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The UK now has over 1.1 million electric cars, plus another 655,000 plug-in hybrids on the roads. Whilst new EV sales seem to be dipping, there will be a need to charge these cars for some time to come. To keep up with demand, the UK will need to continue its rollout of EV chargers, especially Rapid and Ultra Rapid devices, to keep the country moving.

Demand for Rapid and Ultra Rapid chargers increased by 41.6% from July 2022 to July 2023 as the expectation of quick charging becomes increasingly common. To ensure that these “Superchargers” are available 24/7, you need to be considering thermal management to ensure optimum performance, efficiency and reliability.

Managing heat

Given the high power components required for such a device and the resultant heat that they emit, some form of active cooling is likely to be required to ensure all internal components do not exceed their maximum operating temperature. Identifying and designing in an appropriate axial fan or radial blower requires a number of considerations, including size, bearing type and protections to name just a few. In our experience, Gelec would typically suggest that it is prudent to design in the largest fan possible operating at a lower speed. The benefits of this are two-fold: lower noise and an increased life expectancy (thanks to reduced bearing temperatures). Keeping the fan in best condition should see a reduction in the chance of the charger failing to operate and increase time between servicing or replacement parts.

Customisation to improve performance

The use of additional wires for tacho feedback and pulse width modulation (PWM) will assist with monitoring and adjusting the speed of the fan based on the internal temperature of the charger. This should even help to ensure the amount of cooling is always sufficient for the environment, even with the huge range of temperatures the British weather brings. Additional benefits to adjusting the fan speed include avoiding the risk of power cycling and delivering economical power consumption.

Selecting a suitable bearing will be essential to ensure the unit works as expected for as long as possible. Ball bearing is generally considered to be the most robust bearing available which can operate in higher temperatures and offering a longer life in comparison to its sleeve bearing counterpart.

Protecting the fans

When you start considering the variety of weather conditions EV chargers are being subjected to in the UK, adding additional protection for safeguarding from premature failure will be a good idea. Protection can be as high as a fully enclosed IP68, giving a complete waterproof solution.

Additional protections can be added to guard against corrosives, be it pollution in the centre of town to salt water out on the coast, a solution is available to make sure life expectancy isn’t compromised.

This growing demand has prompted Sunon, a global leader in the manufacture of AC, DC and EC brushless fans, to design and develop the GF4028 to deliver optimum airflow and efficiency together with IP68 protection specifically for EV Chargers.

Here at Gelec, our many years of experience in working closely with SUNON make us ideally placed to support OEM’s on new designs. Our dedicated Thermal Management Team can offer input from concept stage – optimising design and navigating potential issues with obsolescence – through to order fulfilment wherever in the world this is taking place.

Call us on 020 8855 0991 to discuss your EV charger thermal management