Electric cars have always been a welcome alternative to fossil fuels, but the practicalities of their implementation have fallen far short of traditional motors. Slow to charge, quick to drain, and notoriously lacking in power, electric cars have not been viewed as much more than inner-city transportation for the yuppie set. The research project "HV-Modal," backed by ten partners from prominent automotive companies including BMW and Daimler AG, intends to give electric cars the power boost and accompanying recognition they deserve.
Infineon Technologies, a world leader in semiconductors, has been charged with the lead of HV-ModAL, which will thoroughly research electric drive platforms and address power modules for high-power drives up to 250kW and high voltages up to 900 V as well as modular multi-level DC/DC converters and system components for batteries over 600 V. If successful, the new drive trains will give electric cars comparable performance to their gasoline counterparts. Especially compelling is the project's aim to create a flexible system simulation model for different vehicle platforms that is suitable for cars across a wide range of cars produced by various manufacturers.
This means that, while the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research is funding half of the 7.5 million Euros invested in the project, its outcome will not be classified or proprietary, meaning that many manufacturers can utilize the technology. Perhaps Germany understands what the rest of the world is slow to realize: that it's time for electric cars to become the new standard.