Automakers Collaborate on 42V Architecture

September 27, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

The US Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) recently approved the formation of a new working group whose goal will be to guide a major change from 14V to 42V in the electrical architecture that powers the majority of American vehicles.Leaders from USCAR member companies, including DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors, have recognized that there is significant benefit to joint development of a new architecture. Because the 42V research extends far beyond the work USCAR has been doing, the 42V members have formed a new group which the USCAR Joint Support Committee gave official status at its September 2000 meeting. Increased electrical power demand for vehicles is what is driving the conversion. Group chairman Dennis Wiese of GM emphasizes that while a 42V system will not directly give systems more power, "forty-two volts will allow wires and semiconductor switches, and thus some electronics, to be smaller. This can enable manufacturers to employ designs that promote fuel and system efficiency."