Heavy-duty vehicles:
Carrying a big load of carbon emissions

Nathan Cook, Global Business Development Manager for Cable Management Products, ABB Installation Products

An increasing load of emissions
Growing concerns around climate change are leading to new measures to limit carbon emissions. The transportation industry is a top area of focus because it accounts for around 20% of global carbon emissions, with approximately one quarter of that coming from heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs). For the United States, transportation is the top greenhouse gas (GHG) producing industry

Moreover, one group of transportation vehicles produces far more carbon emissions than its repre-sentation in the market. Accounting for only 1% of fleet vehicles, heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) emit an estimated 25% of global road emissions with the number expected to rise as higher demand for freight transport equals an increasing share of carbon emissions. By 2025, the global HDV fleet is pro-jected to contribute more GHG emissions than the light-duty vehicle fleet. 

To help combat rising emissions and meet evolving targets, heavy-duty electric vehicle adoption is increasing. According to a report by Roush for Environmental Defense Fund, electric heavy-duty vehi-cles such as freight trucks and buses, could reach cost parity with diesel models this decade, many as soon as 2027. 

Heavy-duty vehicles contribute a large share of emissions.

Heavy-duty electric vehicles operate in demanding conditions, requiring wiring protection.

A major electrical problem
The move toward electric vehicles translates to modern engine designs with a significant amount of electrical wiring and hotter running temperatures. For example, the infrastructure of electric drive trains requires high voltage levels of 400 V to 800 V to supply sufficient energy to the vehicle, compared to 12 V to 24 V in gas powered drive trains.

The increase in required energy presents a problem for many wiring solutions on the market. One major component that needs increased capabilities for heavy-duty EVs are the connectors that support the entire wiring system.

Some heavy-duty EVs are in service for long hours or travel across treacherous terrain, putting strain on the vehicle’s electrical wiring in addition to the damaging impacts of vibration, corrosion and regular power jet washing. A vehicle’s electrical wiring is its heartbeat and helps drive its performance, productivity and reliability, all of which affect cost of ownership.

A first-of-its-kind solution
To protect these vital connections, ABB Installation Products engineers and product specialists worked with vehicle makers, transportation providers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to develop the world’s first full range of hinged high voltage connector backshells for heavy-duty electric vehicles with its Harnessflex® EVO™ Connector Interfaces.

As the first-of-its kind, ABB’s Harnessflex EVO Connector Interfaces are designed for a broad range of demanding and high-use areas of transportation, from construction and agriculture to trucks, buses and trains. Harnessflex EVO Connector Interfaces reduce cable movement and form tighter junction joints for safer and more secure high voltage connections in electric ancillaries, DC/DC converters, onboard chargers, high voltage battery packs, hybrid systems, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and dynamic and static power systems.

With critical strain relief, resistance against debris, a smooth internal profile to protect cables from abrasion and a thick wall to manage high voltage cables, the Harnessflex EVO Connector Interfaces are a robust alternative to tape or heat shrink as a connector termination and may even potentially mitigate the need for expensive, bulky cable clamps in high voltage applications.

Harnessflex® EVO™ offers conduit and connector interfaces as part of a complete wiring protection system.
Harnessflex® EVO™ connector interfaces offer backshell protection for Amphenol Powerlok and TE HVA280-3 connectors.

The enhanced cable-to-connector stability provided by a conduit / connector interface solution provide manufacturers, vehicle owners and operators peace of mind when it comes to heavy duty EV wiring systems. Amid an evolving regulatory environment and the shift to electric, HDV manufacturers are working to earn energy incentives, avoid future fines and help drive environmentally friendly changes.

With an intense focus on lowering emissions and the transition to commercial and heavy-duty EVs, integrating a Harnessflex® system can help reduce running costs, minimize breakdowns and downtime, and boost overall productivity.

Nathan Cook is the Global Business Development Manager for ABB’s Cable Management Products, the leading and best range of cable and connector protection systems in the Heavy Automotive Sector.

Harnessflex is dedicated to innovating and delivering maximum circuit integrity and performance in productivity-critical heavy vehicles, including construction, agricultural & mining machinery, bus, truck, and drive train technology. Harnessflex is moving into the future with specialty ranges and advancements for growth industry sectors and high-spec applications such as EV development and high-temperature protection. Nathan is based in the UK and works with customers and colleagues around the globe to protect electrical systems from in-field failure and the resulting machine downtime.

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