Vicor Corporation has released its industry predictions for 2021, covering four areas: Automotive, High-Performance Computing, Aerospace/Defense and Robotics.
Buried in the tumult of 2020 was a rapid acceleration in the speed of innovation. Nowhere was this more evident than in the record-breaking development of not one, but many, COVID-19 vaccines. The accelerating speed of innovation is also happening in other fields, driven by changing habits and reset priorities due to the pandemic. The following are examples where existing trends will significantly accelerate and place greater stress on the use and development of efficient, compact, modular-based power delivery networks (PDNs).
Prediction #1 for automotive – Covid has accelerated move to Electric Vehicles and migration to 48V systems by Nicolas Richard, Director of EMEA Automotive Business Development at Vicor
Transportation has been among the hardest hit by the global pandemic. Fewer people are commuting and traveling long distances. The automotive industry has seen a rapid decline in sales, and forecasts show this slowdown extending well into 2021. Manufacturers have responded by placing increased focus on growth segments, specifically electric vehicles. While they have cut back development on traditional cars, they are moving ahead with EV developments focusing technology that delivers competitive advantage. While there are fewer commuters, surveys show that people feel much safer using their own cars rather than using public transportation. Consequently, Vicor believes this will accelerate the need for cost-effective electric vehicles, so the trend to replace 12-V PDNs with 48-V PDNs will significantly accelerate with the increased focus on deeper investment into EV development.
2021 will see more 48-V battery systems, particularly in mild hybrids, as manufacturers add active suspension, rear wheel steering or antiroll stabilization systems. Supporting this move, more 48-V systems will need to convert down to 12 V to support car safety, comfort, infotainment, and navigation systems. In addition to enabling lighter cabling or delivering higher power, the conversion from the high-voltage batteries in HEVs and EVs is more efficient when the step down required is reduced by increasing the voltage to 48 V. Primary battery voltages used to power EVs and HEVs will also increase in voltage with 800 V becoming much more common allowing faster charging time. These changes demand a new class of power components to create the power distribution network within next year’s automobiles.