Kettering University researchers working on next generation charger for HELLA

Jul 13, 2015, 11:00 ET from HELLA

FLINT, Mich., July 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers in Kettering University's Advanced Power Electronics Lab (APEL) have become a go-to resource for global companies seeking innovations in electric vehicle (EV) charging technology.

The lab's latest collaboration is with HELLA, a globally positioned company that develops and manufactures automotive lighting and electronic products. One such product is HELLA's Level-2 EV charger.

Level-2 EV chargers currently on the market have a three-stage design -- converting AC grid voltage to 400 VDC; inverting the DC to high frequency AC to feed the transformer, and then converting AC back to DC to charge the battery. Assuming each results in a two percent loss of power, overall wall-to-battery efficiency is 94 percent.

A research team led by Dr. Kevin Bai, associate professor of Electrical Engineering at Kettering University, is working with HELLA to develop a next-generation charger that has a two-stage design which would offer 97 percent efficiency for an overall improvement of three percent.

"By using gallium-nitride devices, the charger switching frequency also is significantly higher, nearly double the present charger," Bai notes. "The design will make the charger ultra compact and light, which eventually will be a game changer for the EV charging industry."

Kettering's research team includes Bai, a research graduate and a research engineer working on the system design and testing. A prototype of the charger is expected to be finished by October and several patents related to the project already have been applied for.

"As an innovator, HELLA is very much a hands-on company," says Matt McAmmond, advanced engineering manager at the HELLA Corporate Center in Plymouth, Michigan. "Engaging with the students and staff at Kettering University allows us to get a fresh perspective while sharing our knowledge of real world applications in technology."

Bai and researchers in his lab have worked with numerous industry partners to develop charging technology, including development of a 24-kilowatt charger for Turkish automaker Derindere Motorlu Araclar (DMA) and development of a 10-kilowatt charger for Magna E-car.

HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., Lippstadt: HELLA is a global, family-owned company with more than 30,000 employees at 100 locations in more than 35 countries. The HELLA Group develops and manufactures lighting and electronic components and systems for the automotive industry and also has one of the largest trade organizations for automotive parts, accessories, diagnostics, and services in Europe. In addition, complete vehicle modules, air-conditioning systems, and vehicle electrical systems are produced in joint venture companies. With more than 5,800 people working in research and development, HELLA is one of the most important innovation drivers on the market. With sales of approximately 5.3 billion euros in fiscal year 2013/2014, the HELLA Group also is one of the top 50 automotive parts suppliers in the world and one of the 100 largest German industrial companies.

Kettering University: Kettering University is a national leader in experiential STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, integrating an intense academic curriculum with applied professional experience. Through this proven approach we inspire students to realize their potential and advance their ideas by combining theory and practice better than any institution in the world. Kettering University is dedicated to achieving the extraordinary through technological innovation, leadership and service, built on values that foster respect, integrity, creativity, collaboration and excellence in growth, global leadership, community outreach and an engaged community of stakeholders.

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