06 May 2021 | David Young
A Fraunhofer team is developing electronic control units, so-called power inverters, which convert the energy between battery and motor much more efficiently than is the case today
Well cooled and efficient power inverters for Porsche power trains
When it comes to an electric car's range, many of us automatically think of the battery. The more energy a battery can store, the further the car can go. The battery, though, is not the be-all and end-all. In actual fact, the drive train also plays a pivotal role. Experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin are working on the power inverter.
This device converts the direct current from the battery into the alternating current that drives the electric motor. Because of its central position between battery and motor, high electric currents flow through the power inverter and its transistors. To prevent the device from heating up like a toaster, the heat has to be discharged over cooling elements.
"We expect that by optimising the drive train...the range of electric cars will ultimately be extended by up to six percent," says Eugen Erhardt, responsible for the SiCeffizient project at IZM. Six percent may not sound like much. But in actual fact, it's a great deal. When it comes to electric car batteries, this kind of performance boost can only be achieved by increasing the number of batteries.
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