Infineon Partners With Honda for EV Solutions

March 03, 2024 by Mike Falter

Infineon has entered into a strategic collaboration with Honda to develop semiconductor solutions for cars. The company has also secured a key design win for EV charging and has expanded a partnership to develop energy storage solutions.

Infineon is expanding strategic collaborations with leading manufacturers in electric vehicles (EVs) and energy storage as the company looks to further penetrate these markets with its portfolio of semiconductor solutions.

In a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Honda Motor Co., Ltd., the two companies agreed to collaborate on future product and technology roadmaps in power semiconductors, ADAS, and E/E architectures.

For its EV onboard charger (OBC) applications, VMAX, a leading Chinese supplier of power electronics and motor drives for electric vehicles, has selected Infineon’s CoolSiC hybrid discrete with TRENCHSTOP IGBT and silicon carbide Schottky diode technology for its next-generation OBC.


2024 Prologue electric vehicle from Honda.

2024 Prologue electric vehicle from Honda. Image used courtesy of Honda


Lastly, Infineon is partnering with Shenzhen-based Sinexcel Electric Co., Ltd. to apply its 1200 V CoolSiC MOSFET and high voltage EiceDRIVER isolated gate driver solution in emerging energy storage applications.


Critical Need for Automotive Semiconductors

The number of semiconductor devices in a typical vehicle, from processors to sensor conditioning, has expanded rapidly in recent decades. The pace of adoption of semiconductor technologies is only increasing with the emergence of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Major technology trends within the automotive market include powertrain electrification, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and more robust E/E architectures. For Honda, each of these technology frontiers relies heavily on advanced semiconductors, from high-voltage silicon carbide MOSFETs for EV powertrains to the latest sensor signal conditioning and processing solutions for next-generation ADAS and even autonomous vehicle applications.


Infineon’s OBC technology.

Infineon’s OBC technology. Image used courtesy of Infineon


According to Peter Schiefer, president of Infineon’s Automotive Division, Honda selected Infineon as a technology partner for its deep system knowledge, broad semiconductor product portfolio, and commitment to quality.  

The MoU solidifies the already long-standing relationship between the two companies. With supply chain shocks due to the global COVID pandemic still in recent memory, the agreement also addresses the stability of future semiconductor supplies for Honda.


SiC-IGBT Hybrid Technology for EV Onboard Charging

In an EV, the onboard charger converts AC power from the external charge station to high-voltage DC to replenish the vehicle battery pack. For its new 6.6 kW OBC solution, Shenzhen VMAX New Energy Co. has selected Infineon’s CoolSiC hybrid discrete solution. The hybrid discrete solution is constructed from a TRENCHSTOP 5 Fast-Switching IGBT co-packaged with a freewheeling CoolSiC Schottky Diode.


CoolSiC hybrid discrete devices

CoolSiC hybrid discrete devices. Image used courtesy of Infineon


Using a SiC Schottky barrier diode combined with an IGBT power switch extends the frequency capabilities of the IGBT device by reducing its switching losses. With this clever configuration, the hybrid device combines silicon carbide's performance benefits with an IGBT solution's price point.

OBC circuits need to operate at high speeds to meet size and weight requirements, but they also need to operate at high voltages and meet the BOM cost targets for the vehicle platform. CoolSiC hybrid technology provides a more cost-effective alternative to pure silicon carbide implementations.


High-Voltage Energy Storage

Sinexcel Electric Co. develops high-voltage inverters and other components used in battery energy storage systems (BESS). Used for backup power, load balancing, and power trading in renewable and other power generation systems, the BESS converts AC grid power to DC for storage in its batteries, where it can be supplied back to the grid during peak demand periods or low renewable production.


Microgrid energy storage system

Microgrid energy storage system. Image used courtesy of Sinexcel


According to Wei Xiaoliang, deputy general manager of Sinexcel, by using Infineon’s 1200 V CoolSiC MOSFETs in their energy storage platforms, they can achieve more compact form factors with better conversion efficiency and fewer thermal losses. These characteristics allow for developing smaller, less expensive, and more dependable energy storage solutions.

Collaboration on Time of Flight (ToF) Imaging Solutions

In a non-power-related collaboration, Infineon has partnered with device manufacturers OMS and PMD Technologies to develop a high-resolution camera, allowing for better depth sensing and 3D views of the surrounding environment for consumer robots. 


Time of Flight (ToF) imaging for consumer robotics.

Time of Flight (ToF) imaging for consumer robotics. Image used courtesy of Infineon


The camera solution uses Infineon’s RAEL3 flexible Time of Flight (ToF) imager technology.