Motorsports power module

Departments - Components

May 4, 2021

Photo credit: Marelli

Global automotive supplier Marelli has launched a power module for motorsports electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) traction applications completely developed in the company’s Corbetta, Italy facility, fully based on silicon carbide (SiC) technology and using a new direct cooling solution. The system will be the core building block for more efficient, compact, and lighter inverters.

The new enhanced direct-cooling inverter (EDI), developed by Marelli Motorsport with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM, features an innovative structural design that reduces thermal resistance between the SiC components and the liquid coolant using a new baseplate-less solution. The result is a compact power stage which can exploit the efficiency advantage of silicon carbide, allowing vehicle designers more flexibility in packaging, cooling system design, and minimized energy storage.

Compared to a silicon-based design of the same rating, the new technology enables conversion efficiencies up to 99.5%, 50% reduced weight and size, and 50% higher heat dissipation into the cooling system.

Throughout the years, silicon carbide has been a proven technology for high-voltage and high-temperature power electronics devices such as inverters, granting excellent performance in HEV and EV applications. The use of SiC MOSFET enables smaller, lighter, and more efficient solutions. These features become even more crucial for motorsports, where size, weight, and efficiency are major design drivers.

Produced in the Marelli Corbetta facility clean room (see photo, below), the EDI power module has successfully undergone reliability qualification tests for motorsports mission profiles, assessing design robustness when subjected to thermal cycles, switching tests, and pressure cycles.

This marks a further step forward within Marelli’s ongoing commitment to electric powertrains, which is focused on developments for motorsports and road vehicles applications, leveraging the company’s combined expertise in electric drives and thermal energy management systems.

“Being at the forefront of motorsports technologies requires a continuous drive for innovation, also based on constant research for the most efficient materials and solutions,” says Riccardo De Filippi, senior vice president and CEO of Marelli Motorsport. “Our mission is to promote technological advancements that can first of all be decisive on racetracks, and at the same time enable next-generation technologies also for the road cars of tomorrow. Specifically, in the electric powertrain field, we can build on our strong experience as pioneers of cutting-edge solutions for F1 and Formula E, as well as early adopters of SiC technologies.”