The increasing use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) has a very important role to play in supporting mobility while reducing the carbon and air quality impact of road transport. However, one of the major hurdles for the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is charging infrastructure; there is a need for a nationwide network of fast charging stations, which puts a great economic burden on governments. A prevailing solution is to use onboard battery chargers, which gives flexibility of charging where an electric power outlet is available. However, because of adding extra weight, volume and cost, the onboard chargers are mainly made for lower powers which are suitable only for overnight charging.
This 4-year studentship, funded by EPSRC, is to develop a novel automotive inverter architecture with the ultra-fast battery charging capability. In this innovative approach, the traction inverter, including power modules and passive components, will be intelligently restructured to form an ultra-fast onboard charger when the vehicle is in charging state. This innovative power conversion module will offer the following capabilities:
- Ultra-fast onboard charger to operate in grid-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-grid modes.
- Traction inverter to operate in motoring and regenerative braking modes.
This multidisciplinary research will involve the development of a unique inverter architecture and soft switching techniques. Numerical modelling and advanced control techniques will be utilised to implement a modular reconfigurable inverter topology. Successful candidates will join an interdisciplinary team with substantial industrial engagement and academic collaborations, as such they will be able to continue their career in this exciting field delivering future enabling technologies for the automotive industry.