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    Vehicle technologies and ecosystems

    More power to the car

    The rise in electrification inside vehicles means that 12-volt power supplies have reached the limit of their capacity. This is why car manufacturers and suppliers have developed a 48-volt power supply.

    The rise in electrification inside vehicles means that 12-volt power supplies have reached the limit of their capacity. This is why car manufacturers and suppliers have developed a 48-volt power supply.

    Create a universal 48-volt power supply

    To meet the growing power requirements inside vehicles, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) has been addressing issues relating to a higher vehicle system voltage since 1997. Initial considerations were based on a 42-volt power supply, but ultimately, a 48-volt system found its way into vehicles. The technical equipment used in vehicles is changing constantly and rapidly. Numerous functions that were once performed mechanically have been performed electrically for many years now. With this increasing electrification in vehicles, the 12-volt systems have now reached the limits of their capabilities. This is why car manufacturers, together with their suppliers, have developed a 48-volt system. Braking energy recovery and start-stop systems have encouraged this 48-volt technology, as the technology allows larger amounts of energy to be transferred.

    The 48-volt power system also forms the basis for the hybrid drive. Its higher kilowatt output allows for such functions as electric starting, boosting, traffic jam shifting, parking, or powerful energy recovery (recuperation). Some systems can only be feasibly electrified at this higher voltage – for example, air conditioning systems, active chassis controls, powerful heating systems, or electric turbochargers. This not only increases vehicle efficiency, but also comfort and safety. 48-volt power systems have been used in all vehicle classes since 2015. Together with its vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, the VDA has drawn up Recommendation Number 320 on the uniform development of a 48-volt vehicle power system.

    Philipp Niermann
    Ansprechpartner

    Philipp Niermann

    Leiter Technische Vorschriften und Werkstoffe, Vorschriften und Harmonisierung

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