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Delphi has figured out how to halve EV charge times, extend range

At the 800-volt inverter’s heart is a patented silicon carbide power switch

Published: September 12, 2019, 10:30 PM
Updated: September 17, 2019, 2:47 AM

EV plugging in to recharge

Delphi Technologies, in partnership with semiconductor producer Cree, has initiated mass production of the 800-volt silicon carbide (SiC) inverter that’s going to revolutionize the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Delphi Technologies 800v inverter

As can be expected from the new component, in comparison to today’s state-of-the-art 400v inverters, the next generation of EVs and PHEVs will halve their charging times and significantly extend their electric-only ranges.

“Doubling the voltage from today’s typical 400 volts brings a substantial range of benefits, both for the vehicle user and for the vehicle manufacturer,” says Richard F. Dauch, Chief Executive Officer of Delphi Technologies. “We have designed this technology to simplify vehicle manufacturers’ multi-voltage strategy as they extend their electric and hybrid vehicle ranges.”

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Benefiting from 25-years of vehicle electrification experience, the 800v inverter uses Cree’s Wolfspeed silicon carbide-based metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor wide bandgap technology (MOSFET) and supports multi-voltage platforms.

At the inverter’s heart is a patented Viper power switch with double-sided cooling. The switch uses silicon carbide, which allows very fast switching and operation at higher temperatures. The use of the switch allowed the development of an inverter that is 40% lighter and 30% more compact. The switch will also fit into the same inverter package as the current silicon switches.

Delphi Technologies Viper4 inverter switch

“The faster switching alone will allow faster, more compact and lighter motors that offer great efficiency and greater range,” says Dauch. “That’s in addition to the many benefits of moving to 800 Volts.”

Moving to 800v inverters allows engineers to optimize other electrification components, such as smaller batteries, better braking regeneration, ultra-fast chargers and lighter, less-expensive cables.

Volvo plug-in hybrid powertrain

Delphi has reportedly signed a$2.7-billion contract to provide a premier global manufacturer with the new 800v inverters. Launch of the unnamed high-performance vehicle that will first employ the inverter is expected in 2022.