Bus Industry News, Technology

E-T-A employees handle high voltage new release

E-T-A’s HVR10 is another evolution in the manufacturer’s electrical engineering products. Ricardo Pimenta is one of many at E-T-A’s global headquarters who continue tackling the challenges that electrification throws at electrical circuits.

In his 17 years working for E-T-A, Ricardo Pimenta has seen transport technologies change rapidly.

Since starting with the global engineering manufacturer in 2005, Pimenta was testing, supporting and developing existing and new products. As product manager, he’s now responsible for the electrical automotive relays portfolio and the high voltage program in E-T-A’s Transportation Division.

Pimenta’s job title changes throughout the years summarise the rapid technological evolution that the transport industry has seen since the mid-2000s.

“I started at E-T-A with a degree in Mechatronics and added a business degree on the side,” Pimenta told ABC. “In my 17 years at E-T-A I have worked in various departments, including in the test lab and in research and development.

“Now I work on high voltage products that continue to grow the transportation sector.”

Based in Bavaria, Germany, Pimenta has helped drive E-T-A towards a more sustainable mobility future. This includes developing products that suit the new wave of zero-emissions buses and trucks that are hitting both Australia and the world.

Pimenta says the future of division transportation at E-T-A lies in both the digitalisation and electrification of vehicles and assets. His helping hand in the quest for environmentally friendly mobility is what fuels constant development in electrifying buses and trucks.

This drive to safely improve electric bus technology has resulted in E-T-A’s latest innovation in the HVR10.

The hybrid high voltage relay is an arc-free switching system that makes the disconnection of electric systems inside a vehicle safer, even in the event of an electrical overload.

The HVR10 can switch off high short circuit currents up to 2,000 A at 1000 V, meaning an increase in uptime of buses, trucks and construction vehicles.

“The special part of the HVR10 is that we have developed an electronic bypass around the mechanical contact,” Pimenta says. “This suppresses the arc when switching and is a completely new approach from E-T-A for automotive relays.”

Pimenta says E-T-A launched the HVR10 relay around two years ago.

The unique electrical bypass means electrical contacts onboard a vehicle are much less stressed, guaranteeing a longer service
life for vehicles.

In an emergency, the relay can switch off and still function, with high end semiconductors allowing the systems to still work.

Pimenta says the HVR10 is very successful in nicheapplications demanding high uptime and safety. This can vary from electric excavators used in underground mines to the many electric buses that are now running routes around the world.

The technology behind the HVR10 sounds complex. Simply put, the relay is a compact system that provides very high breaking capability in an emergency while extending the uptime of zero-emissions buses and trucks.

The HVR10 is the first step into the high voltage market for E-T-A.

While promoting the relay, the engineering manufacturer is also in the midst of developing a space-saving high voltage circuit breaker that can combine the switching function of a high voltage relay with the safety of a high voltage fuse into one product.

In simple terms, this new product will enhance the protection of electrical circuits onboard buses to ensure these vehicles can run as smoothly and safely as possible.

This new system will allow a vehicle’s battery management system to switch batteries back on in case of faulty measurements to ensure vehicle availability.

Such is the nature of E-T-A, it is always juggling various innovative developments.

Pimenta and his team are also simultaneously working with a partner to develop a high voltage pyrotechnic fuse that has an increased breaking capability.

Pimenta says the demand for higher breaking capacities are skyrocketing as electric buses and cars use increasingly powerful energy storage systems to enhance range.

This demand makes for plenty of challenges that Pimenta and E-T-A are collectively working around.

Both battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell buses operate at much higher voltages than in the past, creating the need for new technology to keep circuits safe onboard.

“This progression of high voltage technology means that completely new switchgear and protection elements have to be developed for vehicles,” Pimenta says. “The biggest challenge is the electric arc that is generated as soon as the electric contacts are opened.

“The higher the voltage, the greater the component stress.”

E-T-A clearly doesn’t have time to stop and celebrate its successes.

Pimenta is continuing to push on past the HVR10 as more crucial high voltage safety products are in the works at E-T-A’s global headquarters in Germany.

Despite coming up with many solutions, Pimenta’s burgeoning career is dedicated towards continually overcoming the challenges that a rapidly expanding zero-emissions transport sector place on electrical systems onboard buses.

“For all three product groups, including the HVR10, it’s a very exciting time,” Pimenta says.

“The pre-development phase is well underway and we’re currently working with a number of customers on the specifications for the series product.

“At this stage, we’ll still have the freedom to take new requests into account and are open to suggestions.”

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