British electric drive specialist Equipmake has launched a next-gen silicon carbide inverter, which can deliver a step-change in the performance of electric vehicles.
Equipmake advertises that the new HPI-800 inverter delivers such efficiency gains that not only does it have the potential to reduce the size of an EV’s battery by around 10 per cent, but its compactness and low weight brings further benefits in packaging too.
In the past, EVs used inverters with insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs), which can switch current at up to 20kHz. Silicon carbide (SiC) offers higher power levels, lower power losses, and improved overall efficiency. The HPI-800 inverter can reportedly switch current at up to 40kHz.
In terms of technical specifications, the HPI-800 measures 494mm long, 287mm wide and 94mm high, with a mass of 12.7kg and maximum continuous output power of up to 400KW, “dependent on the motor it is paired with”.
“The upfront cost of a SiC inverter is more than recouped by the benefits in additional performance,” Ian Foley, MD of Equipmake, adding: “While they can be twice as expensive as IGBT versions, they can reduce battery size by such a large amount that the cost-saving more than pays for the inverter itself. At the same time, the increase in efficiency and performance the technology can bring to an EV will enhance its natural appeal to customers.”
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