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Toyota develops new semiconductor

By Niranjan Mudholkar,

Added 10 June 2014

Toyota Motor Corporation, in collaboration with Denso Corporation and Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc, has developed a silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductor for use in automotive power control units (PCUs).

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Toyota will begin test driving vehicles fitted with the new PCUs on public roads in Japan within a year.

Through use of SiC power semiconductors, Toyota aims to improve hybrid vehicle (HV) fuel efficiency by 10 percent under the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism’s (MLIT) JC08 test cycle and reduce PCU size by 80 percent compared to current PCUs with silicon-only power semiconductors. SiC power semiconductors have low power loss when switching on and off, allowing for efficient current flow even at higher frequencies. This enables the coil and capacitor, which account for approximately 40 percent of the size of the PCU, to be reduced in size.

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