Hitting the streets of Japan this year will be a new technology from Toyota. Toyota will test its new silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors in both a Camry hybrid prototype and a fuel cell bus. The SiC power semiconductor could lead to significantly improved energy efficiency in hybrids and other types of electrified vehicles.
Power semiconductors are used in power control units (PCSs) in hybrids and other types of vehicles with electric powertrains. PCUs help to deliver electricity to the motors and play a crucial role in recharging the battery with energy recovered from braking. Currently, power semiconductors use about 20% of a vehicle’s electricity, meaning that if these devices are more efficient, they could significantly increase a vehicle’s powertrain efficiency.
The Camry hybrid prototype will drive the streets of Toyota City, Japan for about one year. During that time, Toyota will gather data from this car and compare it to vehicles equipped with current silicon semiconductors to see how much more efficient the SiC power semiconductor is. Toyota will also gather data from the fuel cell bus, which is in regular commercial operation in Toyota City.
If the tests are successful, Toyota says it wants to put the new semiconductor technology “into practical use as soon as possible.”
Hybrid vehicles are a great way to save fuel. Stop by Lancaster Toyota and check out our lineup of Toyota hybrids.