Volkswagen Group co-developing new chip to improve future supply

The Volkswagen Group is working with STMicroelectronics on a new semiconductor chip, aimed to help supply for future cars.

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Volkswagen Group’s software subsidiary, Cariad, is partnering with French semiconductor giant STMicroelectronics (STMicro) to jointly develop a new chip amid the crippling global shortage.

This new semiconductor chip will apparently complement STMicro’s existing ‘Stellar’ microcontroller family of semiconductors.

The partnership will help the Volkswagen Group secure chip supply for its future cars years in advance.

The two companies have said they’re “moving to agree” that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will manufacture these new semiconductor chips for STMicro.

“With the planned direct cooperation with STMicro and TSMC, we are actively shaping our entire semiconductor supply chain,” said Volkswagen Group board member for purchasing Murat Aksel.

“We’re ensuring the production of the exact chips we need for our cars and securing the supply of critical microchips for years to come.”

“In this way, we are setting new standards in strategic supply chain management.”

This new chip is being designed to work in various applications in a car including areas such as networking, drivetrain, energy management and comfort electronics.

“This is just the first step,” said Cariad CTO Lynn Longo in regard to the new collaboration.

“In the future, we also aim to enter into co-development of high-performance semiconductors for complex functions.”

This is the second semiconductor-based partnership Cariad has detailed recently. In May it said it was looking at getting Qualcomm to supply chips for Level 4 autonomous driving technology.

Volkswagen Group founded Cariad in 2020, and it’s developing a new software platform due around the middle of the decade. It’s expected this will debut on the Volkswagen brand’s Project Trinity flagship in 2026.

The Volkswagen Group, like essentially every automaker, has been grappling with chip shortages.

Hyundai Motor Corporation president and CEO Jay Chang recently said this problem will remain front-of-mind into next year.

“We expect these issues with semiconductors to be problematic into 2023 before we’re able to deliver more cars to customers with shorter wait times,” said Mr Chang.

“That’s not just Hyundai, that’s the entire industry.”

Mr Chang also said Hyundai is looking at a new type of semiconductor chip that’s “smaller, fast and a certified game changer when it comes to electric vehicles in particular”.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra, in an interview with The Associated Press, said her company will, by 2025, move to three families of chips that GM will buy and control itself.

She also said these chips will be able to do multiple tasks, eliminating the need for dozens of chips in every vehicle.

But Ms Barra expects parts and chip shortages will last into next year as production continues to be interrupted.

Tier 1 auto supplier Bosch is also pumping three billion euros ($A4.44 billion) into its semiconductor chip division between now and 2026.

The automotive industry has endured a rough few years, with COVID-19 lockdowns interrupting production, and chip shortages forcing automakers to either reduce output or remove certain features from vehicles.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also had a direct impact on supply chains, with parts like wiring harnesses produced in large numbers in the Eastern European country.

MORE: Running list of cars with spec changes, due to chip shortage
MORE: General Motors moves to secure chip supply
MORE: Hyundai CEO discusses wait times, ‘game-changing’ new chips
MORE: Bosch puts billions into chips, though it won’t cut current shortages

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Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an emerging automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Jack recently graduated from Deakin University and has previously competed in dance nationally. In his spare time, Jack likes to listen to hyperpop and play Forza Horizon.

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