Sintered power electronics: Smaller yet more powerful

July 22, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Sintered power electronics: Smaller yet more powerful
In addition to the electric motor and battery, a third component is crucial for the performance and range of electric vehicles: the power module. Continental has developed a new module that enables currents of up to 650 amps. At the upcoming IAA motor show, this module will be one of the highlights of Continental's trade show presence. A very coveted electric vehicle is already being equipped with it: The Jaguar Landrover I-Pace.

The current, third generation of the power electronics module delivers six times the power of the first generation in 2011, while the weight has been reduced from the original 12 kilograms to just 8 kilograms.

The technological highlight of power electronics is the special production process for the required semiconductors. In these, the conventional soldered wire connections have been replaced by sintering technology. Put simply, the contacts are baked together. The advantage: The double-sided sintered microchips in the power module offer significant advantages in terms of service life, reliability and thermal resilience. The Powertrain Division is using this technology for the first time in automotive electronics. As eeNews Europe learnt, Continental purchases the power transistors as bare dies from Infineon and refines them with its proprietary sintering process.

The robustness gained in this way is decisive, because the power module must provide the full current in fractions of a second. It also depends on this component whether the potential of the electric drive can be fully exploited. The electronic module not only supplies the electric machine with power, but also controls energy recovery (recuperation).

Jaguar Land Rover is a showcase customer for Continental's new power module: in the luxury car, this module provides vehement power delivery. Continental also cites the fact that the component has been adopted unchanged for the racing version of the vehicle, which will be launched in an international electric racing series, as proof of the exceptional performance of the power module. While such a technology transfer usually takes place from the racing cars to the production vehicles, in this case it is the other way around; high-performance production technology is used for racing purposes.

Related articles:

Continental showcases technologies to face the future of mobility

Jaguar I-Pace accelerates with sintered IGBT chips

 


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