SiC Power Electronics Drive 800V Electric Vehicles into the Mainstream

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IDTechEX’s report, “Power Electronics for Electric Vehicles 2023-2033,” predicts growth in the global market for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), speeding along at a 15% compound annual growth rate over the next decade.¬†

The report examines the evolution of EV power electronics technology, including semiconductor materials such as Si, SiC, and GaN, die-attach materials, wire bonding, and thermal management. The demand for high-voltage wide bandgap (WBG) power electronics drives the need to improve drive cycle efficiency as the weighted-average battery capacity of BEV cars continues to increase in all regions.

While power electronics have been using Si IGBTs in EV power electronics for two decades, SiC and GaN are now emerging as the next generation of WBG materials. These new materials have higher voltage and power-density modules that can operate at higher temperatures, which will significantly impact power device design, including package materials.

Moving from 350-400V to 800V and beyond has two drivers: higher power levels of DC fast charging and efficiency gains from reduced joule losses and downsized high-voltage cabling. The IDTechEx report “Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles and Fleets 2022-2032” estimates around 3 million AC charging installations took place in 2022, compared to ~50,000 DCFCs over 100kW.

The Lucid Air and Porsche’s Taycan have experienced supply chain challenges that have affected their sales. However, Hyundai’s models using the 800V E-GMP platform have sold more than 70,000 units in South Korea, respectively marking the first time 800V vehicles have entered the mainstream car segments. China also plans to transition to 800V vehicles, with major OEMs such as BYD, XPeng, Great Wall Motors, and GAC leading the way.

Automakers must focus on improving battery chemistry, solar bodywork, high voltage cable reduction per vehicle, 600V SiC, improved motor design, and other areas to improve drive cycle efficiency further. The IDTechEx report “Power Electronics for Electric Vehicles 2023-2033” offers detailed forecasts of unit sales, GW, and US$ demand for inverters, onboard chargers, and DC-DC converters segmented by voltage and semiconductor type. To learn more about the report, visit¬†www.IDTechEx.com/PowerElec.

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