Toyota’s New Semiconductor Makes Today’s Prius Hybrid Look Like a Gas Guzzler

By: | June 17th, 2014

Buying an eco-friendly Toyota Prius Hybrid in the future may become more appealing to you. The company has announced a new diamond-like chip that carries electricity through the car’s drivetrain without losing energy, capable of boosting fuel efficiency by upwards of 10%.

Replacing the current technology, and the major factor in Toyota’s new technology, is a new semiconductor made of silicon carbide.

Silicon carbide is the synthetic version of the extremely rare mineral moissanite and is tougher, smaller and much more efficient than technology Toyota is currently using. Diamonds rival moissanite as two of the world’s hardest materials.

Toyota figured out that silicon carbide is the perfect semiconductor for use in high-temperature/voltage devices such as electric and hybrid vehicles and decided to go all in on silicon carbide which not only increases efficiency but also reduces the size of the power control unit by 80%.

According to Toyota, the semiconductors will offer “superior characteristics such as one-tenth the electrical power loss and ten times the drive frequency.”

Toyota says its test vehicles are showing 5% improvement in fuel efficiency but the technology is still in development. The plan is to commercialize the semiconductor around 2020.

Michael Cooney

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