MILAN and SAITAMA, Japan—The Italy-based automotive supplier Marelli is boosting its investment in electric vehicle technologies by partnering with U.S.-based semiconductor company Transphorm Inc., Marelli said in a release. The partnership will enable Marelli to gain valuable access and insights into cutting edge technologies for the development of electric vehicles, particularly power converters, onboard chargers, and inverters for electric and hybrid vehicles.

Transphorm is a designer and manufacturer of high performance, high reliability GaN devices for high-voltage power conversion applications. The company has direct experience with gallium nitride (GaN) in the automotive sector, especially in Japan. Access to Transphorm’s technologies is expected to benefit Marelli  as it looks to grow through innovation within its electric powertrain business.

Direct investment in power electronics of this kind will mean a substantial step in the evolution of the electric powertrain with higher efficiency and lower system costs, eventually resulting in benefits for customers and final consumers, Marelli said. Through the partnership, Marelli and Transphorm expect to benefit from the exchange of information and knowledge relating to new automotive/EV power conversion technologies, including OBCs (on-board chargers), DC-DC converters, and powertrain inverters.

“Electric vehicle power conversion is fundamentally important to the future of electric vehicles, and investments in technologies like this are critical to ensure the very highest performance of electric vehicles at a lower cost,” said Joachim Fetzer, CEO, Electric Powertrain, Marelli. “We are delighted to partner with Transphorm, who are true leaders in the market. This partnership allows us to work with the Transphorm team to shape and improve products that will ultimately ensure improved performance, efficiency of power electronics, and ultimately, lower the cost of electric vehicles.”

Working alongside Transphorm engineers, Marelli engineers will be able to use their manufacturing experience to advise and guide on product development relevant to its ongoing investment in the development of e-powertrain technologies for electric vehicles and motorsport applications. For such joint development and co-working of engineers, Transphorm will exclusively cooperate with Marelli for two years, to enable the development of new technologies for electric vehicles.

“Automotive and EVs represent one of the largest opportunities for GaN in power conversion, and our partnership with a global leader like Marelli is a strong testament to the quality, reliability, manufacturing, and overall product performance of our GaN solutions,” said Primit Parikh, co-founder and COO, Transphorm. “The long-term innovative system level vision of the Marelli Electric Powertrain team will be extremely valuable in furthering GaN in the electric vehicle.”

Marelli, a major global supplier to the automotive sector, said in the release that its mission is “to transform the future of mobility through working with customers and partners to create a safer, greener and better-connected world.” The Marelli footprint includes 170 facilities and R&D centers across Asia, the Americas, Europe, and Africa.

Transphorm, Inc. ( designs and manufactures high performance, high reliability 650 V and 900 V GaN semiconductors for high-voltage power conversion applications. The company holds a large IP portfolio of more than 1,000 issued and pending patents relating to power GaN.


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