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The recently updated IDTechEx report “Power Electronics for Electric Vehicles 2015-2025” www.idtechex.com/power reveals a booming market in power electronics for hybrid and pure electric vehicles. More and more types of power electronics are needed per vehicle as new functions need to be performed such as power conditioning for multiple energy harvesting. Another is squeezing better performance from batteries by controlled heating and cooling of them so they maintain optimum temperature at all times. In addition, the trend for more than one traction motor each with an inverter increases the inverter market faster than the growth rate of the EV business itself. IDTechEx now predict the traction inverter market will be valued at a staggering $45 billion by 2025.
The number of major power electronics modules in electric vehicles will have more than doubled over the 2013 figure to around 336 million by 2025. In certain types of vehicle identified by IDTechEx they will have increased much faster than that because the figure includes the power electronics in large numbers of pedelec e-bikes in China, a saturating market with no need for sophisticated electronics.
The main types of power electronics in hybrid and pure electric vehicles by land, water and air include battery management systems BMS which are becoming more sophisticated to increase safety and battery life, for example by monitoring temperature of each cell. Important are inverters and converters and on-board chargers with faster charging, higher current capability.
Inverters are becoming more complex, offsetting cost reduction, but Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx says, “Those seeking much more than cost reduction will gain leadership. Infineon, Hitachi, Sumitomo Electric and Panasonic address such needs as power electronics integrated into transmissions and in-wheel motors in a uniquely efficient, compact, reliable and safe manner. They try to be first to dispense with water cooling at an ever higher power level thanks to new components and better design. The benefits of using the new components such as supercapacitors and SiC semiconductors intelligently are impressive, including significantly increasing the range of pure electric vehicles. Savvy suppliers are already wrestling with what the even later wave of new components can offer such as lithium-ion capacitors and GaN semiconductors.”
The report gives detailed forecasts and shows the technological and market trends.