This content is not included in your SAE MOBILUS subscription, or you are not logged in.
Risks of Lightning to Automotive Occupants and Electrical/Electronic Systems
ISSN: 0148-7191, e-ISSN: 2688-3627
Published March 28, 2017 by SAE International in United States
Annotation ability available
Lightning strikes on automobiles are usually rare, though they can be fatal to occupants and hazardous to electronic control systems. Vehicles’ metal bodies are normally considered to be an effective shield against lightning. Modern body designs, however, often have wide window openings, and plastic body parts have become popular. Lightning can enter the cabin of vehicles through their radio antennas. In the near future, automobiles may be integrated into the electric power grid, which will cause issues related to the smart grid and the vehicle-to-grid concept. Even today, electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are charged at home or in parking lots. Such automobiles are no longer isolated from the power grid and thus are subject to electric surges caused by lightning strikes on the power grid. A charging system connected to an EV or PHEV should absorb the surge, but powerful lightning strikes can overwhelm the surge protection and intrude into the electric and electronic (E/E) systems of the vehicles, as often happens with household electrical equipment.
This paper discusses the increasing risks of lightning to automotive occupants and E/E systems. To demonstrate the risk to vehicle systems, artificial lightning was generated by a 3 MV-impulse voltage source and supplied to a test vehicle. Arcing at the vehicle’s metal joints was then observed; the electronic system of the instrument panel was destroyed in the experiment. The induced surge voltage and lightning current in the metal body were both measured to determine the impact on the vehicle’s electronic systems. In order to develop a theoretical model for vehicle lightning, a NiCr metal box was also examined under artificial lightning conditions. In these experiments, neither the vehicle’s metal body nor the NiCr box shielded the lightning well. During lightning strikes, significant voltage differences were observed in the metals, and the vehicle body did not work as a common ground. The voltage difference also suggested the generation of an electromagnetic field in the vehicle cabin that can be harmful to vehicle systems.
CitationAlkhteeb, S., Oho, S., Nagashima, Y., Nishimura, S. et al., "Risks of Lightning to Automotive Occupants and Electrical/Electronic Systems," SAE Technical Paper 2017-01-0061, 2017, https://doi.org/10.4271/2017-01-0061.
- Hosokawa, T., Yokoyama, S., and Soeda, M., “Aspect of Home Electric Appliances Damages due to Lightning and Future Problem,” IEEJ Transactions on Power and Energy, Vol. 129, No. 8, pp.1033-1038, 2009.
- Sadek, N., “Urban electric vehicles: a contemporary business case,” European Transport Research Review, Online Article, 2012, doi: 10.1007/s12544-011-0061-6.
- Ronald, L., “Lightning-Caused Deaths and Injuries in the Vicinity of Vehicles,” Third Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data, New Orleans, Jan. 2008.
- Yamamoto, K. et al., “Accident of Automobile Due to lightning,” IEEE Int. Conf. on Lightning Protection, 2014, doi: 10.1109/ICLP.2014.6973240.
- Yanagawa, S. et al., “Investigations of lightning accidents on automobile,” Electric Power Sys R Vol.139, pp.2-9, Oct. 2016.
- Kanata, J., Ametani A., and Yamamoto, K., “Threats of Lightning Current through an Electric Vehicle,” IEEE Int. Conf. on Lightning Protection, Sept. 2012, doi: 10.1109/ICLP.2012.6344299
- Yamamoto, K., Kanata, J., and Ametani, A., “Transient Magnetic Fields and Current Distributions in an Electric Vehicle Caused by a Lightning Stroke,” Electrical Engineering in Japan Vol.132-B, No.7, pp.667-675, July 2012.
- Kanata, J., Ametani, A., and Yamamoto, K., “Study on Transient Magnetic Field in a Vehicle Body Caused by Nearby Lightning,” International Conference on Power System Transients(IPST),Vancouver, BC, Canada, July 2013.
- Yang, G. et al., “A New Lightning Protection System for Vehicles,” IEEE Int. Conf. on Asia-Pacific International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility, 2010. doi: 10.1109/APEMC.2010.5475704
- Naito, Y., Yanagawa, S. and Yamamoto, K., “High Voltage Impulse Experiment on Electric Automobiles and its Verification,” IEEE Int. Conf. on Lightning Protection, Oct. 2014, doi: 10.1109/ICLP.2014.6973366
- Piche, A., Ivan, R., and Gilles, P., “Experimental and Numerical Methods to Characterize Electrical Behavior of Carbon Fiber Composites Used in Aeronautic Industry,” in Tesinova, P. (Ed), "Advances in Composite Materials-Analysis of Natural and Man-Made Materials"2011. ISBN: 978-953-307-449-8.2
- Feraboli, P., and Miller, M., “Damage Resistance and Tolerance of Carbon/Epoxy Composite Coupons Subjected to Simulated Lightning Strike,” Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing. Vol. 40, No. 6-7, pp.954-967, 2009.
- News report, Minami Nippon Shimbun, March 5, 2015. (The Japanese-language newspaper does not provide online services.)
- Pell, B. et al., “Advancements in Automotive Antennas,” New Trends and Developments in Automotive System Engineering, Jan.2011. ISBN :978-953-307-517-4