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NXP develops new platform to ‘speed up electric vehicle development’

NXP Semiconductors, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive semiconductors, has launched a new automotive power control reference platform for an electric vehicle traction motor inverter.

NXP’s new power inverter reference design platform combines its portfolio of automotive microcontrollers, robust power management system basis chips, and new isolated high-voltage IGBT gate drivers with application-specific system enablement software.

The company says this will help carmakers deliver the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles with “greater speed and less development risk”. 

Traction motor inverters convert DC battery voltage to multi-phase alternating current to drive the traction motors of electric and hybrid vehicles at the speed and acceleration demanded by the driver.

Complex system control is required to monitor the motor’s state, sense the driving currents and reliably calculate and apply the desired torque energy.

NXP has partnered with Vepco Technologies to engineer an ASIL-D-capable, high-voltage power control reference platform and inverter prototype.

For the prototype, the platform controls a Fuji Electric 800V silicon IGBT power module with integrated current and temperature sensing for driving 100 kW 3-phase motors.

NXP plans to enable its customers to develop motor inverters based on the reference design platform with its system control components, enablement software and functional safety enablement while Vepco Technologies will offer contract system engineering services for application and performance specific development on the platform.

Dr Guoliang Zhang, director of systems engineering at Vepco, says: “Vepco Technologies’ deep motor drive knowledge and system experience together with NXP’s comprehensive automotive portfolio, functional safety products and tools offer our customers a compelling power inverter enablement platform.

“Our professional engineering services, such as customized application IPs, added on top of the Power Inverter Module platform will advance the platform to meet a customer’s unique safety and technical requirements with significant time-to-market savings and development cost reduction.”

According to NXP’s internal market estimates, 50 percent of all light vehicles sold worldwide will have some form of electric propulsion by 2030.

These dynamics have created opportunities for new players who need partners with the automotive experience and the deep product and software portfolio needed to build cost-effective and efficient system solutions.

With more than 30 years of automotive experience and a rich automotive portfolio, NXP is well positioned to deliver the optimal performance, robust functional safety and power management required for the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicles.

Rick Beale, senior global marketing director of advanced automotive analog at NXP, says: “The ambitious road to vehicle electrification requires more than high-voltage power switches.

“NXP provides functionally safe system intelligence and control to manage the electric vehicle’s power.

“Our new power inverter and battery management reference platforms are examples of how we leverage our portfolio strengths in this dynamic and growing area.”