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PhD Studentship - Advanced Development of Highly Efficient Reconfigurable Automotive Power Converter

University College London - Department of Mechanical Engineering

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £16,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 2nd May 2019
Closes: 2nd August 2019
Reference: 1805826


The increasing use of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) has a very important role to play in supporting mobility while reducing the carbon and air quality impact of road transport. However, one of the major hurdles for the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles is charging infrastructure; there is a need for a nationwide network of fast charging stations, which puts a great economic burden on governments. A prevailing solution is to use onboard battery chargers, which gives flexibility of charging where an electric power outlet is available. However, because of adding extra weight, volume and cost, the onboard chargers are mainly made for lower powers which are suitable only for overnight charging.

This 4-year studentship, funded by EPSRC, is to develop a novel automotive inverter architecture with the ultra-fast battery charging capability. In this innovative approach, the traction inverter, including power modules and passive components, will be intelligently restructured to form an ultra-fast onboard charger when the vehicle is in charging state. This innovative power conversion module will offer the following capabilities:

  • Ultra-fast onboard charger to operate in grid-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-grid modes.
  • Traction inverter to operate in motoring and regenerative braking modes.

This multidisciplinary research will involve the development of a unique inverter architecture and soft switching techniques. Numerical modelling and advanced control techniques will be utilised to implement a modular reconfigurable inverter topology. Successful candidates will join an interdisciplinary team with substantial industrial engagement and academic collaborations, as such they will be able to continue their career in this exciting field delivering future enabling technologies for the automotive industry.

Person Specification:

Applicant should have, or expect to achieve, a master’s degree in engineering, computer science, or a closely-related discipline, awarded with first-class or upper second-class (2:1) honours (or equivalent). The successful candidate should have strong self-motivation and dedicated passion for research, in addition to the willingness for team-working and the ability to deliver research outcomes to meet deadlines. The Successful candidate requires having and developing background knowledge in the following areas:

  • Power electronics and electromagnetics
  • Control and optimisation techniques
  • Finite element analysis and programming
  • Practical skills with building and testing electronic circuits

Closing Date and Start Date:

We will be continuously having an informal discussion with interested candidates until this position is filled.

Value of award:

Full tuition fees and a stipend of £16,777 per annum (for 4 years).


Candidates must be either be UK or EU residents who have been living in the UK for 3 years prior to the course commencing. EU residents who have not been living in the UK are eligible for fee only awards.

Application Process:

Eligible applicants should first contact Dr. Mehdi Baghdadi ( or Dr. Yuanchang Liu ( enclosing a cover letter (including contact information of two referees), a research statement and a CV. The supervisory team will arrange interviews for short-listed candidates. After the interview, the successful candidate will be required to formally apply online via the UCL website.

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