Silicon Carbide Is Plotted to Power Everything From Electric Vehicles and Fast Chargers to Renewable Energy Capture and Storage

With 36 years of experience working with silicon carbide, Cree/Wolfspeed believes it has the knowledge and capabilities needed to power everything from electric vehicles and fast chargers, 5G wireless infrastructure and renewable energy capture and storage applications.

The Company boasts an expansive opportunity pipeline and is rapidly increasing capacity by opening new fabs and facilities, such as its North Carolina campus where John Palmour Silicon Carbide Materials Factory operates.

Why Silicon Carbide?

Silicon carbide is an extremely hard synthetically manufactured crystalline compound of silicon and carbon. Since the late 19th century, aluminum oxide (AO) has been utilized as an abrasive in various industrial and metallurgical applications such as refractory linings for furnaces and high-temperature rocket engines. Carbon fiber composite materials are widely used as components in high-performance engineering components for applications involving extreme temperature conditions, including pump bearings, valves, sandblasting injectors, cutting tools and extrusion dies. Their high melting point ensures stable operation under high-temperature environments while their strength, hardness, durability and corrosion resistance make it popular ceramic choices for armor and body parts in aerospace vehicles as well as automotive cars.

Silicon carbide stands out among semiconductor materials in electronics thanks to its distinctive atomic structure, providing it with useful semiconductor properties. Silicon carbide can conduct electricity at higher voltages than its silicon counterpart, making smaller and faster electronic devices possible. Silicon carbide reduces voltage and current losses while improving thermal efficiency and power density – qualities which make it the ideal material for electric vehicle (EV) environments and other emerging applications.

Wolfspeed’s years of success as an LED lighting company gave them the experience necessary to manufacture high-quality silicon carbide wafers needed by electronic devices. Their manufacturing processes ensure low defect rates that contribute directly to performance and reliability.

Wolfspeed silicon carbide MOSFETs have become the go-to choice for electric vehicle applications because of their ability to withstand wide temperature swings and humid environments, making them perfect for the harsh environment inside an EV. As more people adopt electric vehicles, demand for high-performance power electronics will only continue to increase – with Wolfspeed leading the industry with silicon carbide MOSFETs that deliver increased voltage and current while simultaneously minimizing heat production and improving power efficiency.

Wolfspeed and Renesas recently announced a 10-year supply agreement for 150mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers for Renesas power devices, fulfilling Wolfspeed’s strategy to provide OEMs with wide bandgap silicon carbide semiconductors they require for future designs.


As society becomes more energy conscious, the demand for alternative energy sources, waste reduction measures and battery efficiency improvements increases significantly. Wolfspeed’s silicon carbide (SiC) chips can play an essential part in power applications like electric vehicles, rapid charging stations, 5G wireless infrastructure and renewable energy storage and capture.

SiC is three times stronger than silicon when it comes to current carrying capacity and boasts improved thermal performance for systems requiring high reliability, which means less power losses in systems that utilize it. SiC’s reduced melting point and boiling point also makes it safer to handle.

Wolfspeed’s Gen3, 3300V bare-die SiC MOSFETs can help designers reduce system size, weight and cost while simultaneously increasing energy density. SiC MOSFETs feature 20% lower switching loss and 50% reduced parasitic losses compared to traditional silicon power semiconductors; as well as operating at higher switching frequencies for increased efficiency across all loads.

SiC devices in industrial motor drives have been shown to significantly reduce overall system losses by up to 2.6%, making SiC compliant with some of the strictest global efficiency standards like SEER, ESEER and SCOP in America and China as well as meeting GB21455 requirements in China. Therefore, designers can meet efficiency goals while increasing overall system size efficiency and decreasing audible noise emissions.

Cree’s technology has transformed the EV industry, and Wolfspeed is poised to meet rapidly increasing demand with their launch of an expansive 200mm chip fabrication facility in New York State’s Mohawk Valley as well as starting construction on their 200mm materials mega factory in Durham.

Wolfspeed develops wide bandgap semiconductors based on silicon carbide and gallium nitride (GaN) for use in electric vehicle (EV) motor drives, power supplies, solar energy harvesting applications, transportation, military applications and military ground systems. Wolfspeed operates research and development facilities in North Carolina, California, Arkansas and New York and produces GaN devices at its production sites in North Carolina and California. With an eye towards seizing $40 billion opportunity pipeline in silicon carbide technology and accelerating revenue growth via greenfield Fabs and material plants expansion plans the company plans aim at seizing $40 billion opportunity pipeline in silicon carbide technology.


Wolfspeed’s wide bandgap silicon carbide (SiC) devices offer considerable advantages in power electronics applications, including reduced system size, weight and design complexity; increased efficiency; new design possibilities and decreased costs.

SiC is an ideal material choice for high-performance electronics used in electric vehicles, industrial motor drives, renewable energy storage solutions and railway infrastructure applications that demand maximum power density and performance. One chip can replace multiple components in conventional converters while still managing load current and providing greater output power than before. These advantages make SiC an excellent choice for high-power electronic applications such as electric cars, industrial motor drives, renewable energy storage solutions and railway infrastructure applications.

Key to these new power-handling abilities of SiC is its unique structure and properties: as with diamond, SiC is known for being one of the hardest substances known to man; yet its electrical conductivity and thermal capacities also outshone those found in other materials. Pioneered by predecessor company Cree – now Wolfspeed – predecessor work also included device design innovations enabling smaller chips with comparable power ratings as traditional silicon power semiconductors.

Wolfspeed power products have seen rapid increases in demand since their launch last year, driven by the explosive expansion of the electric vehicle market. To meet this unprecedented opportunity, Wolfspeed has made significant investments to increase capacity at their 200mm capable SiC device fabrication facility which recently opened in New York’s Mohawk Valley; Durham materials plant; and planned second 200mm facility planned in Saarland Germany.

Wolfspeed’s broad selection of bare die power MOSFET products gives designers the flexibility to build silicon carbide-based solutions themselves in-house, combined with their time saving Design Support Tools, helping engineers realize higher performance, lower costs and enhanced system reliability for next-generation silicon carbide designs.


Wolfspeed’s Silicon Carbide MOSFET technology empowers customers to power more with less. Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s also better for their bottom line. Their 650V SiC MOSFETs boast lower cost per watt, higher switching speeds and superior thermal performance – perfect for renewable energy designs with drastic temperature swings. Durability and reliability make these MOSFETs highly suitable.

SiC is a challenging material to work with, yet Cree (recently changed to Wolfspeed) was an innovator in device design and manufacturing processes. Their innovations resulted in smaller chips for given power ratings as well as increased device density on one wafer; all this led to significant cost reduction and greater adoption of silicon carbide technology by various industries.

Wolfspeed has taken a number of initiatives to meet this rapidly increasing demand, such as building the world’s first and largest 200mm SiC fabrication facility at their Mohawk Valley fab in New York; opening John Palmour Manufacturing Center for Silicon Carbide Crystal Growth in Siler City North Carolina; and creating a materials mega factory at their U.S. campus headquarters in Durham N.C. This expansion will generate an incredible 30-fold increase in both SiC wafer fabrication capacity and materials production.

Wolfspeed recently signed a long-term supply agreement with an international semiconductor company to secure a steady supply of silicon carbide power device technology needed for electric vehicle drivetrains, industrial electronics, and grid-tied power electronics applications. This collaboration reinforces both companies’ vision for rapid transition from traditional silicon semiconductors to Silicon Carbide power devices.

Wolfspeed and Mersen Graphite have long collaborated, leading the industry in developing and applying high-tech carbon-based materials used in power conversion technologies like silicon carbide substrate manufacturing. Under their new agreement, collaboration has further deepened in this sector – estimated sales could approach USD 400 Million during its initial five year term.

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