At first it seems ridiculous that IDTechEx forecasts a huge growth in the power electronics business for electric vehicles. Yes, there is tending to be two motors per car or larger vehicle not one now and that means many more motor controllers. Yes, the market is growing for the vehicles and each car or larger vehicle has a charger and a battery management system on board, both being power electronics but that alone is insufficient to create the projected $300 billion plus market.
The brand new report from IDTechEx Research, Power Electronics for Electric Vehicles 2016-2026, details the answer. It lies in the fact that the vehicles are, in a real way, turning into power electronics. For example, the suspension will no longer be mechanical but electrical active suspension generating electricity and using it, in part to manage itself, giving a far better ride and fuel economy. This report looks at all these new disruptions including radical changes in the components used in power electronics and the many new forms of power electronics appearing and likely to appear in future, why and when. For instance the wheels may become electrical, generating electricity and hybrids may have thermoelectrics on exhaust systems and turbines in them both generating useful kilowatt level power that needs managing.
The report has an abundance of new infographics and very recent presentations on the technologies and demands by the leaders in the industry. The power electronics business emerging is forecasted in six categories and the electric vehicles, land, water and air that will use this power electronics are forecasted 2016-2026 in no less than 46 categories. This level of detail is not available anywhere else.
Powertrains for electric vehicles land, water and air are evolving rapidly, requiring power electronics to change radically in specific functions and to proliferate to serve many new functions in addition. The report explains. During the coming decade, by far the biggest market will be for vehicles on land, particularly on-road and mainly cars followed by buses. The report shows the current situation, conventional vehicles with start-stop being inadequate to meet impending 2025 and 2030 emissions legislation.
Next comes 48V mild hybrids that are modifications keeping conventional powertrains legal for C (subcompact) size cars and above and possibly with some application to B size cars. Initial forms do not have pure electric modes but they will later have pure electric modes thanks to integrated starter generators and more sophisticated power electronics to control them, as the report illustrates. They will therefore become “electric vehicles” in being “propelled by electric motors some or all of the time”. Most hybrids will have severely downsized engines compensated by new power electronics so performance is the same or better while emissions drop sharply.
The end game is pure electric where the rotating electrical machines REM become simpler motor generators but more power electronics is needed for many other functions such as power conditioning for multiple regeneration and multiple energy harvesting and for exceptional powertrain efficiency, dynamic charging and so on. Implications for everything from motor controllers to converters, battery management systems and new power electrics systems and parts are explained from the view of analysts IDTechEx and the many experts interviewed, most of them actually developing such systems.
Opinions are reported on key issues such as the size of the window of opportunity for SiC and GaN power components, GaAs and CIGS photovoltaics, 48V mild hybrids and the trends to 48V without 12V and to pure electric and all those different power electronics needs and solutions emerging as a result. What are the challenges, future extra features and solutions and most important disruptive components that must be utilised? It is all here.