The standard solution for the traction system in battery powered electric vehicles (EVs) is a two-level (2L) inverter feeding a three-phase motor. A simple and effective way to achieve a three-level (3L) inverter in battery-supplied electric vehicles consists of using two standard three-phase 2L inverters with the open-end winding connection of standard three-phase ac motors. The 3L inverter solution can be usefully adopted in EVs since it combines several benefits such as current ripple reduction, increment of phase motor voltage with limited voltage ratings of the two battery banks, improvement in system reliability, etc
. The reduction in current ripple amplitude is particularly relevant since it is a source of electromagnetic interference and audio noise from the inverter-motor power connection cables and from the motor itself. By increasing the inverter switching frequency the ripple amplitude is reduced, but the drive efficiency decreases due to the proportionally increased switching losses. In this paper the peak-to-peak ripple amplitude of the dual-2L inverter is evaluated and compared with the corresponding ripple of the single-2L inverter, considering the same voltage and power motor ratings. The ripple analysis is carried out as a function of the modulation index to cover the whole modulation range of the inverter, and the theoretical results are verified with experimental tests carried out by an inverter-motor drive prototype.
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