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Freescale S12 MagniV Mixed-Signal MCUs supporting mid-class vehicle growth in China

S12SVH Block Diagram
Freescale’s S12 MagniV block diagram. Click to enlarge.

China’s automotive market is now the largest in the world by volume, with some 22 million units produced last year, and expectations of 22-23 million units this year. Automobile sales alone in China posted a 13% year-over-year gain for April 2013, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

At the same time, the amount of electronic content per vehicle continues to increase as automakers add features to differentiate themselves in this highly competitive market. To help address the need for cost-effective vehicle electronic systems, the Freescale Semiconductor S12 MagniV mixed-signal microcontroller (MCU) portfolio (earlier post) offers Chinese automakers highly integrated, single-chip solutions that are reliable, easy to develop with, and energy and weight efficient, helping to reduce the bill of materials and hence, overall manufacturing costs.

This is a very complex market. Tier 1 cities primarily drove initial growth, a lot of that through premium brand vehicles. Now we’re seeing the growth from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities—this is a big opportunity for domestic car makers. In the opening market for mid-class vehicles, there is a land grab going on to differentiate the vehicles, done via content.

There are two basic types of content. The visible consumer add-on infotainment, or stuff like power seats, power windows, moon roof—all this type of climate control stuff which tends to be used—that this is playing into this area.

With the explosion in the market of mid-class vehicles, automakers are looking to add comfort features to differentiate. The criteria for carmakers is who can be the quickest with extra comfort content in a fast and reliable way. That’s where this portfolio plays into this dynamic.

—Andy Mcleod, Asia Pacific Marketing and Business Development Manager at Freescale Semiconductor

Traditionally, automotive electronic system designs have required multiple components—some created with a high-voltage process to connect to the battery and power actuator outputs, as well as MCUs created with a low-voltage digital logic process. This poses a challenge when the end application has space limitations. S12 MagniV MCUs address this challenge by integrating an analog front end and MCU, providing a comprehensive single-chip solution for applications such as anti-pinch window lifts, instrument clusters and brushless DC motors.

The S12 MagniV single-die solution helps us achieve functionality that previously required multiple devices. It also helps us achieve higher reliability while saving board space, reducing the bill of materials and greatly improving compatibility across devices.

—Jin Zhefeng, senior manager of the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) Technology Center

By combining the latest CAN- and LIN-based S12 MagniV devices with the latest Qorivva MCU body control module in a networked system, car OEMs are able to eliminate up to 20 pounds of copper wiring and board components, reducing vehicle weight and further improving fuel economy.

By incorporating Freescale S12 MagniV mixed-signal MCUs into the development of STEC’s second-generation anti-pinch window lift modules, we were able to save costs, reduce board size and shorten time to market. The S12 MagniV device exceeds traditional multi-component solutions and enables us to lead the way in this fiercely competitive market.

—Mo Yongcong, executive director of the Shanghai SIIC Transportation Electric Co., Ltd. (STEC) Research and Development Center

Through several joint technology labs in China, Freescale is helping accelerate the introduction of innovative designs into the automotive market. Freescale and Tongji University in Shanghai developed an anti-pinch window lift reference design, which demonstrates the capabilities of the S12 MagniV portfolio. This reference design is based on the S12 MagniV S12VR MCU and is suited for the development of power windows and sun roof systems.

In addition to collaborating with Tongji University, Freescale participates in automotive joint labs across China with partners including ChangAn Motor, Chery, Foton Motor, Dongfeng Motor and FAW.

The S12 MagniV portfolio is partly driven by the activity in China. There is a big feedback loop of capability, Tier 1s, universities, OEMS. We want to optimize the microcontroller with the correct balance of analog and digital stuff on there. We don’t want to be too specialized, nor too general so that we are not adding enough of the right amount of differentiation as well. This family is targeted globally, but the product definition had significant input from China and India.

—Andy Mcleod

S12 MagniV Mixed-Signal MCUs. A traditional MCU with discrete analog and power components comprises many external components, and requires additional assembly steps, resulting in high total system cost. By contrast, the S12 MagniV Mixed-Signal MCUs integrate a 12V direct supply regulator; high-side/low-side drivers; LIN or CAN physical interface; high-voltage inputs; voltage level shifter; and LED driver.

Target applications are instrument cluster, window lift, HVAC control and LED lighting. The chips can also be used in application such as electronic power steering, Mcleod says.

Use of the MCUs also enables a reduction of power consumption and cable weight, Mcleod noted.

In China especially this is very important because there is a huge investment from an EV point of view. It’s highly strategic. Cable weight directly impacts range through the the weight of the vehicle due to the wiring harness. Secondly, the amount of power required directly impacts range; so minimizing power consumption is absolutely important.

—Andy Mcleod



Very soon, a $100, 1/2 lb. tablet will have all the computing and the touch display power required to drive the on-board controllers. At that low price, dual, fully redundant, systems (like commercial aircraft use) will soon become the rule.

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