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Challenges and opportunities for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Environmentally friendly lifestyle choices, combined with the desire to save on fuel costs, are driving demand for electric vehicles (EVs) exponentially.
Add to this the trend towards E-Mobility, and there is a critical need for more extensive electric infrastructure, particularly for EV charging stations and related equipment necessary to support the mass adoption of EV technology.
EV charging must become more convenient, more efficient and more sustainable.

In addition to meeting the demand for more residential and commercial charging stations, manufacturers face a number of challenges, including:

  • the speed of charging,
  • safety,
  • compatibility,
  • reliability
  • efficiency, as well as preparing for emerging trends towards integration with smart grid technology and wireless charging.

Dow has always been at the forefront of E-Mobility, developing innovative silicone materials that play a crucial role in meeting the demand for electric mobility.

Why choose Dow silicone technology?

Dow is committed to offering innovative technologies to OEMs and EV suppliers to help make the evolution of transportation smarter and more sustainable.
Particularly in this period of rapid development of electric charging stations, Dow is focusing on exploring the industry’s potential, drawing on trusted application expertise and critical insights in materials science to create a range of innovative, high-performance silicone materials and adhesives for battery packs, charging stations, charging guns, energy storage systems and other applications.

The inherent versatility of silicone chemistry can help expand design freedom, increase processing options and improve performance and reliability.
Dow offers a wide range of product options to address specific EV infrastructure challenges, including:

  • Materials for thermal management, including fillers, adhesives, non-curing compounds, gels and encapsulants.
  • Protection and assembly materials, including adhesives, sealants and conformal coatings.
  • Elastomers, high consistency silicone rubbers (HCR) and liquid silicone rubbers (LSR)

Silicone material applications for E-Mobility

Charging systems for electric vehicles can essentially be classified into three categories:

  • Level I: AC, slow charging (120 VAC) – typically used in domestic chargers; 6 to 12 hour charging cycle.
  • Level II: AC, slow charging (208 to 400 VAC) – typically used in domestic and commercial charging stations; 4 to 10-hour charging cycle.
  • Level III: DC, fast charging (400-1,000 VDC) – used in commercial stations; charging cycle 5 to 30 minutes. These systems are commonly referred to as X DC or fast charging.

Dow offers a range of material options specifically designed to meet the demanding requirements of high-power Level III DC fast-charging stations, including charging station technologies, charging guns (connectors), cables and housings.

The comprehensive use of thermally conductive technical materials, silicone elastomers, coolants and other silicone technologies can significantly improve the functionality, safety and sustainability of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and provide consumers with an efficient and reliable driving experience.

Silicone materials for thermal management

Heat generation is intrinsic to the charging process, resulting in thermal management issues for charging housings, charging guns, wires and cables. With the evolution of heat dissipation technology in charging modules, heat can be transferred to the external environment through highly conductive materials. 

Alternatively, a more complex liquid cooling technology can solve the problem of heat dissipation within the charging housing itself. Both methods require adequate thermal conductivity and thermal management materials.

Silicone protection and assembly materials

The interiors of printed circuit board (PCB) modules, charging gun connectors and charging housing enclosures contain components such as capacitors, semiconductors and magnetic devices, all of which are sensitive to environmental contamination (e.g. ingress of dust, water, salt spray, etc.). 

These interiors also contain power devices with high heat generation. Silicone materials can help maintain these structures so that the components are protected from the environment.

Materials for EV charging stations

There are specific silicone materials for the individual parts of electric vehicle charging stations:

  • Charging guns
    • Gels, encapsulants and pottants
    • Thermal management
    • HCR
    • LSR
    • Conformal Coating
    • Sealants/Adhesives
  • Charging cables and busbars
    • HCR
  • Charging station housings
    • Foam Gaskets
    • Sealants/Adhesives
  • Power electronics
    • Ceramifying HCR
    • Conformal coatings
    • Electrically conductive materials (EMI shielding)
    • Thermal management materials
    • Gels, encapsulants and pottants

MD Poland, Dow’s official partner in Poland, has a wide selection of proven silicone materials under the DOWSIL™, SILASTIC™, SYLGARD™ and XIAMETER™ brand names that meet the demanding performance requirements of charging systems used in a wide range of applications.
We contribute to innovative projects and work for the consumer electronics and automotive sectors and provide solutions according to the required project.
Download the brochure and contact us.