New Spansion tech aims at electric vehicle market

May 20, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Aiming to expand its share of the automotive market, chipmaker Spansion on Monday debuted a line of microcontrollers for electric and hybrid vehicles


The line of ARM-based dual-core chips, called Traveo, are designed to be used for electric vehicles, battery management, air conditioning and heating systems and automotive displays. The applications could improve driver safety and make it easier for users to deal with advanced technology in cars


Spansion is headquartered in Silicon Valley, but has a substantial manufacturing operation in Austin, where it employs about 860 workers


The new product line “strengthens our position as a leading provider of (microcontroller) products for automotive and industrial applications,” said Takeshi Fuse, Spansion senior vice president. “The family of (microcontrollers) will offer application-tailored system solutions to ease both hardware and software design and integration, delivering advanced security and performance.”


Sven Natus, who is responsible for business development for Spansion’s automotive customers in the U.S., said the electric/hybrid vehicle market has great growth potential, citing forecasts that there will be almost 4 million vehicles on the market in 2020


“We are just positioning ourselves so that we can take advantage of that growth in the future,” he said


Spansion recently promised the city of Austin more than $200 million in local investment over the next five years, in exchange for state tax breaks


The Austin City Council is set to vote Thursday on designating Spansion as an Enterprise Zone Project under the Texas Enterprise Zone Act, which would allow the company to get refunds on its state sales and use taxes


In addition to investing more than $200 million to improve manufacturing facilities and capacity, Spansion agreed to retain its existing jobs in Austin. The company would also be able to obtain a refund of up to $1.25 million in state sales tax


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