As the automotive industry moves towards a zero-emission future, the key challenges in implementing hybrid and fully electrified powertrains become increasingly important to solve. Cutting weight and improving efficiency will provide the foundation for customer acceptance and enable electrified vehicles to enter the mainstream.
The MCU-512 is the latest incarnation of our successful inverter, developed from the technology that underpinned McLaren’s revolutionary P1 hybrid supercar and proved further in Formula E, the world’s first all-electric racing championship. Not only was the P1’s combined 903bhp hybrid powertrain revolutionary, its ability to function entirely on electric mode demonstrated that engineering creativity could enable high performance to mesh seamlessly with city-friendly capabilities.
Inverters are crucial elements of an electrified powertrain, transforming DC (Direct Current) voltage from the battery into a controlled AC (Alternating Current) supply for the electric motor, for which the inverter also fulfils all the necessary safety functions. The MCU-512 also incorporates a DC/DC converter, stepping down the high voltage required for the motor to 14V for the low-voltage electrical components on the car, thus eliminating the alternator.
A high DC bus voltage, combined with liquid cooling, allows for high motor power in a very compact form. The MCU-512 occupies a similar volume to its predecessor but with considerably reduced weight, and, most significantly, an increase in power output from 120kW to 230kW.
Designed and manufactured within the McLaren Technology Centre, the MCU-512 conforms to all the relevant automotive industry standards and will soon feature on a high-performance, low-volume sportscar that is anticipated to go into production early 2020.