The MotorBrain project of the ENIAC JU

Sustainability is a truly global trend leading carmakers in the US, Japan, Europe and China to propel electrified mobility into the mass market. This stipulates fundamental efforts in the European automotive and semiconductor industry to improve efficiency reduce weight, size and costs to stay competitive. The ENIAC JU project MotorBrain – conceived in 2011 – facilitates radical automotive innovation enabled by semiconductors. MotorBrain will not only improve the semiconductor growth rate which is usually correlated with the product growth itself but will address accelerated growth expectations coming from radical innovations.

The project is driven by 32 partners among nine value chains with the contribution of two major OEMs, seven Tier1-Suppliers, major semiconductor Suppliers such as STMicroelectronics, NXP, Infineon including SME´s together with twelve academic partners. The consortium provides sustainable drive train technologies, control techniques and platforms for inherently failsafe and highly efficient Electric-Vehicle (EV) powertrains including dynamic sensors, control and more efficient and less complex battery solutions for the 3rd generation of EVs.




The MotorBrain partners have fundamentally redesigned the interface architecture between motor, inverter and controller integrating these components into one single unit fitting into a notebook bag pack (demonstrated for 60 kW power) at the price of an advanced smart phone. In the 120 year history of powertrain development, this represents a quantum jump which was enabled by introducing novel Nano-electronics controlling the multiphase motor architecture. This not only lead to a significant improvement of functionality of the powertrain but also to a reduction of weight by 50 percent and cost by 30 percent, making the system including the battery much more efficient.

The maxim “More than Moore” reflected by the integration of power semiconductors, sensors and control units enables cost-optimized and value-added system solutions by functional system integration. This reduces the native complexity of the redundant multiphase motor system drastically and thereby reaches better size, weight and cost.

The system costs will be reduced through the multiphase design that leads to lower phase currents providing better power density with less passive components. The cost saving potential for the powertrain and the battery compared with the market price of a typical new compact class EV is about 7 % or 4-5 % for HEV.

With the newly engineered components the total powertrain efficiency was improved by more than 24 %.

Thus increased the driving range of a typical EV by 30-40 km enhancing sustainability and improving the ecological footprint. Nano electronics for power conversion, control and sensing; improved batteries and innovative design and manufacturing techniques also improve the design freedom while avoiding the use of rare earth magnets. Therefore different motor concepts such as asynchronous motors, ferrite magnet based IPM synchronous motors, SMC (soft magnetic composite) based claw pole machines and synchronous reluctance motors have been investigated and tested.

The novel control and sensor architecture use redundancies which makes aviation safety standards affordable. Compared to conventional 3-phase electric motors which stop in case of failure of a single phase, the MotorBrain system has a formally verified absence of single point of failures which will promote consumer confidence in eMobility.

With the novel powertrain MotorBrain has delivered scalable solutions for EV, light-EV and hybrid-EV markets which will stipulate also cross domain applications.