GaN Systems and BMW Group Enter New Semiconductor Capacity Agreement

September 21, 2021 by Alessandro Mascellino

The collaboration will see GaN Systems supply BMW Group with high-performance, automotive-grade GaN power transistors.

GaN Systems and BMW Group have recently entered a new, comprehensive Capacity Agreement.

It builds on a four-year-old partnership between the firms aimed at improving the efficiency and power density of critical applications in electric vehicles (EVs).

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly widespread. Image used courtesy of GaN Systems


GaN Power in the Automotive Industry

GaN Power is still a somewhat experimental technology in automotive applications, particularly when it comes to higher power technologies.

However, the relatively slow adoption of the technology in this field was due almost entirely to assessing its technical reliability, performance, and industrial maturity as a semiconductor material.

The EV industry is growing substantially, and many manufacturers are now becoming more aware of the potential of GaN power semiconductors in achieving smaller, lighter, and more efficient electric vehicles.

The guaranteed volumes established by the new agreement now hints at GaN Systems aiming to become a fundamental building block in the supply chain for BMW, as well as other automotive players in the future.


Developing High-performance Electric Vehicles

Under the terms of the new agreement with BMW, GaN Systems confirmed it will now enable the car manufacturer to maintain capacity for several applications in series production.

“Electric vehicles represent the future of transportation, and we are delighted to continue to support BMW with our design and production capacity,” commented GaN Systems CEO Jim Witham.

The exact value of the new agreement was not disclosed, but commenting on the news, Witham said it was in the hundreds of millions of US dollars.

BMW’s collaboration with GaN Systems reportedly started around 2017, when the automotive manufacturer’s venture capital firm, BMW I Ventures, started supporting GaN Systems in the development of low-cost onboard chargers for EVs.

“The close collaboration among GaN Systems and BMW’s engineers has helped to solidify the technology for automotive series production, resulting in the most advanced GaN power transistors in the marketplace today,” said Kasper Sage, managing partner at BMW I Ventures.

The renewed efforts between the companies will now aid GaN Systems and BMW ramp up the production of GaN semiconductors as the demand for EV components keeps on increasing.

A GaN semiconductor and circuit board. Image used courtesy of GaN Systems

“As electric vehicles become more prominent, the demand for critical semiconductor components is only going to increase, thereby making strategic partnerships with suppliers like GaN Systems even more important,” Sage concluded.

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