Electromobility: Moving (in) the future

We like to say, ‘The world is a village’. However, our habitat of the future is a city. Today, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban environments – and the traffic volume is correspondingly heavy. Sustainable mobility is one of the key challenges of our time, not least because urbanization is quickly gaining momentum: By 2100, 75–80 percent of the world’s population will live in cities – and be mobile.

Both hybrid and electric cars play a key role in shaping sustainable mobility. Their energy-efficient drives offer a crucial advantage over vehicles with conventional combustion engines: They will allow us to effectively reduce traffic-related carbon dioxide emissions.

New trends in driver assistance systems and integration with the Internet of Things (IoT) are boosting the development of future electromobility. The automotive industry is primarily attracted by its prospects: According to McKinsey, the market share of newly purchased electric vehicles will rise to 50 percent by 2030.

A driving force of innovation in an exciting market

Despite promising prospects, the electromobility of the future is still in its infancy, not only in terms of its still low market share, but also in technological terms. Electric mobility will only take on its role as a beacon of hope if the prices for vehicles and batteries decline, if charging networks not only expand but become smarter as well, and if electric cars achieve marketable energy efficiency.

As the eminent driving force of innovation in the hybrid and electric vehicles segment, Infineon offers creative and powerful semiconductor solutions that spark the development of sustainable applications in electromobility. In the segments electric drives, charging, and other electric vehicle systems, Infineon provides viable solutions for start-stop systems, for mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as for pure-electric vehicles.

For these different systems, Infineon offers a wide range of power semiconductor, sensors and microcontrollers, which reduce the cost of both drive and electronics, and increase the energy efficiency of the overall system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power semiconductor components for the sustainable electromobility of the future

Since an electric car battery can only store a limited amount of energy, energy consumption of electric vehicles must be as efficient as possible. This is why semiconductors play a pivotal role in the future of electromobility; they are, so to speak, the switching points of electrical networks – in the national electricity grid, in each vehicle, and in each electrical device.

Explore our interactive car diagram to learn more about our segments in eMobility

Main Inverter

This is the key component in the drive train of electric cars, controlling the energy flow between battery and motor. The inverter´s power stage is designed to minimize losses and maximize thermal efficiency. Vehicle range is closely tied to the inverter’s efficiency, as it also feeds energy recovered from braking back to the battery.

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DC/DC Converter

Electronic components in e-cars require different voltage levels. A DC/DC converter connects the high-voltage battery to the voltage level of the 12V power system. Designers strive to maximize efficiency and reduce the required space of this conversion.

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Auxiliary Inverters/Converters

In electric cars, air conditioning, electronic power steering, PTC heater, oil pumps and cooling pumps etc. have been electrified and integrated into the power system. As these auxiliary systems now run on valuable power from the high-voltage battery designers are working on power-on-demand solutions to make them more energy efficient.

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On-board Charger

All electronic systems in an electric vehicle rely on the battery for power. An on-board charger unit allows drivers to charge their battery from any standard power outlets. But voltage and current levels in countries differ, and so system designers are aiming for more design flexibility and higher power density in chargers with a small form factor.

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Electrical Drivetrain Technologies

One of the central components of an electrical drive is the DC/DC converter. It ensures the efficient conversion of high voltage from the battery (100–400 V or more) into the much lower voltage (12 V or 48 V) required for electronic components. Infineon offers converters at all electrical current levels and in all voltage categories. This includes the CoolMOS™ series for high voltage as well as OptiMOS™ for low voltage.

Our Hybrid Pack™ module family provides a simple transition of all power classes, from hybrids to pure electric vehicles.

DC/AC inverters not only drive the electric motor, they also recover energy ­– for example, from braking – and feed this energy back into the battery. They convert the direct current from the battery into the alternating current for the electrical drive of rotating windings. The more effective this conversion, the further an electric car will drive with a single "tank" of battery power.

More information about the Main inverter

Charging Electrical Drives

To charge its battery, an electric car needs a battery charger. With an on-board charger, you can recharge the battery conveniently at home – straight from a standard outlet. But charging from the local power grid requires a flexible switching structure; after all, the charger needs to be able to cope with voltage levels and currents that differ from country to country. Since the duration of recharging sessions is a highly important issue for most owners of a car with an electrical drive, the on-board charger needs to be extremely efficient, that is to say, as small and light as possible. In the long term, the trend will be toward bidirectional chargers – chargers which not only draw power from the power grid, but feed excess energy back into the power grid as well.

More information about the AC/DC (battery charger)

Electrified Auxilliary Systems

Infineon's comprehensive portfolio of semiconductors (sensors, microcontrollers, power semiconductors, power modules, etc.) is perfect for compact charger units. In addition, these semiconductor products work with high switching frequencies, which allows for the design of smaller and lighter chargers. In this segment, Infineon offers flexible high-performance modules, such as the Easy 1B/2B for recharging overnight at low amperage.

More information about the Auxiliary HV/LV DC/DC

Designers can increase the efficiency of electric vehicles if battery power is made available only when there is an actual demand for electricity. This feature is especially important for numerous vehicle accessories, such as air conditioning, power steering, oil pump and cooling. In pure or hybrid electric vehicles, these accessories are powered by electricity, which they – like the electrical drive – draw from the car's high voltage battery. For this reason alone, it is necessary to design the electrical drives of these accessories to be as efficient as
possible. After all, their energy losses burden the battery, but do not contribute to driving the accessories.

More information about Auxiliary Inverters

 

Joint Endeavors to Promote Sustainable Electromobility

Cooperating with partners from both research institutions and the automotive industry in jointly funded projects, Infineon is working on solution designs for electromobility. These concepts will help electromobility – and thus sustainable individual mobility – to gain wider acceptance. Infineon brings its extensive expertise and long experience in cross-system development to these highly productive cooperations.

Three EU research projects aim to make electromobility more affordable, efficient, and reliable. Under the direction of Infineon, three research projects – 3Ccar, OSEM EV, and Silverstream – are designing solutions to increase the range of electric cars by one fifth and cut their purchase prices by one quarter.

The growing complexity of vehicles, for example, stands at the core of the project “Integrated Components for Complexity Control” (3Ccar, for short). Electric cars use around 50 percent more electronic components and semiconductors than conventional vehicles. Added to that, they are also more complex and need to run longer. The project aims to improve the reliability of these increasingly complex e-car systems.

Slated to run until 2018, these projects promoting electromobility will further strengthen Europe’s position as a hotbed for the development and manufacture of electric vehicles.

Partnering in this project:
48 partners from 14 countries, including Infineon Technologies AG, ST Micro, NXP, OKMETIC and ON Semi

Read how the 3Ccar partners plan to drive electromobility

Drive solutions that make electric cars more powerful and more appealing to buyers are the focus of “HV-ModAL”. This research project intends to complete a modular building kit by 2018, which will be both compatible to drives from different manufacturers and address the entire automotive value chain.

Under the project management of Infineon, ten partners research – among other technologies – IGBT power modules for high electric drive power of up to 250 kW and high voltages of up to 900 volts, modular multi-level DC/DC converters, batteries with integrated DC/DC converters, and system components for batteries with more than 600 volts.

All in all, ten project partners from both research institutions and the automotive industry aim to further strengthen the world market position of the German automotive industry in the electric vehicles market –both in the fully-electric and the hybrid segments.

Learn about the approach and goals of the HV-ModAL research project

Twelve partners from the German automotive industry, the automotive supply industry, and from the field of science are venturing to make charging more efficient with the help of new power semiconductors. A fortunate side-effect: More efficient charging produces less heat and, as a result, fans run less often and charging becomes notably quieter.

The project “Luftstrom” (English: airflow) aims to ensure that electronic power components cut energy losses by as much as 30 percent. This will allow for more compact cooling units, and components – such as auxiliary power supplies – would no longer require water cooling. The findings of this research pave the way for air-cooled – essentially fanless – systems for future generations of e-cars.

Partnering in this project:
AVL Software and Functions GmbH, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Fraunhofer Institute für Integrated Systems and Device Technology, University of Applied Sciences Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Infineon Technologies AG, Leibniz University Hannover, Lenze Drives GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, RWTH Aachen University, Siemens AG, and Volkswagen AG

Read how “Luftstrom” intends to reach its goal (German)

For three years, 15 partners from the German automotive industry, the automotive supply industry, and from the field of science jointly researched how to further improve the safety of lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. Their focus was on new materials, test methods, and semiconductor sensors to be used in lithium-ion batteries. With the promotion of electric vehicles by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the partners set out to speed up Germany’s transition to climate-friendly, affordable mobility.

In order to increase the lead over international competitors, SafeBatt successfully improved the quality and safety of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. The research project achieved this by exploring how cell chemistry could be perfected to increase the intrinsic safety of lithium-ion battery cells – especially the cell chemistry of the cathode material and the electrolyte.

Partnering in this project:
BASF SE, BMW AG, Daimler AG, Deutsche ACCUmotive GmbH & Co.KG, ElringKlinger AG, Evonik Litarion GmbH, Infineon Technologies AG, Li-Tec Battery GmbH, SGS Germany GmbH, Volkswagen AG, Wacker Chemie AG, Institute for Chemical Technology ICT of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Institute for Particle Pechnology (PAT) at Braunschweig Technical University, Chair of Electrical Energy Storage Technology at Technical University of Munich as well as the Battery Research Center MEET at Münster University

Explore the new safety standards for lithium-ion batteries

Videos about Electromobility

Research at Infineon
Research at Infineon
Semiconductors - Paving the way for e-mobility - Hans Adlkofer
Semiconductors - Paving the way for e-mobility - Hans Adlkofer
E-Mobility: Latest research projects and an outlook
E-Mobility: Latest research projects and an outlook
National Platform for E-Mobility
National Platform for E-Mobility