The Integral Role of Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) in Electric Vehicles


    Electric Vehicles have taken the spotlight and are making an impact in the automobile industry. The automobile industry is gearing up for a future filled with cleaner energy, and PCBs are driving a big change. To enable the electrification of automobiles,  the automobile industry requires innovative solutions for addressing problems such as efficient miniaturization, effective high-current handling etc. PCB manufacturers are meeting these demands by incorporating new technologies such as chip embedding and integrating multiple thin bare dies of semiconductors in PCB layers. These power semiconductors are used to regulate and control the flow of power between the battery and various components of the EV. PCB manufacturers use power modules build-up from the substrates that help in handling high currents and regulate heat dissipation.

    To fulfill the new demands of the automobile industry, PCBs are being modified and adapted in multiple ways to meet specific requirements of different applications:

    • Heavy Copper PCBs

      For an extensive duration, heavy copper PCBs have found application in the automobile industry within relay and fuse boxes. As the demand for robustly handling and regulating high electric power grows, this technology is evolving to meet the industry's emerging requirements. Today, heavy copper PCBs are not solely confined to relay and fuse boxes; they are also effectively employed as power lines, addressing the industry's evolving needs.
    • Power Combi-board

      A separate control board is assembled with a standard copper thickness using surface mount technology, while a power stage is designed with heavy copper. PCB manufacturers have developed a new technology called Power Combi-board. This technology involves installing heavy copper layers in the inner segments, with an outer layer utilizing SMT copper thickness to establish electrical connections across the entire board.
    • Insulated Metal Substrate

      An insulated metal substrate, featuring a metal heat sink and thin insulation layer, suits simpler designs with heat-generating components. Yet, complex layouts may require multiple layers. While many use aluminum as a heat sink to cut weight, this can elevate CTE, affecting reliability. To boost dependability and thermal capacity, designers often choose copper as the heat sink material.
    • Inlay Technology

      To minimize thermal resistance, efficient heat conduction is crucial from the hot component to the heat sink. A notable solution involves integrating a substantial copper inlay within the PCB instead of a traditional heat sink attachment. PCB manufacturers are increasingly adopting this Inlay Technology, laminating the copper inlay to significantly reduce thermal resistance. Beyond enhancing heat dissipation, this inlay also proves capable of effectively conducting high currents due to its low ohmic resistance.
    • Chip Embedding Technology

      PCB manufacturers meet the demands for miniaturization by integrating certain components inside the board and mounting some on the outer surface. They utilize a power semiconductor with a lead frame in order to improve the heat transfer from a hot component inside the PCB to the heat sink. This serves as a heat dissipator and considerably lowers the thermal resistance. A thick copper layer at the top assists in connecting the contacts via tiny copper vias. This method not only facilitates heat dissipation but also enhances numerous electrical characteristics, such as:

    • Thermal & On-state Resistance

    • Switching Performance

    • Miniaturization

    • Higher Reliability

    • Cost Reduction

    The automotive industry's shift to electric vehicles is being propelled by innovative PCB technologies, enhancing system performance and reliability. Serving as the backbone of electric vehicles, these advanced PCBs are tailored to meet industry-specific needs, promising efficient and enduring results in this new era of transportation. PCB Power is one of the most promising PCB manufacturers that aims to deliver quality and make an impact.

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