Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it has developed a new silicon carbide power semiconductor that has achieved better fuel efficiency for hybrid vehicles.
With the new semiconductor that Toyota developed jointly with Denso Corp. and Toyota Central R&D Labs. Inc., it has improved fuel efficiency by over 5 percent in test driving compared with vehicles which use silicon-only power semiconductors, the automaker said.
Toyota, the world's top-selling automaker and the pioneer in hybrid vehicles, is aiming to improve hybrid vehicle fuel efficiency by 10 percent and reduce the size of power control units by 80 percent eventually.
It is also planning to begin test driving of vehicles with the new power control units using the silicon carbide semiconductor on public roads in Japan within a year.
Since an estimated 20 percent of the total electrical loss for hybrid vehicles is associated with power semiconductors, improving power semiconductor efficiency is a key to boosting fuel efficiency for hybrid vehicles, the company said.
Toyota said it may consider outsourcing the production of the new semiconductor in the future when the product is ready for mass production.
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