Leveraging its position as a complete e-power train provider and fresh clout as a much larger company, Tier One automotive supplier Marelli recently boosted its investment in electric vehicle technologies through a new partnership with Transphorm, a leading innovator in gallium nitride semiconductor technology. The deal will enable Marelli to gain valuable access and insights into cutting edge technologies for the development of electric power converters, onboard chargers and inverters for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Formerly known as Magneti Marelli, Marelli develops and produces complete electric powertrain systems from 48V up to 800V able to generate, manage, control and optimize the flow of energy in electric vehicles. The company builds on technology transfer from race to road stemming from its activity in F1 and Formula E motorcar competition and its experience in mass production of automotive components.
Its production for the EV market focuses on advanced technologies such as permanent magnet synchronous motors with hairpin stator designed to maximize power density and efficiency that benefit overall vehicle electrical range and performance. Thanks to its global footprint and long history as powertrain system integrator, Marelli is a leading supplier for complete electric platform in the new e-mobility scenario, the company says.
Some e-powertrain manufacturers, however, are moving toward a different approach in the use of bar windings, favoring advancements in the development of straight bars or i-pin windings over hair-pin. Advantages cited include increased thermal and electrical efficiency along with a simpler and more economical production process.
Through the new partnership, Marelli and Transphorm will benefit from knowledge and information exchange for new automotive and EV power conversion solutions including on-board chargers, DC-DC converters and powertrain Inverters. Working alongside Transphorm engineers, Marelli engineers will apply their experience in manufacturing to advise and guide on the development of e-powertrain solutions for electric vehicles and for motorsport applications. Transphorm will exclusively cooperate with Marelli for two years, to enable the development of new technologies for electric vehicles. Transphorm is often cited as leading the Gallium Nitride (GaN) revolution with its GaN devices for high voltage power conversion applications.
“Electric Vehicle power conversion is fundamentally important to the future of electric vehicles and investment in technologies like this are critical to ensure the very highest performance of electric vehicles at a lower cost,” said Joachim Fetzer, CEO of electric powertrain for Marelli. “We are delighted to partner with Transphorm, who are true leaders in the market. This partnership allows us to work with the Transphorm team to shape and improve products that will ultimately ensure improved performance, efficiency of power electronics and ultimately lower the cost of electric vehicles”.
“Automotive and EVs represent one of the largest opportunities for GaN in power conversion and our partnership with a global leader like Marelli is a strong testament to the quality, reliability, manufacturing and overall product performance of our GaN Solutions,” commented Primit Parikh, co-founder and chief operation officer of Transphorm. “The long-term innovative system level vision of the Marelli electric powertrain team will be extremely valuable in furthering GaN in the electric vehicle”.
The deal follows Marelli’s vault a year ago to rebrand itself from Magneti Marelli as it moved higher up the ladder as a comprehensive global automotive supplier. Acquired earlier by Japanese automotive supplier Calsonic Kansei, the combined operation chose to unite under a single worldwide brand, Marelli. Now with combined revenues of about 14.6 billion Euro, Marelli became the seventh largest automotive supplier. With 62,000 employees, it operates 170 facilities and R&D centers across Europe, North America, South America and Asia Pacific. It is headquartered in Saitama, Japan, shown in top photo, at the site of the former Calsonic Kansei base and also has an operational headquarters in Italy at the former Magneti Marelli site. See www.marelli.com.