Jun 14, 2023

Renesas and Nidec put inverter, on

Renesas Electronics has teamed up with electric motor maker Nidec to develop a 6-in-1 e-axle for electric vehicles.

E-axles combine motor, inverter and gearbox into one unit and, according to Renesas, are beginning to collect other power electronics functions such as dc-dc converters and on-board chargers to form a convenient package for car makers to integrate – an idea dubbed ‘x-in-1’.

"As x-in-1 integrates multiple functions and increases in complexity, maintaining a high-level of quality in vehicles becomes challenging," according to Renesas. "Thus, developing preventive safety technologies such as diagnostic functions and failure prediction is crucial for ensuring safety and security in vehicles."

The Renesas-Nidec deal is to develop, by the end of this year, a 6-in-1 proof-of-concept that combines motor, inverter, gearbox, dc-dc converter, on-board charger and power distribution unit.

Renesas will design the hardware, using silicon carbide transistors for some of the power switches, and develop the software.

In a 2024 second phase, at least a battery management system will be added, and both the dc-dc converter and on-board charger will get GaN power transistors.

"Building on the proof-of-concept, Nidec plans to productise e-axle systems," said Renesas, adding that it "plans to develop and deliver turn-key solutions for increasingly complex x-in-1 systems by expanding the proof-of-concept for e-axle reference designs."

Photo: Nidec 3-in-1 150kW E-axle

Steve Bush