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Silicon vs. WBG: Demystifying Prospects of GaN and SiC in the Electrified Vehicle Market

Published by Lux Research Product code 309488
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Silicon vs. WBG: Demystifying Prospects of GaN and SiC in the Electrified Vehicle Market
Published: July 13, 2014 Content info:

As silicon struggles to keep up with performance requirements, wide bandgap (WBG) materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) are best positioned to address power electronics performance needs in electrified vehicles. GaN and SiC will allow for efficient high-temperature operation while also having a cascading impact on the thermal management requirements, wiring, and packaging within a vehicle, reducing the total overall costs of the vehicle. We examine what battery economics are needed to justify adoption of either GaN or SiC, while also highlighting the changing dynamics when battery costs fall. This report further predicts when these materials will be adopted in the auto industry factoring in technology maturity, supplier maturity, and qualification timelines in the auto industry.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



As silicon struggles, WBG materials are best positioned to address needs of increased rate of vehicle electrification; PHEVs and EVs will benefit the most from GaN and SiC.


SiC diodes and transistors are expensive and best suited to large battery vehicles today, and closest to commercial adoption; GaN products are unavailable and suppliers lag behind.


Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Graphic Plug-in Vehicle Sales Have Been Growing, and Six Key OEMs Lead the Way thus Far
  • Figure 2: Table WBG Materials Get a Boost through the U.S. DOE's APEEM Targets for Power Electronics
  • Figure 3: Graphic Power Requirements Within a Vehicle Have More Than Doubled Since 1998
  • Figure 4: Graphic The Inverter and Converter are the Main Power Electronics in a Powertrain Within a Vehicle
  • Figure 5: Table SiC and GaN Have Superior Material Properties Compared to Silicon
  • Figure 6: Graphic Relying on the Electric Motor, PHEVs and EVs Are Best Suited to Adopt GaN and SiC
  • Figure 7: Graphic Methodology Flow Chart for Analysis
  • Figure 8: Graphic Power Savings Has a Greater Impact on Battery Size and Weight Reduction
  • Figure 9: Graphic Due to a Smaller Battery Size, the Gas Equivalent Fuel Savings Is Highest in PHEVs
  • Figure 10: Table SiC-based Converters and Inverters Are More Expensive than Comparable GaN Solutions
  • Figure 11: Graphic Below Battery Cost of $250/kWh, at 2% Power Savings, Economics Don't Justify Use of SiC
  • Figure 12: Graphic At 5% Power Savings, Hybrid Silicon/SiC Systems Are Attractive to Both EVs and PHEVs
  • Figure 13: Table TRL Map Allows an Easy Mapping of Technology and Company Maturity
  • Figure 14: Graphic TRL Roadmap Shows SiC Diodes Are Closest to Being Adopted in Vehicles
  • Figure 15: Graphic SiC Diodes Will Be Fully Commercially Tested by 2020 as SiC MOSFETs Follow
  • Figure 16: Graphic SiC Device Manufacturers Lead the Pack, While GaN Manufacturers Trail Behind
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