How Many Semiconductor Chips Are in a Car? [Infographic]

Gone are the days when a car was simply a combustion engine on wheels. Modern vehicles are sophisticated machines filled with an impressive array of electronic components, including the unsung heroes of the automotive world—semiconductors.

If you’ve ever wondered how many semiconductor chips are in a car, you’re not alone. Of course, the answer is: it varies.

The number of semiconductor chips in a car depends on a multitude of factors, including the make and model of the vehicle, what year it was manufactured, whether it’s electric or gas-powered, and what types of advanced features it has.

But that’s not a very fun answer, and certainly not what you were hoping for. So, here’s the typical range you can expect for a new vehicle rolling off the lot today. On average, you’ll find anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 semiconductor chips in a modern automobile.

That’s a lot!

But that number alone doesn’t tell you the whole story. So, let’s dive deeper into the world of automotive semiconductors and learn more about these incredible microchips and all the amazing things they’re responsible for.

2023 Automotive Semiconductor Statistics Infographic - Polar Semiconductor


While the pandemic-fueled chip shortage brought automotive semiconductors to the public eye for the first time, the integration of microchips in vehicles is not a recent development. In fact, it dates back several decades! In the late 1970s, solid-state computers were used to control the fuel injection system and monitor the vehicle’s performance.

However, the advancement of these technologies has accelerated in recent years, and the pace of innovation continues to rise—thanks in large part to the prominence of electric, hybrid, and autonomous vehicles. Today, semiconductors are indispensable for many of the functions of modern vehicles, contributing to improved safety, performance, and comfort.


The semiconductor chips in a car are strategically positioned throughout the vehicle, performing a wide range of different functions. Let’s take a closer look at some key areas where these chips are utilized:

1. Engine Control Units (ECUs)

Modern vehicles are equipped with numerous ECUs, each responsible for monitoring and controlling specific aspects of the engine’s performance. These ECUs use semiconductor chips to analyze sensor data, adjust fuel injection, optimize ignition timing, and manage emissions, contributing to better fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

Motor controls:

  • Stepping motor drivers
  • DC motor drivers
  • 3ph motor drivers

Fuel injection systems:

  • Switching Tr for boosters

Cooling fans:

  • Gate drivers

Engine sensors:

  • Cam cranks
  • Glow plugs
  • Fuel rails
  • Injector controls

Throttle controls:

  • Stepping motor drivers
  • DC motor drivers

Charge and ignition:

  • IC, Tr, and Di for alternators
  • IC and Tr for ignitors
  • Di and Tr for ignition coils

2. Driver Assistance and Power Steering

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) features like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and collision avoidance systems heavily rely on semiconductor chips. These chips process data from various sensors, cameras, and radar to make real-time decisions that enhance vehicle safety and reduce the risk of accidents. In addition, electric power steering (EPS) uses a software-controlled, electric-motor-driven mechanism to provide more responsive steering, less maintenance, and better fuel economy.

Electric power steering:

  • Half-bridge pre-drivers
  • 3ph motor drivers
  • Tr for motor drivers
  • Torque and angle sensors
  • Gate drivers and regulators
  • Current sensors

3. Infotainment Systems


Infotainment systems have become a focal point of the modern driving experience. Semiconductor chips power these systems, enabling features such as touchscreen displays, GPS navigation, in-vehicle audio, and smartphone connectivity options. They also support voice recognition technology, enhancing the ease of interaction between the driver and the vehicle’s controls.

Multimedia and audio systems:

  • Switching regulators
  • Backlight ICs
  • Current sensors

4. Transmission and Suspension Control

Semiconductor chips are found throughout the transmission and suspension systems, where they help in adjusting the vehicle’s performance to various driving conditions. This includes assisting in optimizing gear shifts, delivering better handling, and ensuring a smooth ride.


  • Linear solenoid drivers
  • High-side power SW
  • Speed and direction sensors
  • Linear sensors
  • Position SW
  • Torque sensors

Suspension height controls:

  • Linear and current sensors
  • Position switches

5. Electric and Hybrid Vehicles


In electric and hybrid vehicles, semiconductor chips play a critical role in managing battery systems, motor control, and power distribution. They help maximize energy efficiency and deliver the performance and range that modern drivers have come to expect.

EV and hybrid systems:

  • Tr and Di for AC/DC converters
  • Gate driver ICs for inverters
  • Auxiliary power supply control ICs
  • High voltage motor pre-drivers
  • IPM for high-voltage motors
  • Battery current sensors
  • Inverter current sensors

6. Safety Systems

Today’s cars are equipped with a host of safety systems that rely on advanced semiconductor chips. These include airbag deployment, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), and stability control. Semiconductors ensure these systems respond effectively in the event of a collision or loss of control.

Anti-lock braking systems:

  • Current sensors
  • Gate drivers
  • Speed sensors
  • Linear sensors

Seat belts:

  • Buckle sensors

7. Climate Control


Your car’s climate control system also benefits from semiconductor technology. These chips enable precise temperature regulation and maintain cabin comfort by adjusting the vehicle’s fan speed, temperature, and air distribution.

Seat heater controls:

  • Position sensors
  • Current sensors

Power window, door, and sunroof controls:

  • Position sensors
  • Current sensors

8. Lighting and Visibility

The semiconductor chips in automotive lighting systems offer adaptive lighting, automatic high-beam control, and LED technology. These features improve visibility and enhance overall safety, especially during night driving.

Headlight controls:

  • Full-bridge drivers
  • Rectification Di for booster circuits
  • Tr for ignitors
  • Motor drivers
  • Lighting controls


The integration of semiconductor chips in vehicles has had a profound impact on the automotive industry as a whole. Here are four of the key advantages they provide:

1. Enhanced Safety

The advanced safety features made possible by semiconductor chips have significantly reduced the number of accidents and saved countless lives. Thanks to semiconductors, ADAS systems, airbags, and stability control have become industry standards, contributing to improved road safety.

2. Improved Performance

Semiconductor chips help optimize engine performance, enhance fuel efficiency, and deliver smoother rides. Whether you’re driving a high-performance sports car or an eco-friendly hybrid, semiconductors help achieve the best possible performance.

3. Enhanced Comfort and Convenience

Infotainment systems, climate control, and other comfort-related features have been elevated to new heights with the integration of semiconductors. This makes everyone’s driving experience more enjoyable and convenient.

4. Environmental Benefits

Semiconductor technology has facilitated the development of cleaner and more efficient engines, contributing to reduced emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. And hybrid and electric vehicle technology would have never been possible without them.



The continuous advancement of semiconductor technology holds the promise of even more innovations as the automotive industry continues to evolve. The transition to fully electric and autonomous vehicles will necessitate even more reliance on advanced microchips. This includes the ongoing development of autonomous driving capabilities, enhanced battery efficiency, improved vehicle safety, and further reductions in vehicle emissions.

As the industry pushes the boundaries of innovation, the future of automotive semiconductors promises even greater advancements and a truly exciting road ahead!


We hope this article has shed light on the integral role of semiconductor chips in cars and piqued your curiosity about the ongoing technological innovations that are shaping the vehicles of tomorrow. If you’re interested in delving further into the world of semiconductor chips and their applications in the automotive industry, we encourage you to explore our Automotive Semiconductors page.

If you’re an automotive manufacturer looking to improve your vehicles’ safety, range, and driving experience, Polar is the semiconductor company you can trust to power your next-gen systems. We have over 50 years of automotive industry experience, and our power semiconductors can be found in many of the most popular makes and models driven around the world. Let’s work together!