Effective thermal management of traction-drive power electronics is critical to the advancement of electric-drive vehicles and is necessary for increasing power density and improving reliability. Replacing traditional silicon devices with more efficient, higher temperature, higher voltage, and higher frequency wide-bandgap (WBG) devices will enable increased power density but will result in higher device heat fluxes. Compact packaging of high-temperature WBG devices near low-temperature-rated components creates thermal management challenges that need to be addressed for future power-dense systems. This paper summarizes the thermal performance of on-road automotive power electronics thermal management systems and provides thermal performance and pumping-power metrics for select vehicles. Thermal analyses reveal that the package/conduction resistance dominates the total thermal resistance (for existing automotive systems). We model advanced packaging concepts and compare the results with existing packaging designs to quantify their thermal performance enhancements. Double-side-cooled configurations that do not use thermal interface materials are package concepts predicted to provide a low junction-to-fluid thermal resistance (compared to current packages). Dielectric-fluid-cooled concepts enable a redesign of the package to reduce the package resistance, can be implemented in single- and two-phase cooling approaches, and allow for cooling of passive components (e.g., capacitors) and bus bars.

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