Infineon hopes to increase tenfold sales to e-cars

January 24, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Chipmaker Infineon places lots of hopes to the breakthrough of electric mobility. The company expects an increase of its sales into this industry segment by a factor of up to ten, depending on how fast electromobility will prevail.

In an interview with news agency dpa/AFX, Infineon's Division President Automotive Jochen Hanebeck said that today the company's sales into electrical vehicles make up just one tenth of Infinneon's sales into the market for conventionally driven cars. "Depending on how fast the acceptance for electromobility grows, by the end of the decade both segments could well have the same size," he said. While currently the business with automotive semiconductors in general accounts for about one third of the company's segment sales of about € 1.72 billion, sales of chips designed especially for deployment in electric cars amount to double-digit million euros volume.

BMW's i3 e-car, as an example, contains Infineon products worth several hundred euros, Hanebeck said according to the news agency - far more than in the average of all vehicles built in 2013 of just some 20 euros. While a conventional car in average contains semiconductors at an overall value of 340 US dollars, a vehicle with an electric powertrain needs twice as many chips, transistors and other semiconductors. Hanebeck said from the sales perspective it is irrelevant if a car has a battery electric drive or a fuel cell drive.

Beyond the question of when electromobility will gain traction, Infineon also benefits from tougher CO2 emission regulation, Hanebeck said. New engine designs with better fuel efficiency increase the demand for semiconductors as well as other measures to reduce fuel consumption and thus exhaust emissions - for example pumps and power steering which are only activated when actually needed and thus help reducing power consumption.

Also the demand for safety and security components will increase, Hanebeck said. In the future, a good result in the NCAP crash tests will also depend on the extend to which a car is equipped with advanced driver assistance systems like pedestrian recognition or emergency brake assist. Such systems require sophisticated sensors, and Hanebeck expects Infineon to benefit from this trend.