How Electric Fuses Helped in Materializing the Electric Vehicle Revolution?
Electric fuse is one among the many electric components which have helped in materializing the idea of electric vehicles. Electric fuses are indispensable to the EV industry as they serve as a perfect circuit breakers in order to protect hybrid automotive equipment from excessive current flows. Not just in electric vehicles, electric fuses also play an important role in guaranteeing the safety and functionality of EV charging stations. Continuous research in this industry has paved the way for new types of electric fuses which, even though not in the market, have a lot of potential in changing the face of the automobile industry.
While answering a question in a podcast about which business was the most challenging of all, Elon Musk said that Tesla, Inc. was by far the most difficult to handle and that he allocated his maximum share of time to that business as compared to SpaceX, The Boring Company, or Neuralink. According to him, the main reason behind this fact was that the automotive, especially the electric vehicle (EV) industry, was becoming so competitive that staying on the top of the market required special efforts.
How did the electric vehicles (EV) industry become so competitive in such a short span of time? Subtle yet extremely significant innovations in batteries, semiconductor devices, electric fuses, etc. have made this possible. These innovations have helped in creating an EV revolution which has led many leading companies like Tata Motor, Mahindra Motors, Toyota, etc. to engage in research, and develop their own segment of electric automobiles.
Among the many components which have made the EV revolution possible, one such device is the electric fuse. Electric fuse is designed as a safety device to protect appliances and machines from excessive current flow. Electric fuse basically acts as a circuit breaker, as the in-built metal wire or metal strip melts when an excessive current flow passes through it, thereby breaking the circuit.
Electric fuse was patented by Thomas Edison back in 1890 and has been around since then. However, the advent of EVs brought this component into limelight once again as it is indispensable to the EV industry.
Role of Electric Fuse in EV Industry
Electric vehicle is a complex and sensitive mesh of several electronic circuits and components. These circuits help in powering hybrid automobile equipment which require high voltage and power sources. In such a scenario, protection of these electronic components from excessive flow of current become crucial. In fact, electric fuse plays an even bigger role in EVs than conventional vehicles as special purpose fuses used in electric vehicles help in the protection of electric motors, batteries, power conversion devices.
Apart from the vehicle, electric fuse is an extremely important part of the EV charging station also. Electric charging stations essentially convert AC power supplied by an electric grid into DC power. This DC power is then used for charging the electric vehicle. Because the charging stations convert high AC power supply to DC power, there is always a chance of excessive current flow which can damage the whole charging station. Here fuses play an important role in regulating the current flow.
The rising demand for electric fuses due to its increasing usage in both, electric vehicles and EV charging stations have helped in the growth of the global electric fuse market which is expected to grow at a fascinating CAGR of 8.2% in the 2021-2028 timeframe.
Technological Advancements in Electric Fuse Manufacturing
Recently, a research paper was published by some automobile engineering experts wherein a concept of automotive smart fuses was put forth. The research paper provided the working principle of the ‘smart’ fuses. These ‘smart’ fuses take into account the environmental conditions in which the concerned electric circuit is placed; these environmental conditions include local temperatures and other components or cables of the circuitry.
Apart from automotive smart fuses, another type of fuse that has gained a lot of attention is the smart glow fuses wherein the fuse is attached with an indicator light which glows upon the blowing up of the fuse. This way the maintenance team doesn’t have to search for faults all over the circuit only to find the fuse to be blown in the end.
Thus, even the electric fuse industry is undergoing huge changes owing to the evolving demands of the automobile industry. Coming years will see a whole new set of technological developments which will push forward the electric fuse and semiconductors market.
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