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Google's investment in Transphorm could give electric cars more range

Compared to gas and diesel vehicles, electric cars are incredibly efficient. It's a good thing too, since their batteries hold only a small fraction of the energy in a typical gas tank. As with most any technology, though, there is always room to boost efficiency. This is where start-up Transphorm comes in, and perhaps in a big way. Why? Because Transphorm just secured $20 million from backers Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Foundation Capital and Lux Capital. The company claims it has developed power-conversion efficiency technology that can reduce the power lost during electric conversion by up to 90 percent.

This doesn't mean a 90 percent boost in range or anything. Instead, it works like this. When you charge an electric vehicle (EV), the AC power coming from the wall is converted to DC in order to charge the batteries. Then, in most EVs that use AC motors (i.e., Tesla Roadster, Nissan Leaf, etc) the power is again converted back to AC. Any technology that can improve these conversion efficiencies will ultimately result in more range and reduced running costs. But don't expect this technology to be in your next EV just yet. Transphorm is currently focusing on getting this technology into other markets like industrial motors, solar panel inverters, and data centers. It's that last one that, no doubt, has Google interested in the short term, as their power-hungry search monsters could benefit substantially from this technology.

[Source: GreenBeat]

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