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Multi-Function Bi-directional Battery Charger for Plug-in Hybrid

Electric Vehicle Application

Xiaohu Zhou

Gangyao Wang

Student Member, IEEE

Student Member, IEEE
FREEDM Systems Center,
North Carolina State University
1017 Main Campus Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Srdjan Lukic
Member, IEEE

Abstract -- A new multi-function bi-directional battery

charger for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) is proposed
based on the power circuitry configuration of an American
house. This bi-directional charger can achieve three functions
including battery charging, vehicle to grid (V2G) and vehicle to
home (V2H), all of which are the major research areas of
PHEVs integration with the power grid. The integration
infrastructure and practical design issues are analyzed. The
multiple control loop designs are presented for the three
operation modes. Simulation and experimental results verify the
functions and performance of the proposed charger. With the
capability of achieving multiple functions, the bi-directional
charger will contribute and enhance grid related research of
Index Terms-- plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, bi-directional
power electronics, vehicle to grid, harmonics.



As the cost of motor fuel increases and the demand for

renewable energy increases, alternative and sustainable
transportation methods become more attractive in comparison
to conventional transportation. Plug-in hybrid electric
vehicles (PHEV) are a newly emerging technology which
draws interest from governments, auto-makers, customers
and researchers. The idea of charging at home during the
night and driving without fossil fuels during the day will not
only improve a vehicles fuel efficiency greatly but also
improve the efficiency of power utilization by filling the
valley of electric power demand at night. Compared with
traditional hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology one of
most promising features of PHEVs for power electronics
technology is that PHEVs have a high capacity battery pack
which can be recharged by an external power source. Thus
PHEVs become a good candidate for use as an energy storage
device; in addition the smart charger for PHEVs becomes a
valuable topic. Because of the high capacity battery PHEVs
are considered an energy storage cell distributed in the power
network. The way of properly connecting the PHEVs to the
power grid and utilizing battery power to meet the demand
from the grid is called vehicle to grid (V2G). Currently the
potential capability for PHEVs to serve the grid is to integrate
a large amount of vehicles delivering real power to the grid in
a short period of time so V2G technology can contribute to
the ancillary service such as spinning reserve and effectively
stabilize the intermittent renewable energy sources such as

978-1-4244-2893-9/09/$25.00 2009 IEEE

Subhashish Bhattacharya
Member, IEEE

Alex Huang
Fellow, IEEE

wind power and solar power [1]. Moreover, there are still
other services such as reactive power control PHEVs may
contribute to but this may cause controversy because the
reactive power related services are seldom discussed at the
residential voltage level. If PHEVs are considered a
distributed generator (DG) the power electronics converter
should meet all the requirements from IEEE 1547 standards.
However, the anti-islanding function required of distributed
generators during grid faults needs to be reconsidered: grid
connected power converters must implement an antiislanding function because without disconnection from the
grid some DG may still send the power to the grid which may
pose a safety issue to maintenance staff. However this will
cause an interruption of electrical power service to the house,
so an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) is used to supply the
critical loads at this time. Similar to the idea of UPS, PHEV
can also be used to keep a house power uninterrupted with
the additional wiring to direct the power from PHEV to the
critical loads instead of to the grid. Some DG converters in
use today can also provide a stand-alone mode to supply
critical loads during grid faults [2] [3]. Based on the functions
described above, bi-directional power electronics will play an
important role to be the interface between PHEVs and the
grid. In this paper a bi-directional vehicle battery charger that
can achieve three major functions: 1) battery charging; 2)
vehicle to grid (V2G); 3) vehicle to home (V2H) is presented.
Furthermore this charger will become a platform for the
research of PHEVs impact on the grid.
In this paper, a practically designed multi-function bidirectional battery charger is proposed based on an American
house power system configuration. Operation principles and
practical issues are discussed. The control of the converter for
three major modes is designed. The functions and the
respective controller performance of the system are verified
by the prototype charger simulation and test results.


Charger Topology
The topology of the proposed bi-directional battery charger
is shown in figure 1. This bidirectional charger has two
power stages: stage 1 is a grid-side converter; stage 2 is a
battery-side converter. Normally, in a US house the main
input panel gets the power from a split-phase transformer


with two types of voltage: (1) Two out of phase 120V AC

inputs for normal home appliances and (2) 240V AC for
heavy duty loads.

charger the power rating is set to 120V/5kW and

240V/10kW. Although the current at full rating exceeds the
current limitation of a home circuitry branch, this power
rating can help to increase the charging speed and implement
some fast charging algorithms for the lab tests. The battery
pack is composed of 90 lithium-ion battery cells and its
terminal voltage is set from 180V to 360V.
Table I: power stage components in experiment setup

AC voltage
AC filter capacitor
AC filter inductor
DC bus capacitor
DC bus voltage
Battery voltage

Fig. 1. Topology of the proposed bi-directional charger

A split-phase three-leg converter [4]-[6] is used as the gridside converter in order to fit the household circuitry
configuration. Compared with a traditional split-capacitor Hbridge, the center point of a three-leg converter is tapped to
the middle point of the third leg rather than the middle point
of the DC capacitors. The two half-bridge branches of the
three-leg converter have the same uni-polar sinusoidal pulse
width modulation method as an H-bridge converter, and the
third half-bridge is controlled by fixed 50% duty to keep the
two 120V output voltage balance. Compared with a splitcapacitor H-bridge converter, the three-leg converter has the
following advantages: 1) no DC capacitor voltage balance
issue; 2) smaller output filter size; 3) smaller DC bus current
ripple; 4) higher utilization of DC bus voltage [4]-[6]. The
topology for the battery-side converter is a bi-directional half
bridge (HB) converter.

120V/240V AC
400V DC

In V2G and V2H mode, the power inside the battery is sent
back to the grid or loads. At V2G mode, the grid-side
converter is operating with a current-mode controller which
achieves the low-harmonics sinusoidal current feeding back
to the grid, while at V2H mode the converter is operating
with a voltage-mode controller which supplies a sinusoidal
voltage with connection of any type of load. The battery-side
converter in both modes regulates the DC bus voltage by
operating in the boost mode. The real power feeding-back is
determined by both of the battery state of charge which is
sent out by the battery management system through the CAN
bus and the power demand from power system. Table I shows
the power stage parameters for the proposed battery charger.


The infrastructure of PHEV integrated with grid in the
household circuitry is shown in Figure 2.The circuitry
configuration for a traditional American house is drawn based
on a house circuitry with a grid-tie PV system [7], the AC
mains and all connection are taken out of the house in order
to show the wiring connection of PHEV with the house
clearly. For a house with renewable energy such as solar
panels the generated electricity can be sold back to the grid so
a bi-directional smart meter is used and this meter is also
known as net metering. With this bi-directional smart
meter, V2G can be also implemented.
C. Charging mode, vehicle to grid mode and vehicle to
home mode
In the first mode, the charger transfers the power from the
grid to charge the battery. The grid-side converter uses
different half-bridges to do the AC/DC conversion based on
the different input voltage. As is shown in figure 1 if the
input voltage is 240V the half-bridge LA and LB will operate
and if the input voltage is 120V AC the half-bridge LA/LB
and LN will work. The charger power rating is designed
based on previous EV charging level. At EV charging level,
level I and level II are belong to AC charging: level I is 120V
AC 1.8kW and level II is 240V AC 6.6kW. In the proposed

Fig.2. Infrastructure of PHEVs integration with the power grid at an

American house


Transformerless topology design consideration

Transformerless topology is used in the proposed charger
with both of the battery terminals floating in order obtain a
simple and low cost design. Compared with a traditional
design which has a line frequency transformer at the AC
output, the transformerless topology will increase the


efficiency and reduce the total weight. Recently commercial

inverters with a high-frequency transformer in DC/DC stage
are available in PV market. Compared with this topology, the
transformerless topology can have comparatively simple
design and less complicated control because for solar
application the power flow doesnt need to control the power
flow in bi-direction. Without any transformers the charger
still need to cover all the functions transformers can have.
The first issue is the safety requirement. A transformer will
provide isolation between the converter and the grid, but
without a transformer if one terminal of a battery is shorted to
the ground the charger will fail to work. Since the vehicle
body is connected to the ground during charging the short
circuit between the battery and the ground may cause some
safety concerns. To solve this problem a ground fault
interrupter (GFI) is used to detect the leakage current
between the battery terminals and the ground to make sure
that there is no short circuit.
The second issue is the DC current injection because a
large amount of dc current injection to the grid will cause the
saturation of distribution transformers. To solve this potential
problem the grid-side converter can be controlled to keep the
output current to be sinusoidal; the current controller used
here is proportional and resonant (PR) control which can
reduce the error more effectively than a PI controller. In
addition the offset from the measurement such as the current
sensor and conditioning circuits can be recalibrated in the
ADC port of the digital controller. These efforts will control
the output current with no dc offset.
The third issue is the high frequency leakage current when
there is no transformer in the circuit. The galvanic connection
between the grid and the battery will lead to a common mode
resonant circuit which includes the parasitic capacitance of
the battery terminal to the ground and the parasitic
capacitance of the passive filters to the ground, the stray
inductance from a long charging cable. If the common-mode
voltage generated by the converter includes frequencies close
to this circuits resonance, the large common-mode current
will be generated. These common mode currents may cause
serious EMI problem. To eliminate these leakage currents the
multilevel converter topology [8] [9] and the modified Hbridge topology [10] [11] are used to eliminate the commonmode voltage which is the source of the high frequency
leakage current. Since in the commercial switching mode
power supplies and the inverter-driven motors a passive EMI
filter [12] including common-mode and differential-mode
filters is always used to reduce the common-mode voltage
and the ground leakage current, in this paper a passive EMI
filter is used to try to suppress the common-mode voltage. It
is expected that with the expense of the large EMI filters the
high frequency leakage current issue can be solved. More
efforts and further investigation are still undergoing.
A. Grid-side converter control loop design
1) V2G mode and V2H mode controller

At V2G mode the grid-side converter in figure 3 is

controlled to feed the power back to 240V network while at
V2H mode the converter will supply both 120V and 240V
output voltage to the local loads. The neutral branch is
controlled to keep fixed 50% duty to eliminate output voltage
offset during V2H operation. However, with unbalanced
loads connected with the converter the differential current
will flow through the neutral line. The controller structures
for V2G mode and V2H mode are shown in figure 4 and
figure 5 respectively. In figure 4 the current magnitude
reference is generated by the real power command from the
grid instead of the DC voltage loop. Because unlike the
MPPT function in PV or wind application which tries to
extract the maximum power from the sources, V2G function
should consider the health of the battery pack. It is reasonable
to control a large amount of vehicles and gather small amount
of energy from each vehicle. The real power command is
determined by the power allocation algorithms. It will choose
the PHEV with the battery which still has a high state of
charge otherwise V2G function may damage the battery by
the command generated by MPPT function. Therefore, the
current magnitude is from the grid, the phase information is
obtained by a single phase PLL and the DC voltage loop is
regulated by the battery-side converter.












Fig.3. Grid-side converter

Based on figure 4 the classical transfer function is used here

to investigate the control performance on the steady state for
the V2G controller.

iL =

Gc Vdc
Gc Vdc + 2rL + 2 Ls

(1 G f Vdc + rL c f s + Lc f s 2 )


Gc Vdc + 2rL + 2 Ls
Where Vab is the grid voltage; iL is the current into the grid
or loads; M is the controller output; Vdc is the DC bus
voltage; rL is the inductor winding resistance; c f is the filter

L is the filter inductor; Gc is the compensator;

G f is the feed-forward loop compensator.

The current feeding back the grid is determined by two
terms, the first term is the ideal current reference and second



term is related with the grid voltage. Traditionally,

if G f

Vdc = 1

Lc f s + rL c f s  Vdc Gc

rL + Ls  Vdc Gc , we can derive the ideal transfer

The mathematical model for V2H mode is derived and

written in equation (5).

vo =

function that:

iL GcVdc + rL + Ls


This transfer function proves that the controller can

achieve an accurate current control without any influence
from grid voltage. To achieve (2) a proportional and resonant
compensator PR is used as Gc to replace the conventional PI
controller [13] [14]. The merit of the PR controller is by
setting the resonant frequency to 60Hz there will be an
infinite gain at 60Hz which eliminates steady-state error
without any precise parameters design. The PR controller is
written in equation (3). If we use the PR controller as Gc and
reexamine equation (1), it is commented that the ideal
transfer function in (2) can still be achieved even without
using the grid voltage feed-forward loop.

2c s
Gc ( s ) = K p + K i 2
s + 2c s + 02


Here Kp determines the dynamic response of the system Ki

adjusts the phase shift between the output and the reference,
c is the cutoff frequency which is much smaller than 0, and
0 is the resonant frequency which is set to 376.8 rad/s in this
Besides using a PR controller the selective harmonics
compensation method [17] [18] can be added to eliminate the
low-order harmonics because the PR controller only has a
high gain at 60Hz and cannot reduce other low-order
harmonics. If the grid voltage has low-order harmonics the
controller will not be adequate to reduce its effect. The PR
with HC controller is written in equation (4):
2c s
2c s
Gc (s) = K p + Ki 2
+ Kih 2
s + 2c s + 0 h=3,5,7
s + 2c s + (h0 )2
Here Kih is the integral constant design to compensate the
low-order harmonics; h is the low order harmonics.
For V2H mode the capacitor current feedback method is
used [15] [16]. This method has the comparatively better
performance with an additional low-cost current transformer
to measure the filter capacitor current. For the V2H operation
the output voltage includes both 120V AC and 240V AC, and
if we consider 120V AC as a phase voltage 240V AC is like a
line voltage composed of two phase voltage. If we can
control the two phase voltage well the line voltage will be
automatically regulated. The per-phase control structure is
shown in figure 5. To control the phase A and B two identical
capacitor current feedback loops are needed and each current
loop has a voltage outer loop with a PR controller. Each
current loop output will control one half-bridge branch of the
converter and the neutral branch is switching with 50% duty.

GcG piVdc

Lc f s + (c f rL + c f G piVdc ) s + GcG piVdc + c f Vdc + 1


rL + Ls
iL (5)
Lc f s + (c f rL + C f G piVdc ) s + GcG piVdc + c f Vdc + 1

Similarly to V2G mode controller the PR controller Gc

will have a high gain at 60Hz and it can make the second
term in equation (5) nearly zero which will eliminate the
influence from the load current iL . This is important because
with different type of loads such as diode-bridge load, the
load current may be highly distorted. If the second term in (4)
always occupies a large portion of the whole output
voltage vo , with the load current varying the voltage cannot
be controlled to be purely sinusoidal. Thus the compensator
Gc used in V2G mode is proportional resonant and selective
harmonics compensation and for V2H mode the PR controller
is used.

0.5c f s

G f ( s)

i L*



Gc ( s)


1 i



Fig.4. Control structure for V2G mode

G f (s)


Gc ( s)


GPI ( s)





i c 1 Van



sc f

Fig.5. Control structure for V2H mode

Here in these two figures, GPI is the PI controller; i f is the

filter current; ic is the capacitor current; Van is one phase
output voltage.
2) Charging mode controller
In charging mode, the grid side converter operates as an Hbridge rectifier and the controller design is with an inner


current loop and an outer voltage loop. The PR controller is

used to replace PI in the inner current loop and the phase
information is obtained from PLL.


GPI ( s)



Gc (s)

sc f






Vab* RLoad
V (RLoad cdc s +1)

Fig.7. Experiment setup

Fig.6. Control structure for charging mode


Battery-side converter control loop design

In V2G and V2H mode, the HB converter operates in
boost mode to regulate the DC bus voltage. In charging mode
the HB converter operates as a buck converter. In this mode
the controller has two loops: constant current (CC) charging
loop and constant voltage (CV) charging loop which
correspond to two charging algorithms. At the beginning of
the charging the converter will charge the battery with CC
algorithm. When the battery terminal voltage is approaching
the rated value the CC loop is switched to CV loop. The
converter will use CV loop to remain charging until the
battery is fully charged. Note here the charging operation
must be determined based on the battery information such as
state of charge, state of health etc. The proposed charger
should operate with the battery management system with all
the monitoring functions and cell balancing function.


The charger system is built in MATLAB. Charging mode
and V2G mode mainly show the output/input current
harmonics to prove the controller performance. The V2H
mode uses output voltage error and the dynamic stiffness--the
criteria of load dynamic response to verify the controller
The lab prototype is shown in figure 7 to test the functions
and the controller performance. The power stage uses
Powerex IGBT CM150DY-12NF. The digital controller is
Texas Instrument TMS320F28335. Figure 8 shows the
simulated input current THD from 1kW to 10kW with 240V
AC input for charging mode. The results show at low input
current the THD still needs to be improved. In figure 9 the
input voltage is 120V AC with 3.7% total harmonics, which
is measured from the grid and used to emulate the 120V input
voltage. With the distorted background voltage the input
current can still achieve low harmonics; the THD of that
input current is around 1.2%.







Fig.8. Simulated input current THD for 240V input from 1kW to10kW

input current
grid voltage















Fig.9. Simulated input voltage 120V and input current for 5kW charging

For V2G mode the PR+HC controller is simulated and

tested. The scale-down test is conducted to test the control
performance and the single phase PLL. Figure 10 shows that
the current with 120V grid as the reference is sent to a
resistor bank. The reason to choose the 120V grid voltage is
to use this distorted voltage to test PLL performance. Figure
11 mainly lists the THD and low order harmonics of the
output current measured from the scale-down test. The PI
controller and PR+HC controller are used to control the
output current respectively. It can be seen that the low order


harmonics are greatly reduced with the PR+HC control but

the 9th harmonic of the output current is higher than that of
the PI control.

waveform. The dynamic response of a load transient from 0

to 5/10kW and the output voltage error for 240V output and
120V output are shown in figure 13 and 14 respectively.

Fig.12. Dynamic stiffness for V2H mode


Fig.10. Scale-down test for V2G mode


output current





















3r d

5t h

7t h

9t h

11t h

Fig.13. Load transient and output voltage error for 240V output voltage

13t h


Fig.11. Test output current THD and low order harmonics comparison
between PI control and PR+HC control for V2G mode


For V2H mode the dynamic stiffness [15] is the inverse of

an inverters output impedance and it is used to test an
inverters dynamic response. In figure 12 the dynamic
stiffness for the inverter control loop is drawn. The red curve
is the LC filter response without any compensator; the blue
curve is the response of the LC filter with the capacitor
current feedback loop; and the green curve is the response of
LC filter with the PR voltage loop and the capacitor current
feedback loop. It can be seen that the LC filter resonance is
around 700Hz and with the capacitor current control the loop
bandwidth is around 2 kHz which is fast enough to handle the
load transient and the LC resonance. Moreover with the PR
as the voltage loop, the control loop bandwidth doesnt
change much. However the DC gain of the control loop has
been largely increased especially at 60Hz. This is the proof
that the PR controller can reduce the error at a certain
frequency more effectively than a PI controller. Thus with the
gain at 60Hz the converter will have a good steady state











Fig.14. Load transient and output voltage error for 120V output voltage

A new multi-function bi-directional battery charger for
PHEVs is proposed in this paper. The system infrastructure,


operational principles, design considerations and the design

of converter control loops are illustrated. Simulation and
experimental results verify the functions and performance of
the proposed charger. A household based PHEV charger can
be used to implement multiple functions including battery
charging, vehicle to grid and vehicle to home, which make
the proposed charger promising for PHEV applications.
This work was partially supported by the National Science
Foundation, Award number: EEC-0812121 and this work is a
part of an ongoing project in collaboration of the FREEDM
systems center (Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery
and Management) with ADAC (Advanced Diagnosis
Automation and Control) Lab and ATEC (Advanced
Transportation Energy Center), North Carolina State
University, USA.

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