The conventional cars’ demand for PCB is small, and the value of PCB is also low. PCB accounts for about 2% of the total cost of electronic devices. The average PCB usage is about 1m2 per car, the value is US$60 only. The consumption of high-level car is 2-3m2 and the value is about US$120-130.
In the electronic components of traditional cars, the demand for power systems is the highest, about 32%, which mainly includes engine control units, starters, generators, transmission control devices, fuel injection and power steering systems etc.. The electronics system of car body takes up 25%, mainly Including automotive lighting, HVAC, power doors, seats and TPMS, etc.. Security control systems takes up about 22%, mainly including ADAS, ABS, and airbags etc.. Others also include display, entertainment and other on board electronic systems.
Whether it is hybrid or pure electric car, the three major power control systems (BMS, VCU and MCU) is the specific source for its PCB increment.
VCU is composed by control circuit and algorithm software, is the control center of the power system, used to monitor the status of the vehicle and implement the car's power control decision. VCU’s control circuit need to use about 0.03 m2 PCB.
MCU is composed by control circuit and algorithm software. It is an important unit in the electronic energy control system for new energy vehicles. Its role is to control the motor operation according to VCU’s instruction. And then it will output the required AC power accordingly. The control circuit PCB in the MCU is about 0.15m2.
BMS is the core component of a battery cell. By collecting and calculating parameters such as voltage, current, temperature, and SOC, the BMS can control the charge and discharge process of the battery and achieve protection and comprehensive management of the battery. The BMS hardware is composed of a master control (BCU) and a slave control (BMU). The slave control is installed inside the module to detect the voltage, current, and balance control of the unit. The main board position is more flexible and is used for relay control and state of charge values. (SOC) estimation and electrical damage protection.
BMS adopts a more stable multi-layer board usually, and the single-unit value is higher than other circuit boards. The role is to monitor the voltage, current, and other indicators of the cell, achieve balanced control, prevent over-voltage and over-current damage to the battery life and performance. Due to the complex structure of the BMS, a large amount of PCBs are needed, the main control circuit’s usage is about 0.24m2, and the single cell management unit is 2-3m2.
Since different control units have different requirements for the PCB board, the price is also quite different. For example, the unit price for the main control circuit board of the BMS unit can reach $3190/m2. The price for the slave control board is $230 to $320/m2. In contrast, the PCB used by the VCU and the MCU is common and the added value is not too high. The price is only $160/m2. At the same time, the number of individual management units for various types of BMS is also different, which caused the difference for the amount of PCB used by different models, with an average of about 3-5m2. The total vehicle PCB usage is between 5-8m2, and the value is about $230 higher than the traditional one.
According to the statistics of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the total global sales of new energy vehicles will reach 6 million by 2020, which means the new energy vehicles will bring nearly 2 billion market increments to the global automotive PCB market.