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  August 21st, 2023 | Written by

High-Voltage Components Setting Benchmarks for Commercial Electric Vehicles

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Commercial EV (electric vehicles powered by electricity instead of diesel or gasoline) manufacturers are striving to keep pace with the market shift away from internal combustion engines, whilst keeping a competitive advantage over other EV OEMs. The need for an EV with superior power and range at a competitive cost has driven the industry to develop advanced high-voltage DC battery systems and drive motors. With battery and drive motor technology maturing, engineers are also increasingly turning to auxiliary components to gain additional efficiency and a competitive edge. Applying the same high-voltage technology to components such as pumps and cooling fans can significantly increase overall vehicle performance and efficiency whilst reducing cost.

Selecting components that operate from the same high voltage DC power source as the main drive motors instead of traditional 12V and 24V components, can greatly improve the power distribution structure in the vehicle. High voltage components eliminate DC-DC converters that are a significant source of cost, complexity, and inefficiency. Additionally, power conductors supplying current to electric components can be drastically downsized to further reduce cost and free up space.

High-voltage components provide improved power density compared to traditional low-voltage products. Greater output from a smaller device offers multiple benefits in addition to the obvious improved packaging characteristics. For example, in some instances a single high-voltage cooling fan can be used in applications that traditionally require an array of multiple low-voltage fans, providing greater power density and serving to reduce cost and complexity associated with various thermal management requirements. Similarly, a high-voltage coolant pump can offer greater flow for increased cooling capacity, or an opportunity to downsize heat exchangers while maintaining cooling capacity.

The Concentric AB group is at the forefront of high-voltage component technology and a leading innovator in thermal management solutions and acquired Engineered Machined Products (EMP), based in Escanaba, Michigan at the end of 2021. Concentric now offers a recently developed, EMP branded range of high-voltage fans and coolant pumps for use in the heavy-duty commercial EV sector. At a nominal 700V DC, the powerful 15-inch fan can produce up to 4,000 CFM (6,760 m3/h) of airflow at a static pressure of 2.0 in H2O (498 Pa).This performance has never been achievable from any low-voltage component of similar package size. Likewise, the EMP branded high-voltage coolant pumps can also produce superior performance compared to low-voltage counterparts of similar spatial geometry, allowing Concentric to offer a full range of high voltage coolant pumps with power ranges from 1 to 5KW. These include the well-developed features and durability of our proven low voltage pumps, including the seal-less technology. Typical applications include battery-, power electronics- and fuel cell cooling.

Lates completion of Concentric’s high voltage product portfolio is an EMP branded 31-inch fan for applications with extreme airflow requirements. The brushless DC electric fan is capable of up to 20kW of power while producing airflow of 19,000 CFM at 4.1 in H2O. At 700V DC nominal, the fan will consume 28A at max power. This performance from a single electric fan is an example of how high-voltage technology is enabling use cases for electric components that were never previously considered. To achieve the same power from a 24V fan would require nearly 850A, and even if technically feasible, the electrical load and physical size of an 850A fan would be prohibitive for almost any real-world application. In this case, high-voltage technology allows for electrification in extreme applications that are traditionally reserved for large belt-driven fans or hydraulic fans powered by internal combustion engines. It is worth mentioning that the high voltage Fans are air cooled, and therefor do not require any coolant supply and thereby make the need for hoses and additional pumps obsolete.

Concentric continues to lead the way for innovation in electric components and subsystems by working directly with leading global OEMs to optimize technology for the heavy-duty commercial EV sector. Recent innovations include CAN control and CAN-based monitoring of the high-voltage interlock loop (HVIL), fully sealed touchless high-voltage electrical connections, and advanced embedded motor controls offering full variable speed and reversibility. Future products in the high-voltage pipeline include additional fan sizes, multi-fan systems, and oil pumps.

Concentric’s new HVMPU (High Voltage Motor Pump Unit) offers entry into the world of high voltage hydraulic units. The voltage range of 450-850V offers the possibility of operating the unit directly on the high-voltage board network of a vehicle. With a nominal motor output power of 7.5 kW with full variability CAN controlled speed range of 0-4000 RPM, the unit offers sufficient output power for a large number of hydraulic applications. Together with the proven low noise gear pumps of Concentric’s CALMA series, and the new internal gear pumps of their IGP series, the unit has been optimized for low noise applications.

The company also offers a full portfolio of heavy-duty low-voltage electric fans, coolant pumps, oil pumps, and complete cooling systems to fill the needs of any thermal management application.