Optimizing Busbars for Advanced Applications

As automakers have continued to ramp up their EV production, it has become clear that a lot must go into product and process design to create busbar solutions that are truly optimized for a specific vehicle application.

Busbars are ideal for the high-power applications that are commonplace in EVs. OEMs first started using busbars in EV battery packs as interconnects for battery modules. To support fast charging, busbars have become a vital part of the charging harness. They also make sense wherever high power is required, such as connections to drive units, DC-to-DC converters, and auxiliary loads such as heaters and air compressors.

Further, the rigidity of busbars is an advantage when using automated assembly — it’s easier for a robot to position and connect a solid busbar as opposed to a flexible cable.

Every application has its own requirements, and every vehicle has its own unique electrical architecture that must be taken into account. These factors determine the busbar’s size and shape, materials used, flexibility and termination. All of these busbar design features determine the processes used to produce the busbars — and those processes must be accounted for throughout the design process.

In EV applications, a busbar is not simply an off-the-shelf component that can be screwed into the vehicle where needed. It is a critical piece of an EV’s electrical architecture that is highly customized and highly optimized for the very specific requirements of a particular vehicle, using sophisticated computer simulation technologies and advanced manufacturing techniques.

This means that the engineers creating the busbars must have a deep understanding in several dimensions. They must consider an EV’s entire power distribution system and its effect on all of the other components in the vehicle, and understand how design choices affect performance, cost and manufacturability.

For full details on the different design and process options, read our white paper.

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