Comparison list of available DC motor controllers and AC motor inverters
This is a list of motor drivers (DC and AC) for electrical vehicle use (for BEVs, HEVs, PHEVs).
This information does not constitute an endorsement of any of these companies and products.
Motor drivers for electric motors commonly used in EVs:
These motor controllers have 1 DC output (2 wires) with a variable DC voltage.
This voltage is typically a PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) wave, not a filtered (flat) DC voltage. The motor itself, thanks to its inductance, tends to smooth the PWM voltage wave into a continuous current.
Most of these controllers are 1-quadrant: they can drive in one direction, and they cannot brake. With the addition of a set of reversing contactors, they can drive in either direction (but no braking). 2-quadrant motor drivers (they can also to regenerative braking. or they can drive in either direction) are not common. A few are 4-quadrant: they can drive or brake in either direction, without the need for reversing contactors.
In general, these motor controllers will work with these motor types:
The first types two are common; the third type is not common at these power levels; the fourth type is available, but is typically powered by a Sepex driver (see next section).
Note that a Sepex driver (see next section) may also drive any of these motors.
Many of these DC motor controllers are for low voltage applications (12, 24 or 48 V), such as golf carts. Typically they are not isolated.
These motor drivers are made available to everyone.
These motor controllers have 2 DC outputs (3 or 4 wires):
With the addition of 2 sets of reversing contactors, these controllers can be easily used in 4-quadrant operation: they can drive or brake in either direction.
These motor controllers will work with this motor type:
These motor controllers output a 3-phase, PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) output, sinusoidal or trapezoidal in shape, to power the 3 phases of an AC motor.
Inherently, these controllers can work in 4-quadrant operation: they can drive or brake in either direction.
These motor controllers will work with these motor types:
There is nothing that is DC in BLDC motors: these are truly AC motors, so we should really call them BLAC instead. However, the name BLAC is used for slightly different motors, with a sinusoidal magnetic field, instead of trapezoidal.
BLDC motors are designed for a trapezoidal waveform. While some have used BLDC controllers (trapezoidal) with induction or BLAC motors (sinusoidal), the efficiency of the motor will suffer, and the motor will run a bit more roughly.
BLDC motors are designed for a sinusoidal waveform. While some have used inverters (sinusoidal) with BLDC motors (trapezoidal), the efficiency of the motor will suffer, and the motor will run a bit more roughly.
Stepper motors are also AC motors, but drivers for such motors are not included here because they are not used as traction motors
Most of these AC motor inverters are for high voltage applications (> 100 V), such as passenger vehicles, heavy duty and industrial.
Most of these AC motor inverters are isolated, and they typically have a CAN bus interface.
Originally, the "inverter" name referred to deviced to convert DC to a fixed line frequency (50 / 60 Hz) and a fixed line voltage (110, 220, 400... Vac) Eventually, the name was applied also to AC motor drivers, even though their voltage and frequency vary considerably.
These companies offer complete power trains.