AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—Vitesco Technologies, the powertrain spinoff from Continental, has won a contract to provide 800-volt inverters for Hyundai's new E-GMP modular electric platform.
Vitesco said the contract was in the "triple-digit million euro amount." Hyundai says the E-GMP platform will eventually underpin 23 models by 2025, including 11 battery-electric vehicles with the 800-volt technology. The first model on the platform will be the Ioniq 5 electric crossover, with an 800-volt system.
Most EVs are based around an industry-standard 400-volt system, with 800-volt systems seen mostly on high-end models such as the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT.
GM and electric truck startup Rivian say they will be able to upgrade their EV systems to the higher voltage. Maserati said last year that future full-electric vehicles would use 800-volt architectures.
Other suppliers backing 800-volt technology are Hitachi and BorgWarner.
Proponents of the higher voltage say it allows for faster charging and longer range, and also smaller, lighter and more efficient electric motors. A recent EU study said that 800-volt systems allow a lower current to be used when charging the battery, reducing overheating and retaining more power—which can be used for a longer driving range.
Vitesco says a battery in an 800-volt system can be charged to 80 percent capacity in fewer than 20 minutes; Hyundai and Porsche cite similar figures.
Another advantage, the EU study found, is that electric motors on 800-volt systems use less copper, lowering the motor weight and also contributing to longer range. The motors can spin at higher revolutions per minute, twice that of 400-volt motors, generating mechanical power from speed rather than high torque. This means that motors can be much smaller, with a weight of as little as 55 pounds, the study said.
A final benefit is that smaller motors allow more space for battery packs, also increasing range and power. The technology is expected to become the "dominant application" by 2026, the study said.
Vitesco's inverters use silicon carbide in semiconductors instead of silicon oxide. A study from consulting firm McKinsey said that silicon carbide raises power density, reduces waste heat and allows for smaller-diameter cables.
Vitesco said it was developing other 800-volt components, including DC-to-DC converters, battery management and charging stations.