Eaton to Supply DC-DC Converters for New Full-electric Semi-truck

Eaton, a power management company with one of its eMobility offices in Southfield, announced it will supply 24-to-12-volt DC-DC converters for use in an unspecified heavy-duty commercial battery electric vehicle (BEV) that will power accessories including antilock brakes and lighting. The BEV will be sold in North America and China later this year.
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Eaton DC/DC converter
The DC/DC converter that Eaton will supply to the new full battery electric semi-truck. // Courtesy of Eaton

Eaton, a power management company with one of its eMobility offices in Southfield, announced it will supply 24-to-12-volt DC-DC converters for use in an unspecified heavy-duty commercial battery electric vehicle (BEV) that will power accessories including antilock brakes and lighting. The BEV will be sold in North America and China later this year.

The specialty converter works in conjunction with another converter that takes power from the BEV’s 600-volt system and steps it down to 24-volts, which it then takes down to 12-volts so it can power low-voltage systems. It will also have a split 24-volt battery system that will ensure safety equipment can operate in the event of a power failure.

“Like traditional vehicles, EVs have low-voltage loads on board-like infotainment systems, GPS and safety devices. So efficiently converting power from high to low is key, but it is also important to have a secondary converter to provide power to the traditional 12-volt loads,” says Pratik Trivedi, general manager of Eaton’s eMobility business.

The converter will help power traditional vehicle components in EV batteries, which are more powerful than those used in hybrid or combustion vehicles. Along with noise reduction and interference rejection — eliminating interference between the unit and the vehicle’s electronics — it will be able to withstand environmental factors such as salt spray, water damage, and will have high-vibration resiliency, says Trivedi.

Eaton’s eMobility business arose from a combination of their Electrical and Vehicle groups products, expertise, and global manufacturing capabilities. The converter is only part of their lineup, which includes EV transmissions, a 48-volt mild hybrid battery, breaker circuit protection, fuses, power distribution units, high- and low-voltage inverters, and on-board chargers (OBC).

It is also developing integrated components by combining the DC-DC converter and the OBC. The integration of these systems reduces redundancies in control circuits, protection circuits, and magnetics, increasing the efficiency of both operation and space. On its own, the OBC can operate at either 225- or 500-volts; when integrated, that bumps up to 400- and 800-volts. The converter gains the ability to provide 48-volt output.

Another feature of Eaton’s eMobility portfolio is their power distribution unit (PDU) and intelligent power distribution unit (iPDU). Both provide power for all critical loads within the electric vehicle system and reliable circuit protection in case of power loss or crashes. The iPDU offers drivers the ability to monitor all essential systems within the unit.

Eaton’s stated mission is to improve quality of life and the environment using power management technologies and services. It sells its products in more than 175 countries and employs around 92,000 people.

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