The "Tiny Power Box" research project launched in 2019 by the top research center Silicon Austria Labs showed how much optimization potential there is in power electronics for electric vehicles. The demonstrators for onboard chargers developed in Graz are components that are installed directly in electric cars to charge the battery with alternating current. High power density means that the "Tiny Power Box" still achieves high performance with a small size and weight. However, the special feature of the charger is not only its small size, but also that it is able to return the power from the battery via bidirectional charging. This means that in the future, electric cars will be able to supply households (vehicle-to-home) or even the power grid (vehicle-to-grid) with electricity without the need for expensive investments in charging infrastructure. The developments from this research area thus not only have great potential for e-mobility, but the onboard charger can also relieve the electricity grid of the future through bidirectional charging.

With new partners to an even more efficient "Tiny Power Box"

The first generation of the "Tiny Power Box" already shows that it is possible to increase the power density of the onboard charger through targeted optimization. Now SAL wants to go one step further with new partners from industry: In various demonstrators with the latest semiconductor technology, even smaller and more powerful onboard chargers are being tested.

In addition to the existing partners Fronius International, Infineon Austria, TDK Electronics and AVL List, three others will in future conduct joint research with SAL to improve the technology: Infineon Germany, Graz University of Technology and Meta System, an Italian manufacturer of onboard chargers.

"The successful work of the project team will be continued with additional know-how from the new partners. The expansion of the cooperation and the record budget of 7 million euros, which will flow exclusively into research, will enable us to cover all links in the value chain - from the component to the system manufacturer. This brings us even closer to industry," says Gerald Murauer, Chief Executive Officer of Silicon Austria Labs.

Further development thanks to the latest simulation methodology

Simulations were already of great importance for the development of the first "Tiny Power Box". They enabled the SAL research team to identify optimization potential at an early stage without having to build costly prototypes in hardware. The next phase will build on this experience.

"The 'Tiny Power Box 2' project will open up additional optimization dimensions by equipping our demonstrators with the latest technologies. Combined with the experience gained from the simulation and design workflows of the first phase, we will be able to present a new prototype of an onboard charger that will have a lasting impact on future e-mobility," says Christian Mentin, Head of Research Unit Packaging & Multiphysics in the Power Electronics division at SAL and project leader of "Tiny Power Box 2".


Silicon Austria Labs GmbH (SAL) was founded in 2018 as part of the European Forum Alpbach as an top non-university center in the field of electronic based systems. At its locations in Graz, Villach and Linz, research is conducted on key technologies in the fields of Microsystems, Sensor Systems, Power Electronics, Intelligent Wireless Systems and Embedded Systems. SAL brings together key players from industry and science and thus valuable expertise and know-how, and conducts cooperative, application-oriented research along the value chain. The aim is to accelerate the value creation process from idea to innovation - with excellent research and economic benefits. Owners are the Republic (50.1 %), the Provinces of Styria and Carinthia (10 % each), the Province of Upper Austria (4.95 %) and the Association for the Electric and Electronics Industry (24.95 %).


Silicon Austria Labs GmbH

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