ZF signs long-term supply contract for SiC devices with STMicroelectronics

ZF will take advantage of ST’s SiC manufacturing in Europe and Asia to secure customer orders in the electromobility sector.

ZF’s order book in electromobility until 2030 amounts to more than €30 billion. To process this order book, ZF needs several reliable suppliers of SiC chips, explained Stephan von Schuckmann, ZF board member responsible for electromobility and materials management. “In STMicroelectronics, we have now found a supplier whose experience with complex systems meets our requirements and who, above all, can produce the modules in exceptionally high quality as well as in the required quantities.”

With the ST agreement, ZF has gained another global supplier for SiC technology, in addition to the partnership agreement for SiC technology with Wolfspeed announced in February.

Marco Monti, president of ST’s Automotive and Discrete, underlined his company’s positioning as a vertically oriented supplier. “The key to success in electromobility is increased scalability and modularity, combined with higher efficiency and maximum performance, as well as better affordability. Our SiC technologies help realise these benefits,” Ponti said in a press statement.

ST will manufacture the SiC chips in production facilities in Italy and Singapore. The devices will be installed in STPAKs, a package design developed by ST, and tested in Morocco and China.

Depending on customers’ power requirements, ZF can interconnect different numbers of ST modules without having to change the inverter design. ZF will use the technology, among other things, in inverters for vehicles of a European car manufacturer whose production start is planned for 2025.

The inverter is a central component of the electric driveline. It controls the flow of energy from the battery to the electric motor and vice versa. With each development step, inverters have become more efficient and more complex. The combination of inverter design and semiconductors such as SiC is key to improving the performance of electric vehicles. SiC devices significantly reduce losses in the inverters not only of electric cars, but also of wind power and photovoltaic systems.

Devices manufactured with SiC have decisive advantages over conventional silicon-based products, such as higher efficiency, higher power density and greater reliability. At the same time, they enable smaller and more cost-effective system designs. So an electric vehicle charges faster, drives further and offers more space when it is equipped with SiC-based semiconductors.