Published on March 2nd, 2016 | by Steve Hanley
Faraday Future Patents Smaller, More Powerful Inverter
Faraday Future may have underwhelmed us with its perfectly silly FFZero1 concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but it may have redeemed itself with its latest announcement. According to Electrek, Faraday Future has applied for and been granted a patent on a new component called the FF Echelon Inverter that is smaller, lighter, and more powerful than anything in use today by any other manufacturer, including Tesla.
Faraday claims its inverter has 20% to 30% greater power density than any of its competitors. For comparison, the inverter Tesla uses has a peak power capability of 320 kW. The FF Echelon Inverter was developed in-house by an engineering team led by senior director of electric drive systems Silva Hiti. She has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech and previously worked on the EV1 at General Motors. She is assisted by Young Mok Doo and Steven Schulz, both of whom also worked on the EV1 program at GM.
Hiti says the goal was to reduce the mechanical complexity of the inverter. The all new inverter architecture keeps only the essential elements needed. “Condensing the number of transistors and other complex components enhances the inverter’s overall stability and dependability allowing us to accomplish far more, with fewer materials.”
Tesla manufactures its drive inverter in-house at its Fremont factory. The company is reportedly using proven off-the-shelf insulated-gate bipolar transistor packages. Power electronics market analyst Alex Avron was quite surprised after testing the Model S P85D. “They are using 20 years old power module packaging technology to build the fastest electric luxury car on earth. It’s that simple.”
In other words, if it works for Tesla, it’s pretty good, even if the core technology is from two decades ago. Just imagine where General Motors would be today if it had hung on to all those talented people who worked on the EV1 program?