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An electric car still uses a 12 volt system to power all of the original 12 volt accessories: lights, horn, etc. This may also power some control circuits for the electric drive system. However, unlike a gas car, there is no alternator to keep this battery charged. One option in the early days of EVs was to use a deep cycle 12 volt battery, as heavy duty as possible, and recharge it when you charge the main battery pack. This is not adequate if any amount of night driving is intended. As the battery drains in use, the headlights will grow dimmer and the turn signals flash more slowly. It can also effect the running of the car if some of the drive system components do not get the 12 volt signal they require.
It would seem to be simple to tap 12 volt from one or two of the main pack batteries. This is not recommended, because it will cause the pack to discharge unevenly, affecting performance and battery life. It also violates the isolation of the traction pack from the chassis, which is required by some components, and necessary for safety.
The solution is a DC/DC convertor. This taps the full battery pack voltage and cuts it down to a regulated output, similar to that from an alternator. By tapping the full pack, there is no uneven discharge. Amperage required is so low that there is little effect on range. Isolation of the high and low voltage systems is maintained inside the DC/DC converter. This also eliminates the need for a separate 12 volt charging circuit for an auxiliary battery.
The ElCon is suitable for use with our medium voltage (96V-144V) drive systems. It is intended to be used in conjunction WITH a 12V accessory battery. However, since the battery is not being asked to start a gas engine, a much smaller 12V starting type battery than the car's original can be used.
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