Eaton develops power-dense inverter for EVs

By Simon Warburton | 18 January 2019

Eaton says its eMobility business has developed compact power-dense automotive inverters capable of increasing the range of electric vehicles.

The inverters, which draw electricity from the battery and control how it is applied to the motor to manage power and torque, will be tested by an unnamed global automaker in the first quarter of this year.

EMobility developed the vehicle inverters with a power density of 35 kilowatts per litre and 98% operating efficiency. The inverter's high-power density and lightweight design help maximise range while taking up minimal space in the vehicle.

"Most global automakers have different vehicle electrification strategies, so the products we develop must support a range of applications," said eMobility SVP, Scott Adams.

"Regardless of the strategy, electric vehicles need efficient and compact power electronics, and our new line of inverters can be tailored to a wide range of customer requirements and applications."

"The inverter market for electric vehicles is still emerging. Among our advantages in this market are our established partnerships with key suppliers of power electronic components and the fact our inverters comply with the critical ISO 26262 standard for functional safety."

Adams spoke at AutoMobili-D as part of the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, where he discussed Eaton's perspective on the electrified vehicle market.

Eaton projects xEVs will increase to 38% of the global passenger car market by 2030, with share dispersed among battery electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid-electric and mild-hybrid electric. Eaton's inverters can be used in all types of electric vehicles, as well as other alternative fuel vehicles, such as hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Eaton provides high-voltage, fast-acting fuses in nearly 50% of electrified cars and power electronics globally on a leading European battery-electric vehicle platform.

With more than 15 years of experience in developing commercial vehicle hybrid systems, Eaton has a number of vehicle electrification products in the market, including DC/DC converters, power distribution units, battery-electric transmissions and high-voltage fuses.