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    EV inverter solutions claim efficiency, time-to-market gains

    Includes microcontroller, IGBT, fast recovery diode and power management

    By Majeed Ahmad | May 2, 2017

    Renesas 100kW class inverter solution for HEV/EV

    Rising CO2 emissions are impelling carmakers and regulators toward a broader adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Consider Norway: Thanks to generous government subsidies and incentives designed to encourage the adoption of e-cars, 51 percent of new cars sold in the country are either electric or hybrid.

    And within electrically powered vehicles, the inverter plays a vital role in optimizing current for the motor according to varying speeds. The inverter—which converts DC to AC power in an electric vehicle—facilitates precision and power efficiency of the motor drive.

    Renesas Electronics has recently unveiled a 100kW inverter for larger output motors in mid- to small-sized EVs and mid- to large-sized HEVs. Renesas claims that the inverter solution simplifies the construction of motor control systems with a calibration tool that reduces the prototype development period from two to three years to just one year.

    Moreover, it allows designers to immediately evaluate the prototyped inverter system in an actual car. The 3.9-liter inverter system also reduces the size and weight of heat sinks through temperature sensors integrated into the IGBT.

    Renesas’ inverter solution includes microcontroller, IGBT, fast recovery diode (FRD) and power management chip as well as software development tools.

    Next, Wolfspeed, once again a Cree company (it was to be sold to Infineon, but that deal fell through), has released a 900V MOSFET for reducing the EV drive-train inverter losses by as much as 78 percent. The SiC-based MOSFETs connected in parallel also lead to power efficiency gains in both on-board and off-board chargers.

    More components geared toward serving EVs and HEVs are expected to be launched this year, especially the ones based on SiC and GaN semiconductor technologies. These silicon substitutes offer greater durability and reliability at higher voltages, a crucial feature for EV designs.