Electric cars are coming. That much is sure, but a world with only battery electric cars is still decades away. In the interim, 48 volt electrical systems wil power many systems and sub-systems in conventional cars. Borg Warner is leading the way to the 48 volt future. Voltage is like water pressure in a pipe. The higher the pressure, the more work it can do. The obverse is that high pressures can make use of thinner pipes.
What can 48 volts systems do? They can power the electric steering and braking systems that are so critical to self driving cars. They can run air conditioning and heating systems at stop lights when a gasoline engine goes into shut down mode to boost fuel economy. They can zip windows up and down, open and close sunroofs, move power seats back and forth. In other words, they can relieve internal combustion engines from many of the chores that sap power and mileage from today’s cars.