GM is almost two-thirds of the way through a $16.6-million project ($6 million in funding support from the DOE) to design and to build a next-generation power inverter capable of 55 kW peak/30 kW continuous power. The inverter is to improve the cost of the power electronics to $3.30/kW produced in quantities of 100,000 units, and the power density to 13.4kW/l, and a specific power of 14.1kW/kg, with an efficiency >94% (10%-100% speed at 20% rated torque) to meet DOE 2020 goals.
In his presentation on the project at the DOE 2014 Annual Merit Review in Washington, DC, Sean Gleason from GM noted that General Motors has not made prototype power electronics in an internal production facility since 1999. The current work on the Next Gen Inverter Project has put GM on the path to considering bringing power electronics production back in-house, he said. The project, which began in October 2011, will wrap in January 2016.
For the project, GM is working with Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers (Hitachi, Delphi, Infineon, HRL, Panasonic, AVX, Kemet, and VePoint) along with the National Renewable Energy Laboraotry and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to co-develop technology that reduces cost and increase efficiency, without increasing volume or mass.
The inverter is intended to be modular and scalable to meet all vehicle applications.
Reamining work includes a critical design review; early build and test; final technology and production cost assessment; and delivery of 3 next-gen inverter units for testing.
Sean Gleason (2014) “Next Generation Inverter” DOE 2014 Annual Merit Review Project APE40