NEW POWER ELECTRONICS
Power electronics play an increasingly important role in vehicles and especially in electric vehicles.
It is the key element in the traction converter, the DC/DC converter for the on-board network and the battery charger.
The challenges for New Power Electronics are:
- Significant cost-cutting
- Greater compactness (in terms of volume)
- More efficient cooling
- Advanced power electronics topologies
- New architectures/modules for 600 to 900 V DC-BUS
- Power module with integrated capacitator/cooling
- Optimisation of power assemblies from the chip to the cooler
- Phase change cooling systems
- Analytical and digital, electrical and thermal, fluid and thermodynamic modelling
- New heterogeneous materials
- Wide gap converters
The main objective is to cut costs. The main focus of the work done is to increase the supply voltage to the electric vehicle’s powertrain beyond 400 V, the voltage of batteries commonly used in electric vehicles today. This would reduce the current in the converter’s IGBT chips, thus bringing down the quantity of silicon used and cutting costs. Another path to be explored in the future is the integration of the converter into the engine, to pool the packaging and cooling circuit.
The second objective is densification of the converters (volume and weight), which will be done through 3D integration work on the active and passive components and the cooling units, by exploiting the high thermal potential of the phase change (optimised heat pipes) and higher frequency switching of the converter systems, now made possible with the arrival of wide-gap semi-conductors (Sic and GaN).
- New, less costly and/or better performing electronics
- New paths for material and semi-conductor development
- Mecatronics (integration of machines and power electronics)