PARIS -- Renault Group has struck a strategic partnership with STMicroelectronics to ensure the automaker has an adequate supply of power semiconductors for full-electric and hybrid vehicles starting in 2026.
The agreement focuses on power electronics, which control the flow of energy in electric and hybrid vehicles. Advances in power electronics can have a big effect on vehicle range and charging time.
"This partnership secures future supplies of key components which will significantly contribute to reducing wasted energy by 45 percent and decreasing the cost of the e-powertrain by 30 percent," Renault CEO Luca de Meo said in a news release on Friday.
The companies will collaborate on the design, development and manufacturing of silicon carbide devices, gallium nitride transistors and related packages and modules.
A recent study from consulting firm McKinsey found that using silicon carbide in semiconductors raises power density, reduces waste heat and allows for smaller-diameter cables compared to silicon oxide. Bosch is among suppliers that are backing silicon carbide technology.
Gallium nitride transistors can provide better thermal management than silicon, leading to more compact and lower-cost cooling systems.
For its part, Geneva-based STMicroelectronics "will benefit from significant volumes guaranteed from the annual usage of these power modules and transistors from 2026-30," the release said. A study by IHS Markit ranked it seventh among automotive microchip suppliers, with a 5 percent share of the market.
The companies said more details on the partnership would be revealed on June 30, when Renault Group plans to present its electrification strategy to investors and the news media.
Renault, an early mover in electrification with the battery-electric Zoe, is planning to step up its electric vehicle offerings, starting with the Megane-e compact model, expected to be revealed in the coming months. It is also developing a production complex in northern France centered on its Douai factory.
Global auto production has been disrupted this year by shortages of critical semiconductors that control nearly every system in the car. The shortages are expected to ease in the second half of the year, but the crisis has shaken the automotive supply chain, which is competing with consumer electronics giants for production allotments at chip foundries.