Automotive Supercapacitor – Boosting the growth of the Automotive Industry

BIS Research
January 7, 2019
3 min read

By BIS Research


A supercapacitor is an advanced form of capacitor, which is capable of holding a large amount of electric charge at one time. The requirement of a high pulse of power in a machine operation directed the attention on advantages of the capacitor technology. A conventional capacitor construction includes two electrically conductive surfaces separated by an insulating layer known as the dielectric. In these capacitors, the capacity increases with an increase in the surface area of the conducting plate. A supercapacitor, on the other hand, has a different concept for developing such surfaces. It employs a porous surface design in a solid form organized in structure to create a capacitance effect. This structure of surface allows a large area for holding the electric charge in a compact manner. Further to function, a supercapacitor module is employed in combination with a primary battery module.

Figure 1
Types of Supercapacitors, by Energy Storage Mechanism

Source: Secondary Research and BIS Research Analysis

 

A supercapacitor works as a power booster for various system applications such as start-stop, lightignition, kinetic energy recovery, adaptive suspension, electric, and hybrid vehicle drive support, among others. The advantage of using a supercapacitor in the automotive industry is that it can drastically reduce the size of a battery module used in electric vehicles while maintaining a constant autonomy. Also, it has a very high-power delivery ratio over low voltage and can also be charged to its full potential within a few minutes. However, the disadvantage associated with it is that it has a very low energy storage capacity.

 

A supercapacitor when used in combination with a battery, enhances the power of the battery. In a passenger vehicle, the supercapacitor modules that can be utilized are 12V(standard) and 36-42V(future). Whereas, in a commercial vehicle, multiple supercapacitor modules can be employed according to the battery size and packaging. This helps in improving the efficiency of the battery and simplifies the electric circuit. The sizing of the capacitor is based on the definite usable energy (Wh) and maximum power requirement. Further, to start a vehicle the engine requires high power for approximately a few microseconds, this requires at least 75% of the supercapacitor power in usable range. A single module of a supercapacitor with 5 cells connected in a series where each cell having a capacitance of 2600F, weight of 3.20 kg, and volume of 2.60 liters has an energy density of 3.75 Wh/kg with a pulse power density of 2 kW/kg. Under this specification, a passenger vehicle requires one module whereas a commercial vehicle requires at least three such modules.

Figure 2
Global Automotive Vehicle Sales, 2018-2028

Source: Secondary Research, Expert Interview, and BIS Research Analysis

 

According to the market report published by BIS Research, titled Global Automotive Supercapacitor Market – Analysis and Forecast 2018 -2028, the global automotive supercapacitor market was valued at $401.8 million in 2017 and is expected to reach $6.91 billion by 2028 growing at a CAGR of 31.05% during the forecast period from 2018-2028. The application of supercapacitor in transport industry is not only limited to passenger and commercial vehicles, but can also be extended to other streams of this industry such as automated systems, electric and hybrid vehicles, energy recovery system, start-stop systems, and power assist transmission application. Further, the advancement of technology and rising demand for environment friendly application is expected to dictate for the use of on-board supercapacitor module in electric vehicles to reduce the overall battery size and enhance the range of the battery pack.


This content was developed in collaboration with BIS Research and views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Aliaba Group or its affiliates.

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