5 January 2022
Navitas opens first GaN IC design center for EVs
Gallium nitride (GaN) power integrated circuit firm Navitas Semiconductor of El Segundo, CA, USA and Dublin, Ireland has announced the opening of a new electric vehicle (EV) design center in Shanghai, China, further expanding into higher-power GaN markets.
Compared with legacy silicon solutions, GaN-based on-board chargers (OBCs) are estimated to charge 3x faster with up to 70% energy savings. GaN OBCs, DC-DC converters and traction inverters are estimated to extend EV range or reduce battery costs by 5%, and to accelerate adoption of EVs worldwide by three years. An EV upgrade to GaN is estimated to reduce road-sector CO2 emissions by 20%/year by 2050 (the target of the Paris Accord).
Navitas’ GaNFast power ICs monolithically integrate GaN power field-effect transistors (FETs) and GaN drive plus control and protection circuits. Since GaN devices operate 20x faster than traditional silicon chips, high speed and high efficiency translate into energy savings, high power density, lower cost, and higher reliability.
The new design center in Shanghai hosts an experienced team of power system designers with comprehensive capabilities across electrical, thermal and mechanical design, software development, and complete simulation and prototyping capabilities. EV customers will be supported worldwide by the new team, from concept to prototype, through to full qualification and mass production.
“The design center will develop schematics, layouts and firmware for full-function, productizable EV power systems,” says Hao Sun, the new senior director of the Shanghai Design Center. “Navitas will work in partnership with OBC, DC-DC and traction system companies to create innovative, world-class solutions with the highest power density and highest efficiency to propel GaN into mainstream eMobility,” he adds.
High-power 650V GaN ICs tailored to EV applications were sampled to EV customers in December. A 6.6kW OBC concept was displayed at the Xiaomi Portfolio Demo Day on 24 October, and is being shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2022) in Las Vegas, NV (5-7 January).
“EMobility is an exciting expansion market for GaN, with an estimated $250 potential content per EV,” says Charles Zha, VP & general manager of Navitas China. “Market-by-market, Navitas is making swift progress into higher-power applications, like EV, data center and solar.”
Manufacturing a GaN power IC has up to a 10x lower CO2 footprint than for a silicon chip, it is claimed. Considering use-case efficiency and material size and weight benefits, each GaN power IC shipped can save an estimated 4kg of CO2, Navitas says. Overall, GaN is expected to address a 2.6Gton/yr reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.