Some European feathers have recently been ruffled by the “Buy American” provisions of the US Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Some say the EU needs to respond by increasing its own support of the EV industry in order to meet the threat from Chinese automakers.
So it’s encouraging to see two high-tech companies from either side of the pond collaborating to accelerate the pace of innovation in the e-mobility space.
US silicon carbide specialist Wolfspeed (NYSE: WOLF) and German automotive supplier ZF have announced a strategic partnership that includes the creation of a joint innovation lab and the construction of silicon carbide device fabrication facility in Germany. Both the lab and the fab are planned as part of the Important Project of Common European Interest for Microelectronics and Communication Technologies framework, and are dependent upon state aid approval from the European Commission.
The joint research facility will focus on e-mobility and renewable energy. The goal of the collaboration is to develop breakthrough innovations for silicon carbide applications, covering the full value chain from chips to complete systems. Additional collaboration partners will be invited to participate, with the goal of establishing an end-to-end European silicon carbide innovation network.
Also, Wolfspeed plans to build a fully automated 200 mm wafer fabrication facility in Saarland, Germany. ZF will support the project by making an investment “in the hundreds of millions of dollars” in exchange for Wolfspeed common stock.
“These initiatives are a significant step towards a successful industrial transformation,” said Dr. Holger Klein, CEO of ZF. “They strengthen European supply resilience and support the European Green Deal and the strategic goals for Europe’s Digital Decade.”
“ZF brings industry-leading experience in scaling components for electric mobility as well as the aptitude to accelerate innovation in silicon carbide systems and power devices,” said Gregg Lowe, President and CEO of Wolfspeed. “I am confident this partnership will lift silicon carbide semiconductor technology to a new level of global impact.”