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Winchester, UK - Market research and strategy consulting company, Yole Developpement (Lyon, France) has released a new report focusing on power electronics in vehicles which indicates that the HEV/EV power module market stands at $300 million in 2009 and is expected to grow strongly until 2020.
At a growth rate close to 30 percent the HEV and EV power electronics market is estimated to reach $5 billion in 2020 and is expected to begin using SiC or GaN technologies before 2020.
Yole Developpement's Power Electronics in Electric & Hybrid Vehicles Report details the power electronic applications in HEV & EV, HEV & EV markets with technologies and market trends, the power electronic supply chain as well as a SiC and GaN approach as a substitute of current silicon solutions.
The report provides an analysis of the key players and products/technologies in the power electronics in vehicles sector and aims to give an overview of the sector, the key technological challenges, the market evolution as well as the requirements of the automotive manufacturers.
The power module market, according to the report's author, is mainly dominated by Toyota who manufactures the module internally. With the near universal involvement of other car makers, semiconductor companies (Infineon, Fuji, Mitsubishi and STM) will enter the market and are predicted to take a big market share in the power device pie.
The report indicates that as HEV sand EVs remain expensive, car makers and tier one suppliers want to cut the cost. Power modules represent about 50 percent of the inverter and converter cost so power module cost reduction is the main goal of all the market players. The report expects that the power module average cost will be reduced by more than 25 percent in the coming years.
"Globally, more than 17 million cars will be hybrid or electric in 2015 and some forecasters suggest sales will reach 50 million units in 2020, meaning half of the cars produced", announced Dr P. Roussel, Project Manager at Yole Developpement.
Power electronics are a key technology for hybrids and represent 20 percent of the material costs. The figure is even bigger for EV cars. HEV/EV power devices are used in DC/DC converters and DC/AC inverters.
There are various configurations depending on the hybrid version and car makers' choices.
Inverters are roughly the same for full hybrid, plug in hybrid and EV cars with an average power of 50 kW. This application alone represents 74 percent of the total power module market for HEV and EV cars in 2009.
"IGBT is the device of choice for such high power applications and represents 80 percent of the total HEV/EV power module market", explained Dr Roussel. "Standard voltage of IGBT devices is 650 V but there is a trend to increase it. It is still unknown if it will be 700/800 V or directly 1.2 kV which is already a standard".
Toyota has been the dominant figure in the HEV market and power module value chain. With the market growth and arrival of many players at the different levels (car makers, tier one suppliers and semiconductor companies), the landscape is likely to change drastically according to the report's author. Automotive tier one suppliers invest heavily in HEV/EV powertrain and will play an important role in HEV/EV power devices value chain. They include Bosch, Continental, Valeo, Delphi, Denso and Hitachi. All these organizations have the knowledge of specific automotive requirements that are stringent for power devices. Some of them design the power modules themselves to cut the cost.
At the same time, semiconductor companies will try to climb the value chain by developing new power modules. The report suggests that there will be hard times in the next few years for power modules manufacturers is they want to find a significant place on the HEV/EV market.
Several companies (Mitsubishi Rohm and Toyota) have developed inverter prototype based on SiC diodes and switches that are a quarter of the size of silicon devices.
The report points out that SiC has clear advantages for HEV/EV applications (better power density, less losses, higher operating temperature) but cost pressure for automotive is a big challenge. To succeed, the availability of SiC switches are paramount because it would allow reduction of the cooling systems cost.
At the same time, SiC devices cost would need to be reduced and the passive components and packaging adapted to support high operating temperatures. If the SiC devices cost can be reduced, then SiC may be an option for HEV and EV. Maybe, it will be introduced first in EV applications that are more sensitive to losses to gain distance range. GaN is another possible option thanks to its better performance/ cost ratio compared to SiC. Toyota and many other companies evaluate this solution and consider that if SiC cost can't be reduce, it would be an affordable substrate especially for inverter application that is cost sensitive.
The report presents the detailed major market metrics of the current and projected HEV/EV power module, power devices and substrate business, describing the HEV/EV market and architecture, the power devices applications, the key players, the supplychain, the volumes and related market size of each segment.
The study details the possible total accessible market for SiC and GaN, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of those materials over the current established silicon technologies.
The report: Power Electronics in Electric & Hybrid Vehicles is priced at Euros 3,590. The author Dr Philippe Roussel is a PhD in Integrated Electronics Systems from the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) in Lyon.
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