24 oct 19

Bosch chip extends EV range by 6%

Automotive supplier Bosch has developed a semiconductor chip that can increase EV range by 6%. The chip will be produced in Germany from next year. 

‘Range anxiety’ – one of the biggest impediments to the mainstreaming of electric vehicles (EVs) – has receded somewhat as battery technology has improved. 

Silicon carbide

However, EV range is not entirely down to battery power. How that power is managed is also a factor. And that’s where Bosch’s new chip comes in. 

Rather than silicon, which is widely used today, the chip will be made out of silicon carbide (SiC), which conducts better – meaning the engine management chips in BEVs have higher switching frequencies and produce less heat (about 50% less, Bosch claims).

That equals more efficient conductivity. From an OEM point of view, two applications are possible: increased range (by 6%, according to Bosch boad member Harald Kroeger), or the same range with smaller (i.e. cheaper) batteries. 

$38-billion market

Bosch is investing in chip improvement because it is counting on the importance of semiconductor chips for the automotive industry to continue to grow.

  • Industry estimates say the average car today contains $370 worth of chips.
  • For BEVs, that figure rises to $450.
  • The fully autonomous cars of the (near) future will pack an additional $1,000 worth of semiconductors. 
  • Infotainment systems could add another $100’s worth. 

That’s almost $2,000 in semiconductors per car – a lucrative market for Bosch and its competitors. Bosch currently has a 5.4% share of the $38-billion automotive semiconductor market, making it the sixth-largest supplier on the market.  

Authored by: Frank Jacobs