ZF integrates NXP circuits into its SiC inverters for 800-volt electric vehicles

The Dutch semiconductor manufacturer NXP and the German supplier ZF are cooperating on EV inverters based on silicon carbide. This should not only enable 800-volt electric cars to go further, but also to be produced more cheaply.

Image: NXP

NXP has announced that its own GD316x high-voltage electronic circuits will be integrated into the next generation of ZF’s SiC traction inverters for 800-volt applications. This is intended to accelerate the introduction of these next-generation inverters. The partners cite the advantages of safer, more efficient and more powerful power electronics for electric cars. These improvements should be noticeable for drivers in the form of an increased range and therefore fewer charging stops and for OEMs in the form of a reduction in manufacturing costs at the system level.

“We look forward to working with NXP to raise the bar for the capabilities and performance of our 800-V traction inverter solutions, which will help us achieve our goals of reducing emissions and promoting sustainability,” said Dr Carsten Götte, SVP Electrified Powertrain Technology at ZF. The combination of ZF’s expertise in motor control and power electronics with NXP’s GD316x gate driver family will enable the company to offer its own latest SiC-based traction inverters with higher power and volume density, efficiency and differentiation, providing customers with significant improvements in safety, efficiency, range and performance.

Traction inverters are an important component of the electric drivetrain. They convert the DC voltage from the battery into AC voltage that drives the vehicle engine. As traction inverters are now moving to SiC-based designs, the SiC power devices need to be paired with HV-insulated gate drivers to realise the benefits such as higher switching frequency, lower conduction losses, better thermal characteristics and higher robustness at high voltages compared to previous generation silicon-based IGBT and MOSFET power switches.

“Together with ZF, we are developing next-generation power electronics for future EVs,” says Robert Li, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Electrification at NXP. “Our gate driver family implements a number of outstanding features to both protect and unleash the benefits of high-voltage SiC power switches, making them an ideal choice for ZF’s new SiC-based traction inverter solutions.”



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