20 Tough Questions About the Auto Industry in 2018

Will the 12-volt electrical architecture go away?

As automakers lean on power-hungry hardware such as electric compressors, the humble 12-volt battery will die hard—just not for another 20 years or so. Raj Rajkumar, an IEEE fellow and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon, says cars will likely use 48-volt subsystems in addition to the 12-volt—as the Bentley Bentayga does—in a transitional phase. But once the switch is made, 48-volt wiring harnesses will be thinner and lighter than the 12-volt apparatus.