Silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics (especially inverters) are a must-have if you want state-of-the-art efficiency.

ZF, one of the tier-one automotive suppliers, announced a strategic partnership with Cree, whose silicon carbide (SiC) materials are selling like crazy.

ZF intends to use Cree's Wolfspeed silicon carbide technology in power electronics for electric vehicles. The main area of interest is highly efficient inverters as each percent of efficiency gains translates to a higher range or smaller, lighter and more affordable battery with the same range.

"With this strategic partnership, ZF and Cree are intensifying their existing cooperation."

"The future use of silicon carbide-based power semiconductors will increase the range for electric vehicles in contrast to today's standard silicon technology. Due to high battery costs, the efficient electric drive represents an enormous growth potential for the foreseeable future. In particular, silicon carbide technology in conjunction with the 800-volt vehicle electrical system voltage makes a significant contribution to further increasing efficiency."

According to the press release, ZF already has received orders for SiC silicon carbide-based electric drives from several leading global automakers.

"Cree’s technology will initially be used to fulfill orders that ZF has already received for silicon carbide based electric drives from several leading global automakers. Through the partnership, ZF expects to make silicon carbide electric drivelines available to the market by 2022."

That, combined with other news, is just another sign that the EV market is shifting towards more efficient, smaller and lighter inverters, which are one of the ways to lower required battery capacity.

Even a 1% increase in efficiency can mean a lot, especially since with regenerative braking it counts in two ways. One of the most known SiC users is Tesla.

Jörg Grotendorst, Head of the ZF E-Mobility Division said:

"We're delighted that we're building on our cooperation with Cree using their Wolfspeed silicon carbide technology and are absolutely convinced that combining our strengths will further improve efficiency and competitive edge for our components and systems,".

Gregg Lowe, CEO of Cree said:

“Partnering with a tier-one 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,”.

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ZF and Cree Advance the Electric Drive

  • A strategic partnership has been created to advance the electric powertrain with silicon carbide-based inverter
  • New silicon carbide-based Inverter solutions help increase drive efficiency and extend the range of electric cars

Schweinfurt, Germany/Durham, USA. ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE), a US leader in silicon carbide semiconductors, announce a strategic partnership to create industry-leading, highly efficient electric drivelines.

 

With this strategic partnership, ZF and Cree are intensifying their existing cooperation. "We're delighted that we're building on our cooperation with Cree using their Wolfspeed silicon carbide technology and are absolutely convinced that combining our strengths will further improve efficiency and competitive edge for our components and systems," says Jörg Grotendorst, Head of the ZF E-Mobility Division.

The future use of silicon carbide-based power semiconductors will increase the range for electric vehicles in contrast to today's standard silicon technology. Due to high battery costs, the efficient electric drive represents an enormous growth potential for the foreseeable future. In particular, silicon carbide technology in conjunction with the 800-volt vehicle electrical system voltage makes a significant contribution to further increasing efficiency.

“Partnering with a tier-one 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,” said Gregg Lowe, CEO of Cree.

Electrified drivelines are making vast contributions to achieving worldwide emission targets and making mobility more sustainable.

Cree’s technology will initially be used to fulfill orders that ZF has already received for silicon carbide based electric drives from several leading global automakers. Through the partnership, ZF expects to make silicon carbide electric drivelines available to the market by 2022.

Since January 2016, ZF has bundled its electromobility activities in the E-Mobility Division headquartered in Schweinfurt, Germany. More than 9,000 employees work in this division, spread across various locations around the world.

Cree is committed to leading the global transition from silicon to silicon carbide and recently announced silicon carbide capacity expansion with a mega materials factory in Durham, N.C. and the world’s largest silicon carbide device manufacturing facility in New York. The company offers a comprehensive set of silicon carbide and GaN (Gallium nitride) power and RF (radio frequency) solutions through its Wolfspeed business unit.