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The road to brushless – SPONSORED TUTORIAL

Migrating automotive subsystems to brushless dc motor control

Brushless dc motors are penetrating automotive applications as the costs of motor control IP and hardware continue to fall. But system developers must also satisfy wider needs within the vehicle industry if the technology is to deliver its full potential.

The brushless dc (BLDC) motor is quieter than a brushed motor and can be made smaller and more reliable because there is no commutation mechanism. These are attractive attributes for the automotive industry. In Japan, where comfort is the dominant market factor, BLDCs are used widely and have won consumer approval for their noiseless operation.

Most European cars use brushed dc motors in such areas as vehicle body, comfort, chassis and powertrain. Tasks range from headlamp orientation, door locking and window actuation to anti lock braking systems (ABS) and electric power steering (EPS). All benefit from the increased performance and reliability of BLDC operation. Converting these to a BLDC implementation indicates a potential market for at least 400million BLDC motor and controller combinations per year for Europe.

However, car makers and system developers are unlikely to make wholesale replacements of proven subsystems that use brushed dc motors, even though BLDC is a technically superior solution. Safety and reliability must be proven and the cost of BLDCs capable of generating sufficient torque for applications, such as EPS or operating folding hard tops for example, remains high.

Pascal Lefebvre

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8073\The Road ro Brushless.pdf

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