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2021/03/31 Yole: DC charging for EV: a decisive outlook for the power electronics industry

 While low-power DC chargers, up to 20-30 kW, are commonly based on a monolithic design approach, the modular design is dominant in high-power chargers.”asserts Milan Rosina, PhD, Principal Analyst, Power Electronics and Batteries at Yole Développement (Yole). 

In the modular approach, a charger is built of several charger modules connected in parallel. The modular approach has advantages of high design flexibility, scalability, and availability.

In this context, Yole investigates disruptive technologies and related markets in depth, to point out the latest innovations and underline the business opportunities.
Released today, the DC Charging for Plug-In Electric Vehicles 2021 report provides market metrics and forecasts for DC EV chargers and analyzes the drivers and challenges for electric vehicles and EV charging infrastructure. Including market trends and forecasts, supply chain, technology trends, technical insights and analysis, take away and outlook, this study also delivers an in-depth understanding of the ecosystem and main players’ strategies.
What are the economic and technological challenges of DC charging? How the electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles evolve and how is this impacting the DC EV charging market? What are the key market drivers? How does the business models and supply-chains evolve?
Yole presents today its vision of the DC charging for plug-in-electric vehicles industry.

As analyzed by Yole’s team in the new DC Charging for Plug-In Electric Vehicles 2021 report, as discrete devices are suitable for both low-power monolithic chargers and high-power chargers based on low-power charger modules, discrete devices dominate the DC EV market. However, with increasing charger power, the number of related low-power charger modules is increasing beyond optimal levels. For example, for a 350 kW charger about 12 30 kW charger modules will be needed. Charger module manufacturers are looking to improve their products’ power density, efficiency, and to increase their nominal power to 50 kW and beyond to make them more suitable for high-power chargers.
According to Milan Rosina from Yole
“DC charger technology rapidly evolves, and many technology trends were identified and analyzed in this report. Two opposite trends exist regarding charger power. One is a power increase up to 350 kW and beyond in the future to accelerate charging and enable charging in heavy-mobility applications. The other is a power decrease from a historical base level of 50 kW as an alternative to AC charging solutions”.
Charger voltage follows the trends in EV battery packs. As battery voltage increases from 400 V to 800 V levels, driven by Porsche, Hyundai and other car makers, the charger voltage increases from 500 V to 1,000 V. This results in the chargers using power components rated at 1,200 V.
Other trends include increasing use of SiC MOSFET devices, growing market share of power modules, bidirectional chargers for V2G and V2H applications, and battery energy storage to reduce peak loads on the electricity grid.

Regulations and technologies for EVs, EV batteries and chargers evolve rapidly. This brings new opportunities or threats to the charging infrastructure companies such as ABB, Tritium and Tesla, but also to the companies involved in semiconductor and packaging materials, device packaging, industrial systems, EV/HEV and battery manufacturers, and utility companies. Technology or business model differentiation is difficult to identify currently.
For Abdoulaye Ly, Technology & Market Analyst specialized in Electronic Power Systems at Yole
“Yole Développement therefore expects the reshaping of the supply chain and business models to continue in the coming years. Partnerships are crucial to ensure the compatibility between vehicle and charger, and can provide some level of product differentiation”.
One example is the network of 350 kW chargers operated by IONITY, backed by several leading car makers, including Volkswagen, BMW and Hyundai. Both car makers and utility companies have identified the opportunities in providing services to a large and rapidly growing portfolio of PHEV and BEV customers. An increase of merger and acquisition activities is expected with charging infrastructure providers as main targets. As analyzed in this report, high-power chargers, fast-charging batteries and efficient vehicle powertrains represent a threat to the companies involved in hydrogen infrastructure and fuel-cell vehicles such as Toyota and Honda, and might also close the opportunity window for companies involved in battery swap solutions like NIO and Aulton. Strict CO2 targets will push EV/HEV share to 38% of all passenger vehicles in 2026, representing a US$5.6 billion market opportunity for various semiconductor technologies and power devices. In this regard, the market research and strategy consulting company Yole deeply analyzed the e-mobility industry in its latest report released last month: Power Electronics for E-Mobility 2021.

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