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This Week in PowerBites: Auto Power Innovation and Motor Recycling Plus New EV Sales Report

Feb. 22, 2024
A bumper crop of automotive power components, an innovative approach to electric motor recycling, and some surprising news about EV sales await you in this issue of PowerBites.

This article is part of the This Week in PowerBites Library Series.

What you’ll learn:

  • Electric motors, and the components that drive them continue to evolve at a rapid pace.
  • Power IC packaging is helping designers create more compact, cooler running, and cost-effective products.
  • The "numbers behind the numbers" reveal surprisingly good news for future EV sales.

 

Reality Check on EV Demand Yields Surprises—Mostly Good

A look at actual market data (see above) reveals that recent rumors of the electric vehicle's imminent demise are vastly overstated and may even be wishful thinking on the part of fossil-fuel interests. While some manufacturers' high prices and reliability issues, combined with general consumer anxieties, are muting demand for some products, overall demand in the U.S. continues to grow, with more sold EVs every quarter since 2021. And that growth is likely to continue.

Some of the most notable takeaways from the monthly sales of HEVs, PHEVs, and BEVs compiled by Argonne’s Center for Transportation Research through the end of 2023 include:

  • Over 1.4M plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were sold in 2023, an increase of over 50% from 2022 sales. BEVs account for 80% of the PEV sales.
  • PEVs reached 9.84% of monthly sales in December and were 9.1% of all passenger vehicle sales in 2023, up from 6.8% in 2022. 
  • Cumulatively, about 4.7 million plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the United States (as of the end of December 2023).

Early signs that EVs can coexist with the grid

On a related note, the surge in EV sales doesn’t appear to be negatively impacting the U.S. power grid. In fact, a recent article published in Clean Technica reveals that despite the record number of EVs on the road, electrical generation was actually down by 1.1% in November 2023. As the article notes, the story behind these statistics is much more complex, with major advances in energy efficiency in both the commercial and industrial sectors helping to lighten the burden on the grid.

Other strategies for maintaining a reliable, robust grid as EV usage grows are also being explored. One very promising strategy is the GridUp program under development by the Rocky Mountain Institute. GridUp is developing techniques for using existing data on vehicle stock, driving patterns, and charging behaviors, to model the anticipated power and energy demand. It will also identify "hot spots" that require significant build-outs of generating and distribution capacity, as well as specific locations where charging infrastructure will be most needed.

Stay tuned to PowerBites and Electronic Design for timely dispatches from the frontlines of the EV revolution.

Electric-Motor Recycling Process Promises to Reduce Cost and Environmental Impact of EVs

Cyclic Materials' process for the clean, efficient recycling of electric motors has the potential to lower the cost and environmental impact of EVs, as well as diminish manufacturers’ dependence on critical materials imported from politically sensitive regions.

The company recently announced successful results from its new Kingston, Ontario pilot plant, where its proprietary Mag-Xtract technology isolates magnets from recycled end-of-life products. The design capacity of the plant is 1,000 kg/hour (8,000 tons per year), and initial runs have processed several tons of magnet feedstock per day.

“The launch of our pilot plant is a major step forward for developing a domestic, circular supply chain for critical materials at the scale needed to support the clean energy transition and technological innovation,” said Ahmad Ghahreman, co-founder and CEO of Cyclic Materials. “Our magnet-agnostic recycling technology produces one of the cleanest and highest-quality mixed rare-earth oxide products available on the global market—an environmentally sustainable, first-of-its-kind solution to the limited international supply of critical magnet materials.”

In 2022, Cyclic Materials completed an initial proof-of-concept of Mag-Xtract, processing 4000 kg of magnet-containing products—including copper, aluminum, and steel—from end-of-life products. These materials are critical to the development of electric vehicles, wind turbines, smartphones, and other technologies.

In addition to developing Mag-Xtract, Cyclic Materials is scaling its proprietary hydrometallurgy technology to convert magnet feedstock and manufacturing waste into mixed rare-earth oxide, cobalt-nickel hydroxide, and other by-products. Last fall, the company piloted its hydrometallurgy technology at a capacity of 10 tons/year. The aforementioned commercial demonstration plant for this technology is expected to go into full production sometime in Q2 2024.

Stay tuned for an upcoming in-depth Q&A with Cyclic's CEO about the unique technology, logistics, and business model that makes its business possible. Meanwhile, click here for additional information about the company. 

Integrated 100-V GaN Power Stages Increase Power Density and Efficiency

With Texas Instruments’ new 100-V gallium-nitride (GaN) power stages, the LMG2100R044 and LMG3100R017, designers can reduce power-supply solution size for mid-voltage applications by more than 40% and achieve industry-leading power density of over 1.5 kW/in.3, enabled by GaN technology’s higher switching frequencies.

The new portfolio also reduces switching power losses by 50% compared to silicon-based solutions, while achieving 98% or higher system efficiency given the lower output capacitance and lower gate-drive losses. In a solar-inverter system, for example, higher density and efficiency enables the same panel to store and produce more power while decreasing the size of the overall microinverter system.

A key enabler of the thermal performance in the power stages is TI’s thermally enhanced, dual-side cooled package. This technology allows for more efficient heat removal from both sides of the device and offers improved thermal resistance compared to competing integrated GaN devices.

For more information, go here. To learn more about the benefits of TI’s 100V GaN power stages for mid-voltage applications, read the technical article “4 mid-voltage applications where GaN will transform electronic designs."

Production quantities of the LMG2100R044 and LMG3100R017 100-V GaN power stages are now available for purchase on the company’s website.

Next-Gen ZVS Flyback Converter Chipset Eyes USB-C PD Adapters, Chargers

Demand continues to grow for powerful yet compact USB-C PD adapters. Infineon Technologies addresses it with the EZ-PD PAG2, a secondary-side controlled ZVS flyback converter chipset. It offers PD 3.1 standard power range (SPR) with programmable power supply (PPS) and 28-V extended power range (EPR) for fast, reliable charging. Suitable for a wide range of wattages, the chipset is compatible with BC v1.2, AFC, Apple charging, and QC5.0, and its universal AC line input support from 90 to 265 V AC enhances global usability.

This chipset, comprising the EZ-PD PAG2P and EZ-PD PAG2S, integrates USB PD capabilities, a synchronous rectifier, and pulse-width-modulation (PWM) controller. It ensures efficient communication and isolation between primary and secondary sides using the CYPET121 pulse-edge transformer (PET).

The chipset supports innovative non-complementary active-clamp flyback (NCP-ACF) and quasi-resonant flyback with zero-voltage-switching (QR-ZVS) topologies for enhanced efficiency. This makes it well-suited for high-efficiency USB-C adapters, chargers, and travel adapters.

The EZ-PD PAG2 family offers a versatile, efficient power-delivery solution for various applications. It provides programmable soft-start using an external capacitor, offering controlled power-ups and discontinuous conduction mode (DCM), critical conduction mode (CrCM) and continuous conduction mode (CCM), as well as burst and skip modes for different load conditions. This adaptability gears it toward different regional power sources and device types. The EZ-PD PAG2 family's features ensure efficient and flexible power management for various needs.

The EZ-PD PAG2S-QZ and EZ-PD PAG2S-AC are available in a 32-pin QFN package, and the EZ-PD PAG2S-PS is available in 32-pin QFN and 24-pin SOIC packages. The EZ-PD PAG2P has two variants: non-x-cap discharge mode and x-cap discharge mode, both available in a 14-pin SOIC package.

Compact 600-V MOSFETs Foster Lower-Profile Designs for Lighting Power Supplies, Pumps, and Motors

ROHM Semiconductor’s new lineup of compact 600-V superjunction MOSFETs can be used to develop more compact, more efficient lighting power supplies, pumps, and motors. The company was able to reduce the size of superjunction MOSFETs while maintaining an optimal balance between high breakdown voltage and low on-resistance.

All five devices come in the SOT-223-3 package (6.50 × 7.00 × 1.66 mm), shrinking area and thickness by 31% and 27%, over the conventional TO-252 package (6.60 × 10.00 × 2.30 mm) with no decrease in performance. At the same time, the same land pattern (footprint) as the TO-252 package can be used, enabling mounting on existing circuit boards without modification.

Offering distinctive features, three of the models are optimized for compact power supplies. The R6004END4, characterized by low noise, is suitable for applications where noise is a concern, while the R6003KND4 and R6006KND4, capable of high-speed switching, target sets requiring low-loss, high-efficiency operation. The R6002JND4 and R6003JND4 utilize proprietary PrestoMOS technology to achieve significantly lower switching losses by speeding up reverse-recovery time (trr), making them well-suited for motor-equipped devices.

Supporting materials such as application notes, technical documents, and Spice simulation models for each product are available on ROHM’s website free of charge to enable quick market introduction.

Application Examples

  • R6004END4/ R6003KND4/ R6006KND4: Lighting, air conditioners, refrigerators, etc.
  • R6002JND4/R6003JND4: Motors for pumps, fans, copiers, etc.

Additional information, including application notes on the SOT-223-3 package and other documents essential for circuit design, is available here.

Isolated Power Module Offers High Efficiency, High Protection for Test and Industrial Platforms

Würth Elektronik extended its family of MagI³C-FISM power modules with the WPME-FISM Fixed Isolated SIP/SMT Module SMT-8. Rated for 1-W POUT at 3.3 to 5 V, the DC-DC voltage converter features enhanced efficiency of 84% and an improved maximum temperature limit (105°C) and isolation voltage (3 kV for 60 seconds). Applications for the module include supplying voltages for interfaces and microcontrollers in test and measurement technology or industrial electronics.

Like some other members of the MagI3C-FSIM family, this power module has continuous short-circuit protection that can be used to provide simple functional isolation for overvoltage protection, such as preventing ground loops and shifts as well as interference in the signal path or sensor systems.

The MagI³C FISM module integrates a switching power stage, transformer, as well as input and output capacitance, so no external components are required for operation. It also minimizes both PCB footprint and the effort required for circuit design.  As with all members of the family, the WPME-FISM is UL 62368-1 recognized. The low level of conducted and radiated electromagnetic interference complies with the EN55032 Class B / CISPR-32 standard.

Würth supplies free samples on request. The new FISM module with 5-V output voltage is now available from stock without a minimum order quantity. 

P-Channel MOSFETs Cut Power Consumption in Automotive Apps

Two more −60-V P-channel MOSFETs have been added to Toshiba Electronics’ U-MOS VI series. They’re intended for use in automotive applications such as load switches, semiconductor relays, and motor drives. The new XPH8R316MC and XPH13016MC are already qualified to meet AEC-Q101—the automotive reliability standard.

The XPH8R316MC is rated for −90-A continuous drain current (ID) and the XPH13016MC is rated for an ID of −60 A. The pulsed drain current (IDP) is double these values, −180 and −120 A, respectively. Both devices are rated for a drain-source voltage (VDSS) of −60 V and are capable of operating at channel temperatures (Tch) up to 175°C.

Maximum drain-source on-resistance (RDS(ON)) of the XPH8R316MC is 8.3 mΩ, which is approximately 25% lower than Toshiba’s existing TPCA8123. For the XPH13016MC, the value is 12.9 mΩ, approximately 49% lower than the TPCA8125. These highly reduced values of RDS(ON) contribute significantly to lowering power consumption within automotive applications.

Both devices are housed in an SOP Advanced (WF) package—a surface-mount style with a wettable flank terminal structure. The package is compatible with the automated optical inspection (AOI) of solder joints used extensively in the automotive industry. In addition, the copper connectivity within the package reduces package resistance, improves efficiency, and reduces heat build-up. 

Automotive-Grade Planar Schottky Diodes Come in Space-Saving CFP3-HP Packaging

Nexperia now offers a portfolio of 22 new planar Schottky diodes in CFP3-HP packaging, which includes 11 industrial and 11 AEC-Q101 qualified products. This release supports the growing preference for smaller footprint CFP-packaged devices over earlier devices in SMx-type packaging. Applications include DC-DC conversion, freewheeling, reverse-polarity protection, and OR-ing functions.

The devices are offered with reverse voltages (VR(max)) ranging from 30 to 100 V and forward currents (IF(average)) between 1 and 3 A. The exposed heatsink, which is a feature of the CFP3-HP, enables it to provide the highest level of heat dissipation (Ptot) for such a small package footprint (3.7 × 1.8 × 0.9 mm).

With packaging based on Nexperia's proprietary copper-clip design, these rugged diodes are built to meet the challenging demands of efficient and space-saving designs. 

Go here to learn more about Nexperia’s planar Schottky diodes in CFP3-HP packaging.

Dual-Channel High-Side Switches Provide Robust Protection for Automotive Applications

The first automotive-compliant, dual-channel, high-side power switches—the  ZXMS82090S14PQZXMS82120S14PQ, and ZXMS82180S14PQ—from Diodes Inc. further expand its IntelliFET self-protected MOSFET portfolio. These intelligent switches deliver high power within a compact footprint while also providing robust protection and diagnostic capabilities. The series is designed for driving 12-V automotive loads, such as LEDs, bulbs, actuators, and motors in automotive body control and lighting systems.

These IntelliFETs provide efficient, reliable, smaller footprint alternatives to relays, fuses, and discrete circuits. They’re also form, fit, and functional equivalents for existing power switch devices, where customers need improved product supply.

All three devices feature a dual 41-V-rated N-channel MOSFET array with onboard circuitry that protects against short circuits, manages inrush currents, and safeguards against overvoltage conditions (including load dumps). In addition, the switches provide overtemperature protection with auto-restart, plus protection against electrostatic-discharge damage. Loss of ground and reverse-polarity protection can also be implemented with the aid of a few external components.

A dedicated current-sense pin provides precise analog current monitoring of the outputs and fault indication for short-to-battery, short-to-ground, and open-load detection.

The switches are qualified to AEC-Q100, manufactured in IATF 16949 certified facilities, and support PPAP documentation. Supplied in the thermally efficient SO-14EP package, pricing for the switches starts at $1.37 in 2,500-piece quantities.

Next-Gen Industrial Motors Bring Sustainability, 92%+ Efficiency to Commercial and Industrial Systems

Infinitum’s Aircore EC, its latest high-efficiency motor system, is designed to sustainably power commercial and industrial applications, such as HVAC fans, pumps, and data centers, with less energy consumption, reduced emissions, and reduced waste. The Aircore EC motor system features an integrated variable-frequency drive and delivers upwards of 93% system efficiency, as well as class-leading power and torque density.

The motor replaces the heavy, copper-wound iron stator found in traditional motors with a lightweight, printed circuit board (PCB) stator that’s 10X more reliable, according to Infinitum. The company further states that when compared to conventional motors, it’s 10% to 65% more efficient, 50% smaller and lighter, and uses 66% less copper. The motor’s modular design allows for housing, rotors, and stators to be reused multiple times to serve future generations.

The Aircore AC also features a compact, low-footprint package that enables a variety of horizontal, vertical, and peripheral mounting options. It’s also 20% lighter than the previous version, with new features for easier installation and serviceability. In addition, the motor's serviceability features include electronic alerts that identify specific problems for faster resolutions and a removable access panel for easier access to terminals, connectors, and programming ports.

The motor system can easily be customized for your application with options that include: 

  • Custom nameplating: Allows customers to match an application’s exact HP/RPM specifications for reduced energy, electrical, and wiring costs. 
  • Controls: Optional IoT capabilities and Infinitum’s I-con motor-control software ensure continuous monitoring and reporting of carbon emissions, energy consumption, heat and vibration for optimal energy management, performance, and predictive maintenance.
  • Communication: Support for a wide variety of communication protocols, including MODBUS RTU, Analog, MODBUS IP, BACnet MS/TP, and more.

Infinitum's system is currently available in four standard frame sizes ranging from 3 to 15 HP at 415, 460, and 575 V for the Canadian and U.S. market. In addition, the company will be releasing a heavy-duty version of the Aircore EC suitable for pump and more demanding fan applications, such as air handling units for large data centers.

To learn more about Infinitum’s latest generation Aircore EC motor system, visit: 

Read more articles in the This Week in PowerBites Library Series.

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