Illuminating Innovation: Powering Lights and Accessories in Affordable Electric Cars
In the realm of electric vehicles (EVs), the dazzling advancements often spotlight high-voltage systems and cutting-edge technology. Yet, beneath the surface, an intricate web of components ensures that the simplest conveniences remain operational. In the case of affordable electric cars operating on a 72-volt main battery, the role of the 12-volt system takes centre stage in powering the lights and accessories. In this technical article, we delve into the operation of lights and 12-volt accessories in affordable electric cars, showcasing their paramount importance for a seamless and comfortable driving experience.
The Crucial Role of the 12-Volt System
At the heart of every affordable electric car, there lies a 12-volt electrical system that supports critical functions—lights and accessories, infotainment, climate control, and more. Unlike the high-voltage main battery, which propels the vehicle, the 12-volt system is responsible for powering low-energy components that contribute to the overall driving experience.
Lights: Guiding the Way
From headlights that pierce the night to interior cabin lights that create a welcoming ambience, lights and accessories are fundamental safety and convenience features in any vehicle. In the context of affordable electric cars, these lights require a voltage level compatible with their design and functionality. The 12-volt electrical system ensures that these lights operate at optimal brightness and efficiency, enhancing visibility for the driver and other road users.
Interior Comfort and Convenience
Beyond illumination, the 12-volt system powers an array of accessories that elevate the driving experience. Infotainment systems, which offer entertainment, navigation, and connectivity, rely on this system to function smoothly. Additionally, climate control systems, powered by the 12-volt system, ensure the cabin remains comfortable regardless of external conditions.
Efficiency and Integration
While the 12-volt system might seem conventional compared to the high-voltage main battery, it plays a critical role in maintaining efficiency and optimizing energy usage. By segregating lower-power systems onto a separate voltage level, the main battery—primarily designed for propelling the vehicle—can focus on its core purpose without being burdened by the demands of ancillary systems.
Integration with the 60-volt or 72-volt Main Battery
There are two ways that the 12-volt system can be integrated into a 60 or 72-volt system. The first is that the 12 volts is taken from a 12-volt inverter. An inverter is an electronic device which accepts the high voltage input and produces a 12-volt output. An inverter is not a transformer although the effective output is the same. A transformer will not accept DC voltage input from a battery. A transformer requires an AC input. An inverter takes the high voltage and converts it to AC, then reduces it to 12 volts. At this point the 12 volts is AC. The AC is then rectified and output from the inverter as DC.
The second method is to supply 12 volts from a separate 12 volt battery. This should NOT be done by connecting the 12 volt accessories to one of the 12 volt batteries which are connected in series to make up the 60 or 72 volt system. The reason for this is that the battery used for that supply will run down before the others, resulting in a failure of the drive system. It will not be recharged at the rate of the other batteries which will result in an unbalanced battery system.
Another means of supplying the 12 volts would be to provide an extra 12 volt battery purely for the accessories, but this is very difficult as the battery charger for the car will be providing 60 or 72 volts and not 12 for that one battery. other means would need to be provided for charging the accessories battery which would be rather complicated.
This is why the best solution is to reduce the 60 or 72 volt main battery pack down to 12 volts as the current for the accessories is then taken from all batteries, ensuring their equal balance .
In the context of affordable electric cars, the integration of the 12-volt system with the 60-volt or 72-volt main battery is facilitated by electronic components. The purpose is to provide a controlled interface between the two systems, allowing for power to be converted and distributed at the appropriate levels to ensure the safe and reliable operation of lights and accessories.
While the limelight often falls on groundbreaking EV technologies, it’s important not to underestimate the significance of the 12-volt system in affordable electric cars. From guiding lights that illuminate the road ahead to the systems that ensure interior comfort and entertainment, these components enhance the overall driving experience. As the automotive industry continues its transition towards electrification, the careful integration and operation of the 12-volt system serve as a testament to the meticulous engineering that goes into making affordable electric cars safe, comfortable, and a pleasure to drive.