Road to widespread electrification

PEI Genesis’ European product manager, Dawn Rogers, explores the role of upgrading EV charging capabilities in supporting the upsurge in EV numbers

Global EV sales continue to grow year-on-year. Traditionally, manufacturers have not had to produce charging connectors to an industry standard and instead, have custom produced to different requirements. This caused problems around connector compatibility, with different options having different charging capabilities.

Various charge modes fall under the IEC 61851 standard and are constantly under review to ensure high levels of control and protection for user safety. EV chargers must also be user-friendly, safe, ergonomic and cost effective. For example, high voltages and currents form the perfect environment for arcing between the contacts. While a pilot signal helps mitigate this, it does not fully prevent excessive resistive heating or contact damage.

EV connectors must combine several design features, such as handling high power but be suitable for public use. Generally, CCS connectors combine these features. However, there are further requirements that EV connectors must fulfil to drive enough uptake of EVs to meet the net-zero by 2050 ambition.

EV connectors should have high voltage ratings, at least 1,000V. In fact, there is a growing trend for applications up to 1,500V, with new and emerging EV connectors supporting these applications. EV connectors should also have high current ratings, ranging from 70 to 500A.

Furthermore, they should provide protection against common environmental factors such as moisture and dust. Typically, EV connectors have ingress protection (IP) ratings up to IP69, suiting outdoor charging stations withstanding varying weather conditions. EV connectors should be made from high performance plastic that resists corrosion and wear. This also helps with vibration and shock, which are common occurrences.

Amphenol’s SurLok Plus and RadLok ranges have a minimum durability rating of at least 100 mating cycles and use RADSOK contact technology. Another high- performance series for EV and HEV applications are the Amphenol PowerLok connectors. Both PowerLok G1 and G2 series use RADSOK contact technology and are equipped with a secondary locking mechanism to prevent unintentional disconnects.

All these series are designed for safety, considering the high level of power being used in EV/HEV and power distribution applications.