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?

          • JustMoved315

            The Volt is not a “hybrid” until after it has used all its battery energy. For those first 40 miles, it is an electric vehicle. Hence why it is most accurate to call it an extended range electric vehicle.

          • Wild

            Yeah right. Let’s stop playing games here with fabricated automotive marketing ploys or perhaps we should say let’s stop putting lipstick on a pig and tell it the way it is. The volt is a hybrid.

          • disqus_lSZTklmvO1

            Why are we having semantic arguments instead of focusing on functional realities? You can drain the gas out of a Volt and it will still run, and for long enough to cover most people’s commuting needs… feel free to call that whatever you want. :P

          • Wild

            I am still trying to understand why the fellas above felt it necessary to defend the volt hybrid in the first place. Thanks for the laugh regarding draining the gas out of a volt.

            May I end this useless discussion once and for all by pointing out that an electric vehicle does not have an engine attached. A hybrid does.

          • disqus_lSZTklmvO1

            *sigh*… it’s a car, it doesn’t have feelings, and it doesn’t need to be defended. I’m defending fact-based rational discussion, not the Volt.
            I added my comment solely to make the point that functions matter more than semantics. I don’t care what term we use, I care that its functionality is accurately understood. People hear “hybrid” and they imagine a Prius. They think the electric motor is assistive in nature and the car needs gas to do anything useful, which is inaccurate. That semantic baggage is why many EV advocates prefer “PHEV” or “EREV” to “hybrid”. I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish, but it doesn’t seem productive.

          • Wild

            What I am trying to figure out is why you continue to babble on off topic disregarding the article. Before you accuse anyone perhaps you should look closer at yourself.

      • 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.