Frost & Sullivan Sees Automakers Shifting Towards >6kW Onboard Chargers

May 15, 2015  by  

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Most battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) manufacturers in Europe and the United States (US) have been adopting onboard chargers with a power output between 3 to 3.7 kilowatts (kW). Now, according to Frost & Sullivan, EV manufacturers are moving towards onboard chargers with a power output greater than 6.6 kW to reduce charging time.

Not So Fast

While high-end PHEVs are contributing to this trend, lower-end models in this segment are still using 3.7 kW onboard chargers. Consequently, onboard chargers with power ratings between 3 to 3.7 kW are expected to remain dominant, accounting for 62 percent of sales even in 2020.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the US and European Onboard Chargers Market (http://www.frost.com/m9da), finds that sale volumes of onboard chargers stood at 304,683 units in 2014 and estimates this to reach 2,235,937 units in 2020. For complimentary access to more information on this research, visit: http://corpcom.frost.com/forms/EU_PR_KFeick_M9DA-18_27Mar15.
More than 15 major companies supply onboard chargers globally, with Lear Corporation and Panasonic in key positions as suppliers for Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf — the top-selling EVs in Europe and North America. All these companies offer isolated chargers and many including Brusa and Panasonic are investing in R&D to introduce non-isolated chargers.

“Currently, over 60 percent of components required to make onboard chargers are being outsourced due to high in-house manufacturing costs,” said Frost & Sullivan Automotive & Transportation Senior Research Analyst Prajyot Sathe. “Tier I suppliers in Europe and the US have mainly been sourcing components such as electromagnetic interference filters, power factor controllers (PFCs), and direct current (DC)-DC converters from tier II suppliers.”

While most suppliers have the expertise to manufacture components in-house, they have refrained from doing so due to low demand for onboard chargers. Suppliers must, however, begin to manufacture DC-DC converters and PFCs themselves, as these components account for the maximum cost of onboard chargers and contribute to higher prices.

“To cope with the current scenario, major vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Daimler are expected to adopt the component sharing strategy, which will drive production volumes and reduce the cost of components,” noted Sathe. “Another strategy vehicle OEMs could consider is entering strategic alliances to pool the technical expertise of partners and decrease manufacturing costs.”
By way of high-volume manufacturing and strategic partnerships, onboard charger suppliers in Europe and the US will be able to lower the price of their products. While the current price of an onboard charger ranges from $130 to $230 per kW, prices are likely to fall by 20 to 25 percent within 2020.

The connected car, vehicle prognostics and cyber security are just a few of the current trends in the automotive and mobility space, which will be discussed during Frost & Sullivan’s annual industry event “Intelligent Mobility: Future Business Models in Connected and Automated Mobility”, taking place at the House of Lords and the Royal Garden Hotel in London on July 1-2 2015. For more information, visit http://ow.ly/L74Ar

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