Electric Powertrain Systems

Electric powertrain system optimization is one of two major disruptions currently affecting the future of vehicular transport and semiconductor technology. The automotive industry is embracing a new and exciting means to propel vehicles cleanly with electrical power, while simultaneously re-engineering the semiconductor materials that underpin electric vehicle (EV) subsystems to maximize efficiency all throughout the electric powertrain chain.

The electric powertrain system comprises three main energy conversion systems: the traction inverter (or e-drive), the on-board charging system (OBC), and the DC-to-DC converter (where LDC refers to the high voltage to low voltage function). These systems are indicated in blue in Figure 1.

The semiconductor revolution occurring in parallel has yielded new wideband gap devices such as silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET power switches that can help shrink the gap between consumers’ EV range expectations and OEMs’ ability to satisfy them at competitive cost structures.

Learn more—Delivering on the EV Range Extension Promise of SiC in Traction Inverters

Electric Powertrain Systems - Image 1
Figure 1

Inverter and E-Motors System Solutions

One of the key elements of inverter systems is the isolated gate driver. The switch has a relatively simple function—it’s only a three-terminal device—but it must be carefully interfaced to the systems. The gate driver ensures a clean and accurate system interface with the inserted sub-block driver and switch.

Analog Devices offers scalable solutions from performance to programmable gate drivers, allowing designers to find the best balance of SWaP-C considerations. Our gate drivers leverage the full performance of SiC switches with the highest level of performance in three key areas: common-mode transient immunity (CMTI), drive (strength and slew rate control), and ultrafast short circuit protection.

The efficiency and smooth control of e-motors also highly depend on motor position sensing. ADI’s AMR magnetic end-of-shaft position sensors provide the precision, fast response, and robustness needed to achieve these goals, while our resolver-to-digital converter (RDC) solutions are road proven to achieve the highest level of safety and performance.

Learn more—Find the Cost and Performance Sweet Spot for Battery Management and Traction Inverter Systems Design

On-Board Charging (OBC) System

An on-board charger (OBC) is used in an electric vehicle (EV) or plugin hybrid vehicle (PHEV) to charge the traction battery. The on-board charger system described in the signal chain converts the AC input from the grid to a DC output, which charges the battery. Recently, more OBCs are being designed to function bidirectionally. In that mode, the EV is the source (DC), and it can power a load or send energy back to the grid.

DC-to–DC Conversion

The DC-to-DC converter delivers power to the 12 V vehicle network by converting power from a high voltage battery pack (or 48 V in mild hybrid electric vehicle). ADI provides a wide range of solutions for high voltage and 48 V DC-to-DC conversion topologies:

  • High voltage data isolators and isolated gate drivers with leading capabilities in terms of power consumption, latency, EMI, CMTI, and lifetime reliability
  • Power management solutions including buck (step-down), boost (step-up), flyback, and isolated topology switching regulators.
  • Performance and market-leading current sensing solutions with the reliability, robustness, common step response, offset voltage, temperature drift, and bandwidth specifications needed to optimize system efficiency in harsh automotive environments.