Toyota is aiming to further enhance their hybrids with new developments aiming to improve efficiency by ten percent by using a new power semiconductor technology.

Semiconductors play a key role in hybrid vehicles as they govern the power flow between the battery and electric motor. Unfortunately, the power control units account for around 25% of the total electrical power loss with 20% coming from the semiconductors.

(L) Silicon and (R) SiC power semiconductor wafersUsing a new silicon carbide compound can substantially reduce the power loss within the semiconductors and also allow the power control unit to be reduced in size by a not inconsiderable 80%.

The technology has been developed in conjunction with Denso and aims to put it to the test this year. Although it is still eary days for the technology, it has already shown great potential and should make it’s way into the Toyota and Lexus lineup before too long.

PCU with (L) silicon and (R) SiC power semiconductorsSource; Toyota.

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