Vitesco Technologies says it is preparing the series application of its high voltage box for two OEM customers.

The company says the modular system makes charging, converting and distributing electricity in electric vehicles cheaper by integrating several functions in one unit. This includes the vehicle On-Board Charger for AC charging on the grid with up to 22 kW of charging power, a DC current converter providing the current for the 12 V vehicle net, and power electronics which distribute high voltage power in the vehicle and facilitate fast DC-charging with up to 800V.

Vitesco claims  its high voltage box has smaller space requirements to the vehicle while increasing the total system reliability in comparison to individual devices. Silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors boost charging efficiency to over 95 percent, Vitesco claims, which lowers the vehicle owner’s electricity bill. This efficiency level is particularly beneficial for car owners because electric vehicles are frequently charged on the grid. Due to the high AC charging rate of up to 22 kW the High Voltage Box charges the car with 200 km of range in under two hours, Vitesco says. DC high-power charging with up to 800V achieves the same range in 12 minutes.

“On a day-to-day level, charging, energy conversion and power distribution are just as relevant for a driver’s satisfaction with a vehicle as driving itself is. With our High Voltage Box, we integrate these core tasks of energy management into one efficient and compact unit. This integration makes electrification on a large scale and at low cost easier,” says Thomas Stierle, Member of the Executive Board and head of the Electrification Solutions division of Vitesco Technologies.

Today, the so-called On-Board Charger (OBC) for charging with alternating current (AC) on the grid is a separate device in the vehicle. This OBC inverts grid power to direct current (DC) that can be fed to the high voltage battery. Another separate device is the DC/DC converter which provides direct current from the high voltage battery to the 12 V power net – or it boosts 12 V to high voltage DC. A power electronics unit distributes high voltage current within the vehicle (hence: Power Distribution Unit, PDU). In addition, these electronics can be designed to allow DC charging with up to 800 V at high power charging points. All those components need to be connected, they require a housing, installation space, and cooling.

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The modular and scalable High Voltage Box makes it easier to cover two or more of these functions with a single device. SiC technology is used to minimize the conversion losses of the unit: “A high level of efficiency brings the car owner’s electricity bill down and contributes to sustainability,” says Christian Preis, Head of Base Development Energy Transformation at Vitesco Technologies.

Within the modular design Vitesco Technologies says it covers all relevant European and worldwide grid topologies. The High Voltage Box was developed to support modular vehicle adaptation for the global market.

The High Voltage Box for one of the two series applications will also function bidirectionally so that it can supply alternating current with 230V from the DC battery current when this is required. This puts vehicle owners in the position to make versatile use of their large battery – for instance, if they wish to use power tools far away from the grid, or if they want to feed electricity to the grid which they have charged earlier from their own photovoltaic system.

“In the future, this option to stabilize the grid will continue to gain importance ,” says Preis.  

In the future the High Voltage Box with bidirectional function can also make it possible to power a whole house from the High Voltage Battery during a blackout. This is an option because batteries in vehicles have a much bigger capacity than most of the batteries typically installed in private homes.