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Redefining automotive 48V power delivery
Modular Solutions Decentralized Architecture

Today’s challenges with electrification

The development of pure electric, mild hybrid (MHEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicles with 48V based power delivery networks (PDN) are rapidly expanding.

Cars and SUVs

Cars and SUVs

Light duty trucks

Light duty trucks

Trucks and busses

Trucks and busses

Sports car

High-end sports cars

Plug-in hybrid

Electric vehicles

EV motorcycles

EV motorcycles

While these new vehicles solve the CO2 emissions challenge and offer significant performance enhancements and new features, their electrification presents new power delivery challenges for OEM and Tier 1 engineers. These challenges are common to the development of all new electrified vehicle platforms:

  • Managing new 48V and Legacy 12V loads 
  • Higher voltage, 800V and 400V conversion and regulation
  • Designing higher power, low weight and small DC-DC converters 
  • Adding innovative technologies from new suppliers 
  • Hiring experienced power system engineering resources 

Modular power solutions

Modular power solutions

Vicor enables the most advanced vehicles today with a modular approach to power providing converters with a high level of integration, advanced switching topologies and thermally adept packaging. Modular power replaces the larger, heavier discrete solutions that are present in so many vehicles today. The Vicor power modules enable an EV/HEV to be lighter, faster and/or travel farther.

Vicor ChiPs: four components serve 300 possible combinations

Regulated DC-DC converters


High voltage DCM

Non-isolated regulated


400V to 48V and 48V to 12V

92 x 23 x 7mm


Low voltage DCM

Non-isolated regulated


48V to 12V

37 x 17 x 7mm

Fixed ratio DC-DC converters


High voltage BCM



800V to 48V and 400V to 48V

61 x 35 x 7mm



Non-isolated and bidirectional


48V to 12V and 12V to 48V

23 x 17 x 7mm


The benefits of modular power

The benefits of modular power

Lighter Weight

Lighter weight vehicles


Faster time to SOP

Design efficiency

Design efficiency


Reuse of modules

Modular power enables a high-performance decentralized architecture

Diagram of automotive centralized architecture
Diagram of automotive decentralized architecture

The benefits of moving from a large centralized DC-DC converter to decentralized 48V to 12V power distribution architecture are numerous:

  • Maximize 48V power delivery to save cost and weight by downsizing with 48V cabling and connectors
  • Packaging density and flexibility
  • FuSa true power redundancy
  • Reduce thermal management challenges by distributing the power loss among the DC-DC converters

Decentralized architecture reduces thermal management challenges

Centralized: 180W of power loss

Centralized power loss

Standard DC-DC converter at 94% efficiency

Decentralized: 15W of power loss

Decentralized power loss

Vicor high-efficiency DC-DC converter module at 98% efficiency

Decentralized architecture with ultra-high voltage batteries

Decentralized power with an 800V battery

High-density, high-efficiency fixed ratio converters used to step down high voltage to 48V

Many high-performance pure electric vehicles are adding 800V batteries to enable the higher power levels that their vehicle powertrains are now requiring. Converting from 800V to 48V at levels of >20kW with traditional converter topologies results in a bulky and heavy DC-DC converter due to the wide input to output voltage ratio. By using Vicor fixed ratio converter modules that operate at high switching frequencies, power densities of 2.6kW/in3 and efficiencies of 98% can be achieved, significantly reducing the size of the converter.

Modular power solutions simplify decentralized architectures

High voltage

Manage high voltage with fixed ratio converters

High density

Highest density at highest efficiency


Maximize 48V PDN with power dense modules at the point of load


Modular components are scalable, flexible, easy to reuse for new applications or changing electrical environments

Implementing decentralized 48V power distribution architectures with modular power components greatly simplifies the design challenge. Modular components from Vicor are inherently more scalable and flexible due to their high density and efficiency. Components can be easily paralleled and with only a few components, high-performance power delivery systems from a few hundred watts too many kilowatts can be created.

48V automotive powerchain