APEI Leads Partnership That Receives $2M DOE Grant for Fuel Efficiency

A partnership led by Arkansas Power Electronics International of Fayetteville has been awarded $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop new technologies that will reduce transportation costs and improve fuel efficiencies.

Partnering with APEI are Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc.; GaN Systems, Inc.; the University of Arkansas’ National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission; and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The highly competitive award is one of 38 new projects across the country and part of a $45M effort to develop new technologies.

The APEI team will be developing new electric motor traction drives for hybrid electric vehicles, with technology based on newly emerging silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors, according to a press release.

"Our motor drive technology reduces power losses by more than 50 percent, and we can reduce the size and weight of the motor drive electronics by up to 90 percent," said APEI president and CEO Alex Lostetter. "These improvements lead to significant savings in vehicle cost, increases driving distances, and reduces fuel expense. We’re very excited to be working with Toyota to get this technology into the next generation of Prius hybrid-electric vehicles. It’s an amazing opportunity."

APEI, a client firm of Innovate Arkansas and the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority, is located in the UA's Arkansas Research & Technology Park in Fayetteville. Its focus is on advancing state-of-the-art technology in power electronics systems, electronic motor drives and power packaging. It is considered a world leader in the advanced power electronics field.