Nexperia, a GaN FET components - analog and logic ICs player, will partner with Ricardo, the automotive engineering consulting company, to produce a technology demonstrator for an EV inverter based on gallium nitride (GaN) technology
Gallium nitride(GaN) is the preferred switch for these applications as GaN FETs lead to systems with greater efficiencies at lower costs with improved thermal performance and simpler switching topologies. In automotive terms this means that the vehicle has a greater range – the major concern for anyone looking to buy an electric vehicle. GaN is now on the brink of replacing SiC or silicon based IGBTs as preferred technology for the traction inverters used in plug-in hybrids or full battery electric cars.
Nexperia announced a range of AEC-Q101-approved GaN devices last year, providing automotive designers with a portfolio of proven, reliable devices in this high-efficiency technology, providing the power density required for electrification of the powertrain.
Given Ricardo’s collaborations with brands such as McLaren and Bugatti, the company came across as a perfect partner for Nexperia for this project. According to Michael LeGoff, general manager GaN, Nexperia, “By designing our GaN devices into an inverter and trialling them through Ricardo, we will be able to better understand how a vehicle can be driven safely and reliably. We are developing a real solution that I think a lot of automotive designers will be interested in having a look at and will find extremely advantageous.”
Adrian Greaney, director - technology & products, Ricardo added that, “Semiconductor technology is key to the efficiency of the inverter system and the role that it plays in the performance and efficiency of an electrified vehicle. By delivering significant benefits in terms of the switching speed and efficiency, gallium nitride is a real enabling technology. As well as leading to increased range, it allows us to reduce the package size and weight of the inverter, which provides greater powertrain design flexibility as well as contributing to vehicle mass reduction. There are also many associated benefits that when we look at the design from a system level, and Ricardo is therefore pleased to be collaborating with Nexperia on GaN devices.”