The billion dollar fab that could change industries

On the day that Wolfspeed opened its 200 mm automotive-qualified SiC fab in Mohawk Valley, Upstate New York, the SiC tech supplier also announced a multi-year agreement with Lucid Motors, to supply SiC power semiconductors. Right now, these can be found in the luxury, all-electric Lucid Air.

The two industry developments go hand in hand because, as Lucid’s senior vice president of product and chief engineer, Eric Bach, exclaimed at the company’s ribbon-cutting event: “We need every single SiC chip that we can get.” Indeed, a few weeks earlier, Rohm Semiconductor revealed that Lucid was using its SiC MOSFETs in the Air’s on-board charger. However, the latest events also signal to the SiC industry that great things are coming.

Officially opened on April 25th and dubbed ‘the first, largest and only 200 mm SiC fab in the world’, the Mohawk Valley facility is churning out SiC MOSFETs and packaging these up into its XM3 half-bridge power module. Six of these SiC packages will be used in each Lucid Air power-train inverter, providing the low switching losses and high power density necessary for the sedan’s modest-sized, 74 kg, 500 kW electric motor.

The Air itself is Lucid’s first production model, and has already won the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year, beating the all-electric Porsche Taycan and Mercedes-EQ EQS. The vehicle boasts up to 1100 horsepower and an impressive range of 520 miles.

As Wolfspeed chief executive, Gregg Lowe – who perhaps not surprisingly drives a Lucid Air – highlighted at his facility opening: “This all-electric car has every whistle and bell you can imagine; it’s breaking all kinds of electric vehicle records including driving range and recharge time.”

Accolades aside, the new facility opens at a time when the buoyant SiC industry is bucking general, worldwide trends. Driven by electric vehicles, analysts predict billion dollar growth for the SiC market with France-based Yole Developpement forecasting figures beyond $6 billion by 2027, up from $1 billion in 2021… Full article on Compound Semiconductor

Headline image – Chief executive of Wolfspeed, Gregg Lowe, shows New York governor, Kathy Hochul, the manufacturing processes at the new SiC fabrication facility in Marcy, New York, US.


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