Lucid Motors is back with another Tech Talk video, this time with Chief Engineer Eric Bach breaking down the inverter found inside the company's power-dense drive units.
The inverter serves a crucial purpose for power and efficiency as it bridges the gap between battery and motor by converting the pack's DC output into the AC current that turns the motor. The in-house design of Lucid's drive unit combines inverter, motor, differential and planetary reduction gearset into one compact package, and Bach tells us that Lucid's inverters also play an important role in the motor's thermal management.
Lucid's compact drive units are capable of producing 670 horspepower.
Precise and Smooth Power Delivery
Using a compass as a stand-in for the rotation of the Lucid Air's electric motors, Bach demonstrates how magnetic forces are applied to cause rotation. With three magnets around the compass turning on and off in sequence he shows the importance of smooth power delivery by building and lowering the magnetic forces rather than having the compass needle jump from one to the next.
This phasing of magnetic force in and out needs to be done extremely precisely for smooth power delivery, and Bach explains that Lucid turned to silicon carbide switches to achieve this goal. These switches are capable of performing these actions tens of thousands of times per second, though they produce a lot more heat than their traditional silicone counterparts. Lucid's inverters are designed with parallel rather than series cooling to counter all this heat which cools each of them simultaneously.
Bach tells us that this wasn't easy to achieve, but that Lucid was able to manage it because they designed each component of the Air's drive unit themselves.
Lucid's inverters are scalable and extremely efficient, with Bach quoting a 99.5% conversion efficiency figure as evidence of the harmony between the company's hardware and software. He then takes us through the component parts of the inverter, noting that the casing has no cover plate because it bolts directly to the motor housing and this seals it up.
Lucid's latest Tech Talk is another example of the innovation that the company has poured into its products with the result being the most efficient and longest-range electric vehicle on the road today. Check out the entire Tech Talk video below and see one of the major components of the Lucid Air's record-breaking range for yourself.
James Walker is an Automotive Journalist at Torque News focusing on Lucid Motors. If it's got wheels he's interested, and he's looking forward to seeing what kind of cars the EV revolution brings us. Whether it's fast, slow, new, or old, James wants to have a look around it and share it in print and on video, ideally with some twisty roads involved. You can connect with James on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.