The shift towards full battery-electric-vehicle (BEV) architectures is swiftly advancing. Analyst forecasts and a proposal by the Biden administration suggest that electrified drivetrains may make up around two-thirds of all cars produced by 2032. This trend underscores the significant growth potential for power modules, which play a crucial role in powering electric motors and in-vehicle chargers.
To accommodate these developing architectures, scalable solutions for power electronics in electric drive systems (EDS) are required. These solutions must effectively cover a wide power range while remaining cost-effective. Ultimately, such advancements in power electronics can offer a substantial competitive edge for vehicle manufacturers.
The adoption of electromobility is increasing
The surging demand for power semiconductors is being fueled by the rapid growth of electromobility. Given the prevailing circumstances, Infineon Technologies AG and Semikron Danfoss have entered into a multi-year agreement to supply silicon-based electromobility chips. Under this agreement, Infineon will supply chipsets comprising IGBTs (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) and diodes for EV inverters to Semikron Danfoss. IGBTs are essential elements in a range of electronic control systems, encompassing motor-control systems, inverters, and onboard chargers.
The chips will be integrated into power modules essential for the main drive in electric vehicles, playing a significant role in the industry’s electromobility transformation. These modules utilize power semiconductors to efficiently convert and control electrical power.
According to Peter Schiefer, President of Infineon’s Automotive division, their IGBTs and diodes are already contributing significantly to the electromobility revolution by enabling efficient power conversion in electric powertrains. He highlighted how Infineon’s wide-ranging product portfolio, system expertise, and ongoing investments in manufacturing capabilities establish them as a valuable partner for automotive companies, including Semikron Danfoss.
Claus A. Petersen, President of Semikron Danfoss, stated that their power modules, based on advanced assembly technologies, fully harness the potential of IGBTs and diodes, enabling further decarbonization of the transportation sector. Automotive customers trust Semikron Danfoss as an experienced long-term partner to drive the industry’s transformation.
Advancements in IGBT technology
Infineon will produce the IGBTs and diodes for Semikron Danfoss at their facilities located in Dresden, Germany, and Kulim, Malaysia. On the other hand, Semikron Danfoss produces its automotive power modules in Nuremberg and Flensburg in Germany, Utica, N.Y. in the U.S., and starting next year, in Nanjing, China.
Infineon has developed automotive IGBTs using their TrenchStop and EDT2 technologies, ensuring high efficiency by minimizing switching and conduction losses. These IGBTs enable compact and scalable designs. The key highlight of the EDT2 technology is its enhanced efficiency at low-load conditions. EDT2 chips exhibit lower losses than current market products, even surpassing Infineon’s previous chip generation by 20%.
An expert in power semiconductor modules
Last year, Semikron Danfoss was formed as a joint venture through the merger of Semikron and Danfoss Silicon Power, both family-owned businesses. This newly formed company specializes in power electronics, placing particular emphasis on power semiconductor modules. The Semikron-Danfoss business is jointly owned by the current owner-families of Semikron and the Danfoss Group, with Danfoss holding the majority stake.
Semikron Danfoss maintains its two primary locations in Germany, Nuremberg and Flensburg. The company’s automotive portfolio comprises power modules and integrated converter/inverter systems, often incorporating innovative semiconductor technologies like silicon carbide (SiC). These cutting-edge technologies contribute to significantly enhanced efficiency in standard passenger vehicle applications.
The innovative power-module platform called eMPack blends SiC with low-stray-inductance direct-pressed-die (DPD) technology, resulting in automotive applications with both high power densities and exceptional reliability.
The DPD technology employs a pressure element that directly applies pressure to the top of the die. This approach creates an optimized thermal connection to the cooler, precisely beneath the chip, eliminating the need for a fixed connection with the heatsink.