This PFI: AIR Technology Translation project focuses on translating an integrated bidirectional onboard charger and dc/dc converter technology to fill the need for compact and efficient power converters for plug-in electric vehicles. The proposed technology is important because it reduces the weight, volume and cost of onboard converters, while enhancing their efficiencies, and enabling bidirectional operation. The successful completion of this project will facilitate widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and lead to the creation of jobs through the small business partner once the technology matures toward commercialization. The project will result in a prototype of an integrated charger/converter for electric vehicles. This converter has the following unique features over current options: bidirectional operation, higher efficiency over entire charging period, less number of components, and an air-cooled thermal management system. These features provide the advantages of enhanced efficacy, greater power density, and considerable cost savings, in comparison to the competing conventional method of utilizing an individual charger and an individual auxiliary load converter in the current market space.
This project addresses the following technology gaps as it translates from research discovery toward commercial application: (1) theoretical advancements in the design and development of ultra-compact, integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and grid-to-vehicle (G2V) chargers and converters; (2) innovative thermal management methods for wide band-gap Silicon Carbide (SiC) based power electronic converters; (3) demonstration of a functional prototype integrated charger/converter for plug-in electric vehicles, (4) evaluation and prototyping a commercially valuable solution of proposed converter against conventional technologies, and (5) developing a strategy for commercialization beyond this project. In addition, personnel involved in this project, PIs, undergraduates and graduates will receive innovation and technology translation experiences through technical and commercialization tasks. This will be achieved through design and packaging activities from the feasibility to prototyping stage.
The project engages researchers from University of Maryland and Genovation Cars Inc. to design, develop, and validate a prototype of this technology translation effort from research discovery toward commercial reality.