Efficiency assessment of modular multilevel converters for battery electric vehicles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • SINTEF Energy Research
  • Politecnico di Milano
  • DEIB- Department of Electronics Information and Bioengineering, Politecnico di Milano
  • Department of Electrical Engineering, Politecnico di Milano


This paper evaluates the performance of modular multilevel converters with integrated battery cells when used as traction drives for battery electric vehicles. In this topology, individual battery cells are connected to the dc-link of the converter submodules, allowing the highest flexibility for the discharge and recharge. The traditional battery management system of battery electric vehicles is replaced by the control of the converter, which individually balances all the cells. The performance of the converter as a traction drive is assessed in terms of torque-speed characteristic and power loss for the full frequency range, including field weakening. Conduction and switching losses for the modular multilevel converter are calculated using a simplified model, based on the data sheet of power devices. The performance of the modular multilevel converter is then compared with a traditional two-level converter. The loss model of the modular multilevel converter is finally validated by experimental tests on a small-scale prototype of traction drive.


Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Electronics
Early online date21 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Battery electric vehicles, conduction losses, modular multilevel converters, state of charge balancing, switching losses, traction drives