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Power Semiconductors Are The Prime Drivers of EV and HEV Solutions

Vijay Bolloju, Rohm1. What are the current challenges for semiconductor players in the EV segment?

Some of the major challenges are rapidly evolving market landscape for EV adoption, slow build-up of charging infrastructure, ambiguity in regulations and standards. Availability and Access to low-cost components from outside India is a key challenge in justifying indigenous R&D investments. The silver lining is the plethora of new ventures and entrepreneurial spirit that is propelling the innovation in the EV arena.

  1. There are evolving criticalities in battery pack system management, induction motor design? how is your company tackling to bring up a knowledge-based innovation in this domain?

ROHM being a global enterprise, has access to markets where EVs have been successfully adopted, is trying to channel relevant innovations into Indian ecosystem. Another key initiative from ROHM India is to foster an Innovation Network that enables us to leverage our Global Technology and Product Portfolio in ensuring India specific solutions are developed indigenously with the knowledge and success of global markets.

  1. Key roles of power semiconductor in the evolving EV & HEV segment?

Power semiconductors are the prime drivers of EV and HEV solutions. They enable efficiency and reliability to be built into these systems solutions. Hallmark of a good EV design is the low initial cost and longest distance between charge cycles.

Next-Generation Power semiconductor devices like SiC and GaN enable more efficient circuit topologies like bridge less PF converters and High voltage solutions over the low voltage solutions.

4. IGBTs account for half of the driving system cost, they command 8-10% of the total EV production cost. How are you modelling towards Automotive-Qualified IGBTs for this segment?

ROHM offers a variety of IGBTs that are optimized for specific applications. Using the right type of IGBT for the applications can optimize the efficiency and overall system cost.

In addition, wide band gap semiconductors such as SiC and GaN have proven to reduce the losses in the systems by up to 60%. SiC can be operated well above 100 kHz. Operating at higher frequencies reduces the size and cost of the magnetics and cooling system. Hence evaluating next generation Power semiconductors will prove to be a more cost-effective proposition as an overall Systems Solution. This is an alternative that all stakeholders should consider with the due importance and attention that it deserves.

  1. Which markets do you reckon to be in-demand for EVs & HEVs?

Battery, Power semiconductors and Motor are the main drivers of EV evolution.

Reliable, efficient Battery Management Systems are key to improving the performance of EV, thereby delivering quantifiable value to consumer by reducing the cost per mile.

Power electronics are prime drivers of the EV system and they enable safe and efficient functioning of the vehicle. Motor type and design are critical to user experience.  Motor parameters influence the inverter design and the control techniques.

High efficiency and high reliability of the motor is critical in realizing lower cost per mile and vehicle durability. The motor needs to be designed with Indian road and weather conditions in mind as the duty cycle of motor can be extreme some times.

  1. India has an ambitious target for EVs & HEVs, what scopes does this bring for the semiconductor industry?

ROHM India is building an Innovation Network to enable an ecosystem play by bringing together Strategic Partners in the Key areas of Battery, Power semiconductors and Motor. It’s imperative for the Semiconductor industry to collaborate with other ecosystem partners in co-creating value-focused at the end consumer.

EV industry offers a rare opportunity to the Power semiconductor industry as this segment is evolving rapidly and thereby offering ample scope for Innovation. In order to deliver exceptional value, it is important to push the boundaries of these technologies. The industry-academic partnership is critical to explore newer topologies, material and design criteria.

The semiconductor industry needs to partner with Motor and Battery manufacturers, Independent design community, the Manufacturing sector as well as user groups to bring relevant, sustainable solutions to the market.

7. Lastly, your flagship product in this domain?

ROHM is a pioneer in SiC MosFET technology and is continuously improving it ever since it has released its first commercial MosFET family. SiC technology holds huge promise to make the EV technology sustainable.

Analog circuits also play a vital role in the system design. ROHM has vast experience and industry proven portfolio of products to make effective EV Solutions and efficient Electronics Designs.

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Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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