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Toyota experiments with new SiC power semiconductor technology

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Toyota will bring a brand new technology to the streets of Japan for testing this year using a Camry hybrid prototype and a fuel cell bus. The tests will evaluate the performance of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors, which could lead to significant efficiency improvements in hybrids and other electric vehicles.

On January 9th, 2015, Toyota began collecting operating data from a fuel cell bus currently in regular commercial operation in Toyota City. The bus features SiC diodes in the fuel cell voltage step-up converter, which is used to control the voltage of electricity from the fuel cell stack. 

As for the Camry hybrid prototype, Toyota installed SiC power semiconductors (transistors and diodes) in the PCU's internal voltage step-up converter and the inverter that controls the motor. Data gathered will include PCU voltage and current as well as driving speeds, driving patterns, and conditions such as outside temperature.

Road testing of the Camry prototype will begin (primarily in Toyota City) in early February and will continue for about a year.

Data and expertise gained from testing will be reflected in future development, with the goal of putting the new SiC power semiconductors into practical use as soon as possible.