R&D project readies SiC modules for volume production of electric vehicles
Silicon carbide has been tested for years as a promising alternative material for power semiconductors. However, it has not yet really arrived in the series production of electric vehicles. The Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM now wants to change this: Together with industrial partners, the researchers want to get SiC technology on its way to industrial production.

Three factors are decisive for power electronics in electric vehicles: space, weight and efficiency. Silicon carbide (SiC) fulfills all conditions, because it enables higher efficiency and can be installed more compactly than conventional semiconductors such as silicon.

Nevertheless, there is still no (or better, almost no) series-produced e-car on the road today in which SiC semiconductors are installed; the semiconductor material has so far only been used in research environments. In order to be able to use this material in industrial production as well, the Fraunhofer SiC module research project is incorporating certain framework conditions of industrial production from the outset. For example, the module that researchers at Fraunhofer IZM are developing is based on a classical printed circuit board structure that is already established in industry and easy to implement.

R&D project readies SiC modules for volume production of electric vehicles
Silicon carbide has been tested for years as a promising alternative material for power semiconductors. However, it has not yet really arrived in the series production of electric vehicles. The Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM now wants to change this: Together with industrial partners, the researchers want to get SiC technology on its way to industrial production.

The dimensioning and electrical design of the power Electronic modules was carried out in direct cooperation with automobile manufacturers, component suppliers and component manufacturers. This makes it possible to make optimum use of space in the vehicle drive train. Lars Böttcher is group leader at Fraunhofer IZM and sub-project leader for the SiC project. He explains: “We are going beyond general feasibility, because in this project we are developing more than just a prototype. The goal is to get both the new semiconductor material silicon carbide and the embedding technology on the way to series production.

The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the E-Mobility Call with a project volume of 3.89 million euros and runs until December 2020. In addition to Fraunhofer IZM, six other partners are involved in the project: AixControl – Gesellschaft für leistungselektronische Systemlösungen mbH, Conti Temic microelectronic GmbH, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Robert Bosch GmbH, Schweizer Electronic AG and TLK-Thermo GmbH.

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