Referring to the range of these electric cars, which is more or less limited, a group of experts now shows us that there are other factors to focus on when it comes to improving the zero-emission offer. It is the case of small current inverters. These will make it much more efficient in converting the direct current that comes from the batteries to the alternating current that the car’s electric motor needs to operate.
Current inverters for better efficiency
This is the ‘SiCeffizent’ project, the name given to this work developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for reliability and microfabrication. It focuses on two key aspects that achieve this increase: the efficiency gain from the use of carbide semiconductors silicon and improve its cooling.
Semiconductors are elements that have an electrical conductivity lower than that of a metallic conductor but higher than that of a good insulator. The most widely used semiconductor is silicon, which is the most abundant element in nature, after oxygen. In the case of its connectivity, it can be controlled by adding small amounts of impurities called dopants. This use will be the one that allows reducing the size of the inverter of electric vehicles.
With this, for its part, it will be achieved increase power density, increasing its efficiency and complying with all existing safety regulations. This will increase the range of electric vehicles compared to that achieved with standard silicon technology.
6% increase in autonomy
Using heat sinks Printed in 3D, this development of ‘SiCeffizent’ sets new standards for switching speed, heat loss and size. It all starts with additional carbon atoms, which are fed into the crystal structure of the ultra-pure silicon used to make semiconductors.
The chemical bond created in this way turns semiconductor chips into true powers. Especially for its application in electric and hybrid vehicles, it has many advantages.
With a 6% increase in the autonomy of electric cars, those responsible will test it with their project partner, the technological multinational Bosch. After the testing and optimization process of mass production, Porsche will be the first company to incorporate this new power inverter into its sports cars.
Reduce energy losses
Exposed to a large flow of energy, efficiency in electric vehicle power inverters is essential: the higher the efficiency, the lower the energy loss. Another important aspect is that these SiC power semiconductors have little energy loss when switching on and off.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute note that there is still a long way to go to turn this prototype into a functional component of a production vehicle, although researchers will have a better idea of its potential in the coming months.