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Volkswagen Group developing own pulse inverters and thermal management systems for complete optimized drive system for EVs

At Tech Day 2023, Volkswagen Group Technology provided an outlook of upcoming electric car innovations in the areas of batteries, charging and electronic components. The focus was on the electric drive system of the future. Volkswagen is now developing pulse inverters and thermal management systems internally in addition to batteries and electric motors.

The single-source Volkswagen drive system will offer significant efficiency and cost advantages; up to 20% more efficiency is possible through the optimal combination of individual components.

Our goal is to achieve technological leadership, also in electric mobility. That’s why here, too, we rely on our internal competencies and, after battery cells and electric motors, we are taking over the development of pulse inverters and thermal management systems. In future, this will make the Volkswagen Group one of the only car manufacturers in the world that’s able to offer a holistically optimized complete system.

—Thomas Schmall, member of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management with responsibility for Technology

The pulse inverter is largely responsible for efficiency and performance. For the first pulse inverter to be “designed by Volkswagen”, the developers of these core components redesigned the hardware and software from the ground up. With the modular toolkit principle, this can be implemented in everything from entry-level engines to sports cars with an output of more than 500 kW and more in future. The technology is currently being developed for series production maturity and can already be used with the next MEB generation.

Volkswagen is working on entirely new solutions for thermal management. While today a large number of individual modules and long hose connections are used, in future these will be replaced with an extremely compact, integrated thermal module. This will control the entire air conditioning, including for the high-voltage battery, and thus will have a major impact on the vehicle’s range and fast-charging capability. The new all-in-one module is also significantly lighter, more robust and more efficient than current systems.


Future thermal management unit (left) compared to thermal management MEB today (right)

In addition to efficiency, the main focus of the development of all central electric drive components is scalability—because high economies of scale reduce costs.

Volkswagen Group Technology bundles Group-wide activities in the areas of batteries, charging and electric components and supports the and supports the brands as a group-wide technology supplier. The subsidiaries PowerCo (batteries) and Elli (charging and energy) are also involved here. Among other things, the high-tech portfolio comprises the unified cell, which will be utilized in all Volkswagen Group vehicles as of 2025.

The division also includes the Platform Business, which covers cooperation with external partners like Ford and Mahindra. Around the world, Volkswagen Group Technology employs around 70,000 people.



It is funny how, despite electric motors being 85-90% efficient, they can still find "up to 20% more efficiency".
Must be "the system" rather than the engine that is not 90% efficient.


@ mahonj:
" ....they can still find "up to 20% more efficiency". More than likely they mean the overall efficiency of the complete vehicle.
Yasa and Whylot have already reached >98% efficiency with their axial flux type motors. Axial flux type motors wound with graphene yarn should be close to 100% and extremely heat tolerant with respective influence to cooling issues.
SIC inverters already reach 99.3%. All in all, the future does not look bad at all.


So.. how does this compare with efficiency of an Silicon Carbide inverter, which is already significantly more efficient than IGBT?


@ danwat:
The overall efficiency of a vehicle increases with the increasing efficiency of every sub-system as a constituent part of the vehicle. In this case, the main view is placed on the electric components but the aerodynamic aspects of the vehicle itself, as well as wheel bearings, tires etc. also contribute to the overall efficiency.

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