Automotive chip supply turns stable in 2023; Tesla SiC cut unlikely to hurt the market, says DIGITIMES Research

David Ma, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei 0


The shortages of automotive chips have been improving since the fourth quarter of 2022, while Tesla's plan to significantly cut its SiC consumption is unlikely to undermine the SiC product market's potential, according to DIGITIMES Research's findings.

At the moment, Silicon-based power components and microcontroller units (MCU) have remained in tight supply, but the delivery schedules for power management IC (PMIC), CMOS image sensors (CIS), eMMC, and display driver IC (DDI/TDDI) have started returning to normal.

Most automakers suspended their production and some cutting capacity in 2020 because of the automotive chip shortages led by the wakening of the COVID-19 pandemic as most chip capacities had been taken by the IT industry due to strong end demand for IT products.

With EVs and smart cars growing popular, the auto industry's demand for chips also started picking up in the past couple of years, further worsening the automotive chip shortages. As the supply chain grew stable since 2022, automakers' deferred orders have gradually been satisfied and their demand for chips also decelerated. Because of that, chip delivery schedules are expected to continue to shrink throughout 2023.

With Tesla announcing to cut the usage of SiC by 75% in its next-generation EV power platform in a bid to slim the platform's mass and costs, DIGITIMES Research believes the SiC MOSFET solution, which achieves a 75% cut of SiC usage compared to its Model 3 by reducing motor power and improving SiC MOSFET's power specifications, will be Tesla's pick.

However, since the supply of SiC substrates is limited at the moment, SiC MOSFET makers' capacities are fully loaded, and demand for EVs and new energy generation is robust, Tesla is unlikely to be able to cut its costs significantly in the short term.