Electric Vehicles Require More Switches Than Ever

Electric Vehicles Require More Switches than Ever

There’s been a lot of talk about the electric vehicle market lately. Much of it has been about the difficulty of the EV transition given the amount of materials needed to produce EV batteries. Last week, the United States and Japan announced a trade deal on electric vehicle battery minerals, granting Japanese automakers wider access to the new $7,500 U.S. tax credit. The trade deal also reduces the countries’ dependence on China for materials like lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese.

European companies might also share in the billions of dollars in U.S. tax incentives for electric vehicles if the Biden administration can reach a trade agreement with them in coming weeks. The trade agreements could help with supply chain issues that have held the EV industry down.

New electric vehicle sales account for just an 8.5-percent market share in the U.S. despite that number tripling over the last two years. In January 2023, a total of 80,559 new battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) were sold in the United States. In that same month, 950,000 new internal-combustion-engine (ICE) vehicles were sold, as well as another 3 million used ICE vehicles.

Now the $7,500 tax credit is limited to fewer new EVs than it was prior to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Only passenger cars with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $55,000 or less qualify, and vans, SUVs, and light trucks must be $80,000 or less. However, purchasing used PHEVs or fuel-cell EVs qualifies you for a tax credit up to $4,000.

Ioniq 5 Switches
Switches in the Hyundai Ioniq 5

Not only are more cars being electrified, but more parts on cars are being electrified. From door handles to trunk latches and dashboards to dash cams, more and more of cars’ components are utilizing electric switches. With that, let’s look at some E-Switch offerings that could perform some of the functions on electric vehicles.

The most important specification a switch must have to be considered for installation on a vehicle is a wide operating temperature range. Being headquartered in Minnesota, we at E-Switch have a unique understanding of and appreciation for why this is the case.

The following tactile switches all operate in temperatures ranging from -40 to 85° Celsius and can perform common functions in electric vehicles: TL1014 (200,000 cycles), TL1016 (100k), TL3145 (3M cycles), TL3312 (500k), TL3701 (100k), TL3901 (50k), TL4100 (1M), TL4105 (200k), TL4110 (right-angle, 300k), TL6100 (process sealed, 1M) TL6120 (1M), TL6150 (5M), TL6155 (300k), TL6190 (right angle, 100k), TL6200 (10M), TL6300 (10M), TL6330 (100k), TL6340 (200k), TL6800 (1M), and TL9100 (100k).

There’s also a bunch of new switches being added to EV key fobs, including a switch for opening the charging door on the Hyundai Ioniq 5. The Fisker Ocean has a button on the key fob that rolls down all the windows of the car a quarter of the way. For these key fob switches, a large operating temperature range isn’t necessary, but size certainly matters.

The TL3365 Series ultra-miniature, surface mount tact switch measures just 4.2mm by 3.2mm, so it’s perfect for small applications like a key fob. It has a life expectancy of 100,000 cycles and three operating force options: 180gf, 250gf, and 400gf. If a longer life expectancy is required, the TL6330 Series has a 200,000-cycle life expectancy and measures just 2.8mm by 4.6mm.

The most interesting new use of switches featured on electric vehicles is for locking and unlocking the charging door. With vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Fisker Ocean now allowing drivers to use their electric vehicle as emergency generators, it’s just as important to protect access to the electricity as it was to protect against the siphoning of fuel.  

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Switch for locking the charging door on the Hyundai Ioniq 5

Once the charging door is open on the Ioniq 5, another tact switch can be pressed to close the door. E-Switch offers plenty of switches that could fulfill this function, but the TL3145 Series surface mount switch might be the best choice.

The TL3145 Series tact switch measures just 6.5mm by 6.5mm and provides dust and moisture protection at an IP67 rating. It also features a long life expectancy of up to 3 million cycles and comes in tape and reel packaging for automated installation. If your automated soldering requires a wash process, the TL6120 Series is process sealed with a life expectancy of up to one million cycles.

The evolution of automated driving functions like lane and parking assist have also resulted in more switches being used in cars. Now that cruise control allows you to take your hands off the steering wheel, there are switches that allow drivers to put their feet up, too. That’s right, the driver’s seat is becoming more and more like a recliner.

So, if you’re seeking switches for performing all the functions electric vehicles require, look no further than E-Switch. Our tactile switches with the highest operating temperature ranges should meet your needs. Find an E-Switch representative near you to order.