One of the important realities which would facilitate widespread adoption of next generation of plug-in electric vehicles is the capability of traveling long distances. Since nearly all residences and businesses are already equipped with a 120VAC mains connection, and most with a 240VAC connection, it is assumed that the majority of vehicle charging will take place when the vehicle is parked either overnight at home or during the daytime at the office. The drawback to this paradigm is that level-1 and level-2 charging can take anywhere from 4 to 20 hours depending on available power and battery size; meaning that trips of any substantial distance would involve some amount of planning and vehicle down-time. The current alternative is high power level-3 off-board charging. Off-board chargers are bulky, costly to manufacture, expensive to install, and are not practical without the evolution of a comprehensive national charging infrastructure. This Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) project addresses design of an integrated universal on-board fast charger, compatible with level-1, level-2, and level-3 charging capabilities. In addition, the research team will ensure the highest quality integrated education and research to meet the emerging workforce and educational needs of the U.S. energy and transportation industries by educating young and talented graduate, undergraduate, and high school students.
The objective of this project is to design, control, develop, and validate a universal onboard Silicon Carbide based high-power motor-integrated inverter/charger for electric vehicles. The underlying foundation behind this project is to provide a transformative solution to overcome present limitations of the charging methods, which integrates different disciplines such as electrical engineering and mechanical engineering, thus fostering multidisciplinary collaborative research. This important work will (1) lead to theoretical advancements in the design of onboard high-power chargers and introduce unique control strategies to prevent torque generation during three-phase charging; (2) result in innovative packaging and thermal management methods as well as physics of failure mode analyses for wide band gap based converters, leading to increased efficiency with lower size, weight, and cost; and (3) involve interdisciplinary research in power electronics, control, adjustable speed drives, packaging, reliability assessment, and thermal management.