How electric vehicles impact cable harness design: Page 2 of 2

April 11, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
cable harness
Electromobility, the automation of driving and the constant connection of cars to the cloud are massively changing the electronics landscape in cars. This also applies to a very complex and expensive component that is rarely noticed: The wiring harness. Cable harness manufacturer Leoni AG explained how these factors will affect cabling – and its price.

Another factor that tends to push up the price of cable harnesses: In future data-driven business models, some functions may only be temporarily enabled via OTA software updates. In the case of electric vehicles, this can also include the motor performance. For car manufacturers to be able to implement such functions, the cabling must be designed for the maximum possible performance, even if this is rarely required at all. This will also make cable harnesses more expensive, Hornfeck explained.

On the other hand, there are also areas in which costs can fall. These include, for example, the trend to integrate power electronics directly into electric motors. Then OEMs could eliminate the 3-phase cables for power transmission (see diagram), Hornfeck said.

Though electric vehicles need more wiring systems,
Leoni believes that the overall harness price will fall
through the electrification (C) Leoni AG

Cost reduction potential also arises from the centralization of computer resources and innovative approaches to vehicle operation. For example, functions are increasingly no longer activated and deactivated with a dedicated switch, but via a context-sensitive user interface. This can reduce the number of switches and operating elements - and, of course, the lines leading to these switches. "The vehicle electrical system will become simpler and less monolithic," explained Hornfeck. "This allows the cable harnesses to be more modularized. This facilitates automated production.”

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