SCAPE: Towards standardisation, cost reduction and improved features of power conversion systems for electric vehicles

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The traditional approach to the design of power electronics convertors covers a range of power semiconductor devices with various parameters, optimised to function under different conditions. To achieve this, various auxiliary circuits and topologies of power circuits are also required. This dispersion entails considerable engineering efforts, a lack of ability to take the maximum advantage of economies of scale to reduce costs, and the impossibility of concentrating efforts on improving the features of components and subsystems.

In the electric vehicle (EV) market, this translates into a lack of standardisation in the design of energy conversion systems for the various models and types of vehicles. As a result, manufacturers of EV currently invest billions of euros in developing their own solutions.     

In this context, the SCAPE project (Switching-Cell-Array-based Power Electronics conversion for future electric vehicles) has been developed with the participation of the Power Electronics Research Group (GREP) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC). The aim is to advance towards design standardisation, cost reduction and an improvement in the features of electronic power conversion systems for the future generation of electric vehicles. Work will be done on an innovative design and architecture that is modular and scalable for the propulsion subsystem with an integrated charger and other auxiliary power conversion subsystems of electric vehicles, incorporated advanced control systems.   

The contribution of GREP will focus on providing and adapting the technology on which the project is based (power conversion based on switching cell arrays). Specifically, work will be done to define the modular architectures of the conversion systems of the demonstrator, including the establishment of topologies for the traction invertor/charger and other auxiliary power convertors, and the definition of basic and advanced control of these systems.

Results and expected impact

The aim of the SCAPE project is to achieve the following objectives: 

  • Standardise power devices and circuits through a new modular, scalable approach. 
  • Develop affordable, optimised implementation architecture, with highly compact, integrated construction blocks for power convertors for electric vehicles.
  • Develop smart control and modulation strategies,  online diagnosis strategies and a digital twin to facilitate predictive maintenance.
  • Develop approach validation tools  and share project results with the power electronics community, the industry of electric vehicle components and companies and drivers of long-distance transport vehicles.

The project will enable the cost of power electronics for electric vehicles to be reduced (to a cost of 2,5 €/kW​), due to the economies of scale. In addition, features will be improved (reliability, efficiency and power density) and advanced functionalities will be enabled. For example, an efficiency of 97,5% should be achieved, with a power density of 100 kW per litre and a useful life of 16,000 h and 600,000 km.

Likewise, SCAPE will help to meet the needs of users, increase the acceptance and affordability of zero emissions vehicles, reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and make it possible to achieve full penetration of electric vehicles in the market. In addition, the adoption of this approach by car manufacturers in the European Union will enable the creation of a profitable production chain in the EU based on economies of scale and advanced integration technologies as a competitive advantage over other manufacturers.

Consortium, budget and funding

SCAPE brings together nine European members. In addition to the UPC, these include the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), which is the leader and coordinator of the project, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the University of Modena (UNIMORE), AVL, Tekne, Deep Concept, Bax & Company and ISINNOVA.

The project is part of the Horizon Europe 2021-2027 programme and has been funded by the European Union through the Climate, Energy and Mobility programme. SCAPE started in July 2022 and will end in June 2026. It has a total budget of €5,999,750.


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