Engineering 101

EV is driving power electronics innovations


According to Milan Rosina, PhD Principal Analyst, Power & Wireless and Batteries at Yole Développement: “The EV/HEV race has begun. The Transition period towards full vehicle electrification is entering into its next phase, with important vehicle electrification strategic plans announced by conventional automotive players and focus on stronger vehicle electrification.”

Hong Lin, PhD Principal Analyst, Compound Semiconductor at Yole added: “Indeed market figures look promising. In 2018, 1.32 million BEV were purchased, along with 0.75 million PHEV – compared to 0.78 million units and 0.41 million units in 2017, respectively. This equates to year-over-year growth of 68% and 84%, respectively. Moreover, sales of other hybrid cars have also increased”.

Under this dynamic ecosystem, the power electronics sector is pushing to adapt and propose innovative products. Objectives are clearly to answer to the specific needs coming from EV/HEV makers and make sure, for the power electronics companies, to be part of this attractive growth. They are working on the miniaturization of the components, circuits and system design and are developing new solutions to integrate several systems in one system. Of course, WBG technologies are part of the technology roadmap, especially SiC power devices.

“There is no doubting the technical benefits of using WBG instead of Si based technology for different inverters and converters for EV/HEV,” explained Hong Lin from Yole. “R&D programs and technical developments have shown positive results, including reduction in size and weight and efficiency improvements for both SiC and GaN. WBG adoption is not just a technical choice but a strategic decision for Tier1s and OEMs.”

Driven by the prosperous EV/HEV market, the power electronics devices market should have a bright future, confirm Yole’s analysts. The company announces a market value exceeding $3.7bn in 2024, with 21% CAGR between 2018 and 2024. IGBT modules represent the largest market, which is expected to double in five years. SiC power modules will also grow fast, with a 2018 to 2024 CAGR of 48%.

Yole’s power electronic analysts release the Power Electronics for Electric & Hybrid Electric Vehicles report. This technology & market analysis marks another step forward in the understanding of the EV/HEV adoption and its impact on the power electronics industry. Analysts are daily developing an impressive expertise dedicated to these sectors.

By combining market and technical knowledge with numerous interactions with car makers and technology developers, Yole has proposed a detailed vision of the EV/HEV industry evolution. This report explores EV/HEV market dynamics and explains how different power electronics market segments evolve.

In this context, it is not easy at all. Therefore a rapidly growing market like EV/HEV brings plenty of opportunities and also many challenges, all across the supply chain.

Regarding EV/HEVs, conventional ICE vehicle manufacturers are now at the same starting line and competing with newcomers like Tesla, which was the #1 BEV vendor in 2018. ICE automakers must invest significant effort to balance EV/HEV development with their existing ICE activities during a ‘transition period’ – the length of which is hard to determine because of rapidly-changing incentive mechanisms and evolving customer needs.

Within the EV/HEV supply chain, Tier1 companies are particularly exposed to different challenges, such as revenue decrease for ICE-related products. To compensate, Tier1s are increasing their efforts in EV/HEV-related products. However, OEMs are becoming more and more intrusive, particularly in main inverters, with the objective of controlling the key EV/HEV elements.

Established semiconductor device suppliers are in a similar situation, on the one hand facing the entrance of some Tiers1s in the device market, and addressing challengers from the emergence of WBG devices on the other.

The Power Electronics for Electric & Hybrid Electric Vehicles report emphasizes that the transformation of the automotive supply chain is ongoing. According to Milan Rosina and Hong Lin from Yole, most of questionings is coming from China, the biggest market for electric cars.

So far, there are two different ways for suppliers to access the Chinese market: either directly (by producing in China or selling to Chinese integrators) or via their customers that sell to Chinese integrators.

For EV/ HEV components, China has different levels of technology and independency.

Regarding battery, China has top suppliers like CATL and BYD. However, the majority of IGBT power modules used in Chinese cars are still manufactured outside of China, which is not a sustainable solution for the Chinese industry and particularly for China’s government. The trend towards increasing the share of Chinese-made products is clear, and some companies have started working to build a local supply chain.

For example, BYD built its own IGBT product line and is developing SiC MOSFET s. With this new report, Yole’s analyst’s deliver a detailed vision of supply-chain and changes. They identify business opportunities and highlight the next steps of development.

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