Electric vehicles are not only powered by electricity, but are of course also equipped with a variety of electrical on-board systems. While this improves performance and comfort, it also significantly increases power consumption. This goes so far that the usual 12 Volt are no longer sufficient for the on-board electronics and recently the so-called 48-Volt technology is increasingly being used.
The basic requirement for good electrical conductivity is high-quality contacts or connectors and busbars, ideally coated with tin, silver or gold. At best, combination layers with a diffusion barrier of copper and nickel are chosen, since these ensure good corrosion protection in addition to signal and current transmission. Due to the higher voltage of 48 Volt, the operating temperature of the fasteners rises to over 160°C, and for safe operation, silver coatings in higher layer thicknesses must be deposited on the components.
A professional coating is also crucial for the safe operation of large vehicle batteries, because efficient protective devices such as corrosion-protected battery housings can only be created with high-quality surface technology. Nickel plating with sulfamate nickel offers the advantage of solderability and weldability in addition to high coating thicknesses and a good adhesion base for combination coatings. In addition, investigations are currently underway to replace the graphite layer on the anodes of lithium-ion batteries with a tin layer and thus achieve a significant reduction in costs.
A frequently neglected aspect in connection with electrification is the transmission of high-frequency signals in the vehicle. In order for it to run without interference, good contacting is required, but also an effective reduction of interference sources. A multi-layer structure allows static charges on hard-anodized aluminum surfaces to be selectively dissipated and signal transmission interference to be reduced while at the same time providing electrical insulation.
Due to their high conductivity, silver-plated or tin-plated connectors are also indispensable for future standards such as autonomous driving or sensor-based hazard detection. Coating technology thus creates the basis for the safe operation of the on-board systems of the future.