New Industry Products

Cree’s Wolfspeed Adds to Portfolio with 650V MOSFETs for EVs

April 15, 2020 by Alessandro Mascellino

Powerhouse semiconductor company Cree recently announced the Wolfspeed 650V silicon carbide MOSFETs (metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors).

The company said the new devices will be deployed in a variety of industrial scenarios with a focus on Electric Vehicle (EV) onboard charging, data centers, and other renewable systems.

The Wolfspeed 650V features high-efficiency capabilities, which the company believes will translate into lower energy losses, higher range, and reduced device costs.


Wolfspeed 650V SiC MOSFETs. Image used courtesy of Wolfspeed/Cree.


Wolfspeed 650V: Features

Built using Cree’s third-generation C3M MOSFET technology, the new Wolfspeed models are respectively 15 mΩ and 60 mΩ 650V devices. This would reportedly make the components able to deliver up to 20 percent lower switching losses than traditional silicon carbide MOSFETs while also providing efficient low-state resistances for higher efficiency and power-dense applications.

Early tests conducted by the company also claimed that Wolfspeed’s new 650V silicon carbide MOSFETs are capable of delivering 75 percent lower switching losses and a 50 percent decrease in conduction losses compared to silicon.

Considering the above specifications, the Wolfspeed 650V should be able to produce a potential 300 percent increase in power density, making this technology ideal for electric vehicle applications.

“The 650V MOSFETs deliver power efficiencies that help today’s biggest technology leaders create the next generation of onboard EV charging, data centers, and energy storage solutions to reshape our cloud and renewable energy infrastructures,” said Cengiz Balkas, senior vice president and general manager of Wolfspeed, in a news release.


Designed for Electric Vehicle Applications

On-board chargers (OBCs) are electric components that allow plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) to be charged anywhere there is AC power and not just at charging stations.

Optimized OBC designs translate into efficient smart charging capabilities, as well as flexibility outcomes that can help manufacturers reduce production costs, risks, and production time.

According to 2015 data from Frost & Sullivan, five years ago about 15 major companies were supplying on-board chargers globally, with Panasonic and Lear Corporation being the most relevant for suppliers such as Chevrolet and Nissan.

With electric vehicle sales having grown steadily in the past 10 years, it is just a matter of time before more companies start producing OBCs. In fact, Cree’s new Wolfspeed devices are designed to fit into this expanding market, particularly thanks to their increased efficiencies and faster switching. These components can also enable bi-directionality in OBCs without negatively impacting the size, weight, and complexity of the solution.


A Rapid Growth

As part of its long-term growth strategy, in May last year, Cree invested $1 billion in the expansion of its silicon carbide capacity efforts.

The funds went towards the construction of an automated 200mm silicon carbide fabrication facility and a materials mega factory in Durham, both of which will be completed in 2024.

Riding the wave of this expansion, Cree is now trying to increase its efforts in the automotive industry by releasing the Wolfspeed 650V. The components build on Wolfspeed’s experience in this industry, and are AEC-Q101-certified, meaning they have passed a stress test qualification for automotive-grade discrete semiconductors.