Cree, a US maker of silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors, has partnered with German parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen to supply SiC semiconductors for electric drives. ZF will initially use Cree’s technology to fulfill pre-existing orders from several auto manufacturers for silicon carbide-based electric drives, but ZF hopes to make silicon carbide electric drivelines available to the market by 2022.
Silicon carbide-based power semiconductors will increase EV range compared to today’s standard silicon technology, says Cree. Due to high battery costs, Cree sees a more efficient electric drive as an opportunity for growth in the foreseeable future, and believes that silicon carbide technology, in conjunction with an 800-volt electrical system, can make a significant contribution to further increasing efficiency.
Cree recently announced plans to commission a silicon carbide materials factory in Durham, North Carolina, and a large manufacturing facility in New York. Through its Wolfspeed unit, the company offers silicon carbide and GaN (Gallium nitride) power and RF (radio frequency) solutions.
Cree CEO Gregg Lowe said, “Partnering with a Tier 1 leading global automotive supplier like ZF for the use of silicon carbide-based power inverters in next-generation electric vehicles is indicative of the integral role silicon carbide plays in extending the capabilities of EVs everywhere.”