New Technology Faraday Future inverter

Published on March 2nd, 2016 | by Steve Hanley

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Faraday Future Patents Smaller, More Powerful Inverter

March 2nd, 2016 by  
 

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 Future inverter

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?

Faraday Future Inverter


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About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.



  • VazzedUp

    FF needed some good press.

  • AaronD12

    We’ll see how these things hold up in the long run. Tesla’s inverters (having used proven technology) seem to be doing quite well, thank you.

    • Steve Hanley

      That’s a good point. Gee whiz technology isn’t much good it if turns out to be fragile.

    • jeffhre

      Tesla’s inverters also evolved from the EV1 team’s work.

  • Joe Viocoe

    Ugh, a patent isn’t news.
    Their claims don’t even have to be true to be awarded a patent.

    The real news would be if an EV automaker were to abandon their current inverter, and license faraday’s. Let us know if that happens.

    • Joseph Dubeau

      repeat…

  • Joe Viocoe

    Ugh, a patent isn’t news.
    Their claims don’t even have to be true to be awarded a patent.

    The real news would be if an EV automaker were to abandon their current inverter, and license faraday’s. Let us know if that happens..

  • manoj

    Thank you nice Information

  • Chris Overholt

    Pardon my ignorance, but what does the inverter actually do? Is it in between the batteries and electric engines? Electric cars for dummies anyone? Why does this inverter matter? What are the implications of it if its for real?

    • Steve Hanley

      Most electric motors for EVs operate on AC current. A battery stores electriciity in DC form. The inverter converts DC from the battery into AC for the motor. During regenerative braking, it converts AC from the motor back into DC for the battery.

      I’m no N-guh-near, but I think that’s mostly accurate.

      As an aside, every component of EV powertrains will become smaller, lighter and less expensive over time. Think of the suitcase sized PCs we had back in the 80’s. All that power and more is now available in smartphones that fit in our pocket.

      Changes are coming – just not as fast as some would like. The cars of 30 years from now will bear nothing but the most casual relationship to the cars of today. Rubber tires may be the only common link and I’m not 100% sure of that.

      • jeffhre

        Rubber tires – how quaint.

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