The automotive industry has long been focussing on the higher efficiency of the combustion engine and electrification of the drivetrain in hybrid and fully electric vehicles to meet CO2 emission goals. Now we finally see a tipping point with a greater availability of SiC (Silicon Carbide) chips that offer extremely low power losses and higher temperature resistance.
Power semiconductors based on SiC materials offer greater efficiency than silicon-based diodes, IGBTs and MOSFETs because of inherently faster switching, which in turn, allows SiC devices to operate at higher frequencies while producing lower power losses.
Another key factor in the inclination of car OEMs and Tier 1 automotive suppliers toward SiC materials is lower internal resistance and robust intrinsic-body chips that subsequently lead to significant savings in cost, size and weight of power subsystems.
SiC chips are now promising tangible energy efficiency benefits in all three electrical blocks of hybrid and electric drivetrains:
Chipmakers Infineon, Rohm, and STMicro are expected to launch more SiC chips in 2017 to accelerate automotive electrification.