Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Chipmaker Cree Changes Name to Wolfspeed, Strikes Deal With GM Over Battery Tech

Chipmaker Wolfspeed Inc. on Monday announced an agreement with General Motors to supply silicon carbide power tools for future electric vehicle programs, as Wolfspeed changed its name from Cree Inc.

Both companies said Wolfspeed technology will be used in the power electronics integrated into GM’s Altium drive system for upcoming electric vehicles.

Shares of Cree Inc. previously traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, and the newly renamed North Carolina-based Wolfspeed will now trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “WOLF”.

This change comes as Wolfspeed has re-established its business in the growing market for electric cars. The company once focused on making LED chips for lighting, but last year sold that business to Smart Global Holdings Inc. for $300 million.

Wolfspeed makes chips out of silicon carbide, which is more energy-efficient than standard silicon for tasks like transmitting power from electric car batteries to the motors that spin the wheels. This helps in increasing the range of the vehicle. Tesla Inc. was an early adopter of the chips, and other automakers are following suit.

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But making silicon carbide chips is difficult because the raw crystalline material is grown in special furnaces and processed differently from the standard silicon in chips.

Wolfspeed has worked with silicon carbide for 30 years. In addition to manufacturing its own silicon carbide chips, Wolfspeed makes about 60 percent of the world’s raw silicon carbide material and supplies it to some of its competitors, such as Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics and ON Semiconductor.

Wolfspeed makes chips in two small factories in North Carolina and is building a larger one in New York that will go online in about five months, the company says.

Wolfspeed chief executive Greg Lowe told Reuters in an interview that carmakers are “looking for supply assurance”.

by Stephen Nellis

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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