ST targets Electric Vehicles with SiC power devices

May 17, 2016 // By CHRISTOPH HAMMERSCHMIDT
In EVs and hybrids, where better electrical efficiency means greater mileage, the silicon-carbide (SiC) technology enables auto makers to create vehicles that travel further, recharge faster, and fit better into owners’ lives. Chipmaker ST plans to present new-generation rectifiers and MOSFETs for high-voltage power modules and discrete solutions addressing all the vehicle’s main electrical blocks. These include the traction inverter, on-board battery charger, and auxiliary DC-DC converter. Automotive qualification according to the AEC-Q101 standard is scheduled to be finalized by 2017.

Today’s power modules typically rely on standard silicon diodes and Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs). Silicon carbide is a newer, wide-bandgap technology that allows smaller device geometries capable of operating well above the 400V range of today’s electric and hybrid drivetrains. The smaller SiC diode and transistor structures present lower internal resistance and respond more quickly than standard silicon devices, which minimize energy losses and allow associated components to be smaller, saving size and weight.

 

“Major carmakers and automotive Tier-1s are now committing to silicon-carbide technology for future product development to leverage its higher aggregate efficiency compared to standard silicon in a wide range of operating scenarios,” said Mario Aleo, Group Vice President and General Manager, Power Transistor Division, STMicroelectronics. According to Aleo, ST has reached reached an advanced stage of qualification for its SiC devices. The company at the same time specified 2017 as the timeframe to launch new SiC products.

 

ST has been among the first companies to produce silicon-carbide high-voltage MOSFETs , with its first 1200V SiC MOSFET introduced back in 2014, achieving 200°C rating for more efficient and simplified designs.

Having introduced its first SiC high-voltage MOSFETs back in 2014. the company is using a highly advanced process to fabricate SiC MOSFETs and diodes on 4-inch wafers. In order to drive down the manufacturing costs, improve the quality, and deliver the large volumes demanded by the auto industry, ST is scaling up its production of SiC MOSFETs and diodes to 6-inch wafers, and is on schedule to complete both conversions by the end of 2016.

 

ST has already qualified its 650V SiC diodes to AEC-Q101 , and will complete qualification of the latest 650V SiC MOSFETs and 1200V SiC diodes in early 2017. The qualification of the new-generation 1200V SiC MOSFETs will be completed by the end of 2017. The STPSC20065WY 650V SiC diode is in full production now in DO-247. The range