For the past several decades, the topic of ‘power’ has been consistently viewed as a challenge focused primarily on incremental improvement in making devices run more efficiently and less expensively. Today, the conversation is changing as energy efficiency has grown into a strategic initiative in increasingly power-reliant industries such as data centers, electric vehicles, renewable energy systems, industrial motors, and consumer electronics.
How automotive manufacturers and suppliers choose to generate, store, deliver and use power will be an important impetus for global change in 2019. Over the past year, in conversations with corporate leaders, it is more evident than ever before that yesterday’s silicon has reached its limits in solving critical power systems challenges. GaN technology is the clear and undisputed solution for driving more robust growth and product innovation, as well as enabling companies to elevate the conversation and engage more deeply in sustainability initiatives.
Looking ahead, GaN Systems, the global leader of gallium nitride (GaN) power semiconductors, reveals the notable energy trends for 2019, which we believe will have a major impact on electric vehicles and autonomous-driving vehicles. In 2018, it became increasingly clear that the future of transportation revolves around electric and autonomous vehicles. There are on the road today four million electric vehicles, with more than half of global sales in China. New entrants have challenged entrenched leaders and global governments have mandated low to zero emission protocols.
And what can we expect in 2019?
- The increase in fuel efficiency regulations and demand for eco-friendly automotive will continue to drive demand for electric vehicle alternatives.
- Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will gain more mind share. Change in the social relationship between individuals and vehicles will continue to move from individual ownership to convenient on-demand use. On-demand itself will start to evolve to increasingly include fleets of autonomous vehicles, rather than be dominated by vehicles shared from individuals. As a result,
- Research and design work in autonomy will move beyond just driving and into the recharging process for vehicles – that will pave the way to a fully autonomous vehicle experience in urban markets.
- Considerations into new cost and business models will need to be made in response to the move to more autonomous fleets of vehicles. Fleet vehicles are required to run 20 hours a day; not the 2 hours of private use vehicles. Not only will a low initial cost be important, but lower operating cost per kilometer and longer vehicle lifetimes in order to maximize ROI.
- New business and social behaviors, including autonomous fleets, will drive evolution towards new vehicle design requirements . Vehicle designs will evolve to be smaller, lighter, and more utilitarian, with a focus on maximizing passenger capacity. These new designs will require GaN technology and the smaller, lighter, more efficient power systems that it brings to vehicles.
At the center of these 2019 trends is the undeniable need for new ways of thinking about and addressing the power needs of the diverse technology that surrounds us. If we are to evolve globally, power cannot be taken for granted and simply viewed as an endless resource that comes out of a plug in a wall. Our global power footprint cannot continue to grow at past historic rates – for both business reasons and the health of our planet.
– written by Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems