICIENCY: Innovations in busbar technology are also focused on improving the efficiency of electrical systems by reducing the resistance and heat generation during power transmission. Lower resistance means less power loss during transmission, which ultimately increases overall efficiency.
- IMPROVED THERMAL MANAGEMENT: Heat generation during power transmission can lead to a reduction in the lifespan of electrical components. Therefore, busbar technology is being developed to improve thermal management, allowing for better heat dissipation and reduced risk of component failure.
- INTEGRATION WITH SMART TECHNOLOGY: Smart technology integration into busbars enable real-time monitoring of electrical systems, making it easier to detect and diagnose potential problems before they become serious issues. This technology can also improve the safety of electric vehicle charging infrastructures by monitoring the temperature, current, and voltage of the charging process.
Specific Use Cases of Busbar Innovation in Action
BusMate® Pluggable Busbar Connectors
BusMate®’s pluggable Floating Contact Technology can accommodate large assembly tolerances of +/- 0.8mm mating blade offset and up to +/- 16 degrees of twist. In addition, BusMate® can handle a range of insertion depths and accommodate up to three re-mating cycles with no loss of performance.
Motion Control Sub-Systems
EV Charging Systems
Power Converters, Inverters and Distribution
As power systems and modules in the automotive industry become more complex and power densities increase, the need to integrate a variety of functions and minimize size while improving power efficiency will be critical for success. Robust and configurable BusMate® power busbar coupling device provide key interface points that are vital to deliver the needed performance and also to streamline production processes for reducing costs and enabling rapid production ramp-up to high volumes with high yields.
Motor Stator Busbars
Motor stator busbars are designed to accommodate hairpin windings typically used in advanced higher voltage motor stators and to provide a range of flexible multi-phase connections. They handle a full range of high-voltage current requirements and use high-performance copper integrated with special polymer materials for optimal dielectric isolation and improved thermal characteristics.
Options include multi-phase stator bars to handle 3-phase or 6-phase application requirements, along with interconnect options for brazing, pluggable, laser welding or bolt-on.
Complex Multilayer Molded Busbars
A key objective is to achieve the best balance between materials cost and functionality to meet the varying application requirements. Another best practice pioneered by Interplex is the use of a precision material filling process that sequences the use of valve gates to reduce welding lines while improving unidirectional fiber orientation, minimizing warpage, and improving dimensional accuracy.
In addition to being vital enabling technologies for the ongoing evolution of EVs and other sustainable transportation applications, such as trains, marine vessels and aircraft, these new busbar innovations are also being deployed across a wide range of different industry segments such as electrical utilities, green energy generation, communications, industrial controls, and other power management functions.