Toyota to use new semiconductor to enhance efficiency of Hybrid vehicles

Toyota Motors along with Denso Corporation have developed a new silicon carbide SiC power semiconductor. This will be used on board automotive power control units (PCU) which will make their way into new hybrid vehicles thereby increasing fuel efficiency by 10%.

toyota new semiconductor technology (1)Toyota exhibited a new silicon carbide semiconductor technology slated to enhance fuel efficiency on board hybrid vehicles at 2014 Automotive Engineering Exposition, held from May 21 to May 23 at Pacifico Yokohama Convention Center in Yokohama.

Through use of SiC power semiconductors, Toyota not only plans on increasing fuel efficiency of hybrid vehicles but it will also go a long way in reducing PCU size by as much as 80% when compared to the current PCUs in use. SiC power semiconductors have low power loss resulting in efficiency of current flow despite higher frequencies allowing coil and capacitor to be reduced in size. This reduction in size comes in handy at a time when fuel efficiency and auto emission regulations come into force so as to make cars more aerodynamic.

toyota new semiconductor technology (2)Ever since the launch of Toyota Prius gasoline electric HV in 1997, Toyota has been keen to develop power semiconductors and ways to enhance fuel efficiency on hybrid vehicles. Toyota has worked along with Denso in this direction with research being conducted at the Toyota Central R&D Labs.

SiC allows for better efficiency as compared to just the use of Silicon. It has proved its mettle on board prototype hybrid vehicles and test drives on test courses have confirmed fuel efficiency of 5% under JC08 test cycles.

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