TLX Technologies highlights efficient disconnect systems for EVs

October 14, 2023

Pewaukee, Wisconsin: TLX Technologies has shared insights on the advantages of using efficient disconnect systems in electric vehicles (EVs).

The information was unveiled in an article titled “Efficient Disconnects,” which you can read in full here.

Understanding the importance of disconnects in 4WD vehicles

Center Axle Disconnect (CAD) systems are a common feature in part-time four-wheel drive (4WD) internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

These systems permit drivers the benefit of the additional traction provided by 4WD only when necessary, while enjoying the fuel efficiency of two-wheel drive (2WD) during regular driving.

Now, electric vehicle drivetrain designers have adopted a similar concept, termed disconnecting driveline technology, which focuses on cutting down energy consumption.

TLX explains the role of solenoids in axle disconnect

The powerful electric motors in EVs deliver a considerable amount of torque. Activating 4WD during vehicle acceleration alleviates stress on the tires and facilitates rapid and efficient attainment of cruising speed.

Nevertheless, in certain EV drivetrains, disconnecting the front wheels from the drivetrain during cruising results in reduced energy usage and an extended driving range.

A noticeable difference is observed in the axle disconnect mechanism. Unlike the CAD in 4WD ICE vehicles, which employs a shift fork moved by either a vacuum system or an electric motor and gears, the axle disconnect in an EV’s disconnecting driveline often resides inside the front differential.

Here, it’s actuated by a solenoid.

One debate revolves around the kind of solenoids to use: continuous-duty or latching. Continuous-duty solenoids constantly draw power and are prone to self-heating.

However, TLX points out the superiority of latching solenoids in this application.

These solenoids utilize a smaller coil, are not susceptible to self-heating, and don’t demand constant power to maintain their position.

Moreover, they only need a brief power pulse to alter their state, typically around 100ms.

The clear advantages of latching solenoids

In their pursuit of optimal energy efficiency, EV drivetrain designers should prioritize the most energy-saving components. While the power consumption of a continuous-duty solenoid might appear negligible, every opportunity to minimize power usage, no matter how small, is crucial. For EV axle disconnects, the article emphasizes the clear edge latching solenoids have.

FSJA Comment

For those in the fire and safety sector, understanding the intricacies of electric vehicle components is crucial.

As the transition to EVs continues to gain momentum, safety professionals will encounter more situations where knowledge of these systems is essential.

TLX Technologies’ insight into efficient disconnects offers valuable information, shedding light on the inner workings of EV drivetrains and highlighting the significance of energy efficiency in vehicle design.

This knowledge can play a pivotal role in emergency response situations and broader safety considerations for EVs.

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