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31 May 2016

STMicroelectronics' SiC MOSFETs used in Zaptec's portable electric-car charger

STMicroelectronics of Geneva, Switzerland says that its silicon carbide (SiC) metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) devices have enabled the ZapCharger Portable (claimed to be the world's smallest electric-car charging station) to be created by Zaptec of Stavanger, Norway, which was founded in 2012 to commercialize 10 years of R&D in compact power electronics.

ST says that its SiC MOSFETs' power-conversion capabilities have enabled Zaptec to design an electric-car charger with energy efficiency of 97% that weighs 3kg and measures 45cm x 10cm x 10cm (ten times smaller and lighter than products with comparable performance).

With a built-in electronic transformer that allows it to work with any electric car on any grid, ZapCharger is fully galvanically insulated and continuously monitors the grid it is connected to. It dynamically adjusts the amount of power it delivers and can shut down immediately if it detects a fault, in order to protect the car. The charger offers GPRS connectivity and operates over an extended temperature range from -40°C to +55°C.

The ZapCharger contans 32 high-voltage SiC power MOSFETs from ST. Compared with traditional (silicon) solutions, these components can sustain much higher voltages, currents, and temperatures, and their power-conversion circuits operate faster, enabling smaller, lighter designs, higher system efficiency, and reduced cooling requirements, says ST.

"The key for us was to find a power technology with a very high efficiency so we could reduce the overall size of the charger without compromising performance," says Zaptec's chief operating officer Jonas Helmikstøl. "The support of ST as a strong and reliable partner helped us transform our invention into a product that dramatically changes the user experience and, by allowing consumers to take their chargers anywhere, eliminates 'range anxiety' and can accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles worldwide," he adds. 

"Solutions like ZapCharger that can enable drivers to safely charge their vehicles anywhere are set to catalyze the growth of the e-car market and the smart-energy ecosystem as a whole," believes Philip Lolies, EMEA VP, marketing & application, STMicroelectronics.

In addition to electric-car charging, Zaptec's patented electronic-transformer technology targets new applications in industrial, marine, and space.

After successful field tests, ZapCharger is starting pilot production now, with volume ramp-up scheduled at the end of third-quarter 2016.

Tags: SiC power MOSFET

Visit: www.zaptec.com/zapcharger

Visit: www.st.com/sicmos

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