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ZF and Cree partner to advance the electric powertrain with silicon-carbide-based inverter

ZF Friedrichshafen AG and Cree, Inc., a US-based leader in silicon carbide semiconductors, announced a strategic partnership to create industry-leading, highly efficient electric drivelines using silicon-carbide-based inverters.

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.

—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.

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, NC 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.



I've been watching these announcements by ZF and Continental with considerable interest.  They supply huge swaths of the auto industry.  If they build hybrid transmissions they can go into all sorts of vehicles very rapidly.  This sector is poised to take off in a huge way.

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