Currently, as electronization is applied to vehicle at a low level, PCB is not much needed, and its value is low, too. Of overall costs of electronic device, PCB accounts for only 2%. For each vehicle, about one square meters of PCB in average is used, US$60 in value. This figure becomes 2 to 3 square meters in the case of a luxury car, US$120 to 130 in value. Among electronics components applied to traditional vehicles, those in the power system need PCB the most, accounting for 32% of the total, mainly the engine control unit, engine primer, electric generator, transmission control device, fuel injection pump and power steering system. In the body electronic system, the figure is 25%, including lighting, HVAC, power-operated doors and seats, and TPMS. Then the security control system with ADAS, ABS, etc., 22%, and the on-board electronics system for display and recreation.
Shares of PCB Value Taken by Various Systems in Automobile
Quantity of PCB Needed for Three Kinds of Vehicle
Compared with traditional counterparts, new-energy vehicles pose significantly higher requirements of PCB for its unique power system. This family has mainly two members: battery electric vehicle and hybrid electric vehicle. The former has its power system simply consists of electromotor and power battery. But for the latter, there are both engine and electromotor. Usually, the vehicle is driven by the engine that consumes fuel, and by the electromotor if the battery is adequacy charged.
In a battery electric vehicle, the power system driven by electricity would completely replace traditional ones. This leads to PCB increment for replacement attributed to the electronic control system (MCU, VCU and BMS). As for hybrid electric vehicle, with the traditional power system reserved, a new electric drive system is introduced, which creates PCB increment for superposition.
Traditional Vehicle and New Energy Vehicle Differ Mainly in Power Control System
Therefore, the increase in PCB value that new energy vehicle brings about can be divided into two parts. One, increment for superposition from hybrid electric vehicle; the other, increment for replacement from battery electric vehicle. From the perspective of value, increment for superposition from hybrid electric vehicle equals the increment for replacement from battery electric vehicle. One could think that the two makes the same contribution to the increase of automobile PCBs. Therefore, the two kinds of new energy vehicle will no longer be distinguished from each other for any following computations.
PCB increment, disregarding from hybrid electric vehicle or battery electric vehicle, comes from the three power control system: BMS, VCU and MCU.
VCU: Composed of control circuits and algorithm software, it is the control center of the power system. It works to supervise the vehicle and make decision for overall power control. PCB is a must to control circuits inside VCU, and the quantity needed is about 0.03 square meters.
MCU: Made up of control circuits and algorithm software, it is an important unit inside the electronic control system. MCU controls the electromotor following the instructions made by VCU, so that the motor exports alternating current accordingly. PCB used for control circuits totals 0.15 square meters.
BMS: A critical component in the battery unit, it controls discharge and recharge by collecting and computing voltage, current, temperature and SOC data, and thereby protects and manages the battery. Its hardware is composed of the BCU and BMU. BMU is set inside the module, and works to examine individual voltage, current and balance control. The BCU could be located optionally. It works for relay control, SOC estimation and electric protection. BMS is usually made of multilayer PCBs that are better in stability but higher in price than other boards. It works to supervise the data of voltage, current in individual batteries, realize balanced control and prevent battery from damage of service life or functions due to overvoltage or overcurrent. For its complicated structure, BMS requires a lot of PCB. About 0.24 square meters for the master control circuit, and 2 to 3 square meters for individual management unit.
As control units differ in requirements of PCB, the price of PCB varies. For example, BCU boards could cost RMB20,000 per square meters, and BMU boards RMB1,500 to 2,000 per square meter. In contrast, VCU and MCU require ordinary PCBs at about RMB1,000 per square meters with little added value. As the quantity of individual management units varies with the model of BMS, that of PCBs used differs with the model of vehicle, 3 to 5 square meters in average. Take the vehicle as a whole, a total of 5 to 8 square meters of PCB is needed, at a price of RMB2,000, much higher than that for traditional luxury sedans.
How PCB is Applied to the Power Control System inside New Energy Vehicles
Power Control System of New Energy Vehicles
In recent years, new-energy passenger vehicle saw its market grow rapidly across the world. According to statistics, there were only 147,000 new-energy passenger vehicles in 2013.
Then from 2014 to 2016, the sales volume in the global market soared respectively to 350,000, 550,000 and 770,000, with an annual composite growth rate as high as 48.3%. As the largest new energy vehicle market in the world, China expands its market size at a step larger than the world’s average. In 2015 and 2016, domestic output volume reached 379,000 and 517,000 new-energy vehicles. If factors such as policy targets, points system and sales planning, it is estimated conservatively that from 2017 to 2020, China is going to produce 700,000, 1 million, 1.2 million and 1.5 million new energy vehicles respectively. Accordingly, the market penetrating rate is going to rise to about 5%.
On this basis, in 2020, new energy vehicle is expected to bring about RMB3 billion increase to the domestic automobile market. According to the International Energy Association, the global total of sales volume of this kind in 2020 will reach 6 million vehicles. Therefore, the global automobile market is going to gain a RMB12 billion increase from new energy vehicles.
Increase to Automobile Market Brought by New Energy Vehicles
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