GM developing next-generation power inverter

Transient

GM is developing a next-generation power inverter capable of 55 kW peak/30 kW continuous power. According to GM’s Sean Gleason, who gave a presentation on the project at the DOE’sAnnual Merit Review, GM is almost two-thirds of the way through the $16.6-million project ($6 million of the funding support came from the DOE), which began in October 2011 and is scheduled to be finished in January 2016.

As specified by the DOE’s 2020 goals, the new inverter will bring the cost of the power electronics to $3.30/kW (produced in quantities of 100,000 units), power density to 13.4 kW/l, and specific power to 14.1 kW/kg, with an efficiency of greater than 94%. The inverter is intended to be modular and scalable to meet all vehicle applications.

For the project, GM is working with Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers (Hitachi, Delphi, Infineon, HRL, Panasonic, AVX, Kemet, and VePoint) along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Gleason noted that GM has not made prototype power electronics in an internal facility since 1999, and that the company is now considering bringing power electronics production back in-house.