hofer and VisIC Partner to Develop 800 V GaN Inverter for Automotive Applications


hofer powertrain and VisIC Technologies have announced a partnership to work on a GaN-based inverter for 800 V automotive applications.

"Our partnership with hofer powertrain for the development of gallium nitride-based power inverters in electric vehicles is the breakthrough of gallium nitride technology for 800 V battery systems in the automotive industry" said Tamara Baksht, CEO of VisIC. "VisIC's D3GaN technology was developed for the high-reliability standards of the automotive industry and offers the lowest losses per RDS(on). It also simplifies the system solution and enables highly efficient and affordable powertrain platforms solutions. The ability to support cars with 800 V battery, along the 400 V battery, is the significant step forward in GaN worldwide adoption by automotive electrical driveline".

hofer powertrain has been working for more than 5 years on the development of 3-Level inverters for automotive powertrain applications, revealing vast benefits that the 3-Level topology brings compared to today's state-of-the-art 2-Level inverters using IGBTs or SiC chips. The special properties of the 3-L topology of an inverter lead to improved overall system energy consumption at the relevant reference driving cycles, such as WLTP, due to reduced harmonic losses in the motor. Moreover, the Noise Vibration Harshness (NVH) behavior of the complete Electric Drive Unit can be improved due to the better Total Harmonic Distortion of the output current affecting noise reduction.

Finally, costs are reduced regarding Electro Magnetic Compatibility measures to meet the increasingly strict requirements (like Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques 25 class 5), due to the better common-mode behavior of the hofer powertrain 3-Level inverter.

Gallium nitride semiconductors are the key to efficiency improvements and increasing the driving range of electrified vehicles. This technology offers significantly better switching speed and smaller and lighter package size, thereby reducing total system cost.

Today's GaN chips are used for 400 V DC-link voltage and hofer powertrain 3-Level topology coupled with VisIC's GaN benefits will take it to the next level of improvement for 800 V powertrains. The synergy of both parties can be used for 3-level topologies. "We are happy to cooperate with VisiC on the joint development of 800 V 3-Level automotive inverters. Both technologies in combination allow us to apply the benefits of GaN and the benefits of the 3-L topology, and thereby multiply the benefits for our customers" says Philipp Matt, Electronics expert at hofer powertrain.

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Click here to learn about VisIC Technologies.