Accelerating electrification with a re-shuffling supply chain

Today, Yole Intelligence offers an overview of power electronic solutions for automotive applications. Yu Yang, Senior Technology and Market Analyst, invites you to dive deep into the latest innovations and gain a better understanding of the market challenges.

This analysis is based on Yole Intelligence’s report, Power Electronics for e-Mobility: Focus on Passengers & Light Commercial Vehicles.

Yole Intelligence is a Yole Group company.

Yu Yang Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Power Electronics at Yole Intelligence
At Yole Intelligence, we are talking about the phasing out of ICEs. Of course, not yet in its entirety, but in some segments, in some regions, the revolution has started. Together with this revolution in the powertrain, the supply chain supporting power semiconductors is undergoing radical changes.

Driven jointly by 5 long-term and 2 short-term driving factors, Yole sees the most significant growth in BEV, with a 19.1% CAGR between 2022 and 2028, far outpacing the 14.1% CAGR of xEV (including MHEV, HEV, PHEV, BEV, and FCEV) over the same period.

In supporting this rapidly growing market, the power device market, spanning from discretes to modules, will increase enormously, especially for high-power inverter applications. The rising star is clearly the SiC MOSFET module, fitting perfectly with the increasing adoption of 800V high-voltage platforms.

The shift in the powertrain is clearly illustrated not only through increasing EV sales and the leading OEMs’ refurbished EV-oriented strategic planning but was also evident in the Shanghai Autoshow in April this year. BEVs were the center of attraction of nearly all OEMs’ booths. What was more striking was that the Chinese OEMs are leveraging their advances in electrification and gaining the upper hand, historically taken by international players.

Even more impressive is the supportive local supply chain in China, as explained in the graph below. This is because China started the electrification process early, when most leading international suppliers were not entirely convinced about the electrified future Chinese OEMs turned more to a local ecosystem, incubating a domestic upstream supply chain, from T1s to component and even material suppliers (T2/3/4…). And now the enhanced local supply chain has gained international competence and started excelling beyond the domestic market. The recent announcements from Infineon, sourcing SiC substrates from two Chinese players – TankeBlue and SICC – are clearly the latest examples of the trend Yole Intelligence has identified for years.

As mentioned above, SiC is a strongly preferred material for vehicle electrification, for which we expect the most remarkable growth in the coming year. However, the cost is an issue as there are some inherent challenges in ingot growth, the wafering process, and yield losses, as discussed in the report. Therefore, the claim by Tesla to reduce SiC use by 75% stirred considerable discussions in the industry.

At Yole Intelligence, analysts examined both the technical and commercial factors across the entire supply chain and summarized them into five potential strategies for lowering SiC costs. Starting from the potential for technological innovation, it would be a combination of multiple strategies rather than one magical recipe to achieve the final goal of a 75% reduction.

The electrification journey has started, and ICEs will be phased out segment by segment, region by region, in the coming decades. The latest report will, hopefully, bring some clarity to the vision on various trends, such as system integration, 800V adoption, emerging functions and topologies, Si IGBT, SiC MOSFET, power module packaging, OEMs’ in-house manufacturing, new SiC material suppliers, supply-demand evolution, Chinese power electronics suppliers, etc.

About the author

Yu Yang, Ph.D., is a Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Power Electronics at Yole Intelligence, part of Yole Group, within the Power & Wireless division.

Based in Belgium, Yu is engaged in technology and market studies of power electronics applied to mobility electrification with a strong focus on the automotive industry. Yu is also involved in other power and automotive electronics studies at Yole.

Prior to Yole, Yu worked as a Business Development Partner and R&D Project Leader at Punch Powertrain N.V. (Belgium), R&D Project Manager at Bekaert N.V. (Belgium), and Doctorate Researcher at IMEC (Belgium).

Yu Yang holds a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Leuven University (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) in Belgium and a master’s in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University (China).