An onboard charger (OBC) is a power electronics device in electric vehicles (EVs) that converts AC power into DC power to charge their batteries. OBCs are usually under the hood or in the vehicle.
The conversion process ensures that the electrical energy from the charging station can be efficiently stored in the vehicle’s battery.
There is no doubt that the OBC is a vital component of the EV charging system since it ensures that the battery is charged safely and effectively. In addition, it communicates with the controller of the vehicle and the charging station in order to determine the appropriate amount of power/current and the correct charging standard in order to apply to the vehicle.
How does charging work?
When you plug an electric vehicle (EV) into an AC charging station, the onboard charger (OBC) converts the AC power to DC power before sending it to the battery pack. The OBC also monitors the battery’s temperature and voltage to ensure that it is charged safely and efficiently.
The OBC communicates with the vehicle’s battery management system (BMS) to determine the optimal charging rate. The BMS monitors the battery’s condition and prevents it from being overcharged or overheated.
The OBC also communicates with the charging station to determine the available power and charging standard. This allows the OBC to adjust the charging rate and ensure that the battery is charged at the optimal rate.
Here is a Step-by-step Overview of How Onboard Charging Works:
- Plug the EV into an AC charging station.
- The OBC communicates with the charging station to determine the available power and charging standard.
- The OBC converts the AC power to DC power.
- The OBC sends the DC power to the battery pack.
- The BMS monitors the battery’s temperature and voltage to ensure that it is charged safely and efficiently.
Role of Onboard Charger
Onboard chargers are crucial to electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).
The onboard charger connects the vehicle’s battery system to the power source. The charger converts the voltage and current from an external charging station or wall outlet into a level the battery can handle.
Onboard chargers convert AC to DC as well as monitor battery temperatures and voltage levels, control charging rates, and ensure safety measures are in place during charging.
Types of On Board Charger
There Are Two Main Types of Onboard Chargers (Obcs) in Electric Vehicles (Evs): Single-phase and Three-phase.
When it comes to onboard chargers (OBCs) in electric vehicles (EVs), there are two main types: single-phase and three-phase chargers. These chargers play a crucial role in charging the EV’s battery from an external power source.
Single-phase OBCs: You can use single-phase OBCs with any standard household outlet. Typically, they have a power output of 3.7 kW to 7.4 kW. A single-phase OBC is lighter and cheaper than a three-phase one, but it charges the battery slower.
Three-phase OBCs: with three phases are less common, but they charge batteries faster. Their power output ranges from 11 kW to 22 kW. OBCs with three phases are more expensive and heavier, but they can reduce EV charging time by up to 50%.
In addition to single-phase and three-phase OBCs, there are also a few other types of OBCs that are becoming more common, including:
- Bidirectional OBCs: Bidirectional OBCs can not only charge the EV’s battery, but they can also discharge the battery to power the vehicle’s electrical systems or to back-feed power to the grid.
- Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) OBCs: V2G OBCs are similar to bidirectional OBCs, but they are specifically designed to allow EVs to participate in V2G programs. V2G programs allow EV owners to sell excess electricity from their vehicle’s battery back to the grid.
- Solar OBCs: Solar OBCs are designed to work with solar panels to charge the EV’s battery. This can be a good option for EV owners who want to generate their own electricity to charge their vehicles.
What are the Power and Price Levels?
The power and price of onboard chargers (OBCs) for electric vehicles (EVs) varies depending on the type of OBC, the manufacturer, and the features.
Some of the factors that can affect the price of an OBC include:
- Power output: Higher-power OBCs are more expensive than lower-power OBCs.
- Features: OBCs with additional features, such as bidirectional charging or V2G support, are more expensive than OBCs without these features.
- Manufacturer: OBCs from different manufacturers can vary in price.
|Type of OBC
|Price range (INR)
Frequently Asked Questions about Onboard Chargers
What Are the Benefits of Having an Onboard Charger in an EV?
There are many benefits to having an onboard charger in an EV, including:
- Convenience: You can charge your EV from any standard AC outlet with an OBC. You can charge EVs at home, at work, or on the go.
- Versatility: OBCs can be charged with AC outlets, DC fast chargers, and solar panels. EV owners now have more options for charging their cars.
- Efficiency: OBCs are great at converting AC power to DC power. As a result, less energy is wasted during charging.
- Safety: OBCs have a lot of safety features, like ground fault protection and overcurrent protection. Electric hazards are prevented by these features.
How Much Does an Onboard Charger Cost?
The cost of an onboard charger varies depending on the type of OBC, the power output, and the features. Single-phase OBCs are typically less expensive than three-phase OBCs. Bidirectional OBCs and V2G OBCs are typically more expensive than single-phase and three-phase OBCs without these features.
What Are the Factors to Consider When Choosing an Onboard Charger?
When choosing an onboard charger, consider the following factors:
- Power output: Depending on the OBC’s power output, it will charge your EV faster. You’ll need an OBC with a higher power output if you want to charge your EV quickly.
- Features: There are some OBCs that come with extra features, like bidirectional charging or V2G. Choose an OBC that has the features you want.
- Price: There are a variety of factors that determine the price of OBCs, including the power output, the features, and the manufacturer. Choose an OBC based on your budget.
What is the Difference Between a Single-phase and Three-phase Onboard Charger?
A single-phase OBC can use one phase of AC power to charge the battery. A three-phase OBC can use three phases of AC power to charge the battery. Three-phase OBCs can charge the battery much faster than single-phase OBCs, but they require a three-phase electrical connection.