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Isolation in Electric Vehicle Systems (Silicon Labs Whitepaper)

Automotive OEMs across the globe are announcing aggressive plans to launch new models of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and full-hybrid electric vehicles (FHEV).

Both BEVs and PHEVs are experiencing double-digit growth rates. BEVs bring smooth, quiet, emissions-free transportation to the market. PHEVs add performance and luxury tiers with range extension capabilities and all-electric drive modes. FHEVs continue to enhance fuel economy and quell concerns with “range anxiety” since they use traditional petroleum-based fuel sources.

As automotive designs move to electrification, high-wattage power electronics become critical components in the new electronic drivetrain and battery systems. These high-wattage electronics need to be communicated with and controlled by low-voltage digital controllers requiring electrical isolation of the low-voltage side from the high-power system. In these applications, galvanic isolation, usually semiconductor-based isolation, is required to allow the digital controllers to safely interface with the high-voltage systems of a modern EV.