The consequences of climate change grow more pronounced each year as carbon emissions continue unabated. Decarbonizing all aspects of the transportation sector is a major requirement for a sustainable pathway to mitigate these consequences. However, this requires overcoming substantial engineering challenges, not the least of which are the power density and efficiency requirements of the inverter system in future electric drivetrains. This work examines a high-performance and scalable approach for modeling, designing, fabricating and testing an architecture that meets aggressive industry targets through innovative techniques and the use of an unconventional topology. Several prominent and promising topologies are reviewed, and an unconventional approach using the flying-capacitor multilevel topology is introduced to drive the order-of-magnitude improvements required by the industry targets. A 10-level, 1 kV, dual-interleaved converter module serves as the platform for an in-depth study of the electrical and thermal design and performance attained using this approach, where a peak power of 18.9 kW and a peak efficiency of 98.95 % is experimentally demonstrated. Scalability and reliability of the proposed architecture is discussed and tested using individual modules as well as an array paralleling nine of these 38.4 kW/kg, 24.4 kW/L modules. Finally, potential extensions to the work in future studies are reviewed.




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