Delphi Technologies says it is the first in the industry with volume production of an 800 V silicon carbide (SiC) inverter, one of the key components of highly efficient next-generation electric and hybrid vehicles. The new inverter enables electrical systems up to 800 volts, reportedly significantly extending electric vehicle (EV) range and halving charging times compared to 400 V systems.

The technology, which supports multi voltage platforms, is an evolution of the company's high-voltage inverter. Delphi Technologies 800 V inverter uses silicon carbide MOSFET semiconductors (silicon carbide-based metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor wide bandgap technology). The company says it recently secured a $2.7 billion order for volume production of this technology over eight years with a global OEM. Launch is expected in 2022, initially for a high-performance vehicle operating at up to 800 V.

A few days ago, the company announced that it is partnering with Cree, a maker of SiC semiconductors, to enable greater range and shorter recharging times in electric vehicles. Delphi Technologies inverters will use Cree's Wolfspeed silicon carbide-based MOSFETs.

"Doubling the voltage from today's typical 400 volts brings a substantial range of benefits, both for the vehicle user and for the vehicle manufacturer," said Richard F. Dauch, CEO, Delphi Technologies. "We have designed this technology to simplify vehicle manufacturers' multi-voltage strategy as they extend their electric and hybrid vehicle ranges."

At the heart of the new inverter is its patented Viper power switch, which combines high levels of integration with double-sided cooling. These features, according to the company, allow it to develop inverters that are 40% lighter and 30% more compact than competitor inverter technologies.

The latest addition to the Viper power switch range replaces conventional silicon with silicon carbide, a high band gap semiconductor that allows very fast switching and can operate at even higher temperatures. "The faster switching alone will allow faster, more compact, and lighter motors that offer great efficiency and greater range," explained Dauch. "That's in addition to the many benefits of moving to 800 V."

The new power switch fits into the same inverter package as the current silicon switch, reportedly reducing engineering costs associated with a technology change and simplifying the design of multiple vehicle performance options.