Ideal Power entered into a product development agreement with a top 10 global automaker. Under this agreement, Ideal Power will partner with this automaker’s advanced technology development team to develop a custom B-TRAN™ power module for use in electric vehicle (EV) drivetrain inverters in its next generation EV platform.
Multiple new suppliers and technologies were considered for entry into the program. Each was evaluated for its innovation, potential performance improvements, and return on investment. Ideal Power demonstrated that its B-TRAN™ technology and its value proposition surpassed that of the other contending power device technologies.
Ideal Power was selected for this program because B-TRAN™ potentially offers significant EV inverter efficiency improvements while using the established silicon supply chain, which will offer cost advantages over competing technologies that rely on high-cost materials like silicon carbide (SiC).
Under this development program, Ideal Power will also collaborate with an innovative packaging company that will produce the custom B-TRAN™ modules. The delivery of production-ready B-TRAN™-based modules is targeted for 2025.
“We are very excited to engage with another top 10 global automaker and enter into our first B-TRAN™ development agreement for a custom B-TRAN™ module,” stated Dan Brdar, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ideal Power. “After a thorough technology assessment, B-TRAN™ was selected in lieu of several competing technologies, including silicon carbide devices, for its superior performance in EV applications, including low conduction losses, inherent bidirectional capability, and lower cost. These characteristics are expected to lead to greater drivetrain efficiency, lower thermal management requirements and greater EV range. As automakers’ engineering teams pursue EV technology roadmaps under intense pressure to lower EV production costs, B-TRAN™ offers a compelling value proposition.”
B-TRAN™ potentially offers distinct advantages over other technologies in EV applications. EVs currently cost more to manufacture than internal combustion engine vehicles, resulting in automakers needing to reduce cost in order to remain price competitive. After batteries, power semiconductors are the second largest cost component of an EV and typically make up 8-10% of the total electric vehicle production cost.
While SiC-based devices improve efficiency over traditional silicon-based semiconductors, their very high cost compared to silicon-based devices adds to the cost challenges of EVs. B-TRAN™ offers the potential to reduce cost and improve efficiency and vehicle range through its lower conduction losses compared to SiC-based devices. A silicon-based B-TRAN™ can offer both improved performance and lower power switch costs. In addition to these benefits, B-TRAN™ offers a clear roadmap to incorporate the benefits of silicon carbide as its cost and manufacturability profile improves over time.