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How to ensure high-voltage systems for electric vehicles meet the most stringent safety standards

25 March 2019
  • Dr Tamim Peter SidikiGlobal Marketing Director Electronics at DSM Engineering Plastics

In the push towards connected cars and autonomous driving, more and more of the vehicle’s systems are becoming electric. In 1970, electronics accounted for 4% of the value of a car. Today, electronics represent 35% of the vehicle’s value. This number is expected to climb to 50% by 2030 (Statista: Automotive electronics cost as a share of total car cost worldwide) The push to autonomous driving, combined with tighter emission regulations, dropping battery prices, better charging infrastructure and longer driving ranges, is causing analysts to predict that electric vehicles will represent a total share of 35% of new vehicles sold in 2025. Peak demand will occur in mega-cities with the most stringent emissions regulations.

To make electric vehicles appealing to consumers, battery-charging times need to come down. This can be done with high-voltage charging and interconnection systems, which will also ensure the battery can produce sufficient power to drive the main e-motor. Yet high-voltage systems introduce new challenges for the materials used in the connectors. Engineers need to meet strict design parameters for dielectric strength, creeping, tracking resistance, and the ability to color code various electrical systems. The orange color selected for the high-voltage systems and main battery charging path helps operators and rescue teams enable safe handling – either during maintenance or in the event of an accident.

 

At DSM, our portfolio includes a wide range of flame retardant materials engineered to deliver the required electrical performance for the high-voltage systems in electric vehicles. Based on Akulon® polyamide (PA6), PA66, or PPA within the ForTii family, these materials deliver the high mechanical strength polyamides are known for, as well as Comparative Tracking Index (CTI) of more than 600V, dielectric strength above 30kV, and a Relative Temperature Index (RTI) of 140°C. The materials also work in a variety of assembly designs, including press fit, wave soldering, and reflow soldering.

ForTii Ace JTX8 is the only material available that meets JEDEC MSL1, with no blistering over an infinite shelf life. Its high mechanical strength provides excellent reliability both during and after assembly, retaining its mechanical performance after years of use in harsh conditions. ForTii T11 is a UL94-V0–rated material at 0.2mm, delivering the highest level of flame retardancy available. Combining the dimensional stability and low moisture absorption of polyesters together with the high mechanical strength of polyamides, the materials in our portfolio are free from halogen, red phosphorous, and ionic heat stabilizers – ensuring high-performance materials that are environmentally friendly.

Learn more about how to meet the most stringent safety standards in high-voltage systems for electric vehicles. Download the full white paper here.

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