Joint lab opens for SiC inverter development

July 08, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Rohm and Leadrive Technology have opened a joint research laboratory in China to develop SiC inverter design for electric vehicles
Rohm and Leadrive Technology have opened a joint research laboratory in China to develop SiC inverter designs for electric vehicles

Rohm has opened a joint research lab with Chinese powerdrain system developer Leadrive to develop inverters for electric vehicles using silicon carbide SiC bare die. 

Silicon carbide power devices have been adopted increasingly in onboard vehicle chargers and DC-DC converters and provide several advantages compared to silicon-based power devices such as IGBTs. One key benefit is significantly lower losses during both switching and conduction along with being able to operate at higher temperature.

Rohm and Leadrive have been working on such designs since 2017 and the joint research lab centered on vehicle power modules and inverters using Rohm's bare chips and isolated gate drivers.

“The adoption of power modules that integrate SiC chips for new energy vehicles will become an industry trend over the next couple of years. Commercializing mature SiC-equipped devices by collecting resources from around the world and carrying out R&D gives us a competitive edge as an automotive Tier 1 manufacturer,” said Dr Jie Shen, Chairman and General Manager at Leadrive Technology (Shanghai). “Rohm has been a strong partner since Leadrive was founded. This joint research laboratory will allow us to deepen our collaboration,” he said.

“As a pioneer and leading supplier of SiC power devices, Rohm has a proven track record for providing high quality power solutions that combine industry-leading device technology with driver ICs, and we are committed to promote the use of SiC for xEV applications,” said Dr Kazuhide Ino, Member of the Board, Corporate Officer, CSO and Senior Director of Power Device Business at Rohm. “Understanding customer needs and market trends is extremely important when developing SiC power device technology. Leadrive plays an important role in the applied research as a manufacturer of automotive power modules and inverters. Through this joint research lab, we can strengthen our partnership and contribute to the technical innovation of automotive power solutions centred on SiC,” he said.

Leadrive was established in 2017 to supply power modules and inverters for new energy vehicles and has over 100 international patents

Dr. Jie Shen, Chairman and General Manager of LEADRIVE (right) shaking hands with Shinya Kubota, Managing Director (at that time) of ROHM Semiconductor (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (left) at the opening ceremony

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