Silicon will be replaced by silicon carbide (SiC), a cutting-edge technology, in many applications. When attempts were made to raise the effectiveness and range of such cars while lowering the weight and price of the complete vehicle and thereby improving the power density of the control electronics, the notion of employing SiC for EVs emerged. Solutions made of silicon carbide that meet design requirements and significantly improve the performance and long-term dependability of power electronics for EVs are an effective way to improve these systems.
In high-voltage power converters with stringent size, weight, and efficiency specifications, silicon carbide (SiC) devices are being used more frequently as a result of their attractive features when compared to silicon, which is typically used in these applications (Si). SiC has nearly 3 times greater thermal conductivity than silicon, which enables components to dissipate heat more quickly. These factors together result in significantly lower on-state resistance as well as switching losses. This is crucial because SiC dissipates heat more effectively than Si, and as Si-based devices shrink in size, it becomes harder to extract the heat produced by electrical conversion processes.
It is anticipated that the limitations of conventional silicon’s ability to handle electricity would open the door for alternative power technologies like silicon carbide in areas like electric vehicle applications. Victor Veliadis, who is the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Power America as well as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University, spoke at the most recent virtual PowerUP Conference about the state of silicon carbide today.
The switch from 400 to 800 V in vehicle electrical systems, which would necessitate wide bandgap semiconductors capable of handling higher levels of power, would, in Veliadis’ estimation, be a major driver of the SiC demand. Thinner layers and higher voltage devices are possible thanks to silicon carbide’s broad bandgap as well as a critical electric field. Low leakage and high-temperature operation are made possible as a result of the reduction of resistance and related conduction losses. Smaller form factors that minimize capacitance and enable the utilization of smaller passive components are made possible by thinner layers as well as lower specific on-resistances.
According to Veliadis, broad bandgap semiconductors like SiC would have a huge advantage in the market for electric vehicles. Dc-to-dc converters, for example, can use SiC’s high-voltage handling capabilities to convert the traction battery pack’s higher voltage dc power to the lower voltage dc power required to drive car accessories and be able to recharge the auxiliary battery. The traction battery pack, auxiliary battery, and onboard charger are other applications. In his presentation, Veliadias stated that SiC gadgets would be the best option for voltages of 650 V and higher, encompassing 900 V, 1.2 kV, and even beyond.