's upcoming 800 V high-voltage all-electric platform will utilize STMicro's third-generation 1200 V SiC MOSFET technology.

(Image credit: STMicroelectronics)

Li Auto (NASDAQ: LI) has signed a silicon carbide (SiC) power chip supply agreement with European chipmaker STMicroelectronics to lock in key chip supply for its battery electric vehicle (BEV) models to be launched in the coming years.

STMicro has signed a long-term SiC supply agreement with Li Auto to provide the new energy vehicle (NEV) maker with a long-term supply of silicon carbide MOSFETs to support its strategy for the high-voltage BEV market, the chip company announced today.

In addition to its well-known extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs), Li Auto is also entering the BEV market, with its first all-electric MPV making its debut in the fourth quarter, STMicro's press release noted.

Li Auto's current models on sale include the five-seat Li L7, as well as the six-seat Li L8 and Li L9, all of which are EREVs, essentially plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

The Li Mega, Li Auto's first BEV, went on pre-sale on November 17. Li Auto previously said the model would hit the market in December, but no launch date has been announced so far, meaning its launch could be delayed.

Ensuring superior performance in BEVs requires extensive use of SiC MOSFETs in electric drive inverters, STMicro said, adding that it has more than 50 percent of the global SiC MOSFET market.

STMicro's SiC has a higher switching frequency, breakdown voltage and thermal resistance, which improves the performance and energy efficiency of power transistors, which is particularly important in BEV models, the chipmaker said.

Li Auto's upcoming 800 V high-voltage all-electric platform will utilize STMicro's third-generation 1200 V SiC MOSFET technology in the electric drive inverter, the release said.

The SiC supply agreement with STMicro confirms Li Auto's commitment to developing BEVs, said Meng Qingpeng, vice president of supply chain for the company.

Notably, Li Auto formed a joint venture with Chinese semiconductor manufacturer Sanan Semiconductor in March 2022 for SiC chip development and production.

On August 24, 2022, Li Auto said it officially started construction of its power semiconductor R&D and production base in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, which will focus primarily on the R&D and production of third-generation semiconductor SiC power modules.

Li Auto's previous statements and its supply agreement with STMicro make it appear that the main task of the production facility will be to assemble purchased SiC chips into modules for vehicles.

On November 21, local media outlet LatePost reported that Li Auto was setting up a team in Singapore to work on SiC power chips.

Li Auto's SiC chip R&D and production base begins construction