One of the key technologies needed to achieve widespread acceptance for electric vehicles is the use of power electronics optimized for use in hybrid and electric vehicles. Specifically, optimization has to be achieved with regard to the efficiency of power electronic control of motors and auxiliary devices in electric vehicles. Improvements in energy efficiency are also possible with the connection of stationary vehicles to smart grids, which in turn enable intelligent connection between traction batteries and the grid as well as the efficient use of regenerative sources of energy.
The lack of standard interfaces among component manufacturers, however, has led to the need for the development of product platforms that can be flexibly adapted to different requirements.
To achieve maximum power density, electric losses and thermal resistances must be kept to a minimum, and maximum component integration is required. At the same time, electromagnetic radiation has to be kept to within permissible limits. Low losses in turn mean high efficiency. The possible level of product reliability is determined, on the one hand, by the power semiconductor and DC link capacitor packaging, as well as the degree of electronic component integration and, on the other hand, by the thermal shocks that occur.
One way to achieve interface flexibility is to combine programmable elements. In other words, the use of a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) for time-critical functions, a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and/or microcontroller (MCU) for the implementation of the control algorithms, as well as connection to the master control unit. The combination of various programmable elements also enables the implementation of safe designs with respect to functionality, as well as the transparent allocation of design tasks in co-operative development projects.
For the complete article, which discusses power converter technology (including silver sintering instead of soldering) and future flex circuit power electronics, click here, courtesy of Automotive Designline Europe.
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