"It is becoming apparent that the 800-volt architecture will establish itself in future premium vehicles or sporty electric vehicles, whereas the 400-volt architecture will remain the standard in the volume market," says Dr. Otmar Scharrer, who is responsible for System Development of Electric Drives at ZF. "For 400-volt applications, we have already been supplying series technology for years. For 800-volt applications, we are now preparing to start series production this year." This means that 800-volt technology could help electric drives achieve a similar technological leap, as turbocharging once did for combustion engines.
ZF has already gained experience with 800-volt technology in the Formula E racing series. There, 800 volts are set, but not because of the fast recharging. In the increasingly popular racing series, which has FIA World Championship status, the aim is to get the electrical energy from the batteries to the drive wheels as efficiently as possible as kinetic energy. However, this cannot be achieved with 800 volts alone. To win in Formula E – and achieve maximum ranges in everyday life – silicon carbide power electronics are needed that can process an 800-volt voltage and ensure better efficiency.