Renesas Electronics

Automotive activities to be significantly expanded

23. September 2022, 8:34 Uhr | By Iris Stroh

Fortsetzung des Artikels von Teil 1

The demand for IGBTs for electric vehicles is increasing significantly

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The demand for IBGTs will increase in the coming years.
© Renesas Electronics/Strategy Analytics

So far on the subject of "radar", now let's move on to the subject of "electric vehicles", what is Renesas planning in this area?

Also in this case, it is a very strongly growing segment in the automotive sector, especially when it comes to power semiconductors. We are convinced that there will be strong growth in IGBTs in the medium to long term as electric vehicles become more prevalent. At Renesas, we are focusing on IGBTs and pursuing various approaches in this area. One is that we are improving the devices themselves. That means we are fundamentally optimizing the technology we offer. On the other hand, we are also building up additional capacities in order to be able to satisfy our customers' demand.

Which means: you improve the IGBTs?

The new process generation for our silicon-based IGBTs enables us to reduce losses on the one hand and size on the other, thus making smaller and more efficient inverters possible. The new IGBTs based on the AE5 process make it possible to reduce the overall system power dissipation. Based on our calculations, we are convinced that this new AE5 process enables a reduction in power dissipation of about 10 percent compared to the previous version based on an AE5 process. In addition to improving energy efficiency, however, the new technology also makes it possible to reduce size. We expect the AE5 products to be 10 percent smaller than our previous products while maintaining the same reliability and robustness. Other important parameters we have worked on are the variations in different environmental conditions, to name a few. So we have improved the technology to the point where the parameter variations are much smaller. In addition, we have also improved the performance of the IGBTs when they are used in parallel, which is very often the case with inverter systems in cars.

By combining all of these enhancements, we expect to increase the overall performance of the inverter system.

Are these expectations, does that mean that the products are not yet available?

We already have but another point is important in this context: the available production capacities. We will start production based on 200 and 300 mm wafers in our Naka fab in the first half of 2023. In addition, there is the restart of our Kofu fab. Here, production based on a 300-mm line is scheduled to start in the first half of 2024. We are investing around 90 billion yen to restart the Kofu fab and we expect our products to go into mass production next year.

IGBTs are an important topic for electric vehicles, but what about SiC?

Of course, there are several technologies for power electronics, IGBTs are one of them, SiC is another. The current activities are related to IGBTs, we will talk about SiC at a next opportunity.

This means: We are quite determined to grow in the automotive sector, which also includes power electronics, as evidenced by our investments in the IGBT area. Of course, we are also aware of the importance of SiC, also with regard to performance improvements. So we are active here as well.

Either way, Renesas has the ability to offer complete systems such as traction inverters with various components, all of which come from Renesas itself, thanks to its expertise on MCUs, power management, gate drivers, etc.

This means that Renesas will also offer the so-called Winning Combinations in this area?

Absolutely. On the one hand, we offer components, but we are also working on combinations where we offer complete systems, be it an inverter or an onboard charging system that includes the other components such as power management, gate drivers, position sensors and software.

One last question: Could 4D radar make LiDAR obsolete?

From what we know today, cameras are essential, and they are becoming more and more widely used in cars. Radar is also very important and is being deployed more and more frequently in cars. These two technologies are considered basic, plus a combination with ultrasound. Radar seems to be sufficient for many OEMs in terms of Level 2 and 3. Moving to Level 4, it currently looks like higher resolution is required, and this resolution can be achieved by integrating LiDAR. Accordingly, we expect LiDAR to be used at these higher levels. But cameras and radar will remain as fundamental technologies for all levels of automation.

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  1. Automotive activities to be significantly expanded
  2. The demand for IGBTs for electric vehicles is increasing significantly

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