11 August 2022
VisIC’s D3GaN chip technology used in hofer’s new 3Level traction inverter
VisIC Technologies Ltd of Ness Ziona, Israel – a fabless supplier of power conversion devices based on gallium nitride (GaN) transistors – says that its D3GaN (Direct Drive D-Mode) chip technology has been used by automotive technology company hofer powertrain of Nürtingen, Germany to develop new multi-level power electronics. Tests prove that the new solution’s efficiency and power density exceed the capabilities of silicon-based technology, the firm adds. The new 3Level GaN Inverter is said to have proven its capabilities on the test bench, confirming significantly better switching speed and smaller and lighter package size, reducing total system cost.
hofer and VisIC aim to develop GaN-based power inverters for electric vehicles (EVs), achieving the breakthrough of GaN technology for 800V battery systems in the automotive industry.
“We are proud to achieve the next step in developing efficient GaN-based, high-frequency inverters for 800V automotive applications,” says Lukasz Roslaniec, electronics expert at hofer powertrain.
hofer powertrain has developed a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to investigate and prove the capability of using 650V GaN in an 800V 3L NPC inverter application, specifically its behavior in terms of switching speed, EMC, and the limits. The main goal is to prove the capability for feeding a sinusoidal current of 100Arms through an inductive load and performing a double pulse test. Measurements have shown the possibilities for an excellent performance increase.
“hofer powertrain’s development paves the way for a breakthrough in GaN inverter performance, which is superior to silicon and silicon carbide (SiC)-based designs for high efficiency,” says Ilia Bunin, senior product manager & technical expert at VisIC.
The system is said to provide valuable insight and in-depth understanding of the short-circuit protection, switching properties of the implemented GaN transistors, the impact on dv/dt, oscillations during switching, voltage overshoots, and much more. In addition, the firm has identified the most important electrical and thermal properties for rapid further development.
The upcoming sample stage (A1) has already started and is expected to perform well in real test conditions with a permanent synchronous motor. The team aims to validate and benchmark existing systems using test cycles like the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) and prove its outstanding potential for the entire automotive powertrain.