McLaren Applied Technologies

In 2009 McLaren Applied Technologies developed the electric drive system for the McLaren P1 road car. Key to the requirements of the world’s first hybrid supercar was that the addition of an electric drive system must improve the car’s performance on the racetrack and this demanded power-to-weight ratios that had only previously been seen in Formula 1 KERS systems. And so McLaren Applied Technologies took on the challenge of developing an E-Motor, Motor Control Unit (MCU) & 14V DC-DC Converter capable of bringing race car performance to the road.

“ Silicon carbide power modules are being used by McLaren Applied Technologies to achieve a step change in power electronics performance. “

When the McLaren P1 went into production four years later McLaren Applied Technologies had established a strong position as a supplier of automotive-qualified electric drive systems. The E-Motor and MCU-500 used in the P1 provide up to 120 kW of mechanical output power with a total mass of 42 kg. This includes an integrated 14V DC-DC converter – subtracting the weight of this device, the MCU-500 is capable of delivering more than 20 kW/kg. The E-Motor produces approximately 4.5 kW/kg.

The P1 E-Motor and MCU-500 caught the attention of Spark Racing Technology as they prepared to supply the racing cars for the inaugural season of Formula E. McLaren Applied Technologies were chosen to supply the electric drive systems for the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, which demanded even higher power-to-weight ratios. Further development of the system resulted in the E-Motor achieving more than 7 kW/kg.

The relentless push towards higher power-to-weight ratios in motorsport continues, with a trend towards very high speed motors as an efficient way to achieve high performance from a small component. This puts new demands on the motor controller and so McLaren Applied Technologies is now supplying its inverters with silicon carbide MOSFETs in order to achieve the high switching frequencies required for efficient, high bandwidth operation. SiC devices also offer an opportunity to reduce cooling system weight thanks to lower switching losses, higher junction temperature limits and better thermal conductivity.

The challenges involved in high-performance SiC inverter design has called on several of McLaren Applied Technologies’ key capabilities, including mechanical design, advanced materials, thermodynamics, simulation, electrical design, real time software and systems engineering. The choice of SiC die has been optimised by running power module tests using different commercially-available dies. Module layout and gate driver electronics have also been developed to overcome the difficulties in synchronising the switching of parallel devices at speeds significantly above 20 kHz. Further advances in power density are expected through optimisation of cooling and integration of the latest advances in SiC trench MOSFETs.

McLaren Applied Technologies is also actively involved in efforts to bring these technologies to lower cost markets. Working with strategic partners, progress is expected in areas including switched reluctance electric machines and low-cost SiC inverters.

Exceptional power density is now possible – McLaren Applied Technologies’ SiC inverter has delivered a step change compared with the MCU-500. This makes it particularly suited to high-performance applications where package space or weight is at a premium.

You've selected 1 product, please select at least 1 more to start comparing.

You've selected {$ vm.basketTotal $} products, you can compare up to {$ vm.basketMax $} products.

You've selected the maximum of {$ vm.basketMax $} products.

Compare Compare