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An electronic power module for electric and hybrid drives made of silicon carbide (SiC). That’s the product innovation that Marelli, a multinational company specializing in the development and manufacture of car and engine components, launched last Friday. It is another step forward in the development of built-in power electronics designed for installation in electric cars and motors.

The result is a smaller module which capitalizes on the efficiency advantages that silicon carbide offers.

The new module is called EDI, the not especially prosaic acronym for ‘Enhanced Direct-cooling Inverter,’ and was developed in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM in Berlin, Germany.

The module is an innovative design since it reduces the thermal resistance between the silicon carbide components and the coolant. This is achieved by a new solution that does not include a printed circuit board. The result is a smaller module than previously which capitalizes on the efficiency advantages that silicon carbide offers. The element is lighter and smaller than conventional semiconductors such as silicon.

Proven as a semiconductor

The EDI offers designers greater flexibility in vehicle integration, cooling systems and battery design. This system can serve as the basic element for even more efficient, compact and lightweight developments in the future.

In recent years, silicon carbide (i.e., made up of silicon and carbon), also known as carborundum, has proven its worth as a semiconductor. SiC is used in applications that require high levels of durability and endurance, such as in cars and motorcycles. The use of SiC enables smaller, lighter and more efficient solutions. These properties are important in motorsports, among others, where size, weight and efficiency are important factors that determine speed, and success.

Automobile sector

Fraunhofer is one of the world’s leading institutes for applied research and the development and systems integration of robust electronics. For its part, Marelli is one of the world’s foremost suppliers of automotive and engine components for the automotive sector. The Italian company is particularly strong in branded as well as generic replacement parts, such as alternators, rider wiper systems and shock absorbers. The company, a former Fiat subsidiary, made a turnover of 13.6 billion euros in 2019.

Read more about silicon carbide as a driving force in the development of electric vehicles