48 Volt Electrical Systems Could Be the New Rage

12v systems have been in vehicles since the stone ages—more volts add more options.

Marin Tomas

For decades, vehicles of all types have relied on the tried-and-true 12 volt power system to charge and power accessories in the car. But now, 48 volt systems are coming onto the scene. There are massive advantages of using this higher-powered setup and brands like Bentley are already using it to power electronic sway bars. As turbochargers and higher compression motors continue to move forward the concept of reducing rotating parasitic mass off the crank shaft means better stop-start technology and belt-less AC compressors.

While the idea of electronically-assisted superchargers isn't new, its implementation has been hampered by the lower voltage systems in modern cars.  Phantom Superchargers released a kit for the Toyota 86 and BRZ a few years back with impressive yet limited results. 

Phantom Superchargers

Electric Supercharger

These aftermarket kits are just a small piece of the big puzzle for future vehicles. Turbocharged vehicles generally have tradeoffs in performance—sometimes it's heat while other setups suffer turbo lag. Introducing a 48v system allows for electric supercharging to smooth out power curves for these types of cars, including improving efficiency. While the potential is exciting, the level of complexity these systems add for the sake of small amount of efficiency and performance may raise red flags.


Bosch, Continental, Delphi, and Valeo are among the key components makers working to provide 48-volt systems to automakers.

-Bill Howard
Audi

Audi EPC