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.
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 HybridPACK™ 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
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)
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
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.
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
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