Why do we need a GaN Charger / GaN power supply for E-Bikes or Small Electric Vehicles?
Is your electric vehicle or E-Bike constantly running out of charge or tired of caring bulky traditional power supply chargers or getting mad at slow charging speed? If your answer to any of these questions is “YES”, it is time to switch to a GaN-based EV fast charger or GaN power supply.
In this GaN power supply article, we will cover a small description of the GaN chargers and its advantage in comparison with the traditional chargers for E-Bikes and small electric vehicles. In addition, we also cover the parameters or the technical aspects which need to consider in the selection of a charger for their E-Bikes by the customers or the GaN charger designers.
What is a GaN charger for E-Bike or for small electric vehicles?
Chargers made of GaN power management devices are called the GaN power supply or the GaN chargers. GaN or Gallium Nitrite is an advanced semiconductor technology that will have many advantages over traditional Silicon technology. The power supply made out of GaN devices is suitable for the 2-wheeler charging application or for small electric vehicles. They offer many benefits over traditional chargers like faster, lighter, and more efficient.
Now the advanced GaN technology makes the electric bike charging higher efficient, small in size, and faster than a traditional silicon charger.
Why GaN (Gallium Nitride) devices is Superior to Silicon devices / traditional devices?
Gallium Nitride is a semiconductor material used to make smaller transistor devices, handle higher power and support fast switching. GaN power supply is designed using GaN power management devices which are based on Gallium nitride semiconductor material.
Moreover, as GaN is an advanced technology, there is much more technology enhancement we can expect in the near future for the power management switching devices made out of GaN.
For a user as well as the electric 2-wheeler manufacturer GaN or gallium nitride chargers is better than traditional charger due to the technology advancement. GaN is a semiconductor material that has higher efficiency, It is a good conductor of electricity than silicon. More it is the latest semiconductor technology so a lot more improvement is yet to come, but in the case of silicon chargers it is almost in the mature stage.
Here are a few points that need to consider by the customer as well as the electric 2-wheeler manufacturers in selecting a GaN charger over a traditional charger.
GaN or Gallium Nitride E-bike chargers have higher energy-efficient than traditional silicon chargers. This higher efficiency help to reduce the loss of energy and it is better for the environment. The higher efficient charger will help for the quick charging of the 2-wheeler on the road.
If the energy efficiency improvement of 2 to 3 percent for a high-power charger like 1KW is 20W to 30W power. These saved 20-30W power help the users to run the E-Bike at least 3 to 5 additional kilo-meters, in a single charging.
One of the biggest benefits of GaN power supply chargers is they’re faster and more efficient. GaN-based e-bike chargers will charge much faster than standard chargers as they don’t waste a lot of energy due to their higher efficiency and capability to handle higher power.
GaN power supply chargers made of GaN devices will support advanced charger design topology technologies like totem-pole PFC designs. This design operates in both cycles of electricity I.e. positive and negative cycles of the AC input, and also they support high frequency of operation. In addition, we can expect much more technology enhancement in GaN technology in the near future and it will help to improve the switching frequency, efficiency, and power handling.
As the GaN two-wheeler charger has higher efficiency, the energy loss is less in comparison with the traditional charger hence the customers can save money on the electricity bill for regular charging.
Consider the example of a GaN charger with a 3% higher efficiency than a traditional charger. For a 1 KW power supply charger, a 3% loss in power is 30 watts. If a traditional charger is used, 30 watts of energy on the electricity bill customers need to pay, without having any benefit as it wastes heat while charging. If it is a GaN charger, customers can run the E-Bike for an additional corresponding distance once it is charged as this 30-watt goes into the battery.
Chargers made of GaN devices are cooler than ordinary traditional chargers hence they are safer to use and handle while charging. Traditional chargers will get heated up fast while charging but the GaN chargers stay cool. In general, the GaN chargers will have internal safety features which help to prevent overheating and overcharging, this will help to protect the users from any type of accident while charging.
GaN power supply chargers are made with more efficient, smaller, and more compact GaN semiconductor devices, than traditional chargers which are made of MOSFET. They don’t need much heat sink hence they will not consume much space in your E-Bike or in small electric bikes.
As GaN chargers are smaller in size and compact in size hence GaN power supply can easily portable and you can carry it wherever you travel just like a laptop or a mobile charger. Low-power GaN chargers will be available in the same dimensions as the laptop chargers for E-Bikes or for small electric vehicles.
If you’re traveling for a long distance using your E-Bikes or with small electric vehicles, wasting time on charging on the road will be a concern. If you are using a GaN power supply charger, you can charge your E-bike much faster than traditional chargers as it has higher efficiency and higher power handling capability. If you are traveling with a higher power charger like 1KW or above, you can get your E-bike charged in a few minutes.
In addition, to above listed benefits, GaN chargers are overall cost-effective for the manufacturers while considering the other factors such as it is small in size and does not need an additional cooling system, less storage space, and other logistics while transporting the charger from the manufacturing hub to the customer locations.
Below are the few electrical specifications that users or electric bike charger designers need to consider in the selection of the GaN power supply chargers for the e-bike or for small electric vehicles.
Input AC voltage range is the range that you need to consider in the usage of the GaN charger, such as single-phase or three-phase AC input range in your region. It is better to consider the universal AC input voltage range of the GaN charger for the generic electric bike application I.e. 90 V to 300 Vac, and 47 to 60 Hz range.
The output DC voltage range of a GaN electric bike power supply is the DC output voltage required to charge your EV battery. There are basically 2 types of DC output voltage GaN chargers available in the market adjustable output voltage GaN chargers and Fixed output chargers.
The fixed voltages from a GaN power supply for the E-Bikes are 9V, 12V, 48V, etc. The variable output GaN chargers will have an additional potentiometer to adjust the output voltage. In the general output, DC voltage is set by the electric bike charger designers to offer higher battery charging capacity for the e-bike they provide.
The output maximum current of a GaN charger is the absolute maximum output power we get from the power supply. The higher the current rating, the higher will be the power rating, in turn, the charging speed will be higher. To offer larger power, GaN chargers designed by using GaN devices can be paralleled.
For the Gallium Nitride chargers, the output ripple (the output current fluctuations) needs to be within the acceptable tolerance range. The more regulated output will be more suitable for the 2-wheeler electric vehicles or the e-bike battery. The output ripple factor can be seen in the electrical specification of the GaN chargers.
GaN-based power supplies are becoming more compact and smaller, and we need to consider the space in your electric vehicle to carry it, where ever you travel. If the GaN power supply or the charger dimension is smaller, it is easy to fit or carry. In general, GaN chargers are small in dimension, even if an additional cooling system is added for better functionality.
In general low-power, GaN chargers do not require additional cooling however it is advisable to have proper conduction cooling in the chargers. Most of the chargers will have an over-temperature protection circuit to shut down the power supply if it is heated up beyond the limit. It is advisable to check for the availability of extra cooling arrangements for the best functionality and safety while charging.
GaN power supply or GaN chargers will have higher efficiency, lower heat dissipation, and consume less space in your E-Bikes or in small electric vehicles. There are many GaN-based semiconductor companies like Tagore Technology Inc, GaN Systems, Navitas, etc that make various GaN-based power management devices for GaN charger manufacturing.
If you are an EV charger developer and new to GaN technology or would like to know more about GaN charger development, please feel free to reach out to the Tagore Technology Inc Application team at Tagore chargers Reference Design