The automotive industry’s heavy-hitters are transforming their businesses and placing millions of R&D dollars into the future. What is the future you ask? You guessed correctly, electric vehicles (EV). Year over year we have steadily seen manufacturers add more electric vehicles to their line-up. Consumers are turning to EV’s to save on fuel, protect the environment, and for the feeling of superior, up-scale luxury. According to the IEA (International Energy Agency), sales of electric vehicles surpassed 2.1 million globally in 2019, topping sales of 2018 – which was a record year in itself. As it stands at the end of 2020, EV’s accounted for 2.8% of cars sold globally. The IEA projects that this percentage will drastically increase over the next five year period.
While the excitement builds for the future, a problem arises. As more consumers adopt the EV lifestyle, the lack of available charging stations hinders the potential for market growth. From where we stand, it is evident that the pressure comes down to PCB Manufacturers providing cutting edge, innovative, and improved electrical designs to provide charging stations manufactures a solution. Designs for EV charging stations vary drastically as manufacturers have displayed many different potential prototypes. From wall mounted stations, pedestal structures, to ball-top style charging stations – PCB manufacturers have to be continually conscious of the versatility of this product.
When it comes down to picking the right PCB Manufacturer for this type of R&D, engineers and designers have many concerns. Let’s take a look at where Aurora Circuits steps in to help engineers and designers create innovative, reliable, and quality PCBs.
First things first – it’s critical that boards are designed and manufactured on the proper material. Material needed for EV charging stations needs to be able to withstand incredibly high temperatures/voltage. In order for these vehicles to charge in an adequate amount of time, it calls for high current which inevitably results in high temps. The material selected must be rated to withstand very high temps such as Teflon, PTFE, or Polyimide substrates. If the maximum temperature is maintained low enough, then lower cost FR-4 materials could be used.
The next concern that needs to be taken into consideration is the use of copper weights. In order for current flow to be controlled, engineers must consider using larger copper weights – 4 oz copper and up.(In case you missed it, we did an entire webinar on Ultra-Heavy Copper in June of 2020… this can be found here: https://auroracircuits.com/collaboration-webinar-series-replay-ultra-heavy-copper/ ). From there, the engineering team could move swiftly into innovative thermal designs and dielectrics. This is essential to maintain isolation between the different signal types and in turn help to expedite heat dissipation.
Ensuring you have proper ground planes within your design is critical as well. In order to dissipate heat as quickly as possible, thermal vias are an important aspect of design that needs to be highly considered during EV charging station PCB design. Thermal vias, from a PCB manufacturing standpoint, are best done underneath the surface mount design. This type of thermal management is just one of many aspects – we would also encourage you to make use of other thermal relief features such as pedestals and heatsinks.
Although we could go on and on for days about design ideas, engineering innovations, and custom Aurora Circuits engineering techniques, we encourage you to reach out to us directly so we can help your team of engineers and designers on a more personal level. We are excited to dive into the future alongside the automotive industry. By working together, we are looking forward to bringing economic benefits back to the USA!
Every printed circuit board has a story, together let’s tell yours.