As part of a strategic partnership, Wolfspeed and ZF establish a silicon carbide innovation center. ZF is also taking a financial stake in Wolfspeed's planned 200-mm SiC semiconductor fab in Saarland.
Wolfspeed and ZF establish a joint research and development center in Germany. Silicon carbide systems and components for mobility, industrial and energy applications will be developed there.
The partnership also includes a financial participation by ZF in the planned construction of the world's largest 200-mm SiC semiconductor production facility in Ensdorf, Saarland. Both the joint research center and the Wolfspeed fab are part of the »Important Project of Common European Interest - IPCEI« for microelectronics and communication technologies, pending approval by the European Commission.
»These initiatives are an important step on the road to successful industrial transformation. They strengthen the resilience of European supply chains while supporting the European Green Deal and the strategic goals of Europe's Digital Decade,« said Dr. Holger Klein, CEO of ZF.
The joint ZF and Wolfspeed research center will focus on challenges in the field of electromobility and renewable energies. The goal of the collaboration is to develop breakthrough innovations for silicon carbide systems, products and applications - covering the entire value chain from chips to complete systems.
Other collaboration partners will be invited to join the innovation process to build a comprehensive European silicon carbide network. The research center will focus on innovations for silicon carbide systems and devices to meet specific needs in all mobility segments, including consumer, commercial, agricultural and industrial vehicles, as well as in the industrial and renewable energy sectors. The collaboration is thus expected to lead to improvements such as higher efficiency, greater power density and higher performance for electrification solutions.
As previously announced, Wolfspeed plans to build a highly automated, state-of-the-art 200-mm wafer fab in Saarland, Germany. ZF intends to support this new construction with a three-digit million euro amount in exchange for Wolfspeed common shares. As part of this investment, ZF will receive a minority stake in the Ensdorf factory. Wolfspeed will have control and operational management of the new factory.
ZF and Wolfspeed have already been working together since 2019 in a strategic partnership to develop highly efficient electric powertrains with silicon carbide inverters - the new initiative takes the cooperation to a new level for the partners.
»In ZF, we have a strong partner on our side that brings both industry-leading experience in scaling components for electric mobility and the ability to accelerate innovation in silicon carbide systems and power devices,« emphasized Gregg Lowe, president and CEO of Wolfspeed.
»Together, Wolfspeed and ZF combine expertise in power electronics and electrical systems with applications know-how, which is unparalleled in the industry. Wolfspeed brings its more than 35 years of experience in silicon carbide technology, and at ZF we have a unique understanding of overall systems across all industries - from passenger cars and commercial vehicles to construction equipment, wind energy and industrial applications,« adds ZF Board Member Stephan von Schuckmann.