SiC gate driver helps maximise range of EVs

SiC gate driver helps maximise range of EVs

New Products |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Texas Instruments has developed a highly integrated isolated gate driver that enables the development of highly efficient traction inverters and maximises the range of electric vehicles (EVs). At the same time, the device meets the related functional safety standards.

As EVs continue to grow in popularity, semiconductor innovations in traction inverter systems are helping overcome critical barriers to widespread adoption. Automakers can build safer, more efficient and more reliable silicon carbide (SiC)- and insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)-based traction inverters by designing with UCC5880-Q1, featuring real-time variable gate-drive strength, Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI), advanced SiC monitoring and protection, and diagnostics for functional safety.

Designers of high-voltage applications like traction inverters face a unique set of challenges to optimize system efficiency and reliability in a small space. Not only does this new isolated gate driver help enable engineers to maximize driving range, but it also integrates safety features to reduce external components and design complexity, advertises TI. Plus, it can be paired with other high-voltage power-conversion products such as TI’s own UCC14141-Q1 isolated bias supply module to improve power density.

Achieving any increase in efficiency is difficult for designers, given that the majority of traction inverters already operate at 90% efficiency or higher. By varying the gate-drive strength in real time, in steps between 20 A and 5 A, designers can improve system efficiency with the UCC5880-Q1 gate driver as much as 2% by minimizing SiC switching power losses, resulting in up to 7 more miles of EV driving range per battery charge. For an EV user who charges their vehicle three times per week, that could mean more than 1,000 additional miles per year.

In addition, the UCC5880-Q1’s SPI programmability and integrated monitoring and protection features can reduce design complexity as well as external component costs. Engineers can further reduce components and quickly prototype a more efficient traction inverter system using the SiC EV Traction Inverter Reference Design. This customizable, tested design includes the UCC5880-Q1, a bias-supply power module, real-time control MCUs and high-precision sensing.

Preproduction quantities of the automotive-grade, ISO26262-compliant UCC5880-Q1 are available now in a 10.5-mm-by-7.5-mm, 32-pin shrink small-outline package (SSOP). Designers also can purchase a new UCC5880-Q1 evaluation module.

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