Magna sources SiC semiconductors from Onsemi

Image: Onsemi

Austrian-based automotive supplier Magna will be integrating SiC semiconductors from US-American manufacturer Onsemi in its drive systems for electric vehicles. The two companies have signed a long-term agreement for Onsemi’s EliteSiC silicon carbide power module.

Magna will incorporate Onsemi semiconductors into its traction converters to improve the efficiency of electric vehicle motors and therefore their range and fast-charging capabilities.

Compared to purely silicon-based semiconductors, the SiC MOSFETs switch more efficiently, which directly reduces power consumption. Since the higher efficiency also means less heat loss, the cooling system can also be made smaller and lighter, which further reduces consumption at the system level. The downside is that silicon carbide is more difficult to produce, which means that the semiconductors are also more expensive and are more likely to be used in more expensive vehicles.

The two companies have not disclosed concrete delivery quantities or the financial scope of the idea, other than to say it is a long-term supply agreement (LTSA). Beyond the order, Magna is investing about $40 million to procure production equipment for SiC semiconductors to be used at Onsemi’s plants in New Hampshire and the Czech Republic. In return, Magna will secure access to future supplies of SiC semiconductors from these plants.

“We believe that a secure supply of silicon carbide chips will be critical to our ability to continue delivering innovative and efficient eDrive systems for our customers,” said Diba Ilunga, President Magna Powertrain. “Accordingly, we are both investing to grow SiC production capacity and establishing the commercial basis for long-term supply of SiC-based chips to advance our electrification strategy and outpace the competition.”

Onsemi has already signed several supply agreements with major companies in the automotive industry this year. These include German OEMs Volkswagen and BMW, supplier Vitesco, Stellantis Group and Geely’s Chinese brand Zeekr.

“Our latest EliteSiC MOSFET technology enables increased power density and higher efficiency in traction inverters, resulting in improved gas-equivalent miles per gallon without compromising driving dynamics and safety.”

reporting by Sebastian Schaal,


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