Delphi Technologies invests in innovative capacitor start-up PolyCharge

Delphi Technologies PLC, a leader in vehicle propulsion technologies, has invested in PolyCharge America, Inc, a start-up established to commercialize a new capacitor technology. This technology helps to make high-power inverters smaller, lighter and more tolerant to high temperatures. The minority equity investment, for an undisclosed sum, builds on an... Read more →

DENSO Corporation and FLOSFIA Inc., a tech startup spun out from Kyoto University, are partnering to develop a next-generation power semiconductor device expected to reduce the energy loss, cost, size and weight of inverters used in electrified vehicles (EVs). Through the joint development project, the two companies aim to improve... Read more →

ARPA-E issues $100M OPEN funding opportunity announcement to support early-stage energy R&D

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA‑E) latest OPEN funding opportunity. (DE-FOA-0001858) ARPA-E issued previous OPEN solicitations in 2009, 2012, and 2015. Open solicitations enable ARPA-E to support transformational projects outside the... Read more →

BMW Group investing €200M over four years in new Battery Competence Center; Gen 5 electric drivetrain in 2021; 700 km range

The BMW Group will invest €200 million (US$233 million) over the next four years in its new BMW Group Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich. This interdisciplinary competence center aims to advance battery cell technology and introduce it into production processes; the center will open in early 2019. In the... Read more →

To expand its global electrified powertrain offerings and strengthen its local footprint in China, Magna has entered into a joint-venture agreement with Huayu Automotive Systems Co., Ltd. (HASCO), a subsidiary of SAIC Motor. The JV will initially produce an electric-drive powertrain system for a German automaker. For the initial customer... Read more →

TM4 introduces a bi-directional charger inverter

In a strategic move to broaden its product offering, TM4 has introduced a new bi-directional charger inverter, the BCI20. TM4 developed this product in collaboration with Convertronix, a Québec-based company specialized in the design and manufacturing of power conversion equipment. The TM4 BCI20 functions as battery charger and inverter for... Read more →

Leveraging its experience with electromobility components, Bosch has developed a new generation electric axle drive, or e-axle. The motor, power electronics, and transmission form one compact unit that directly drives the car’s axle. This makes the powertrain not only far more efficient, but more affordable as well. Bosch has had... Read more →

ARPA-E awards $30M to 21 projects advance new class of high-performance power converters

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $30 million in funding for 21 innovative projects as part of the Creating Innovative and Reliable Circuits Using Inventive Topologies and Semiconductors (CIRCUITS) program. CIRCUITS project teams will accelerate the development and deployment of a new class of... Read more →

Hyundai Mobis has developed an on-board, bi-directional charger for plug-in vehicles. The bi-directional onboard charger (OBC) allows the vehicle to supply electricity in its battery to the grid. The power supplied by the vehicle can also be used as emergency power in homes. If more than enough power is supplied,... Read more →

BMW i Ventures makes strategic investment in GaN Systems; next-gen power electronics

BMW i Ventures has made a strategic investment in GaN Systems, a fabless power transistor company at the forefront of semiconductor technology. Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material that allows for higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance. GaN devices offer a number... Read more →

Half-bridge circuits are the centerpiece of many voltage converters. Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF has now produced and demonstrated the world’s first monolithically integrated GaN half bridge for the important 600 volt class. In power electronics components, this is the standard volt class for grid-connected electrical devices,... Read more →

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced its new 100kW-class inverter solution that achieves industry-leading small volume of 3.9 liter (L) for high-power 100kW-class motors in mid- to large-sized hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) including SUVs, and mid- to small-sized electric vehicles (EVs). Renesas will provide a solution kit including software that maximizes the... Read more →

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has developed a working model of an ultra-compact silicon carbide (SiC) inverter for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) that is believed to be the world’s smallest SiC device of its type at just five liters volume. It also is believed to offer the world’s highest power density of... Read more →

Finnish electric powertrain company Visedo raises €20M to support global expansion; SRPM technology

Visedo, a Finnish manufacturer specializing in electric powertrains and components, has secured a financing package of €20 million (US$21 million) to support its international growth plans. The financing consists of an equity investment of €13.5 million, an EFSI loan of €5 million and €1.5 million in funding from other sources.... Read more →

Schaeffler acquires motor manufacturer Compact Dynamics; power electronics agreement with SEMIKRON

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler finalized a purchase contract with SEMIKRON International GmbH for the acquisition of 51% of the shares of Compact Dynamics GmbH, a manufacturer of high-performance electric motors. At the same time, Schaeffler and SEMIKRON have agreed a cooperation for the development of power electronics systems and... Read more →

Wolfspeed wins 2016 R&D 100 Award for wide bandgap underhood inverter for HEVs/EVs

Wolfspeed, A Cree Company, a leading global supplier of silicon carbide (SiC) power products, won a 2016 R&D 100 Award for its high-temperature, wide-bandgap (WBG) underhood inverter for hybrid and electric vehicles. Wolfspeed’s high-temperature, WBG underhood inverter was developed in response to the need for smaller, lighter, and more efficient... Read more →

ARPA-E launches PNDIODES program to boost power electronics work

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has launched a new program—Power Nitride Doping Innovation Offers Devices Enabling SWITCHES (PNDIODES) (DE-FOA-0001691)—to fund transformational advances and mechanistic understanding in the process of selective area doping in the III-Nitride wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material system.... Read more →

Wolfspeed delivers industry’s first 1000V SiC MOSFET for efficient EV fast chargers

Wolfspeed, a Cree Company and a leader in silicon carbide (SiC) power products, has introduced a 1000V MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor) that enables a reduction in overall system cost, while improving system efficiency and decreasing system size. The new MOSFET, specially optimized for fast charging and industrial power supplies, enables... Read more →

Researchers at the Future Renewable Electric Energy Distribution and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center at North Carolina State University have developed an inverter for hybrid and electric vehicles using off-the-shelf components made of the wide-bandgap semiconductor material silicon carbide (SiC). The new SiC-based inverter has a power density of 12.1 kW/L—close... Read more →

Engineers from the University of Utah and the University of Minnesota have discovered that interfacing two particular oxide-based materials—strontium titanate (STO) and neodymium titanate (NTO)—makes them highly conductive, a boon for future power electronics that could result in more power-efficient laptops, electric cars and home appliances that also don’t need... Read more →

Infineon buys Wolfspeed Power for $850M cash; power semiconductors for electromobility

Infineon Technologies AG has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Wolfspeed Power and RF division of Cree. The deal also includes the related SiC wafer substrate business for power and RF power. The purchase price for this planned all-cash transaction is US$850 million (~€740 million). Infineon says that... Read more →

University of Nottingham leading 3-year, £830K project on automotive power electronics

The University of Nottingham (UK) is leading a 3-year, £830,000 (US$1.1-million) research project on power electronics—the EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics. The EPSRC Challenge Network in Automotive Power Electronics will bring together the academic and industrial communities to identify and to address the long-term challenges in the design,... Read more →

Infineon Technologies AG is presenting its latest power module family for hybrid and electric vehicles—HybridPACK Double Sided Cooling (DSC)—at the PCIM 2016 tradeshow. The new power modules have extremely small dimensions of only 42 mm x 42.4 mm x 4.77 mm. They target HEV applications such as main inverters and... Read more →

Siemens and Valeo to form joint venture in high-voltage electric powertrains

Siemens and Valeo have signed an agreement to form a joint venture in high voltage powertrains for the entire range of electric vehicles including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. Building upon the complementary scope and portfolio of the partners, the joint venture will provide substantial synergies in manufacturing... Read more →

Controls engineering firm Pi Innovo and gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor manufacturer GaN Systems are collaborating to offer automakers a pathway to the efficient and effective electrification of auxiliary systems for multi-voltage conventional, hybrid-electric, and pure electric vehicles. GaN devices offer a number of benefits compared to silicon-based devices, including high... Read more →

DOE selects 33 clean energy businesses for nearly $6.7M in support under Small Business Vouchers pilot

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected 33 small businesses to work directly with DOE national labs to accelerate the commercialization of new clean energy technologies. The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is investing nearly $6.7 million under Round 1 of the new Small Business Vouchers (SBV)... Read more →

DOE to issue $25M funding opportunity for next generation of electric machines; NGEM II

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO), a $25-million Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001467) entitled “Next Generation of Electric Machines: Enabling Technologies.” EERE plans to issue the FOA around March 2016. Through this... Read more →

TM4, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Exagon Motors and the Gouvernement du Québec partner on new electric drivetrain

TM4, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Exagon Motors, Hydro-Québec and the Gouvernement du Québec are collaborating to develop a new electric drivetrain for light-duty vehicles. TM4 will act as the developer of the electric powertrain in the pre-development phase of the project. The government’s contribution will be made up of a CAD... Read more →

DOE releases SBIR/STTR FY16 Phase 1 Release 2 topics; hydrogen, electric vehicles, more efficient combustion engines; biogas-to-fuels

The US Department of Energy has announced the 2016 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 Topics, covering eight DOE research program organizations. Among the many topics listed are magnetocaloric materials development for hydrogen delivery; two hydrogen technology transfer opportunities (TTO); EV traction... Read more →

UQM Technologies in 10-year electric propulsion systems agreement with ITL in China; 3K units ordered; potential for >$400M in revenue

UQM Technologies Inc. has signed a 10-year supply agreement with ITL Efficiency Corporation in China, a subsidiary of Eastlake New Energy, to provide electric propulsion systems for three market segments: 6-8 meter shuttle buses; light- to medium-duty delivery trucks; and 10-12 meter transit buses. Over the term of the Agreement,... Read more →

GM and LG announced an expanded and deepened relationship around the coming Bolt battery-electric vehicle (earlier post), with LG providing not only the battery pack and battery heater, but also the critical PEEM (power electronics and electric machine) components; the HVAC electronic climate control system compressor; telematics hardware for OnStar;... Read more →

Toyota made significant improvements in its new generation full hybrid powertrain applied in the fourth generation Prius (earlier post), reducing losses, redesigning and relocating key components and reducing weight. Extensive changes to the transaxle, engine and combined hybrid system, generate an expected improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models... Read more →

Study finds EV use-phase fuel savings exceed marginal increase in energy demand for WBG semiconductor manufacturing by 2 orders of magnitude

Power electronics semiconductors, which manage voltage and current, are a key technology for enabling improvements in “fuel economy” in electric vehicles. While conventional silicon-based semiconductor technology currently owns the plug-in vehicle power electronics market, emerging wide band gap (WBG) semiconductors offer significantly greater energy efficiency potential than silicon. A team... Read more →

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie GmbH; WI) have published results of their STROMbegleitung (electricity evaluation) comprehensive study to analyze technologies; market outlook; policy support; infrastructure; and life-cycle assessments for... Read more →

The model line-up of the second generation of Audi’s high-performance R8 sports car, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, includes the new R8 e-tron battery-electric vehicle. (Earlier post.) The new R8 e-tron delivers 340 kW (456 hp) of power; acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph)... Read more →

Infineon heading up 3 major related EU electromobility research projects; ~$75M in total funding

The European Commission is launching three new related research projects aimed at making electromobility cheaper, more efficient and more reliable in order to facilitate more electric vehicles on Europe’s roads. Europe will be the site for the continued development and production of electric vehicles under these projects, which will run... Read more →

DOE announces $26.6M SBIR/STTR FY15 Phase 1 Release 2 awards; fuel cells, batteries, power electronics and efficient combustion engines

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 162 projects to receive about $26.6 million in the 2015 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 Awards. (Earlier post.) Of these, 16 are vehicle-related, encompassing projects developing batteries, power electronics and improved combustion engine... Read more →

The second-generation “Voltec” extended range electric powertrain applied in the MY2016 Chevy Volt (earlier post) marks a significant evolution in the electric drive technology platform from its first-generation origins. After proving a initial look at the design and capability of the different components (earlier post) late last year, GM is... Read more →

New Fairchild automotive SuperFET II MOSFETs and HV Rectifiers for power electronics in electrified vehicles

Fairchild, a leading global supplier of high-performance power semiconductor solutions, has introduced the automotive-qualified SuperFET II MOSFET and High Voltage Rectifier product families, both of which enable cleaner and smarter vehicles overall and are suited for increasing the power ratings of onboard chargers and DC-to-DC converters used in hybrid, plug-in... Read more →

DOE to award up to $20M to advance high-speed industrial motors and drives

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $20 million to spur the development of high-speed industrial motors and drives, using high power-density designs and integrated power electronics to increase efficiency. Individual awards may vary between $3 million and $5 million, not including the recipient cost share. The... Read more →

The new R240 motor unit with integrated PEC. Click to enlarge. Renault has extended the range of its battery-electric ZOE to 149 miles (240 kilometers)—a boost of 19 miles (31 km), or 14.6%—in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) by using a new lighter and more compact R240 electric motor... Read more →

Electric drive axle module with two motors and integrated power electronics. Groschopp AG. Click to enlarge. The ESKAM (Electric Scalable Axle Module, Elektrische SKalierbare AchsantriebsModule) consortium in Germany, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is completing the development of an optimized electric drive axle module... Read more →

SiC PCU under the hood of the Camry hybrid test vehicle. Click to enlarge. Toyota will begin the on-road testing of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors in Japan this year, using a Camry hybrid prototype and a fuel cell bus. The tests will evaluate the performance of the SiC technology,... Read more →

DOE to award $55.8M for advanced vehicle technologies; $35M for fuel cell and hydrogen

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new Vehicle Technologie program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001201) for $55.8 million. DOE also announced up to $35 million to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, including enabling the early adoption of fuel cell applications, such as light duty fuel cell electric vehicles. This new... Read more →

Emerging materials such as gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) look to displace silicon in power electronic applications. While silicon and SiC (SiC-on-SiC) come in only one flavor, GaN comes in many different variants, including GaN-on-Si, GaN-on-SiC, and GaN-on-GaN. In a new report, Lux Research forecasts that the total... Read more →

DOE issues FY 2015 SBIR/STTR Release 2 funding opportunity, including hydrogen fuel cells, electric drive batteries

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued its FY 2015 Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001227) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Technical topics for this FOA—which span the range of DOE interests from fossil to nuclear to renewable... Read more →

Cutaway of the new power electronics unit, which is much smaller than in gen 1, and which is now integrated into the drive unit housing. The power electronics and the motors use separate cooling: water for the PE and ol for the motor unit. Click to enlarge. The second-generation Volt,... Read more →

Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car's motor and inverter in a single housing. Click to enlarge. Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car’s motor and inverter in a single housing. The motor and the inverter, part of the power electronics which converts the... Read more →

Prototype inverter. Click to enlarge. Using 3-D printing and novel silicon carbide (SiC) wide band gap (WBG) semiconductors, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have created a prototype power inverter for electric vehicles that achieves a much higher power density than currently available along with... Read more →

DOE awards $17M for vehicle technologies; batteries, PEEM, engines, materials, fuel

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $17.6 million in 14 cooperative agreements with small businesses and institutions of higher education to develop and to deploy efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will help reduce petroleum use in the United States. The awards made under an Incubator... Read more →