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EV motor-drive with SiC inverter is ‘smallest of its kind’

14 February, 2014

Mitsubishi Electric in Japan has developed a prototype 60kW electric vehicle (EV) motor-drive system with a built-in silicon-carbide (SiC) inverter. The system – claimed to be the smallest of its kind ­– will allow automotive manufacturers to develop EVs with more passenger space and higher energy efficiencies.

The 60kW motor-drive occupies a volume of 14.1 litres. Mitsubishi says it has been able to reduce the size of the motor by improving the thermal resistance between the motor-drive and its cooling system. The motor-drive is equivalent to existing EV motors in terms of power and volume, and will be able to replace them directly.

A cylindrically-shaped power module accommodates parallel cooling ducts for improved cooling of the motor and the inverter. This design is said to ensure stable cooling and to allow the use of low-power pumps.

Because pure-electric and hybrid EVs need relatively large spaces to accommodate their battery systems, car-makers want to reduce the size and weight of their drive systems and other equipment as much as possible to ensure that they can provide sufficient passenger space.

Mitsubishi says that its integrated motor and silicon carbide inverter is the smallest of its type

Mitsubishi plans to commercialise the new EV motor-drive system after finalising the cooling technologies, further downsizing of the system, and implementing extra improvements in efficiency. The company has 94 patents pending for the technology in Japan, and 29 abroad.

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