The power density of current motor drive systems is a major limitation in hybrid and fully electric vehicles. The weight and volume of the electronics and corresponding heat transfer systems are a key concern, particularly in demanding applications such as military motor drives and high-performance electric automobiles. The primary goals of this technology are:
Significantly increase the power density over conventional systems (5 - 10x) with silicon carbide (SiC) or gallium nitride (GaN) based technology
Integrate power and control electronics in a single package utilizing the multi-chip power module (MCPM) approach
Operate at high-temperatures (up to 300 °C) to reduce mass, size, and weight of the heat transfer system
Either operate at (1) high-temperatures with no significant sacrifice in reliability, or (2) low temperatures with a marked improvement in reliability
Integrate directly with the motor, increasing drive and sense signal quality while removing unnecessary cabling
APEI, Inc. is currently utilizing SiC and HTSOI electronics to develop compact and reliable motor drives capable of operating to device junction temperatures in excess of 300 °C. The use of wide bandgap modules for these applications will allow for: 1) high-temperature operation capability (reduced thermal management requirements/reduced weight), 2) high-frequency and high-surge current capabilities (reduced weight and volume), and 3) inherent radiation hardening for aircraft and space applications. The development and application of wide bandgap power electronics technology also has the potential to solve many of the technical problems now facing military platforms, including reducing the size and weight of power generation and supply systems, increasing power density and power delivery capability, and improving power efficiency. All of these advantages directly translate into lighter armed forces with increased mobility, lethality, and survivability.