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High-Efficiency Power Management for Electric Vehicles

eetimes.com, Sept. 04, 2019 – 

Electric cars are becoming popular, with their environmentally-friendly characteristics in terms of qualities, functional simplicity, and above all, energy efficiency. The functional thrust is driven by the electric motor whose construction is simple if compared to the combustion engine. Concerning energy efficiency, the comparison between combustion cars and electric cars is emblematic: The combustion car has an energy efficiency of 16% while the electric one has an energy efficiency of 85%. The electrical nature of propulsion has an advantage over the one based on combustion – the regeneration of energy.

Electricity offers a lot of flexibility, including the use of various forms of energy harvesting that help recharge the battery and therefore prolong the operation of the vehicle itself. Energy harvesting technologies are, therefore, in the foreground of the electric car research and development scenario.

The autonomy of an electric car directly reflects the efficiency of its powertrain and its energy management system. Furthermore, the necessary infrastructure, such as the powerful fast-charging systems that now reach the power of several hundred kilowatts, are likewise required to comply with strictly pre-established size and efficiency limits. By its specific physical properties, silicon carbide (SiC) represents a valid response to these new market requirements.

In hybrid and electric vehicles, the leading electronic power systems are the DC/DC boost converters and the DC/AC inverters. The electronic systems developed for e-mobility range from temperature, current, and voltage sensors to semiconductors based on SiC and gallium nitride (GaN).

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