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Volkswagen of America has teamed up with long-distance driving expert Rainer Zietlow for the VW ID.4 USA tour that recently kicked off at Volkswagen of America’s headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. Zietlow will drive VW’s first electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) across 37,000 miles to show that you can drive a car across the country on electric power. Infineon said every seventh car produced today is operating on a form of electrification.
The VW electric car has more than 50 semiconductor chips to enable things like sensors and battery charging. These kinds of chips have been in short supply for all cars lately, one reason that the car industry will have a $100 billion shortfall in car sales in 2021, according to professional services firm KPMG.
“Semiconductors are significantly increasing in importance, as they are transformative,” Lars Ullrich, VP of automotive at Infineon Technologies Americas, said in an interview with VentureBeat. “We are doing this to demonstrate that actually electric vehicles are here to stay. And we are here for the long haul.”
Ullrich noted that Infineon relies on its own factories for the bulk of its production, which helps it do a better job with supplies.
Zietlow will hit more than 600 VW dealerships across the country, as well as Infineon facilities, including in Livonia, Michigan; Austin, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and San Jose and El Segundo, California.
Ullrich said many of Infineon’s chips are at the heart of vehicle electrification and charging infrastructure. He said Infineon supports climate protection through the reduction of carbon emissions, along with products that enable renewable power generation, efficient storage, and sustainable mobility.
By increasing range, efficiency, and accessibility, Infineon is helping the automotive industry execute the fundamental shift to electromobility, which means protecting the environment without compromising drivers’ flexibility and comfort, he said.
Going carbon neutral
Stringent carbon dioxide emission standards are accelerating EV adoption globally. In the U.S., for example, the state of California mandates that by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold must be zero-emission vehicles.
“California is leading the way in the nation from this perspective,” Ullrich said. “More consumers are actually opening up about electric vehicles because they see the opportunity of contributing to a clean environment.”
Infineon plans to be carbon neutral by 2030, and the company reduced its emissions by a net total of 54 million tons of CO2 equivalent last fiscal year. About 17 out of the 25 top-selling models of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles of 2020 have Infineon power semiconductors in the electric powertrain.
Semiconductors play a major role in electromobility by powering electric drives and laying the foundation for carbon-neutral mobility in the future. Well above 50% of all vehicles newly produced at the end of this decade are expected to be driven by a partially or fully electric powertrain. This year, over 35 electric and plug-in hybrid models with a drivetrain incorporating power semiconductors from Infineon will be in production worldwide.
The ID.4 is Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV and the brand’s first global EV. At launch in the U.S., it is powered by an 82 kilowatt-hour (gross) battery pack and has an EPA-estimated range of 250 miles in ID.4 1st Edition and Pro S rear-wheel-drive models. At a public DC fast-charging station, with 125-kilowatt charging, the ID.4 can go from 5% to 80% charged in about 38 minutes. That’s a lot better than in the past.
“The semiconductors from Infineon will also play a large role in the electric charging infrastructure enabling fast charging,” he said.
Infineon provides the ID.4 with power semiconductors, microcontrollers, and driver ICs. At the heart of the electric drivetrain is a power module from the HybridPack Drive product family for the conversion of energy between the battery and motor. Infineon’s chips control power, driver integrated circuits, and microcontrollers.
Zietlow will put the car and its chip through its paces by driving across the U.S. in 98 days with his co-driver Derek Collins. They plan on hitting 48 states, 600 VW dealers, 200 Electrify America Stations, and the five Infineon facilities. About 4,000 of Infineon’s 46,700 employees are in the U.S. The company generated revenue of $10.9 billion in the year ended September 30, 2020.
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