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IEEE Awards EECS Professor for Paper on Electric Vehicle Research

Associate Professor Kevin Bai has been awarded a 2021 Second Place Prize Paper Award by IEEE journal Transactions on Transportation Electrification (TTE) for a paper he co-authored, “Transient Analysis When Applying GaN+Si Hybrid Switching Modules to a Zero-voltage-switching EV On-board Charger.”

Hua "Kevin" Bai

Kevin Bai

Bai authored the paper with electrical engineering graduate research assistant Liyan Zhu, as well as with Alan Brown and Matt McAmmond from the Hella Engineering Center in Michigan, the project’s sponsor. The project is also sponsored by PowerAmerica, which is led through the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Bai’s research employs a new approach to electric vehicle applications, using what are called hybrid switching modules. His team’s designs utilize both the more expensive gallium nitride devices and the less expensive silicon devices in tandem, resulting in greater operating efficiency without hiking up the cost.

“Gallium nitride (GaN) devices exhibit superior switching performance, but the high cost makes them less appealing in electric vehicles, where cost is always the top priority,” said Bai. “The paper is one of very first attempts to parallel cheap silicon (Si) devices with best performing GaN devices, using GaN to undertake only switching while Si reduces the conduction loss. When such an approach is used in electric vehicle applications such as battery chargers, both switching loss and conduction loss will be reduced, without adding further cost.”

This award recognizes the best papers published in 2019 and 2020 in TTE.

“The selection of the above paper is a high honor and a tribute to the fine research quality, presentation, and potential impact that the research has to the field,” said Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification Mahesh Krishnamurthy. “The selection process was rigorous and went through multiple review levels and votes before the paper was selected for an award.”

The award will be formally presented at the virtual 2021 IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo conference later this year.