Silicon carbide takes EV power electronics to the next level

Power electronics and their semiconductors must also handle heat efficiently, writes Freddie Holmes

The materials used within an electric vehicle (EV) battery have come under close scrutiny in recent years, with the use of different elements such as cobalt seemingly on the way out. The metals, ceramics and composites that can be used by the semiconductors in an EV’s power electronics has also become a hot topic.

Thermal management in electric vehicles

The importance of the semiconductor in modern vehicles became acutely apparent in the early stages of 2021 as a supply shortage left many of the world’s major automakers hamstrung. In an EV, semiconductors power key components such as the traction inverter and on-board charger (OBC). These dictate not only how the vehicle drives, but also how quickly it charges. Silicon carbide (SiC) has emerged as a popular semiconductor material and is beginning to supplant silicon in these applications.

SiC is well suited to high voltage applications and

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