Cree to partner with German automotive supplier on electric vehicle drivelines

Cree, ZF sign agreement to create SiC-based electric vehicle drivelines
Jörg Grotendorst, Head of ZF Division E-Mobility, and Cengiz Balkas, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Wolfspeed, a Cree Company, signing the partnership on developing SiC-based electric vehicle drivelines. (ZF)

German automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has announced a strategic partnership with silicon carbide semiconductor supplier Cree Inc. to create highly efficient electric drivelines.

The companies believe 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, efficient electric drives represent enormous growth potential for the foreseeable future. In particular, silicon carbide technology in conjunction with the 800-V vehicle electrical system voltage can significantly contribute to further increasing efficiency.

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,” said Jörg Grotendorst, Head of the ZF E-Mobility Division, in a statement.

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“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,” added Gregg Lowe, CEO of Cree.

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, a global supplier of driveline and chassis technology, 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.

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