Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Electronic Concept: How Hybrid Motors Could Become Cheaper

Date:
October 4, 2009
Source:
ETH Zurich
Summary:
Not all that long ago, hybrid vehicles were still really exotic. Now, you see them more and more frequently on our roads. However, hybrid cars are not mass-produced as their production costs are still relatively high. A researcher has now developed a new concept that integrates power electronic functions and an electric motor, which could reduce the costs of producing hybrid cars.

The new, compact converter system integrates a DC/DC converter and an inverter, and integrates the drive motor magnetically and electrically in both functions.
Credit: Image courtesy of ETH Zurich

Not all that long ago, hybrid vehicles were still really exotic. Now, you see them more and more frequently on our roads. However, hybrid cars are not mass-produced as their production costs are still relatively high. A researcher from ETH Zurich has now developed a new concept as part of her doctoral thesis that integrates power electronic functions and an electric motor, which could reduce the costs of producing hybrid cars.

Ever since Hollywood stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz began to drive up to the red carpet in their hybrid cars, hybrids have become increasingly interesting to the conventional car market. As the public climate debate continues, hybrid cars with a combination of a combustion engine and an electric motor have increasingly become the focus of research projects.

Hanna Plesko, a doctoral student at Power Electronic Systems Laboratory, may well come to ETH Zurich on public transport every morning, but she devotes the rest of her day to drive systems for cars – or more precisely, power electronic converters for hybrid cars, as they are the subject of her doctorate, which she is due to finish in December. “And I don’t even own a car!” she laughs.

Hybrid drives still costly

The production of hybrid drives is still very expensive. “It’s rumored that hybrid vehicles can improve your image, but in some cases the automobile companies have difficulties to cover their costs”, says Plesko. This begs the question as to how hybrid vehicles can be constructed more cost-effectively. A substantial proportion of the costs is swallowed up by the electric motor and the power electronic energy management system, in which inverters and DC/DC converters play a crucial role. However, Plesko’s approach is based on a new concept where these components, i.e. the power electronics and the electric motor perform several functions simultaneously. The multiple use of the electronic parts and the motor also saves volume.

Combination with motor has its advantages

In conventional hybrid vehicles, batteries not only power the electric motor, but also the radio, ventilation and the lights. Unlike the electrical drive system, for which a high DC voltage of 200 – 600 V has to be converted into a three-phase AC voltage, a low DC voltage of 12 V is sufficient to power a car radio. Inverters, which convert the direct current into an alternating current, and DC/DC converters, which transfer the power between the two batteries for the two voltage levels, are therefore important power electronic components in hybrid or electric vehicles. For current hybrid vehicles, these converters are located outside the electric motor. In the research group “Future Automotive Power Electronics” headed by senior scientist Jόrgen Biela, Plesko has developed a system for her doctoral thesis that integrates the inverter, the DC/DC converter and the electric motor functionally. By condensing the functions of the drive and the DC/DC converter in combination, certain electronic components and the motor lamination stack can be shared. Large quantities of such functionally integrated systems will be cheaper as fewer raw materials are needed. Moreover, Plesko’s design is less complex, making it easier to produce.

For her prototype, Plesko used a motor with an output power of 3 kW. 50 kW would have been more realistic, but the test set-up was not designed for such high power levels. However, she is convinced that her design will also work for real engine power. Two patents have been applied for.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ETH Zurich. "New Electronic Concept: How Hybrid Motors Could Become Cheaper." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090927164027.htm>.
ETH Zurich. (2009, October 4). New Electronic Concept: How Hybrid Motors Could Become Cheaper. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090927164027.htm
ETH Zurich. "New Electronic Concept: How Hybrid Motors Could Become Cheaper." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090927164027.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Next Stop America for France's TGV?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 24, 2014) — General Electric keeps quiet on reports it's in talks to buy French turbine and train maker Alstom. Ivor Bennett reports on what could be an embarrassing rumour for the French government, with business-friendly reforms proving a hard sell. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

Raw: Obama Plays Soccer With Japanese Robot

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — President Obama briefly played soccer with a robot during his visit to Japan on Thursday. The President has been emphasizing technology along with security concerns during his visit. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

Obama Encourages Japanese Student-Scientists

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — President Obama spoke with student innovators in Japan and urged them to take part in increased opportunities for student exchanges with the US. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins