Building a better (electric) vehicle
Electric vehicles are currently in a phase of exceptionally rapid evolution where an apparently small technological development can bring big benefits and give early adopters a distinct – and very profitable – competitive advantage. One such development is the introduction of Power-ThruTM gate drivers by Heyday Integrated Circuits.
On-board chargers for EVs
At the heart of every modern electric vehicle is an on-board charger (OBC) for the traction batteries, and at the heart of every OBC are numerous semiconductor power switches. Each of these switches is controlled by a gate driver which, as the name suggests, sends power to the gate of the switch to turn it on or off. With conventional gate drivers, this power comes from an auxiliary supply and, in a typical OBC, as many as eight or more of these auxiliary supplies, each of which is made up of multiple components, may be needed.
Heyday gate drivers are different. Their patented Power-Thru™ technology means that the power for driving the gate of the semiconductor switch is transferred by a novel magnetic coupling device within the integrated circuit. No auxiliary power supply is needed and the coupling provides complete isolation, which is essential in OBC applications as they involve high-voltage mains supplies and high-voltage batteries.
Reduced product and development costs
Why is the elimination of auxiliary power supplies for gate drivers significant? First of all, it reduces component count in OBC and, as every component in a vehicle adds to its cost, this reduced component count leads directly to cost savings. Next, it greatly simplifies the design work needed to develop the OBC so there are further cost savings in terms of engineering time. Fewer components also means that manufacturing costs are lower.
Increased reliability and efficiency
Those benefits alone would surely be enough to make the Heyday gate drivers compelling, but they have yet more to offer. The reduced component count and lower overall complexity means that OBC systems that use Heyday parts have fewer potential points of failure than their conventional counterparts and so are intrinsically more reliable. And, as improved vehicle reliability means fewer warranty claims complemented by enhanced brand status and perceptions, this is a very significant benefit.
Other benefits resulting from the novel Heyday gate driver technology include reduced size of the power modules, which makes more functional space available in the vehicle, and reduced weight which helps to increase the all-important vehicle operating range. A final factor is that Power-ThruTM gate drivers pave the way for OBC designs that are more energy efficient than conventional designs, making possible shorter battery recharge times while also reducing the generation of unwanted heat during the charging process.
Heyday Power-ThruTM gate drivers are tiny and, in themselves, inexpensive components yet the potential they have for driving forward the design and development of OBC systems for electric vehicles is very far from tiny. With benefits that include lower cost, increased reliability and greater energy efficiency they’re surely worth investigating!
To find out more, watch Heyday webinar on OBC and inverter applications: