Automotive market will drive further growth in SiC and GaN

An article written by Richard Stevenson for A great way to strengthen the case for a new technology is to highlight how much better it is than the incumbent. That’s the strategy that has been pursued by the pioneers of wide bandgap power devices. For many years, they have been demonstrating the significant energy savings resulting from more efficient power conversion, and the beneficial implications, including a trimming of electricity bills and an increase in the deliverable output from solar panels.

Right now, however, this industry has a new, even better story to tell -and one that is sure to capture the public imagination. It stars an underdog in the form of Venturi, a racing team that has a far smaller budget than many of its rivals. Off the pace for several seasons, it has been improving of late, and this March it caused an upset by netting its first win in the Formula Electric class. What’s is the secret to this success? The adoption of a new, superior technology, in the form of an all-SiC power module produced by Rohm.

Details of this winning module and the benefits that it delivers were discussed by Aly Mashaly, Director of Power Systems at Rohm Semiconductor, during a keynote presentation at this year’s CS International. At this meeting, held in Brussels on 26-27 March, Mashaly revealed that the benefits of using SiC, rather than silicon, were not confined to just delivering greater power from the battery. Instead, they extend to a 30 percent decrease in the size of the unit, as well as a reduction in its weight, which fell from 15 kg to just 9 kg. These improvements, which stem from the opportunity to use smaller passive components, are incredibly valuable – they allow the module to be placed in the ideal spot within the car, leading to better handling. 

Dr. Hong Lin, Senior Technology & Market Analyst, Yole Développement

Venturi’s foray into SiC power electronics is relatively new. Back in season two (2014-2015), it employed an all-silicon module in its Formula E car. In season three, this evolved to the pairing of a silicon IGBT and a SiC diode, and from season four onwards, it has used the combination of SiC diodes and SiC MOSFETs… Full article