Marelli to Begin Manufacturing New Full SiC Power Modules for Motorsport ApplicationsApril 18, 2021 by Alessandro Mascellino
Italian automotive manufacturer Marelli has announced the launch of a new line of power modules with a 99.5% efficiency rate for motorsport, electric, and hybrid traction applications.
The new line of power modules called Enhanced Direct-cooling Inverters (EDIs) were developed by Marelli Motorsport with the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM. The new family of Silicon Carbide (SiC) EDIs will be produced in the company’s Corbetta facility in Italy.
The Marelli Motorsport team in the Corbetta manufacturing facility in Italy. Image used courtesy of Marelli.
An Innovative Cooling Solution
The new inverters feature a novel design that uses a baseplate-less solution to considerably reduce the thermal resistance between the SiC components and the liquid coolant.
The components’ structure then translates to a compact power stage capable of exploiting SiC efficiency while also allowing vehicle designers more flexibility in packaging, cooling system design, and minimized energy storage.
According to Marelli, when compared to same-rate silicon-based designs, the EDIs would present up to 99.5% conversion efficiency, together with 50% weight and size reduction and 50% higher heat dissipation into cooling systems.
The company confirmed in a recent press release that the new inverters have already undergone a series of reliability qualification tests for motorsports applications.
These aimed to assess the robustness of the design in a variety of different scenarios, including when subjected to thermal cycles, during switching tests, and in pressure cycles.
“Being at the forefront of motorsports technologies requires a continuous drive for innovation, also based on constant research for the most efficient materials and solutions,” said Riccardo De Filippi, Senior Vice President and CEO of Marelli Motorsport.
Marelli was first founded in 1919 as Magneti Marelli and has in the past ten decades contributed substantially to the development of automotive technologies. The manufacturing giant, which merged with Calsonic Kansei in 2019, announced revenues of 13.6 billion Euros (JPY 1,664 billion) in 2019.
Today, the company counts 60,000 employees worldwide, together with 170 facilities and R&D centers across Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa.
Commenting on the news, Marelli said EDI’s development represents a significant achievement and a further step forward in the field of electric powertrain for the company.
The firm is currently working on such developments both for motorsport and road vehicle applications, through its combined expertise in both electric drives and thermal energy management systems.
“As Marelli Motorsport, our mission is to promote technological advancements that can first of all be decisive on racetracks, and at the same time enable next-generation technologies also for the road cars of tomorrow,” De Filippi added. “Specifically, in the electric powertrain field, we can build on our strong experience as pioneers of cutting-edge solutions for F1 and Formula E, as well as early adopters of SiC technologies.”
Marelli also recently announced the company will open a new production facility for electrical vehicle drivetrains in Germany by the end June this year.