Mitsubishi Develops Lighter, Smaller Electric Car Motor

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Mitsubishi Electric combined motor and inverter

Mitsubishi Electric combined motor and inverter

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Weight, we're told, is the enemy of the car.

The more of it you have, the more of it you need to overcome. Efficiency takes a turn for the worse, performance suffers, handling becomes less nimble--the problems are many.

In electric cars, that makes the job of improving range more difficult. To this end, says Drives & Controls, Mitsubishi Electric is developing a new electric motor for use in electric cars, half the size and significantly lighter than current units.

That means packaging can be improved, but also, less weight for the motor itself to lug about.

The permanent magnet electric motor has an integrated silicon carbide inverter - the same diameter as the motor itself - which Mitsubishi claims is the smallest of its kind. At the moment, Mitsubishi electric vehicles use a separate motor and inverter, which requires more space for the components and cabling.

Silicon carbide allows for thinner, and therefore less resistant chips, lowering electrical losses - by up to 50 percent compared to regular silicon-based inverters. The motor itself is more magnetically efficient, and allows for a 5 percent increase in power compared to existing motors.

What all that means for the end user in their electric car is more space available for passengers and batteries, greater performance, and greater efficiency.

The combined motor and inverter isn't in production just yet, but Mitsubishi Electric plans to commercialize the unit once development has finished.

Is there a Mitsubishi i electric car with an updated motor on the way? Watch this space.

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