BMW i Ventures has made a strategic investment in GaN Systems, a fabless power transistor company at the forefront of semiconductor technology. Gallium Nitride (GaN) is a wide band gap (WBG) semiconductor material that allows for higher energy efficiency, smaller form factors and higher performance.
GaN devices offer a number of benefits compared to silicon-based devices, including high dielectric strength; high current density; high switching speeds; low on-resistance; and the ability to withstand higher operating temperature. Compared to silicon, gallium nitride has ten times higher electrical breakdown characteristics, three times the band gap, and exceptional carrier mobility.
GaN Systems focuses on GaN-based power transistors that can be used in consumer devices, data centers, industrial and automotive. GaN transistors enable next generation electric vehicles with higher power density, faster charging capabilities and longer ranges.
GaN Systems’ power transistors have created new possibilities for engineers to build the power electronics demanded by today’s systems. Gallium Nitride-based transistors have become, in my opinion, the next big stepping stone in miniaturization. We have seen systems one-quarter of the size while providing better efficiency than traditional silicon-based alternatives. With GaN, any system that needs power can become smaller, lighter and more efficient. These capabilities are particularly relevant in the automotive sector.
There are many examples of how GaN benefits power systems. With autonomous cars, there will be the need to massively scale the data center infrastructure. Data center power consumption is one of the biggest cost drivers, and increasing the efficiency of power conversion will account for billions of dollars in cost savings and enable a more sustainable infrastructure around the globe.—Uwe Higgen, Managing Director, BMW i Ventures
BMW i Ventures invests money and resources in startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, artificial Intelligence and data, industry 4.0, shared and on-demand mobility, customer digital life, and energy services.
The firm has already partnered with innovative companies such as Carbon3D, Chargepoint, DesktopMetal, JustPark, Life360, Moovit, Nauto, Scoop, Stratim, Turo, Xometry and Zendrive. BMW i Ventures invests in all stages from seed and incubation to growth companies.