Continental AG, commonly known as Continental, is a German multinational automotive parts manufacturing company specializing in brake systems, interior electronics, automotive safety, powertrain and chassis components, tachographs, tires and other parts for the automotive and transportation industries.
The powertrain business area of Continental AG, Vitesco Technologies GmbH, Regensburg, Germany, a leading supplier in the field of vehicle electrification, and ROHM Semiconductor GmbH, Willich, Germany, a leading company in SiC (silicon carbide) power semiconductors, have recently signed a development partnership, beginning in June 2020. Vitesco Technologies will use SiC components to further increase the efficiency of its power electronics for electric vehicles (EV). 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. As the tractional 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,” said Beyza Sarioglu, Head of Electrification Technology for Vitesco Technologies North America. “To get the maximum efficiency out of the power electronics and the e-motor, we will use SiC power devices from our preferred partner, ROHM.”
“We are looking forward to the future cooperation with Vitesco Technologies,” said Dr. Kazuhide Ino, Corporate Officer, Director of Power Device business unit at ROHM Co., Ltd “We are the leading company in SiC power semiconductors and have achieved a significant technological lead in this field along with the provision of power solutions combined with gate driver ICs. Together with Vitesco Technologies we want to further improve the energy efficiency of the electronic system in EVs to use the full potential of the SiC technology for a sustainable mobility.”
Squeezing out the best performance level by SiC
Vitesco Technologies 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. Also, SiC technology is a key enabler for super-fast charging technology that uses 800 volts.
In the course of the cooperation, ROHM and Vitesco Technologies 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.
About Vitesco Technologies
Vitesco Technologiesis a leading international developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art powertrain technologies for sustainable mobility. With smart system solutions and components for electric, hybrid and internal combustion vehicles, Vitesco Technologies makes mobility clean, efficient and affordable. The product range includes electric drives, electronic control units, sensors and actuators, and exhaust-gas aftertreatment solutions. In 2019, Vitesco Technologies, a Continental business area, recorded sales of EUR 7.8 billion and employs almost 40,000 people at around 50 locations worldwide. Vitesco Technologies is headquartered in Regensburg, Germany.
About ROHM Semiconductor
ROHM Semiconductor is a global company of 362,885 million Yen revenue per March 31th, 2020 with 22,191 employees. ROHM Semiconductor develops and manufactures a very large product range from the Ultra-Low Power Microcontroller, Power Management, Standard ICs, SiC Diodes, MOSFETs and Modules, Power Transistors and Diodes, LEDs to passives components such as Resistors, Tantalum Capacitors and LED display units, thermal Printheads in state-of-the-art manufacturing plants in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Europe. LAPIS Semiconductor (former OKI Semiconductor), SiCrystal GmbH, Kionix are companies of ROHM Semiconductor Group. ROHM Semiconductor Europe has its head office near Dusseldorf serving the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa).