GM developing next-generation power inverter


GM is developing a next-generation power inverter capable of 55 kW peak/30 kW continuous power. According to GM’s Sean Gleason, who gave a presentation on the project at the DOE’s Annual Merit Review, GM is almost two-thirds of the way through the $16.6-million project ($6 million of the funding support came from the DOE), which began in October 2011 and is scheduled to be finished in January 2016.

As specified by the DOE’s 2020 goals, the new inverter will bring the cost of the power electronics to $3.30/kW (produced in quantities of 100,000 units), power density to 13.4 kW/l, and specific power to 14.1 kW/kg, with an efficiency of greater than 94%. The inverter is intended to be modular and scalable to meet all vehicle applications.

For the project, GM is working with Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers (Hitachi, Delphi, Infineon, HRL, Panasonic, AVX, Kemet, and VePoint) along with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Gleason noted that GM has not made prototype power electronics in an internal facility since 1999, and that the company is now considering bringing power electronics production back in-house.


Source: Green Car Congress

  • Wild

    Considering the small population of GM electric compliance vehicles built is this money well spent?

    • Naturenut99

      Inverters are required on any plug in, not just one car.
      The Volt is not a complianc car. The Spark EV will eventually be nationwide.

      They will also eventually have more than those two EV’s.
      They have to think longterm not just about tomorrow.
      So yes they have to plan and develop new and better parts.

      • Wild

        The inverter controls an electric motor it is not specific for a ‘plug in’. What makes you think that the spark will go nationwide? If the few states that mandate such a vehicle were to change their regulations you could bet the spark and other compliance vehicles would be canceled faster than you could plug one in.

        • JustMoved315

          Did you even read what Naturenut99 said? The Volt is not a compliance car and is fully propelled by electric motors. It uses inverters in its motor controller and has been available for years prior to the Spark EV, since December 2010

          • Wild

            I am not in the mood to argue with morons, just the same who mentioned that the hybrid volt is a compliance car?

      • bioburner

        Do other hybrid ( non plug in) have batteries and inverters too? If they did then this tech. could be used in many other cars also.

  • djchristi

    This is good news. Apparently GM has finally become aware that electric traction drive might be important to automobiles in the future. At least, GM is willing to spend federal tax dollars in this direction.