STMicroelectronics launches automotive MCUs tailored for SiC power modules

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Semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics (STM) has unveiled new automotive microcontrollers (MCUs) optimized for electric vehicles and centralized (domain and zonal) electronic architectures.

The company notes that in current EVs, high-efficiency SiC-based (silicon carbide) power modules enable the greatest driving range and faster charging. Until now, they have required dedicated high-speed signal processors to control the SiC power semiconductors. STMicroelectronics’ new Stellar E MCUs, designed for the next generation of software-defined EVs, integrate high-speed control-loop processing on-chip. Now one MCU can control the entire module. This simplifies the module design, saves costs and eases compliance with automotive safety and security standards.

The new MCUs extend STMicroelectronics’ Arm-based Stellar family and the company says they are “designed from the ground up with the car as a platform in mind. As a powerful, centralized domain and zone controller, the family simplifies automotive electrical architectures for increased power, flexibility and safety”.

Currently, the MCU family includes Stellar P series for integration and vehicle control and the Stellar G series for body applications. The Stellar family architecture integrates multiple Arm Cortex cores that deliver high performance with the opportunity for lock-step redundancy and support real-time hardware virtualization. All Stellar devices are designed for software upgradeability through secure over-the-air (OTA) updates.

“Our Stellar MCUs enable state-of-the-art electrification while ensuring efficient energy management and software-defined flexibility for vehicle lifecycle management,” said Luca Rodeschini, Automotive and Discrete Group VP, strategic business development and automotive processing and RF general manager, STMicroelectronics.

“With the new Stellar E devices, this platform now enables a new value chain for EVs. Sensing the environment, controlling vehicle dynamics, enhancing power-conversion efficiency and safely managing high-current power stages, are effectively handled in a single component. The ability to update software securely over the air lets manufacturers refine their control strategies for extra driving range, performance and power efficiency.”

The first product in the Stellar E series, the Stellar SR5E1 optimized for EV onboard chargers (OBC) and general DC/DC converters, is now sampling to lead customers. Full production will begin in 2023.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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