The American company Wolfspeed, a subsidiary of CREE, has inaugurated the world’s largest silicon carbide power semiconductor plant in New York State. The honor of cutting the ribbon was entrusted to Wolfspeed’s key partner, Lucid Motors, whose Lucid Air electric vehicles make extensive use of Wolfspeed’s electronic components.
Strength elements based on silicon carbide (SiC) compare favorably with similar silicon components. In particular, elements based on SiC have higher electrical strength, lower losses, higher speed and operating temperature, and higher radiation resistance. This makes silicon carbide power cells attractive for power supplies, inverters, and other power subsystems in devices from consumer electronics to spacecraft onboard equipment.
For example, Lucid Air electric vehicle inverters use Wolfspeed silicon carbide XM3 power modules. With low switching losses, minimal resistance, and high power density, the XM3 Power Modules help improve the efficiency and power density of a 74kg, 670hp Lucid Air electric motor. (500 kW). Wolfspeed recently announced a multi-year agreement with Lucid to supply SiC components.
The new plant, as well as the production of necessary additional materials, which will start in North Carolina later this year, will provide the company and its customers with the necessary supply of advanced power semiconductor devices. Power components will be produced on 200 mm plates.
It is interesting to note that the German company Infineon agreed to buy Wolfspeed in 2016. The deal was soon blocked by the US regulator as a threat to US national security. Infineon had to pay a penalty to Wolfspeed, and a year later, Wolfspeed acquired Infineon’s RF component manufacturing division (communications, 5G, and so on), as well as key technologies for the production of LDMOS, GaN and SiC elements.
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