48V motor driver IC enables more compact powertrain designs

February 22, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
48V motor driver IC enables more compact powertrain designs
Texas Instruments simplifies the drive design for mild hybrid vehicles with new driver chip.

A highly integrated Grade 0 motor driver for brushless DC (BLDC) motors from Texas Instruments helps designers reduce the size of their motor systems by up to 30%, while providing the industry's highest gate drive current as a prerequisite for improved protection and more output power, according to manufacturer Texas Instruments. The DRV3255-Q1 was developed according to the Functional Safety Process certified by TÜV SÜD to be suitable up to ASIL D (Automotive Safety Integrity Level). The chip allows manufacturers to design a drive system with which MHEV systems up to ASIL D can be realised. A motor power of up to 30 kW is supported, which should improve the response of a 48 V drive system in heavy vehicles.

The DRV3255-Q1 is the industry's first three-phase 48 V BLDC motor driver with integrated high- and low-side active short-circuit logic, eliminating the need for external transistors and logic. By integrating the active short-circuit logic and dynamic fault response, the motor driver not only enables a simpler design, but also a reduction in component complexity, resulting in a significantly smaller PCB.

The active short-circuit logic gives system designers the flexibility to arrange the connections to the MOSFETs according to system requirements and helps prevent total system failures due to overvoltages. Dynamic fault response automatically switches the motor driver to active short-circuit mode when overvoltages occur, protecting the motor and vehicle electrical components from overvoltage-related stresses while optimising system performance.

The DRV3255-Q1 delivers the industry's highest output power, which improves system response times of 48 V drives. This means that even heavy vehicles such as SUVs or commercial vehicles can accelerate again more quickly after a stop. For motors with current requirements up to 600 A, the DRV3255-Q1 delivers the industry's highest gate drive current, allowing direct drive of MOSFETs with a gate charge up to 1,000 nC.

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