SiC suppliers position for automotive at PCIM

SiC suppliers position for automotive at PCIM

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By Nick Flaherty

The PCIM show in Nuremberg this week is highlighting the increasing role of silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFETs in electric vehicles and the positioning of several key European suppliers.

Onsemi is supplying Chinese car maker NIO, while ST is supplying modules to Semikron for car makers. Infineon and Bosch, already major suppliers to the car industry, are also ramping up production of SiC devices.

NIO has chosen the latest VE-Trac Direct SiC power modules from onsemi for its next-generation electric vehicles (EVs).

The integrated single side direct cooling (SSDC) power module has a six-pack configuration with a low turn on resistance of 1.7 mohm and power levels from 100 to 250kW. This uses the second generation SiC MOSFET technology from onsemi to boost performance in a compatible package footprint with its IGBT predecessor. An integrated pin fin baseplate enables direct liquid cooling and easy assembly which allows maximum power output and more efficient thermal dissipation.

“From all the solutions we considered, the VE-Trac Direct SiC traction power modules offered the best efficiency during testing, allowing us to extend our New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) range by 4% compared to the current silicon solution,” said Alan S. Zeng, senior vice president at NIO. “onsemi convinced us with the high performance and reliability of its products as well as the excellent support from its engineering and management team. We look forward to collaborating with onsemi on bringing more innovative EVs to market for generations to come.”

“This design collaboration is the culmination of substantial efforts onsemi has put into developing the right technologies for emerging applications such as smart EVs,” said Simon Keeton, executive vice president and general manager of Power Solutions Group at onsemi. “onsemi is the only supplier of silicon carbide solutions with vertical integration capability including SiC boule growth, substrate, epitaxy, device fabrication, best-in-class integrated modules and discrete package solutions. We are rapidly expanding our SiC capacity and are uniquely positioned to address the growing EV market with supply assurance, performance, quality and tailored SiC end solutions.”

ST is supplying SiC technology for the eMPack electric-vehicle (EV) power modules from Semikron in Nuremberg after a four year technical collaboration. ST already supplies electric vehicles designs from Tesla, BMW, Arrival and Renault, and Semikron recently announced it had secured a billion-Euro contract to supply the eMPack modules to a major German car maker, beginning in 2025.

“ST’s industry-leading SiC device-manufacturing capabilities and in-depth expertise with the technology enabled us to integrate these cutting-edge semiconductors with our advanced manufacturing processes, which enhance reliability, power density, and scalability to meet the needs of the automotive industry,” said Karl-Heinz Gaubatz, Semikron Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Technical Officer (CTO). “As we now move towards volume-production, our collaboration with ST brings the assurance of a robust supply chain that gives control over quality and delivery performance.”

“Semikron’s advanced scalable eMPack family of power modules is ready to make a major contribution towards zero-emission motoring,” said Edoardo Merli, Power Transistor Sub-Group General Manager and Executive Vice President of STMicroelectronics. “In addition to its transformative effect in e-mobility, our SiC technology, now in its third generation, is driving increased efficiency, performance, and reliability in sustainable energy and industrial power-control applications.”

Engineers from ST and Semikron integrated the third generation STPOWER SiC MOSFETs as bare die for the fully sintered Direct Pressed Die (DPD) modules for powertrain designs at 750V and 1200V. These are aimed at applications from 100kW to 750kW and battery systems from 400V to 800V.

Bosch, a major supplier to the car industry, builds its SIC devices in Europe on 200mm wafers. The BT1M120 family is supplied as bare die to handle voltages up to 1200 V for inverter modules with system voltages around 800 V.

It is working with equipment maker Aixtron as well as the EV Group, Premo, Saint-Gobain, Semikron, Soitec, STMicroelectronics and Valeo-Siemens Automotive on a European supply chain project called Transform.

The robust SiC MOSFETs reduce conduction and switching losses with an on resistance of 10 to 13mΩ  and allow for higher switching frequencies.

For applications such as applications like on-board chargers, DC-DC converters and inverters in electric vehicles, there are versions in TO-247 three pin and four pin Kelvin packages.

Infineon is investing over E2bn in fab and assembly capacity for SiC, and supplies Hyundai Motors, Vitesco Technologies, Denso, ZF and Continental as well as contract manufacturer Foxconn. Infineon has launched 1200V and 2000V SiC devices using its latest M1H process technology.;;;;

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