Electric Vehicle Charging Is About To Become More Efficient

It’s probably safe to say that electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining in popularity and are here to stay. With the upswing in popularity and the resulting demand, so increases the demand for better and more efficient power technologies to keep EV drivers on the road. Considered the go-to resource for cutting-edge electric vehicle (EV) charging technology, researchers at Kettering University's Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) are collaborating head and shoulders with HELLA, a global company specializing in automotive lighting and electronic products.

The research collaboration revolves around creating the next generation of HELLA's Level-2 EV charger. Like currently available components, HELLA’s Level-2 EV charger has a three-stage design that converts ac mains voltage to 400 Vdc, inverts this dc to a high frequency ac that feeds a transformer. The high-frequency ac is then converted back to dc used to charge the battery. It’s assumed that each of these three conversion stages results in about a 2% power loss. Therefore, 100% - 6% indicates a wall-to-battery efficiency of 94%

Dr. Kevin Bai, associate professor of Electrical Engineering at Kettering University, and his research team are working on eliminating one conversion stage. It’s their belief that a charger with a two-stage design would deliver 97% efficiency for an overall improvement of 3%.

Dr. Kevin Bai and Mike Johnson are working to improve charging efficiency for electric vehicles.

As part of the research, there will also be some added benefits. Dr. Bai points out, "By using gallium-nitride devices, the charger switching frequency also is significantly higher, nearly double the present charger. The design will make the charger ultra-compact and light, which eventually will be a game changer for the EV charging industry."

A prototype of the charger is expected to be finished by October. For more details, visit:





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