December 2013

Components for hybrid and electric vehicles

R&D for e-mobility ramps up

With its comprehensive range of products for e-mobility, TDK is now driving the development of EPCOS products for hybrid and electric vehicles forward even more strongly.

In addition to participating in government-sponsored research projects in Germany, the company has opened a new development office for EMC components in Switzerland. The TDK development projects focus on film capacitors, and EMC filters, as well as ferrites and high-power inductors.

Within the scope of a promotion program for compact and highly efficient power supplies for the on-board charger, TDK has developed a film capacitor with a high energy density and extended temperature range. The development of this capacitor with very thin films was enabled by the company’s R&D and manufacturing competence for power chip capacitors (PCC™) in Heidenheim, Germany. As the capacitor will be incorporated in the charger of an electric vehicle, the requirements on compact dimensions and high operating temperature in particular were very demanding. The new capacitor, which offers a capacitance of 580 μF and rated voltage of 450 V, measures only 208 mm × 68 mm × 31.5 mm and can withstand temperatures of up to 110 °C.

The minimal space requirement of the individual components also plays a critical role in another project that aims to integrate most of the power electronics directly in the drive of electric vehicles. A specially developed EPCOS power capacitor for the DC link helps not only to save space but also to minimize costs and weight. In addition, the company is working on the development of high-performance ferrites for the inductive power transmission in efficient electric motors.

TDK’s development office in Switzerland focuses on automotive electronics. The Solothurn-based facility is developing components such as EMC filters for electric vehicles. E-mobility applications are very demanding due to the high voltages and currents that are switched at high frequencies and thus generate electromagnetic interference. Moreover, such components must feature a compact design, low weight, impact and vibration resistance, as well as being usable across a wide temperature range. The new R&D team is working on both EMC components and solutions for the inductive charging of electric vehicles. In addition to its own labs in Solothurn the new team is supported by the plant in Heidenheim and the EPCOS EMC laboratory in Regensburg, Germany.

EPCOS power chip capacitor (PCC) for electric vehicles