With the continuous development of electric vehicles from MEV to BEV, and the penetration of intelligence, the cost of single-vehicle electronic components in electric vehicles accounts for an increasing percentage of the cost of the entire vehicle. In terms of intelligence, according to data, in 2021, the number of L2 ADAS new cars in China was 3.9562 million with a year-on-year increase of 77.65%, and the L2+ level ADAS new cars were 1.6945 million.
The global penetration rate of electric vehicles was close to 20% in 2022, with shipments reaching 5.225 million vehicles and expected to reach 12.99 million vehicles in 2025, with a CAGR of 38% from 2021 to 2025. According to IHS data, the cost of automotive electronics accounted for 18% in 2000, and is expected to rise to 45% by 2030, and the value of single-vehicle electronics continues to rise.
The upgrading of connectors stimulates automotive market
- As the second largest downstream scenario in automotive field, connectors are widely applied to the major automotive systems.
Connectors are electronic components used for electrical or optical signal exchange between electronic system devices. Automobiles are the second largest application field for connectors after communications. The market size of automotive connectors is second only to the communication market. The application of connectors in automobiles mainly includes power systems, safety systems, vehicle equipment, and the types of connectors include circular connectors, FCP connectors, I/O connectors, etc.
According to different application scenarios of connectors in automobiles, connectors on automobiles can be divided into high-voltage, low-voltage, and high-speed connectors. The application of the three types of connectors in automobiles has its own focus. With the development of electrification, intelligence, networking and sharing of automobiles, the value of high-voltage and high-speed connectors has increased significantly. Below we will focus on the opportunities for high-voltage and high-speed connectors in the development of the “four modernizations” of automobiles.
2. High-voltage connectors: High-voltage platform upgrades require re-selection of connectors
Energy vehicles are upgraded to high-voltage platforms to alleviate the problem of mileage anxiety. In the short term, the high-voltage platform can solve the problem of slow charging of electric vehicles and alleviate mileage dilemma. In the long run, the high-voltage platform can improve the overall performance of the vehicle. The improvement of high-power electric drive efficiency reduces heat loss, and the smaller wire diameter can effectively save copper wire costs, save space, and achieve lightweight requirements.
The upgrade of the electric vehicle platform has gradually increased the requirements for high voltage resistance, insulation, electromagnetic compatibility, and thermal management of connected components under high current and high voltage. The heat resistance, pressure resistance, current carrying capacity and EMC of new energy vehicle connectors are particularly important. With the upgrade of the high-voltage platform, the traditional low-voltage connectors will be replaced by high-voltage connectors, and the value of the single vehicle of the connector will increase significantly.
3. High-speed connectors: Automobile intelligence and networking embrace new development space
The penetration of automobile intelligence and networking is accelerating, opening up the growth space of high-speed connectors.By 2030, HA-level intelligent networked vehicles will be widely used on expressways and scaled up on some urban roads. The development of car intelligence and networking will use a large number of high-speed connectors.
Taking ADAS as an example, the information captured by the camera is transmitted to the wire harness through the FAKRA high-speed connector. The other end of the wire harness is connected to the HFM connector, and then transmitted to the host computer through the HSD connector, and finally the data is transmitted to the display screen through the HSD connector superior. Connectors used throughout include FAKRA, HFM, and HSD.
Meanwhile, with the increase in the number of sensors and the centralization of automotive electronic and electrical architectures, the requirements for data transmission rates are higher. The traditional 6GHz FAKRA connector cannot meet the new requirements. Due to its high transmission rate and small size, Mini-FAKRA , will gradually replace FAKRA in the future.
4. The automotive connector market is huge, and manufacturers in China is expected to grow
The automotive connector market is large and is expected to reach 57.2 billion RMB in 2024. The market size of China automotive connectors reached 37.8 billion RMB in 2022, 67 billion RMB in 2025, and a CAGR of 22.04% from 2022 to 2024.
With low market share of manufacturers in China, there is still a lot of development space for substitution products. Due to the characteristics of long product cycle, high technical barriers, and long verification cycle, the market share of automotive connectors is mostly occupied by foreign manufacturers.
In recent years, manufacturers in China have made rapid progress in the field of connectors, and a number of outstanding companies such as Recodeal, JONHON and so on. The rapid development of domestic automobile electrification and intelligence drives the rapid development of domestic connector companies.
Electrification greatly increases the demand on wiring harness
1. Electrification increases the demand for high-voltage wiring harnesses
Electrification drives the technology upgrade path of high-voltage automotive wiring harnesses, bringing about an increase in the value of single vehicle. The automotive wiring harness provides electrical connections for the operation of various systems in the car and is the “neural network” of the vehicle. Compared with traditional fuel vehicles, new energy vehicles with batteries as the main energy source have promoted the development path of large-diameter and high-voltage wiring harnesses to meet the needs of high-voltage and high-current transmission, driving up the value of single vehicle.
New energy vehicles mainly reduce the engine wiring harness and increase the high-voltage wiring harness. The enrichment of functions such as autonomous driving and entertainment in the future will be an important driving force for the growth of demand for automotive wiring harnesses. Various electronic devices such as cameras, sensors, and display screens loaded in the vehicle require a large number of wiring harnesses to transmit electric energy and signals. According to Aptiv’s estimation, the length of the unoptimized L3 wiring harness will more than double that of the L2 autonomous driving system.
The wiring harness market is vast, and by 2025 the world and China are expected to reach 274.2 and 108.3 billion RMB respectively. It predicts that the penetration rate of new energy vehicles in the world and China will reach about 40% and 25% respectively in 2025. The market size of global and domestic automotive wiring harnesses will reach 274.2 and 108.3 billion RMB with the CAGR of 5.3% and 9.8% in 2025.
2. The market concentration is high, and manufacturers in China take advantage of the situation to accelerate their development
Overseas manufacturers dominate the wiring harness market, and the market concentration is high, presenting an oligopolistic pattern. Global auto brands usually implement high-standard and strict supplier management, with high barriers to entry, relatively closed supplier systems, and relatively stable cooperation. The market presents an oligopolistic pattern, with a few foreign-funded and joint-venture automotive wiring harness companies occupying most of the market share, with CR3 and CR5 accounting for 70.9% and 81.65% respectively.
Most automotive wiring harness companies maintain stable cooperation with OEMs. Due to the strong demand for customization of downstream automakers, there is a certain degree of stickiness to suppliers that provide long-term support for them, and there are high barriers to entry.
Automotive PCB: Accelerated upgrade of product structure
As the penetration rate of smart cockpits and smart driving continues to increase, single-vehicle PCBs usage increases accordingly. The 4-8 layer board is still the main board used in automotive PCB, and the proportion of HDI PCB and FPC has increased.
Comparing the structure of automotive PCB boards in 2018 and 2020, it is not difficult to find that although the proportion has declined, multi-layer PCB (more than 2 layers) are still the mainstream PCB boards for automobiles, falling from 51% in 2018 to 45% in 2020. Correspondingly, the proportion of HDI and FPC is gradually increasing, among which the proportion of HDI will increase from 7.5% in 2018 to 11.5% in 2020, and the proportion of FPC will increase from 12% to 15%.
With the development of automotive electronics and the limitation of internal space, the requirements for PCB boards are increasing. It is expected that the ratio of HDI to FPC will further increase in the future.
The electronicization of automobiles promotes the accelerated upgrading of rigid PCBs. It is widely used in automotive tire pressure detection systems, battery monitoring modules, car body charging ports, inverter controls, automotive ABS systems, automotive air conditioning systems, navigation systems, and automotive face recognition systems.
Traditional automotive circuit boards are mostly ordinary multi-layer PCBs and double-layer PCB. With the increase in the loading of electronic components in the vehicle, and the high integration of some components such as the vehicle control system, the wiring density, heat dissipation capacity, and reliability of the vehicle board are greatly affected. Higher requirements are put forward for safety, and automotive boards are upgraded in the direction of multi-layer, high-density, thinner, and high-frequency (for millimeter-wave radar and laser radar).
1)Control safety system: High-frequency signal transmission requires the use of high-frequency materials;
2)Power engine control: High-voltage, high-current, thick copper processing technology is required;
3)Lighting: LED lights are used, and metal substrates are required for heat dissipation;
4)Vehicle communication and interior decoration: from multi-layer boards to high-density interconnection boards.
The penetration of flexible PCB for new energy vehicles is rapid. Compared with traditional wire harnesses, FPC has the advantages of safety, light weight, flexible process, and automatic production, and can meet the needs of high energy density and low cost of power batteries.
With other electronic components, it mainly plays the following roles: monitor the voltage and temperature of the power battery cell; connect data acquisition and transmission with its own over-current protection function; protect the power battery cell, and automatically disconnect when abnormal short circuit occurs; prolong the service life of the power battery.
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