Renesas Unveils New-Generation Si IGBTs for Electric Vehicle Inverters

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

August 30, 2022

News

Renesas Unveils New-Generation Si IGBTs for Electric Vehicle Inverters

Renesas Electronics announced the development of a new generation of Si-IGBTs (Silicon Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) which will be offered in a small footprint while providing low power losses. 

Designed for next generation electric vehicle (EVs) inverters, the AE5-generation IGBTs will be mass produced starting in the first half of 2023 on Renesas’ 200- and 300-mm wafer lines at the company’s factory in Naka, Japan. Renesas will increase production starting in the first half of 2024 at its new power semiconductor 300-mm wafer fab in Kofu, Japan to meet the demand for power semiconductor products. 

The silicon based AE5 process for IGBTs are designed to achieve a 10% reduction in power losses compared to the current-generation AE4 products, a power savings that will help EV developers save battery power and increase driving range. In addition, the new products are approximately 10% smaller while maintaining high robustness.

The new IGBTs are als designed to improve performance and safety as modules by minimizing parameter variations among the IGBTs and providing stability when operating IGBTs in parallel. These features provide engineers with the flexibility to design smaller inverters that achieve high performance. 

Key Features of the New-Generation IGBT (AE5)

  • Four products targeting 400-800V inverters: 750V withstand voltage (220A and 300A) and 1200V withstand voltage (150A and 200A) 
  • Steady performance throughout the operating junction temperature (Tj) range from -40°C to 175°C
  • Industry's highest performance level with an on-voltage Vce (saturation voltage) of 1.3V, a key value for minimizing power loss
  • 10% higher current density compared to conventional products and small chip size (100mm2/300A) optimized for low power losses and high input resistance 
  • Stable parallel operation by reducing parameter variations to VGE(off) to ±0.5V
  • Maintains reverse bias safe operating area (RBSOA) with a maximum Ic current pulse of 600A at 175°C junction temperatures, and a highly robust short circuit withstand time of 4µs at 400V.
  • 50% reduction in the temperature dependence of gate resistance (Rg). This minimizes switching losses at high temperatures, spike voltage at low temperatures and short circuit withstand time, supporting high performance designs.
  • Available as a bare die (wafer)
  • Enables a reduction in inverter power losses, improving power efficiency by up to 6% compared to the current AE4 process at the same current density, allowing EVs to drive longer distances and use fewer batteries.

In EVs, the motors that power vehicles are controlled by inverters. Switching devices such as IGBTs are critical in minimizing power consumption for EVs, as inverters convert DC power to the AC power that electric vehicle motors require. To assist developers, Renesas offers the xEV Inverter Reference Solution, a working hardware reference design that combines an IGBT, microcontroller, power management IC (PMIC), gate driver IC, and recovery diode (FRD).

Renesas also offers the xEV Inverter Kit, which is a hardware implementation of the reference design. In addition, Renesas provides a motor parameter calibration tool and the xEV Inverter Application Model and Software, which combines an application model and sample software for controlling the motor. These tools and support programs from Renesas are designed to help customers simplify their software development efforts. Renesas plans to add the new-generation IGBTs to these hardware and software development kits to enable even better power efficiency and performance in a smaller footprint.

Samples of the 750-withstand voltage version with 300A are available from Renesas today. Additional versions are planned for future release. 

For more information, visit: https://www.renesas.com/products/automotive-products/automotive-power-devices/automotive-igbt-0

Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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