Motor controllers for electric vehicle powertrains

April 27, 2012 // By Dave Lamb
The motor controller is an electronics package operating between the battery and the motor that essentially acts as the 'brains' of a vehicle. Its main role is to convert power from the battery (DC) into an AC or DC motor and to provide intelligence as to how and when to deliver power to the motor.

This enables it to control the speed, torque, direction of rotation or position of the motor, helping to control the movement of an electric vehicle. Depending on the configuration, the controller either controls the motor on its own or acts as a ‘slave’ and follow demands given by the Vehicle Control Unit (VCU). Another function is to recover energy from the motor and send it back to the battery, recharging the battery as the vehicle slows down. Known as ‘regenerative braking’, this helps to increase the range of electric vehicles.

Read the full article on page 32 of our April digital edition.