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ZF and Cree partner on automotive SiC


German/US partnership aims to advance the electric powertrain with SiC-based Inverters

German automotive firm ZF Friedrichshafen and Cree, a US semiconductor company, have announced a strategic partnership to create highly efficient SiC-based electric drivelines.

With this partnership, ZF and Cree are intensifying their existing cooperation. "We're delighted that we're building on our cooperation with Cree using their Wolfspeed SiC 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 SiC-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, SiC 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 SiC-based power inverters in next generation electric vehicles is indicative of the integral role SiC 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 SiC based electric drives from several leading global automakers. Through the partnership, ZF expects to make SiC 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 has recently announced SiC capacity expansion with a mega materials factory in Durham, North Carolina and the world’s largest SiC device manufacturing facility in New York. The company offers SiC and GaN power and RF (radio frequency) solutions through its Wolfspeed business unit.

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