|The mainstream position of SiC is difficult to shake, and the chances of GaN substitute candidates are greatly increase
Han Qingxiu, Taipei 2023-03-06
Tesla announced that the next generation of electric vehicles will reduce the amount of silicon carbide (SiC) by 75%, causing an uproar in the industry. Relevant supply chain operators believe that how to replace SiC at this stage is still unknown. It is expected that it will be difficult to change SiC in the next 3 years The mainstream position of electric vehicles, especially high-end electric vehicles. If the heat dissipation problem can be effectively improved, the application field of gallium nitride (GaN) power components will be greatly expanded, and it is expected to become the best solution for alternative materials.
Since SiC power components can operate under high power and high voltage conditions, and provide high power conversion efficiency requirements, they are regarded as the primary development option for electric vehicles, industry and energy fields, while the main target market of GaN is different, from 3C fast charging , communications, and broadband are the priority development targets, but in recent years, it has gradually developed towards data center power supplies, on-board chargers (OBC), electric vehicles, and industrial control.
Those familiar with the compound semiconductor industry pointed out that the biggest difference between traditional fuel vehicles and electric vehicles is that the engine is replaced by an electric motor, and the key will be to use SiC to meet the performance requirements of high voltage and high current, and to exert excellent heat dissipation performance.
Although the traditional Si material is mature and cheap, it is always difficult to improve the heat dissipation problem, which has become an inherent obstacle and bottleneck. Therefore, if Tesla wants to greatly reduce the use of silicon carbide, it is expected that the heat dissipation improvement may be improved through the rear module side. The actual results It remains to be seen, and the industry is still dubious at this stage, and it is expected that there is little chance of overturning SiC in the short term.
In terms of technology and performance, GaN not only has the ability to withstand high frequency, high voltage, and high current, but most importantly, it is more cost-competitive than SiC, but the only difference compared to SiC is that GaN has poor heat dissipation performance, so there are currently few in the industry. Focusing on high-current automotive motor switching devices, it is generally expected to be used in applications such as broadband, Internet communication, or small-scale power control such as fast charging. As for the part in the field of vehicle devices, it has also begun to be introduced in such as USB charging, entertainment system switches, etc.
With the increasingly fierce competition in the electric vehicle market, Tesla is facing pressure to reduce material costs. The industry also speculates that Tesla?s announcement to reduce the use of SiC, in addition to asking suppliers to lower prices, may also launch low- and medium-priced models in the future. Pave the way.
Due to the low motor current requirements of mid-to-low-end cars, the technological development of GaN power components is expected to become a new force in automotive semiconductors, increasing the imagination of GaN application growth.
Because GaN power devices are limited by the growth ability of materials, the industry is currently dominated by heteroepitaxy structures, including GaN on Si and GaN on SiC, but some companies are also developing high-order GaN on GaN homogeneous epitaxy structures. It can withstand higher current and power, but the price will not be cheaper than SiC. It is not expected to be considered by Tesla to reduce costs.
Although GaN is subjected to high-voltage current, the thickness of the wafer must be thickened, otherwise it may cause problems such as wafer deformation, but the industry believes that the manufacturing process will be improved with the development of technology. In other words, with the effective improvement of heat dissipation, GaN may one day become a Alternatives to replace SiC and create a new battlefield for automotive semiconductors.
In addition to TSMC, Hanlei and other early investors, Jingcheng Semiconductor, a subsidiary of Ennostar Group, is also actively participating in the GaN battle. Jingcheng pointed out that due to the decline in consumer electronics demand in 2022, new projects for Micro LED development will increase significantly. Jingcheng?s annual revenue is close to NT$400 million, an annual growth rate of about three times.
Although the second half of the year is mainly supported by the increase in Micro LED revenue, new GaN projects will be launched in charging or RF communication. 5G RF communication has already been verified by two customers. Although the progress of bulk acoustic wave filter (BAW filter) is delayed, However, the kinetic energy of large-scale shipments in the second half of 2023 is optimistic.
Regarding the expansion of GaN applications, Ennostar believes that it is expected to bear fruit in the second half of 2023. In addition to fast charging, there are growth opportunities for electronic component motherboards or power supply applications, and hopes to gain more market share in the terminal application market.
However, there is little chance of achieving a loss in 2023, and the monthly loss depends on the performance of shipments. It is expected that the monthly revenue will reach 100 million yuan, and the loss will be expected. By 2024, the goal of a single month will be achieved.
The mainstream position of SiC is difficult to shake, and the chances of GaN substitute candidates are greatly increased.