Probably not the most memorable announcement to come out of Frankfurt Auto Show 2019 but Delphi deserves huge credit for its Viper switch breakthrough.
Delphi Technologies is the first with volume production of an 800 V silicon carbide (SiC) inverter 'switch', one of the key components of highly efficient next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles. The new inverter enables electrical systems up to 800 volts, significantly extending electric vehicle (EV) range and halving charging times compared with today’s 400 volt systems.
For the technocrats, switching uses state-of-the-art silicon carbide MOSFET semiconductors (silicon carbide-based metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor wide band-gap technology). More simply they allow higher frequency switching which presents fewer complications, like heat build up. So car designers can do more with the gain; such as longer range or a smaller battery; ultra-fast charging or smaller, lighter, cheaper cables; and greater harvesting of vehicle kinetic energy when braking, further extending vehicle range.
Inverters are one of the highest-value electrification components and their efficiency will have an industry-changing impact on many aspects of vehicle performance. It is a technology that goes a long way to fulfilling estimates that up to 45 percent of global vehicle production will be electrified by 2025, with around 46 million electrified vehicles being sold annually, rising to up to 57 percent by 2030 (around 62 million vehicles annually).