The Future of Electrical Systems on Heavy Duty Trucks

Date: February 19, 2018 – Jim Park

Within a decade’s time we will probably have very different electrical systems on trucks than those in use today. Electrical demands on today’s highway trucks have pushed systems to their capacity. Current electrical demand on a typical on-highway truck is about 3-5 kW, but that is projected to increase to 40 kW by 2030. Development of advanced powertrain technology is stalled because of capacity constraints. There’s much more we could be doing with electricity if the systems were up to it.

In short, we need to upgrade our electrical systems. But do we migrate up to 24 volts or 48?

“I don’t think the industry has converged on 24 or 48 volts at this point,” says Craig Jacobs, Eaton’s director of engineering and program management for Controls & Protection, Transportation, Military and Aerospace Division. “There are a couple of different camps on this. The 24-volt supporters point to Europe where 24-volt systems are used, so there’s already some standardization and components are readily available. The 48-volt camp says if we’re going to make a change, let’s go all the way.”

Jacobs says 24 volts might take us out 10 or 15 years, but then we’d be at capacity again, with very limited potential for expansion. “Going right to 48 volts would last longer before having to upgrade again. It also gives OEMs a lot more flexibility in how they design vehicles.”... To Continue Reading, CLICK HERE

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