Vitesco Technologies and ROHM cooperate on silicon carbide power solutions
The powertrain business area of Continental, Vitesco Technologies, and ROHM Semiconductor have recently signed a development partnership. Vitesco Technologies will use SiC components to further increase the efficiency of its power electronics for electric vehicles (EV). According to the company, through their higher efficiency, SiC semiconductors make better use of the electric energy stored in a vehicle battery. Thus, an EV has a longer range, or the battery cost can be reduced without impacting the range.
“Energy efficiency is of paramount importance in an electric vehicle,” said Thomas Stierle, Executive Vice President of the Electrification Technology business unit at Vitesco Technologies. “As the traction battery is the only source of energy in the vehicle, any losses caused by power conversion need to be minimized. We are therefore developing a SiC option within our modular power electronics system. To get the maximum efficiency out of the power electronics and the e-motor we will use SiC power devices from our preferred partner.”
According to a release, the company is already developing and testing SiC technology in an 800-volt inverter concept to confirm the efficiency potential of the technology. The approach of this program is to look at the complete system of inverter and motor to identify the best combination of device technology and switching strategy.
In this context, SiC semiconductors—e.g. SiC MOSFETs for 800-volt battery systems—offer more efficient switching in the inverter (higher frequency, steeper switching slopes) and cause fewer harmonic losses in the electric motor, according to the company. Also, SiC technology is an enabler for super-fast charging technology that uses 800 volts.
In the course of the cooperation, the two companies will work on creating the optimum combination of ROHM’s SiC technology for high volume manufacturing and best fit of inverter design for highest efficiency.
“The SiC option is a very promising future part of our modular power electronics system comprising of software, power output stage, and switching strategy,” said Dr. Gerd Rösel, Head of Innovation in the Electrification Technology business unit at Vitesco Technologies. “We will work with ROHM on an 800-volt SiC inverter solution as well as on a 400-volt SiC inverter solution.”
Vitesco Technology plans the start of production of the first SiC inverter as of 2025, when the demand for SiC solutions is expected to rise significantly.
For more information, visit www.vitesco-technologies.com.