Looking to wring out more fuel efficiency in its hybrids, Toyota has developed a silicon-carbide wafer semiconductor that could boost efficiency up to 10 percent.
Automotive News reports the semiconductor has already bestowed a 5 percent improvement in test units, with the goal of bringing the new technology to market by 2020. The potential for 10 percent increases in hybrid fuel efficiency occurs due to less energy being lost under regenerative braking, and less energy being used to power the semiconductor in the first place, whose design enables an 80 percent decrease in size from current semiconductors.
The only obstacle to bringing the tech to market is cost, which the automaker says is “an order of magnitude” higher than regular silicon wafers. In addition, silicon carbide is difficult and costly to turn into wafers, being one of the hardest materials found in the world to date.
The new semiconductors are being developed in-house with help from Toyota Central R&D Labs and supplier Denso, and will be applicable in both hybrid and EV vehicles.