Since the 1990s the EU has been pursuing climate change mitigation targets. Following the international commitment to the legally binding greenhouse gas reduction under the Kyoto Protocol, the approach was broadened and deepened with the 20-20-20% targets for 2020. In which, one of the main targets would be 20% reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) by the year 2020 (compared to the level of 1995), while the EU has set itself the target of reducing 40% GHG by 2030. This ambitious targets surely require substantial measures in all affected areas.
In the light of GHG reduction targets, the ECSEL Joint Undertaking has granted the HiPERFORM project on the reduction of CO2 from the EU transportation sector. The HiPERFORM acronym stands for "High performant Wide Band Gap Power Electronics for Reliable, energy efficient drivetrains and Optimization through Multi-physics simulation".
It is generally agreed that the mass production of affordable electrified vehicles (which do not directly emit any CO2 ) is a promising solution to reach aforementioned CO2 targets. In turn, all types of electrified vehicles need efficient power electronics to efficiently convert electrical energy from different voltage levels or from AC to DC and vice-versa. This valuable flow of energy conversion is ultimately handled by power electronic modules (actuator) and the controllers (system intelligence).
The HiPERFORM will directly tackle the problem with the introduction of wide band-gap power electronics (Gallium Nitride and Silicon Carbide MOSFET) to the drivetrain of electric vehicles. The project’s activities will help to secure Europe’s top position in industry and research along the value chain of vehicle, semiconductor, and test system design and manufacturing. With the design and development of efficient power electronics, HiPERFORM will have a positive impact on the next generation of highly efficient electrified vehicle systems, chargers, and test systems.
Before the mass production of innovative chargers for future electric vehicles, it is crucial to thoroughly perform the tests on the complete setup (charger and battery) operating under a number of actual environment conditions so that main risks are properly addressed as an indicator to manufacturer(s). Within the project scope of work, TNO will contribute to the project by developing the testbench. It ensures the similar conditions of the elements operating in actual vehicles.
The first and foremost expectation of project partners would be the cost reduction for the semiconductors to be used in future electric vehicles; and then the very high efficiency of power conversions (up to 98%) is achieved by using high bandwidth switching frequency. As a result of this, the users can benefit from the new generation of electric vehicles with much smaller operation power electronic modules (40% less in volume), longer driving ranges, less energy consumption and the much lower cost for the transportation expense.