The Electrification of Everything is no longer an idealized vision for the future. It’s underway right now throughout a variety of sectors and is rapidly gaining momentum.
The rise of electric cars, buses, and trucks is transforming the way we move people and goods and is helping to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. It’s not just the transportation sector that is undergoing electrification either. The building sector is also seeing a shift too, with more buildings adopting electric heating and cooling systems and electric appliances.
But electrification is also sweeping other sectors besides the ones you would typically think of like passenger vehicles and public ground transportation. New and innovative electric technologies are poised to change a variety of other industries as well, including defense. Military technology is constantly evolving, and electrification is one of the most promising areas of innovation in this sector. By transitioning to electric technologies, military forces can project power further beyond their current means and obtain several tactical advantages while creating potentially more sustainable and efficient systems.
Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft have also emerged as a promising technology that could revolutionize the way we travel in urban and non-urban areas.
In addition to the benefits for commercial and military vehicles, the electrification of home devices and the interconnectivity of these devices, also referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), allows for greater convenience while enhancing the features and benefits of electrification technology.
Electrifying everything stands to provide multiple overarching benefits for society’s major technologies, including:
- Increased Energy Efficiency: Electrification has the potential to significantly increase energy efficiency, as electric motors are much more efficient than internal combustion engines and other fossil-fuel-based systems.
- Reduced Costs: As renewable energy sources become cheaper, electrification is becoming more cost-effective. For example, electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming more affordable and have lower operational costs than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, as they require less maintenance and fuel.
- Improved performance: Electrifying everything can result in improved performance and functionality compared to traditional fuel-based systems. Electric motors provide instant torque and smoother acceleration than internal combustion engines, allowing EVs to be more responsive and efficient. Electrifying vehicle platforms also shows potential for quieter and cleaner operation, reducing noise pollution and improving air quality in the process.
While these innovations are promising, they have extensive power requirements of their own that must be considered. With this surge in electricity requirements comes other considerations too, such as battery thermal management and safety factors such as operating vehicles and machines that utilize very high voltages and require high-powered charging infrastructure to recharge.
There are multiple other challenges to consider as well before widespread electrification takes a strong foothold, including but not limited to:
- Energy Storage: As we transition to using more renewable energy sources, we need to be able to store excess energy for times when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing. Many electric vehicle platforms such as military EVs are also going to require significant amounts of energy and power to recharge and will need to be able to operate for prolonged periods without needing a recharge. While battery technology has improved significantly in recent years, it still has limitations in terms of capacity, lifespan, and cost.
- Building the Infrastructure: Electrifying everything requires a complete overhaul of our existing infrastructure, such as building charging stations for EVs and upgrading power grids to handle increased electricity demand. This can be costly and time-consuming.
- Supply Chain Challenges: Electrifying everything requires a complex supply chain that involves sourcing and processing materials such as lithium, cobalt, and rare earth metals. Ensuring a sustainable supply chain for these materials is a significant challenge.
The electrification of everything is a trend that is rapidly gaining momentum, and the demand for electricity is growing at an unprecedented rate. As a result, the importance of advanced electrical power connectors suitable for facilitating high voltages and high power is becoming increasingly apparent.
Electrification and the Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnection of physical devices, vehicles, appliances, and other objects embedded with electronics, sensors, software, and network connectivity, which allows them to collect and exchange data. This concept is already all around us right now with the interconnectivity provided by the smartphones in our pockets, the notifications we get on our smartwatches, the smart devices and appliances that enhance our homes and businesses, and much more.
When it comes to electrification, IoT will enable the integration of digital technology into electric power systems to enhance their efficiency and functionality. This involves the use of sensors, meters, and other devices that collect and transmit data over a network.
IoT-enabled devices can be used in various aspects of the power system, including distribution, transmission, and generation. For example, sensors can be installed on power lines to detect faults and prevent outages, while smart meters can provide customers with detailed information about their energy usage. Furthermore, IoT can help utilities manage peak demand by optimizing power usage and reducing waste.
These capabilities are only going to take off even further as this technology matures, especially in terms of electric vehicles. Some significant IoT-based technological advancements that could take hold in the future include:
- Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Technology: This technology allows electric vehicles to not only consume electricity but also supply it back to the grid. V2G technology enables electric vehicles to act as mobile batteries and provide power to homes, businesses, and the grid during peak demand periods.
- Wireless Charging: Currently, most electric vehicles require a physical connection to a charging station. However, wireless charging technology is on the horizon, which would allow electric vehicles to charge wirelessly while parked, without the need for cables or plugs.
- Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS): ITS uses a combination of communication technologies and IoT sensors to optimize traffic flow and reduce congestion. These systems can communicate with electric vehicles to provide real-time traffic data and help drivers find the most efficient routes to their destinations.
- Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) Communication: V2X communication enables electric vehicles to communicate with other vehicles, infrastructure, and the grid. This technology can provide drivers with real-time information on road conditions, weather, and traffic, and can also help to optimize charging and battery usage.
- Smart Grid Technology: Smart grids use IoT sensors and communication technologies to optimize the distribution of electricity. This technology can help to manage the supply and demand of electricity more efficiently and can also integrate renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, into the grid.
- Electric Vehicle Energy Management: This technology uses IoT sensors and predictive algorithms to optimize the charging and discharging of electric vehicle batteries. By analyzing driver behavior, traffic patterns, and weather data, this technology can help to extend the range of electric vehicles and reduce charging times.
Next-Gen High Voltage Requirements require Next-Gen High Voltage Connectors
- Tested up to 1200 VAC/1500 VDC
- Remain partial discharge free at 50,000 feet
- Dual interlock circuitry
- Utilizes existing mil-qualified 39029 contacts
- Amphenol Dualok Plugs available for increased shock and vibration performance
- Available in all shell configurations
- Amphenol high-performance contacts can be used for increased amperage rating (modification code B65)
- Shells are standard MIL-DTL-D38999 and will accommodate standard MIL-DTL-D38999 accessories
Visit Amphenol Aerospace Power Products for more information on our portfolio of high-voltage and high-power connectors and contacts.