Cable, PCB, and Wiring Harness Applications for Electric Vehicles

Hybrid Electric Car ChargingWiring harnesses represent some of the heavier and more expensive parts contained in a vehicle. Wire and cable systems play a significant role in electric vehicles (EVs), and technological advancements in the automotive sector have caused this role to expand. As the electronics landscape for electric vehicles continues to change, today’s highly diverse range of cars, trucks, and other vehicles frequently require custom-made cable systems—often assembled by hand—for numerous applications.

As more cars become electrically powered, significant changes to electronic systems will continue to drive a need for advanced solutions. Furthermore, printed circuit boards (PCBs) play an increasingly important role in producing and operating electrically powered vehicles.

How Electric Vehicles Will Impact the PCB Industry

The market for partially autonomous vehicles is constantly expanding. Experts expect it to reach $36 billion by 2025, while experts predict the demand for fully autonomous vehicles will reach $6 billion in the same period. More consumers are also valuing low-emission, environmentally-friendly vehicles. In response, an increasing number of automakers plan to release new electric car models. Governments around the world have begun discussing plans to phase out diesel engines and other high-emission road vehicles.

As a result of this shift towards EVs, the electronics industry is experiencing higher demand and increased innovation. Advances in automotive electronics are also resulting in massive cabling changes, including:

  • Electrification of drive trains, leading to a significant increase in cabling.
  • Introduction of a centralized, powerful domain computer and less reliance on dozens of distributed electronic control units (ECUs).
  • Increased use of sensors on the interior and exterior of the vehicle and correspondingly higher data volumes.

electric battery chargeCable, PCB, and Wiring Harness Applications for Electric Vehicles

The surge in popularity for EVs will have a significant impact on specific PCB and cable applications. Some affected applications include:

  • Safety and reliability features. PCBs are an essential aspect of the technology behind autonomous vehicles. Many external sensors are required to ensure safety when using a vehicle’s autonomous capabilities, which increases the necessary cabling and demand on the harness setup.
  • Navigation features. Built-in navigation features are increasingly important in all cars, but particularly autonomous ones. This technology requires PCBs to function correctly.
  • Driving automation features. Automation features are becoming increasingly sought-after, and PCBs are central to supporting complex automated vehicle technologies. Automation also requires more sensors, requiring power supplies, and increasing the cabling needed in a vehicle.
  • Extended functionality in comfort and infotainment. Onboard entertainment features such as music, TV, and gaming are made possible by PCBs and supported by wire and cable harnesses.
  • EV charging stations. Extending battery longevity is a moving target for electric vehicle manufacturers, as drivers want to spend as little time as possible at charging stations. This change will increase the demand placed on a vehicle’s power supply and support systems.

Design Considerations for EV Applications

Automotive engineers and designers must find ways to distribute adequate power to all the required systems reliably. In electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), high power usage presents additional concerns for PCB assembly and design. However, well-designed high-power boards can be achieved by:

  • Choosing board materials that are capable of withstanding high temperatures.
  • Optimizing thermal usage with good resistance management.
  • Spacing high-power components apart from one another.
  • Following proper grounding design rules.
  • Controlling current flow using large copper weights.

electric vehicle chargingSelecting the Best EV Solutions Supplier

EVs and HEVs require a high level of power, requiring electronics suppliers to present solutions that can handle demanding loads and deliver optimal performance. To ensure a supplier is knowledgeable, reliable, and responsible enough to effectively manufacture electronic components for EVs and HEVs, look for the following qualifications:

  • High capacity for cable harness assembly.
    • PGF houses an impressive Wire Processing Center, including machines specializing in automatic cutting, stripping, and testing.
    • Team members are cross-trained in cable assembly, as well as harness and PCB assembly, to handle all manufacturing processes expertly.
    • Methods such as pull-testing and quality assurance ensure the production of high-mix, low-volume cables and harnesses.
  • Advanced knowledge of PCB assembly.
    • Our training classrooms and quality certifications attest to our abilities to manufacture high-quality PCBAs.
    • Unique features such as Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) and Solder Paste Inspection (SPI) certify accuracy in performance.
    • Employees bring years of experience in the assembly of electronics, and specifically PCBAs.
  • Current IP Standard classifications.
  • Complete turnkey box build applications.
    • From industrial control panels to more straightforward box builds, PGF can use PCBAs and cable assemblies in tandem.
    • Top-tier machinery and personnel allow PGF to turn around your project in a complete package.
  • Current Quality Certifications.
    • PGF is constantly raising the bar and maintaining current standards in the industry with improvement programs and up-to-date certifications.

PGF Technology has been manufacturing PCBAs, cable assemblies, and wire harness assemblies since 1970. We are committed to offering competitively priced, high-quality customized PCB assembly services for the automotive industry. To get started on your solution, request a quote today.

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