Freescale and Fuji Electric Partner to Increase Efficiency of Hybrid Electric Vehicles

April 10, 2011 by Jeff Shepard

Freescale Semiconductor has entered into a strategic alliance with Fuji Electric Systems Co., Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fuji Electric Holdings Co., Ltd., to collaborate on insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) technology and products for hybrid electric and electric vehicles (HEV and EV). Working with Fuji Electric, Freescale will add high-power IGBT products to its existing portfolio of solutions for electronic powertrain applications, market those products to its automotive customers and define and produce new products based on customer input.

IGBTs are currently the largest segment of the market for EV power systems. With the addition of IGBTs to its portfolio, Freescale will offer all of the major electronic components of EV systems, including microcontrollers, analog gate drivers, battery monitoring ICs, power IGBTs and modeling/ simulation tools, and software components/tools for motor control development.

The IGBT is a high-voltage, high-current switch connected directly to the traction motor in a hybrid electric or electric vehicle. It takes direct current energy from the car’s battery and, through the inverter, converts the alternating current control signals into the high-current, high-voltage energy needed to commutate or turn the motor. The IGBT is an ideal motor inverter switch for 20 to 120KW EV motors due to its high efficiency and fast switching. The more efficient the IGBT, the less power is lost to wasted heat, resulting in better mileage or "miles per watt" (MPW) of energy.

"Freescale chose Fuji Electric’s IGBT technology based on its high-performance characteristics and capability," said Tom Deitrich, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s RF, Analog and Sensor Group. "Coupled with Freescale’s automotive portfolio and pedigree, this alliance accelerates our ability to provide automotive customers with higher-efficiency inverter solutions."

"We are pleased to work with Freescale on IGBT technology and draw on their automotive capability," said Kuniaki Yanagisawa, Fuji Electric Systems Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Semiconductors Group. "This alliance will enable our IGBT technology to contribute to the increased efficiency of electric vehicles."