Onsemi Long-Term Supply Agreements Heat Up
Power semiconductor manufacturer onsemi continues its fast pace of deal-making, announcing new long-term supply agreements (LTSA) with auto supplier Magna for electric powertrains and $1.95 billion in commitments from leading solar inverter manufacturers.
Onsemi has announced long-term supply agreements (LTSA) with automotive supplier Magna and a consortium of eight of the ten leading global solar inverter manufacturers.
Magna eDrive solution for EV powertrains. Image used courtesy of Magna
The agreement has onsemi supplying its EliteSiC power solutions to Magna for use in the company’s eDrive systems for EVs. Along with the deal, Magna will invest approximately $40 million to support acquiring new silicon carbide (SiC) manufacturing equipment at onsemi’s New Hampshire and Czech facilities.
In a separate agreement, onsemi will supply its silicon carbide (SiC) component and module technology to leading global solar inverter manufacturers for high-voltage DC to AC solar inverter applications. The deal represents roughly $1.95 billion in purchase commitments.
eDrive Powertrain Solutions
The eDrive portfolio from Magna is a series of primary and secondary electric drive systems for plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery-powered electric vehicles (BEV). The electric drive system converts energy from an EV’s battery to power electric motors and axles.
The portfolio encompasses solutions designed to meet the needs of many EVs. These include small and large passenger vehicles, sports utility vehicles, trucks, and light commercial vehicles.
Magna has developed a scalable platform approach to electric powertrain design to support the broad range of potential EV applications. Its eDrive solutions can accommodate power levels ranging from 50 to 250 kW, operating from the standard 400 V or an increasingly more common 800 V battery bus.
For its electric powertrain solutions, Magna focuses on both performance and efficiency, delivering power and acceleration without compromising vehicle range.
Power electronics design is a key element in meeting these powertrain performance goals.
Electric powertrain solutions for multiple vehicle types. Image used courtesy of Magna
Silicon Carbide – A Perfect Match for e-Mobility
For EVs, and other e-mobility applications, the combination of size, weight, and power are the key design parameters for an electric drivetrain, and SiC technologies are a perfect match for the job.
Leveraging the capabilities of wide bandgap (WBG) compound semiconductors, solutions like onsemi’s EliteSiC portfolio can offer much higher power densities and at higher voltages than traditional silicon-based solutions. And higher power density translates to longer ranges, an essential performance criterion in a competitive EV market.
Asif Jakwani, senior vice president and general manager for onsemi’s Advanced Power Division, points out that range anxiety is still a leading deterrent to the broader adoption of EVs. Jakwani believes that onsemi’s EliteSiC portfolio can help address these concerns by enabling smaller, lighter, and more efficient powertrain solutions that get the most range from a vehicle’s battery.
EliteSiC MOSFETs have low on-resistances at high power. Image used courtesy of onsemi
Constructing an EV Powertrain Traction Inverter
In an EV, the traction inverter converts DC power from the vehicle battery to three-phase AC to power the EV’s electric motor(s). The traction inverter is typically a three-phase bridge circuit constructed from high-voltage MOSFET (SiC), IGBT devices, or integrated power modules.
Three-phase bridge circuit for an EV traction inverter. Image used courtesy of Tektronix
The switching components in the traction inverter need to be able to withstand the high voltages of the battery bus (up to 800 V or more) with minimal conduction and switching losses to ensure maximum energy is delivered to the motor.
And it must all be as light as possible not to compromise vehicle range.
Power electronics integrated into an eDrive powertrain. Image used courtesy of onsemi
Delivering Solar Power to AC Loads
As global economies look to diversify energy sources away from carbon-based fuels, solar power production, both large and small scale, has developed into a rapidly growing market.
In a solar power plant, DC power from the photovoltaic cells must be converted to usable, single or three-phase AC power. Like an EV traction inverter, this is accomplished with a high-voltage inverter circuit.
Unlike EVs, most solar plants are not mobile, so weight and size are not always the top priority. While some residential and micro-solar installations will place a premium on space, all solar energy platforms will demand efficient, high-voltage power conversion.
Depending on the application's particular needs and design priorities, either SiC MOSFET or IGBT components and modules can be used in high-voltage solar inverter designs.