Leti to drive GaN electric drivetrain integration

October 20, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Joined by 10 European research institutes, key members of the automotive-industry value chain and universities, French research institute Leti is to coordinate a new European Horizon 2020 project focused on the development of innovative electric drivetrains for third-generation electric vehicles.

By integrating the frequency, voltage and high-temperature benefits of wide-bandgap semiconductors fabricated with gallium nitride (GaN), the ModulED project aims to boost drivetrain performance and meet vehicle-owner requirements, making manufacturing more efficient and reducing environmental impact and vehicle cost. The project team will leverage recent innovations from diverse industries to directly integrate GaN electronic circuitry into the motor.

As part of the project, the partners will further develop recent drivetrains innovations including the processes for manufacturing magnetic materials for the magnetic part of the motor, lowering the density of rare-earth elements, designing a modular motor architecture for easier production, designing transmission and cooling systems compatible with hybrid vehicles and optimizing the braking systems to recover energy during the braking phase of the vehicles.

“Electric vehicles are a key component of the EU’s commitment to limit climate change, but current electric vehicles face challenges preventing large market acceptance, including consumer resistance due to cost and limited driving ranges,” said Bernard Strée, project coordinator at Leti.

“ModulED will target these challenges via the manufacturing process, including the mass-production context, increased value-chain involvement and lifecycle analysis for optimized duration and minimized environmental impact.”

Coordinated by Leti, the three-year, €7.2 million project includes the companies BRUSA Elektronik AG (Switzerland), Punch Powertrain NV (Belgium), ZG GmbH (Germany), Siemens (France), Efficient Innovation (France); universities RTWH Aachen University, Chalmers University and Eindhoven University of Technology, and Leti’s sister institute, Liten.

The ModulED project, which leverages Leti’s expertise in wide-bandgap semiconductors along with Liten’s knowhow in magnetic materials and simulation, launches this month in Grenoble.

Leti - www.leti.fr/en

Liten -  www.liten.fr/en


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