Ev charger teardown. Apply design-to-cost lever

Ev charger teardown

McKinsey and A2Mac1 analyzed design choices that can help pave the way to profitable mass-market EVs.

Will 2017 be remembered as the year when electric vehicles (EVs) made the move to become mass producible? A thought-provoking question for the industry, and reason for McKinsey, in partnership with A2Mac1, a provider of automotive benchmarking services, to deepen our work in the field. Last year, roughly 1.3 million EVs were sold globally. While this makes up only about 1 percent of total passenger-vehicle sales, it is a 57 percent increase over 2016 sales, and there is little reason to believe this trend will slow down. Established OEMs have announced launches of more than 100 new battery electric vehicle (BEV) models by 2024, further accelerating automotive and mobility trends, potentially growing EVs’ share of total passenger-vehicle sales to 30 to 35 percent in major markets like China, Europe, and the U.S. (20 to 25 percent globally)by 2030. Moving away from previous “niche roles” such as high-performance sports or midrange city cars, there will also be a sizable share of midsize and volume-segment vehicles among the many new BEV models. A prominent, recently launched example is Tesla’s new Model 3, with more than 450,000 preorders.

charger, teardown, lever

What will help EVs gain market share is that OEMs have reached ranges with their EVs that allow them to FOCUS on reducing price points, for example, by increasing design efficiency or reducing manufacturing cost in order to become affordable to more customer segments. As shown in Exhibit 1, we find that once the average range of our set of benchmarked EVs has surpassed 300 kilometers (or 185 miles), OEMs seem to be able to concentrate on entering lower-price segments while keeping range up. This indicates that the long-awaited EV volume segment—“midsize EVs for the masses”—may be on the verge of becoming reality.

The definition of “good” range varies across the globe, depending on geography and city archetype. But average battery range seems to have exceeded the expectations of the largest customer segments. This, combined with a decrease in for electric vehicles, means the market for EVs may be close to a commercial tipping point.

Whether an EV volume segment is (or will be) profitable for OEMs remains a burning question for many in the industry. We estimate that many EV models in their base version, and potentially even including options, still may have low contribution margins, especially compared with current internal-combustion-engine (ICE) levels.

With profitability in mind, and given the fast pace of technological advancements and new design trends in EVs, McKinsey and A2Mac1 undertook a second benchmarking analysis on trends in electric-vehicle design (see sidebar, “McKinsey and A2Mac1 on trends in electric-vehicle design”).

This piece is part of a series jointly published by McKinsey and A2Mac1. The series aims at discussing teardown– and benchmarking-derived insights on the most current trends in electric-vehicle (EV) design.

The premier issue introduced key insights from a detailed teardown and physical and digital benchmarking of ten first- and second-generation EV models. New issues, like this one, set out to expand on the learnings from our earlier EV benchmarking efforts—above all by including newly launched EV models in the benchmarking pool and introducing a perspective on a new EV trend. In this publication, we present consolidated findings; detailed insights from our work are available upon request but would exceed the scope of this article.

The models analyzed for this article

In this benchmarking, we considered 11 electric-vehicle models:

  • NISSAN LEAF 2011, Japan
  • Volkswagen e-up! 2013, Europe
  • Tesla Model S 60 2013, United States
  • Chevrolet Spark 2014, United States
  • BMW i3 2014, Europe
  • Volkswagen e-Golf 2015, United States
  • BYD e6 Jingying Ban 2015, China
  • NISSAN LEAF 2017, United States
  • Chevrolet Bolt 2017, United States
  • Opel Ampera-e 2017, Europe
  • Tesla Model 3 2017, United States (new)
charger, teardown, lever

The findings presented here

This publication provides observations based on a sample set of EVs. We make no claim to the “generalizability” of these findings. For individual points of comparison, we added outside-in research on other vehicles where relevant. Technologies are evolving quickly, leading to uncertainty, for example, when it comes to assessing the development of EV powertrain components across formats or chemistries.

charger, teardown, lever

The differentiation of native and non-native EVs

Entirely native or entirely non-native EVs can be understood as two ends of a range. In non-native EVs, most elements—apart from the battery and specific EV powertrain components—are based on previous internal-combustion-engine (ICE) models, following a logic of deriving the EV architecture from what an OEM has done in the past. Examples could be the VW e-Golf or the Chevrolet Spark. On the other end, we consider native EVs to be an entirely new development effort. Examples could be the Tesla models. As EV design advances quickly, it may become increasingly challenging to make such a clear differentiation.

Build a native and inherently flexible electric vehicle

Despite higher up-front investments—in the form of engineering hours, new tooling, and so on—native EV platforms have proved advantageous over non-native models in multiple ways.

Designing the vehicle architecture entirely around an EV concept, without combustion-engine legacy elements, means fewer compromises and more flexibility on average (Exhibit 2).

As native EVs have to compromise less, particularly in their architecture and body in white, they can accommodate a bigger battery pack, which in turn correlates with a higher range. This is evidenced by the fact that native EVs have on average a 25 percent larger battery-pack volume (relative to body in white volume) compared with non-native EVs. One reason is that the body structure can be fit around the battery pack and does not have to be integrated in an existing architecture. This additional freedom in design typically resulting in larger batteries also leads to other potential advantages such as higher ranges, more power, or faster charging.

Further, as battery technology evolves quickly, allowing the newest EVs to have ranges which are not a bottleneck anymore, we see early indications that EVs are moving toward practices common in mass-market ICEs, for instance, offering powertrain options. The inherent flexibility of native EVs plays an important role in this as well. For example, battery packs can house a varying number of active cells while keeping the same outer shape and variable drivetrain technologies can allow players to produce rear-wheel, front-wheel, and all-wheel drive on a single platform.

While this may raise the idea that EVs will start moving toward modular strategies, as we know them from ICEs, thereby moving closer to industry-typical mass-production approaches, we still do not see a clear convergence toward one standard in design solutions. Players will need to stay agile on their way to mass-market EVs.

Keep pushing the boundaries of EV powertrain integration

Our benchmarking reveals a continued trend toward EV powertrain integration, with many parts of the power electronics moving closer together and being integrated into fewer modules. Yet, as players keep searching for additional design efficiency, one “mainstream” EV powertrain design has not yet emerged—either for overall architecture or for the design of individual components.

A good indicator of the increased level of integration is the design of the electric cables connecting the main EV powertrain components (that is, battery, e-motor, power electronics, and thermal-management modules). When looking at the weight and total number of parts for these cables across OEMs and their EV models, we observed a decrease in both cable weight and the number of parts in the OEMs’ latest models compared with earlier vehicles, which reflects the higher integration of more recent EV powertrain systems (Exhibit 3).

In addition to the physical integration of main EV powertrain components, we also observed a move toward more simple and efficient thermal-management solutions across said components. However, while some OEMs are on a consolidation charge here too, others still rely on multiple systems, and we do not see a clear convergence of designs yet (Exhibit 4).

Beyond the fact that technology is still maturing, the EV powertrain design variety may also be aided by its intrinsic, higher level of flexibility, as the components are generally smaller and the degrees of freedom based on available space in the underbody and front and rear compartments are higher than for ICE powertrains. To give just one example of different EV powertrain architectures: the Opel Ampera-e seems to leverage an ICE-like positioning of its powertrain electronics, including ICE-typical body and axle components, whereas the Tesla Model 3 integrated most components on the rear of its battery pack and the rear axle directly (Exhibit 5).

It is worth pointing out that such freedom in the positioning of components also gives more flexibility in overall features offered, for example, choosing to have room for a bigger trunk or to offer superior driving performance due to a lower center of gravity.

In their ongoing pursuit of mass marketability, EV players therefore might identify further opportunities in high-level integration of their EV powertrain systems. Doing so could help them capture potential benefits, such as reduced complexity in development, lower material and assembly costs, and weight and energy-efficiency improvements.

ChargerLab: Teardown of Anker GaNPrime 120W Charger

Navitas’ latest family of GaNFast Power ICs with GaNSense technology integrate control, drive, sensing and protection features for high density charger and adapter applications.

Key features such as loss-less current sensing eliminates external current sensing resistors to increase system efficiency, reduce PCB footprint, and eliminate RCS hot-spots. Up to an additional 10% can be improved in energy savings compared to prior generations, as well as further improving reliability and offering a reduced CO2 footprint.

“Navitas’ next-generation GaNFast™ power ICs with GaNSense™ technology are used in the latest lineup of Anker GaN chargers, replacing slow and inefficient legacy silicon materials, reaching 97% peak efficiency and with up to 25% energy savings. By adopting our latest technology, Anker can reduce the CO2 footprint of the whole charger by up to 30% vs. legacy solutions”, Комментарии и мнения владельцев Gene Sheridan, CEO of Navitas.

Navitas Semiconductor was formed in 2014 to enable a high-speed revolution in power electronics. As the only pure-play, next-generation power semiconductor company, we are making this revolution possible with GaNFast™ integrated gallium nitride (GaN) power ICs, and GeneSiC™ silicon carbide power MOSFETs and Schottky MPS diodes that deliver best-in-class performance, ruggedness and quality.

Media Kit

Latest News

  • Navitas GaN CRPS185 3,200 W “Titanium Plus” Server Power Platform Drives the AI Revolution 3rd August 2023
  • GeneSiC Digs Deep into Trench Technology 3rd August 2023
  • Navitas Semiconductor to Report Q2 2023 Financial Results on Monday, August 14th, 2023 19th July 2023
  • PowerUp 2023 – Navitas Semiconductor Presents GaN SiC: Accelerating Revolutions! 7th July 2023
  • The Genesis of GeneSiC and the Future of Silicon Carbide 6th July 2023

Contact Us

© 2023 Navitas Semiconductor

EV charging

Along with the ever-growing number of electric vehicles on the market and pressure from governments to reduce vehicle emissions to zero latest by 2050, there is a strong need for more efficient charging solutions. As various consumer studies show, the acceptance of electromobility very much depends on the availability and duration of the charging process, high-power DC charging stations are the answer to these market requirements. Already today, a typical EV can charge about 80% of its battery capacity in less than 10 minutes. This is comparable to refueling a conventional car with internal combustion engine.

As the market leader in power electronics, Infineon helps you to bring energy-efficient DC fast charging designs to life. Benefit from one of the most comprehensive, ready-to-implement one-stop product and design portfolios on the market that covers the entire product range from power conversion, microcontrollers, security, auxiliary power supply, and communication.

Dive into the different types of EV chargers and find all information for your design

For DC EV charging designs up to 150 kW, Infineon’s discrete products offer the best price/performance ratio. These include our 600 V CoolMOS™ SJ MOSFET P7 and CFD7 families, 650 V IGBT TRENCHSTOP™ 5 and 1200 V CoolSiC™ MOSFET. Our CoolMOS™ and CoolSiC™ MOSFETs matchless advantages include high frequency operation, high power density and reduced switching losses, allowing you to reach high levels of efficiency in any battery charging system. Our portfolio of high voltage switches is complimented by 650 V and 1200 V CoolSiC™ Schottky diodes. Since every switch needs a driver, and every driver needs to be controlled, we also offer the matching EiceDRIVER™ gate driver as well as XMC™ and AURIX™ microcontrollers for EV charging designs. Infineon’s AIROC™ Wi-Fi combos portfolio integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® in a single-chip solution. OPTIGA™ products complete the portfolio and ensure data protection and security. Chargers in the power range above 50 kW are typically built with IGBTs CoolSiC™ MOSFETs and diode power modules, e.g. CoolSiC™ Easy Modules, IGBT EconoPACK™ and the IGBT EconoDUAL™ family. Charger piles with a capacity of more than 100kW are usually built in a modular approach with stacked sub-units. Already today, these sub-units have reached a capacity of 20-50 kW each and will go beyond this in future designs.

charger, teardown, lever

Infineon is part of the international Charging Interface Initiative e.V. (CharIN). CharIN’s goal is to develop, establish and promote a global charging system standard for all kinds of battery-powered electric vehicles.

Typically, a high-power DC charger converts an incoming three-phase AC power into the DC voltage required by the vehicle’s battery. A data transmission channel is required to exchange information about the vehicle and the battery’s state of charge. Finally, vehicle information and owner data are communicated through a secure data channel for billing purposes.

The three primary concerns in DC fast charger architecture are minimizing cooling efforts, providing high power density and reducing the overall size and cost of the system. High power density requires forced air cooling, which is standard today. However, the next generation of charging solutions will require liquid cooling driven by the system power density increase. Compact designs must consider higher switching speeds, in the range of 32 to 100 kHz, to reduce the size of magnetic components.

The strategies to achieve zero emissions latest by 2050 in most major cities worldwide relies in part on greater EV usage and therefore better fast charging infrastructure. Certainly, the high pollution index in cities, detrimental to inhabitants’ health and quality of life, is a motivation to reach this target. Zero or low emission mobility can help stem the prevalence of air pollution related health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and asthma.

The good news: by 2025 over 100 new EV models are set to launch on the market. This step in the direction of improved urban air quality adds pressure to develop and implement the charging infrastructure required to accommodate additional EVs on the road. Due to space limitations in urban area, future charging needs cannot be satisfied by private installations. Therefore, public charger will gain more and more importance to increase usability of urban eMobility. Finally, as battery manufacturers optimize their cost structures and economies of scale, electric vehicles have never been more attractive to purchase.

Getting rid of plugs and cables with wireless power transfer is a demand that is met by wireless charging systems. This inductive charging allows vehicles to be charged by means of energy passed from a coil in the ground of a parking space to a coil integrated into the vehicle.

Characteristics of Wireless Power Transfer:

  • Power Class: 3.7 kW, 7.7 kW, 11 kW
  • Static WPT: Charge while the vehicle is not in motion
  • Dynamic WPT: Charge while the vehicle is moving along the WPT enabled roadway
  • DC/DC conversion inside the vehicle to adapt the input voltage to the converter

Explore the system diagram of a Wireless Power Transfer:

Sparking controversy

In other charging news, that fuzzy feeling you get when you help the environment by charging your EV just got a little more complicated. Electric-truck maker Rivian wants to take credit for the climate benefits of its chargers.

In a project application submitted to a carbon credit certifier, the company made clear that it’s seeking to earn carbon credits for any emissions reductions that come about as a result of chargers that it sells.

For more on what this all means and what experts are saying, check out the full scoop in my colleague James Temple’s latest story.

Related reading

  • There’s a lot of excitement around new funding for EVs. But we’re going to need a lot more chargers globally to support them all. Here’s what’ll need to happen.
  • Curious where fast EV charging stations are in the US? Here’s a map of all of them.
  • What if we ditched charging altogether? That’s the dream of battery swaps, which a San Francisco startup says it can now pull off in five minutes. (Things might not be quite so simple, though.)

Cutting emissions can be expensive: solar panels, EVs, and other consumer technologies that are more climate-friendly are also often pricier than their polluting counterparts.

Surprisingly, that doesn’t appear to be the case with heat pumps, at least not in the US. According to new data, heat pump adoption is pretty even across income groups. For more on why, check out my new story.

Keeping up with climate

Last week, wildfire smoke turned the northeastern US into a hazy apocalyptic vision. But there’s still a lot we don’t understand about what happened. (Heatmap News)

→ The smoke did have a significant dampening effect on solar power. (Bloomberg)

Young residents in Montana are suing the state over climate change. They argue that by propping up fossil fuels, the state is failing to uphold a responsibility set out in its constitution to maintain a “clean and healthful environment.” (The Guardian)

There’s a new government research program in town. You may have heard of DARPA, the defense research program that brought us key pieces of the internet and GPS. Now, the federal government wants to launch a similar program for infrastructure. (The Verge)

→ I spoke with the head of the energy research program modeled after DARPA, which aims to unlock high-risk, high-reward energy projects. (MIT Technology Review)

A massive new charging depot reveals what it might take to keep electric big rigs running. (Grist)

Toyota plans to build vehicles with solid-state batteries. The company has faced mounting criticism about its slow uptake on electric vehicles. (Associated Press)

→ Here’s what a solid-state battery is and why it could change the game for EVs. (MIT Technology Review)

Your daily newsletter about what’s up in emerging technology from MIT Technology Review.

Leave a Comment