A press release from ZF noted that the partnership also includes a significant investment by the company to support the planned construction of the world’s most advanced and largest 200mm Silicon Carbide device fab in Ensdorf, Germany.
The strategic partnership includes a joint research facility in Germany that will focus on real-world e-mobility and renewable energy system-level challenges.
The collaboration aims to develop breakthrough innovations for Silicon Carbide systems, products, and applications, covering the full value chain from chip to complete systems. Additional collaboration partners will be invited to participate in the innovation process, establishing an end-to-end European Silicon Carbide innovation network.
The R&D centre will focus on innovation for Silicon Carbide systems and devices to meet specific requirements in all mobility segments, including consumer, commercial, agricultural, and industrial vehicles as well as in the industrial and renewable energy markets. In addition, the collaboration will drive improvements such as higher efficiency, increased power density and higher performances for electrification solutions.
Additionally, ZF intends to support Wolfspeed’s plans to construct a fully automated, highly advanced 200mm wafer fabrication facility in Saarland, Germany, by making a sizable financial investment in the hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for Wolfspeed common stock.
As a part of this investment, ZF will have a minority ownership position in the fab. Wolfspeed will maintain all operational and management control rights in the new fab.
Both companies previously announced a strategic partnership in 2019 to create industry-leading, highly efficient electric drivelines with a Silicon Carbide inverter, and these new initiatives represent the next generation of innovation for the partners.
The release added that both the joint innovation lab and the Wolfspeed device fab are planned as part of the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) for Microelectronics and Communication Technologies framework and are dependent upon state aid approval from the European Commission.
Stephan von Schuckmann, Member- Board of Management, ZF, noted that the close cooperation between fab and R&D centre will enable the company to develop breakthrough innovations beyond state of the art for the benefit of our customers.
Gregg Lowe, President and CEO, Wolfspeed, said, “I am confident this partnership will lift Silicon Carbide semiconductor technology to a new level of global impact, supporting increased sustainability and efficiency efforts across a multitude of industries.”