The Role of Power Electronics in Future Automotive Systems
As features in vehicles and their associated loading on the vehicle's power supply increase, the existing 14V power supply system is being pushed to its limits. At some point it will be necessary to provide a complementary higher supply voltage for higher power loads to ensure reliable operation. Industry efforts have been underway to define the next step(s) toward a common architecture. These efforts are currently focused on a dual voltage 14V/42V system with specified voltage limits. A change in the vehicle's power supply voltage and over-voltage specifications have a direct impact on semiconductors. Cost, reliability, available process technology, and packaging are among the areas that are affected. Reducing or eliminating the load dump transient can provide cost reduction, especially for power switching devices. Smart semiconductor switches with integrated diagnostic and protection features provide the potential to replace fuses in the new architecture.