Renesas unveils Si IGBTs for Electric Vehicle inverters

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Renesas Electronics has developed a new generation of Si-IGBTs (Silicon Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) which will be offered in a small footprint while providing low power losses.

Aimed at next generation electric vehicle (EVs) inverters, AE5-generation IGBTs will be mass produced starting in the first half of 2023 on Renesas’ 200- and 300-mm wafer lines at the company’s factory in Naka, Japan.

In addition, Renesas said that it will ramp up production starting in the first half of 2024 at its new power semiconductor 300-mm wafer fab in Kofu, Japan to meet the growing demand for power semiconductor products.

The silicon based AE5 process for IGBTs is said to achieve a 10% reduction in power losses compared to the current-generation AE4 products, a power saving that will help EV developers save battery power and increase driving range.

In addition, these new products are approximately 10% smaller while maintaining high robustness.

According to Renesas these devices are able to achieve the industry’s highest level of performance for IGBTs by optimally balancing low power loss and robustness trade-offs. Moreover, the new IGBTs significantly improve performance and safety as modules by minimising parameter variations among the IGBTs and providing stability when operating IGBTs in parallel. These features provide engineers greater flexibility to design smaller inverters that achieve high performance.

“Demand for automotive power semiconductors is rapidly growing, as EVs become more widely available,” said Katsuya Konishi, Vice President of Renesas' Power System Business Division. “Renesas' IGBTs provide highly reliable, robust power solutions that build on our experience in manufacturing automotive-grade power products for the last seven years. With the latest devices soon to be in mass production, we are providing optimal features and cost performance for mid-range EV inverters that are expected to grow rapidly in the future."

 Key Features of the New-Generation IGBT (AE5)

  • Four products targeting 400-800V inverters: 750V withstand voltage (220A and 300A) and 1200V withstand voltage (150A and 200A)
  • Steady performance throughout the operating junction temperature (Tj) range from -40°C to 175°C
  • Industry's highest performance level with an on-voltage Vce (saturation voltage) of 1.3V, a key value for minimizing power loss
  • 10% higher current density compared to conventional products and small chip size (100mm2/300A) optimized for low power losses and high input resistance
  • Stable parallel operation by reducing parameter variations to VGE(off) to ±0.5V
  • Maintains reverse bias safe operating area (RBSOA) with a maximum Ic current pulse of 600A at 175°C junction temperatures, and a highly robust short circuit withstand time of 4µs at 400V.
  • 50% reduction in the temperature dependence of gate resistance (Rg). This minimizes switching losses at high temperatures, spike voltage at low temperatures and short circuit withstand time, supporting high performance designs.
  • Available as a bare die (wafer)
  • Enables a reduction in inverter power losses, improving power efficiency by up to 6% compared to the current AE4 process at the same current density, allowing EVs to drive longer distances and use fewer batteries.

In EVs, the motors that power vehicles are controlled by inverters and switching devices such as IGBTs are critical in minimising power consumption for EVs, as inverters convert DC power to the AC power that electric vehicle motors require.

To assist developers, Renesas is also offering the xEV Inverter Reference Solution, a working hardware reference design that combines an IGBT, microcontroller, power management IC (PMIC), gate driver IC, and fast recovery diode (FRD). Renesas also offers the xEV Inverter Kit, which is a hardware implementation of the reference design.

In addition, Renesas provides a motor parameter calibration tool and the xEV Inverter Application Model and Software, which combines an application model and sample software for controlling the motor.

All these tools and support programmes from Renesas are designed to help customers simplify their software development efforts. Renesas plans to add the new-generation IGBTs to these hardware and software development kits to enable better power efficiency and performance in a smaller footprint.