The 16th Automotive World, held from 24-26 January 2024, was still dominated by BEV-related exhibits.
At eAxle, which is considered one of the core components in BEVs, motor assemblies, motor cores, windings, magnets and inverters and power semiconductors (modules), housings, thermal management-related components, gears, as well as 3-in-1 modules for motors, inverters and reduction gears, Shafts and other exhibits were prominent.
In particular, power semiconductors (modules) were the focus of much attention in the field of inverters, which determine the performance and efficiency of eAxle. The main suppliers of power semiconductors at the exhibition, including Infineon, which has the top share in the automotive semiconductor field, STMicroelectronics, Mitsubishi Electric and Fuji Electric, put forward their SiC power semiconductors, which have attracted much attention in recent years.
With the cost of drive batteries still at a high level and the focus of technological attention on how to achieve cost performance while improving efficiency, the trend towards improvements centred on power semiconductors in inverters, an important component for raising the efficiency of eAxle, seems to be progressing even further. Inverters are an important component for raising the efficiency of eAxle. However, due to supply and demand issues for SiC power semiconductors, some finished vehicle manufacturers are reportedly re-evaluating Si-IGBTs and trying to adopt power modules that use a hybrid of Si and SiC.
There have also been proposals for GaN devices, which are said to be able to take advantage of both the low cost of Si and the heat resistance and efficiency of SiC. However, GaN is said to be difficult to control and requires technical improvements, but development is underway with a view to adopting it in complete vehicles.
In any case, it remains to be seen what kind of power semiconductors will ultimately become the mainstream in the coming BEV era. Although we hear that Si will continue to account for the majority of power semiconductors, we believe that how complete vehicle manufacturers can strike a balance between their product development philosophy, performance and price will determine the trend in power semiconductors and the state of inverters.
The key components related to motors and inverters for electric vehicles (xEVs) worldwide are investigated and analysed, including the business development of Tier 1 and Tier 2/3 suppliers and the competitive situation in the related component industry. In addition, an internal and external literature survey on the xEV motor/inverter industry and related component industries is conducted, as well as direct interviews with industry players. A report is presented on the challenges and future direction of the industry. It is important to collect information related to demand forecasts and decision-making materials, as well as basic information essential for the formulation of electrification business strategies for automobile manufacturers, automobile components and materials manufacturers.