Asahi Kasei Secures EV with New eFuse System

Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation (AKM) and Silicon Austria Labs GmbH (SAL), the European research center for electronics and software-based systems research, have completed a joint proof of concept of the eFuse technology in high-voltage applications. Specifically, this development utilized silicon carbide (SiC)-based power devices. The results show that the eFuse technology can significantly improve safety. Also, it can reduce material and maintenance costs of systems such as on-board chargers (OBC) in automobiles.

eFuse system jointly developed by AKM and SAL (Photo: Business Wire)

The popularity of SiC- and gallium nitride (GaN)-based power devices in electric vehicles (EV) and other high-voltage applications is on the rise. As a result, the replacement of mechanical fuses becomes necessary. Specifically, mechanical fuses have been utilized with conventional silicon-based power converters.  Replacing mechanical fuses immediately shuts down the system when detecting an overcurrent, thus protecting the devices and avoiding costly maintenance.

Provides Safety to High-Voltage EV Systems

Asahi Kasei is producing the CZ39 Series, a coreless current sensor with a response time of 100ns. Its fast response capability and high accuracy allow for precise detection of overcurrent and quick system shutdown.

In a joint technical verification together with SAL, AKM has developed the eFuse system. Primarily, eFuse solves the challenges of conventional protection systems using mechanical fuses. This solution provides the overcurrent and short circuit protection required for next-generation high-voltage EV systems with SiC- and GaN-based power devices, such as OBCs. Furthermore, the current sensor integrated into eFuse can efficiently regulate the current in connected subsystems. Thereby, it reduces the overall part count.

“With this joint technology validation, we have set a new standard for eFuse technology. We are proud to combine AKM’s expertise with SAL’s research capabilities to achieve this innovative result. We expect that the eFuse technology will contribute to smaller and lighter EV onboard chargers,” said Toshinori Takatsuka, General Manager of AKM’s current sensor business.

“By utilizing the latest AKM current sensing technologies, we can improve the reaction time of eFuses and the protection of wide-bandgap power converters,” said Thomas Langbauer, Team Lead within the Power Electronics Division at SAL.

AKM will present the results of the joint research with SAL at PCIM Europe 2024 (Nuremberg, Germany) in June. In addition, the two companies are discussing further steps as they anticipate a positive market impact.

-04 June 2024-