What to Look for in EV Connectors
Due to environmental concerns, advances in technology, and reduced costs, the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) is surging. In fact, according to Allied Market Research, the global EV battery market is projected to reach $84 billion by 2025. Not only can EVs help improve fuel economy and lower fuel costs, but also they can reduce emissions and strengthen energy security by reducing reliance on oil. As the market continues to flourish, automakers must seek out high-quality, effective power connector solutions that meet their products’ high demands. EV connectors must include several critical features, including a rugged design, high current carrying capabilities, high voltage compatibility, and, in some cases, the ability to resist environmental contaminants like dust and water. Positronic offers several viable connectivity solutions for the EV market, which isn’t comprised solely of automobiles – electric aircrafts are gaining momentum as well.
Sought-After Features in EV Connectors
POWER: Connectors That Pack a Punch
Electric vehicles and hybrids require strong, reliable batteries that provide a high level of power. Conventional connectivity solutions will not suffice. Issues like amperage and voltage limits must be taken into consideration, and connectors must combine ruggedness with the capacity to handle higher currents. Keep in mind that these high expectations also apply to the power connectors used in charging stations, not just the power plug inserted into the vehicle.
Not only are EV connectors expected to handle a significant amount of power, but also they must accomplish this while meeting stringent size and weight requirements. They must be miniature powerhouses: offering powerful functionality in small, lightweight packages.
DURABILITY: Connectors That Withstand Whatever’s Thrown at Them
Any connector destined for a harsh environment, including those used in EVs and their charging stations, must be rugged and ready to withstand many years of harsh conditions. To accomplish this high level of durability, designers of EV connectors must have a deep understanding of the expected conditions in which the connectors will operate. Electric vehicles experience extensive vibrations and shocks and come into contact with a variety of environmental contaminants: rain, dust, dirt, sand, fuel, lubricants, hydraulic fluids, etc., many of which can threaten the vehicle’s ability to function safely. To withstand these extreme conditions, EV connectors must include features like the following:
- Corrosion-resistant male and female contacts
- Heavy-duty materials that will survive years of abuse
- Resilient outer shells that can stand firm against extreme weather, impacts, and contaminants
- Solid contacts to ensure alignment and reliable connectivity in high-vibration environments
- Positive locking mechanisms
- Impenetrable rubber seals around the body that will remain flexible despite temperature fluctuations
In addition, EV manufacturers must maintain compliance with environmental regulations when designing and manufacturing EVs.
SAFETY: Connectors Designed with Safety in Mind
EVs require a significant amount of power, which means they also pose a significant safety risk. Because they generate circuits with very high current and voltage ratings, their connectors must include additional electrical safety features to protect the personnel who will conduct vehicle and aircraft maintenance. For example, insulating caps on male contacts and properly recessed female connectors (recessed within the connector insulator) ensure that operators will not accidentally touch live electrical circuits.
Of course, the safety concerns regarding EV battery technology go beyond electrical safety; connector designers must also minimize the dangers presented by fire, smoke, and toxicity. For example, plastic materials sometimes present a fire hazard and so must be chosen with care to ensure they minimize safety risks.
EV Connectors from Positronic
As the demand for EVs and HEVs has risen, so has the demand for high-quality electronic connectors that can effectively support these cutting-edge technologies. Positronic is well equipped to supply connectors for charging units for electric vehicles as well as electric aircraft and rail systems. The following connectors are the best fits for each industry:
- Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations: The Power Connection Systems Family is a great power connector choice for charging station applications due to the number of available configurations and proven performance. Within the product family, there are high current and high voltage options that can be paired with a variety of wire and PCB termination types including a multitude of wire gauges, PCB straight, and angled solder as well as press-fit contacts.
- Electric Rail Systems – The Panther: The Panther Family is also an excellent choice for electric rail applications, as it combines high power with shock and vibration resistance. It can be used reliably in harsh environments, including those with extreme temperatures. The Panther is a medium, rugged IP65/67/68/69K connector designed for use in rail, earthmoving, battery, and related applications. It meets both power and signal needs.
- Electric Aircraft – The Scorpion Series: The Scorpion Family of connectors was designed to provide the most versatile modular power/signal connectors on the market. The connectors are rated up to 100 amperes per contact, and the family features blank modules for greater creepage and clearance for higher voltage needs. There are also venting options for improved cooling.
At Positronic, we believe in crafting versatile, high-quality connectors. Our design and manufacturing processes meet and often exceed our customers’ needs for quality and reliability. And to suit the needs of our varied customers, we have a plethora of options available. If you would like to request product recommendations, locate a sales agent, ask a technical question, or simply request a quote, please contact Positronic today.
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