SIC FETs enable Cure for EV Range Anxiety
Silicon-carbide (SiC) power electronics from STMicroelectronics has enabled the creation of ZapCharger Portable, the world's smallest, smartest, and safest electric-car charging station from Zaptec, an innovative start-up company. ZapCharger Portable was initially developed with and for Renault, to give Zoe owners the best and most robust, reliable and portable charging solution possible.
The market-first portable electric-car charger with built-in electronic transformer, ZapCharger works with any electric car on any grid. STâ€™s SiC MOSFET devices have enabled Zaptec engineers to design a portable, yet powerful piece of equipment. Ten-times smaller and lighter than products with the comparable performance, the 3kg, 45 x 10 x 10cm charger delivers an energy efficiency of 97%.
Uncompromising on safety, the water- and weather-proof ZapCharger is fully galvanically insulated and continuously monitors the grid it is connected to. It dynamically adjusts the amount of power it delivers and can shut down immediately if it detects a fault, to protect the car. The charger offers GPRS connectivity and operates over an extended temperature range from -40 to +55 degrees C.
Inside the ZapCharger, 32 high-voltage SiC Power MOSFETs from ST deliver efficient power conversion with minimum losses. Compared with traditional (silicon) solutions, these components can sustain much higher voltages, currents, and temperatures, and their power-conversion circuits operate faster, enabling smaller, lighter designs, higher system efficiency, and reduced cooling requirements.
â€œThe key for us was to find a power technology with a very high efficiency so we could reduce the overall size of the charger without compromising performance. STâ€™s silicon-carbide offering was the perfect match,â€ said Jonas HelmikstÃ¸l, COO, Zaptec. â€œThe support of ST as a strong and reliable partner helped us transform our invention into a product that dramatically changes the user experience and by allowing consumers to take their chargers anywhere eliminates â€˜range anxietyâ€ and can accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles worldwide.â€
â€œLeveraging the exceptional efficiency of ST SiC Power MOSFETs, ingenious solutions like ZapCharger that can enable drivers to safely charge their vehicles anywhere are set to catalyze the growth of the e-car market and the smart-energy ecosystem as a whole,â€ said Philip Lolies, EMEA Vice President, Marketing & Application, STMicroelectronics. â€œZaptecâ€™s decision to rely on our advanced power technology confirms STâ€™s industry leadership and enabling role in the global trend towards Greener and Smarter Living.â€
In addition to electric-car charging, Zaptecâ€™s patented, prize-awarded electronic-transformer technology targets new applications in Industrial, Marine, and Space. After successful field tests, ZapCharger is starting pilot production now, with volume ramp-up scheduled at the end of Q3 2016.