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High Current SiC Cascodes for Electric Drive Vehicle Power Electronics

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0015798
Agency Tracking Number: 0000231636
Amount: $1,007,789.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 14b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001646
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-07-31
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-07-30
Small Business Information
7 Deer Park Drive Suite E
Monmouth Junction, NJ 08852-1921
United States
DUNS: 042068101
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Matthew O'Grady
 (732) 355-0550
Business Contact
 Scott Kelly
Phone: (732) 355-0550
Research Institution

Advanced power electronics are needed to realize cost and weight reductions which will make electric vehicles as affordable as gasoline powered vehicles. In this program, SiC switches are being developed as they are the key component to enable the electronics needed to meet this need. In 2016, over 700,000 plug-in electric vehicles were sold, which includes a 30% and 100% increase from 2015 in the leading EV markets of US and China respectively. It is expected that by 2023, there will be ~3.2 million plug-in electric vehicles on the road in the U.S. alone. The EV Everywhere initiative has set the goal to make electric vehicles as affordable as gasoline vehicles by 2022. To meet the goals, the costs for batteries, motor and electric drive train must be reduced while simultaneously reducing weight. Increasing the drive train conversion efficiency has a significant impact as it extends battery life, increases vehicle range and allows for a reduction of heavy cooling components through the reduction of heat generating losses. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of the inverter that drives the electric motor is needed and it is well known that inverter efficiency and power density can be increased while simultaneously reducing weight through the use of silicon carbide (SiC) devices. Electric vehicle motor drive applications require high current power modules while cost effective SiC devices have been limited to lower currents (<50A) due to the material defects, lower yields and higher costs associated with large area devices. It is now possible to develop and manufacture higher current devices cost effectively as the material quality of SiC wafers has improved dramatically and the use of the foundry model is enabling the cost effective production of 150 mm wafers in automotive certified fab. 650V, 100A switches are being developed to meet the needs of existing automotive applications with a bus voltage in the 400V range. To address topic 14b, 650V, 100A SiC cascode switches fabricated in a 6”, automotive certified wafer foundry were demonstrated in Phase I. The Phase I wafer lot demonstrated that the high process yield can lead to low cost production. Devices were characterized and tested and initial samples assembled for engineering evaluations. Discussions with tier 1 automotive companies have also provided insight into application and packaging requirements to help guide Phase II development. In Phase II, multiple lots of cascodes will be fabricated to produce a large number of samples which will be passed through rigorous automotive reliability testing. These lots will demonstrate the process yield, provide samples for qualification testing, and samples for evaluation by our automotive industry partners. The cascodes will be built using high through put, low cost production processes. Full device qualification for automotive use will be performed. When integrated into inverters, the SiC cascodes will increase the efficiency of electric motor power conversion from the battery to the drive train enabling higher performance, lower weight, lower cost electric vehicles.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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