John Deere Successfully Demos SiC-Based Inverter in Heavy Duty Construction Vehicle

Through PowerAmerica, John Deere has formed a collaboration with researchers from the Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a 200 kW 1050 VDC silicon carbide-based inverter. The inverter will convert vehicle engine power into electrical power needed for hybrid motors in heavy duty construction vehicles.

In April, the Fargo, North Dakota-based John Deere Electronic Solutions successfully demonstrated the SiC inverter in a John Deere 644K hybrid front loader vehicle, using the engine radiator fluid to cool the SiC power electronics. The SiC inverter technology demonstration took place at John Deere Dubuque Works in Dubuque, Iowa. PowerAmerica funding has helped accelerate the development of this technology.

While not of the actual demo, this video of the JD 644K Hybrid loader with a silicon IGBT inverter shows how and why electrification is enhancing fuel economy in heavy duty vehicles and making them easier to operate. A SiC inverter allows more efficient electric drive train compared to the IGBT inverter technology.