Transphorm’s SuperGaN Gen 5 650V FET Targets EVs
Transphorm’s fifth generation of gallium nitride (GaN) FET outperforms standard Silicon carbide (SiC) solutions in power, design flexibility, and performance for electric vehicle (EV) systems.
GaN and SiC-based devices have taken the electronic world by storm. In high voltage, high-density instances, silicon alone is not up to the task. Semiconductor manufacturers such as Transphorm have looked to GaN technology to enhance performance and design flexibility in various applications.
Transphorm GaN offers improved efficiency over Silicon through lower gate charge, lower crossover loss, and smaller reverse recovery charge. Image used courtesy of Transphorm.
Back at the beginning of the global pandemic, around the end of March, Transphorm announced a new strategic partnership with Marelli, an independent supplier with technology that supports 48V to 800V electric powertrain systems. This collaboration has one goal, to design new GaN-based solutions such as on-board charging , DC-DC converters, and powertrain inverters for automotive power conversion.
Marelli’s Automotive Experience
Marelli is the combination of two pioneers in the automotive industry, Calsonic Kansei and Magneti Marelli. For years, Kansei and Marelli transformed the motor industry with different approaches to develop sustainable mobility within advanced systems. With similar goals in mind, in 2019, Kansei and Marelli became a leading supplier in the automotive industry. Marelli has since been working with various developers on manufacturing interconnected autonomous, onboard, electrification, and lean propulsion systems.
By joining forces with Transphorm, Marelli will be able to utilize a 650V GaN-based FET that was designed specifically for high-voltage systems. Marelli’s CEO, Dr. Joachim Fetzer, discussed the impact of Transphorm’s technology, “Transphorm’s demonstration of achieving 10 kilowatts of power from a discrete packaged GaN device in a bridge configuration is further validation of the exciting promise of GaN for electric vehicle converters and inverters.” Transphorm will be able to utilize Marelli’s experience in various sectors within electric vehicle systems in order to reach more
Transphorm’s SuperGaN 650V Gen V FET
Transphorm established the SuperGaN family in order to enhance reliability and efficiency throughout infrastructure, computing, industrial, 5G, and automotive markets. In particular, automotive systems would benefit immensely from the implementation of GaN FETs. Transphorm claims SuperGaN technology will generate longer drive sessions in EVs while lowering system design costs.
The new Gen V FET was able to improve on efficiency over time compared to its predecessor, the Gen IV. Both operating at 650V however the key difference was the on-resistance, RDS(on). Dropping down by nearly 30milliohms, this specification is what allowed for the new FET to have a low power loss at higher voltages. The Gen V FET is able to handle any inrush current that may occur while maintaining efficiency above 98% up to an output of 12kW.
Transphorm’s SuperGaN GEN V FET specifications above showcase the low on-resistance that leads to low power loss, a main difference from previous Gen IV model. Image used courtesy of Transphorm.
COO, and Co-founder of Transphorm, Primit Parikh shared thoughts on the key takeaways from the next-gen GaN device, “We continue to innovate Transphorm’s SuperGaN FET technology, now offering the world’s lowest on-resistance in a standard TO-247-3 package in the market, targeted for electric vehicles and other higher power conversion applications. This allows customers to drive into double-digit kilowatts with a single device, continuing to demonstrate GaN’s ability to provide higher performance, lower system cost, and higher power density,”
Parikh also stated, “Our Gen V GaN platform is creating new design opportunities for power levels that previously required paralleling, while still offering greater than 99% efficiency.”
Dr. Fetzer of Marelli looks to continue working on many more projects with Transphorm, “As part of our previously announced partnership, we will continue to evaluate Transphorm’s industry-leading GaN devices and work together in support of a multi-year EV systems product roadmap.” The SuperGaN, Gen V FET will hit mass production mid-year of 2021.