General Motors has announced that it has partnered with Wolfspeed to secure its supply of silicon carbide power devices for its future battery-electric vehicle lineup. Wolfspeed’s components will be used by GM to develop more efficient propulsion systems for its EVs. These parts will be used specifically for the integrated power electronics for the Ultium drive units on upcoming vehicles. Part of the agreement will also see General Motors participate in Wolfspeed’s Assurance of Supply Program. This will ensure that the company gets a secure, sustainable domestic source of materials for GM’s vehicle production.
“Our agreement with Wolfspeed represents another step forward in our transition to an all-electric future,” said Shilpan Amin, GM Vice President of Global Purchasing and Supply Chain. “Customers of EVs are looking for greater range, and we see silicon carbide as an essential material in the design of our power electronics to meet customer demand. Working with Wolfspeed will help ensure we can deliver on our vision of an all-electric future.” Greg Lowe, CEO of Wolfspeed, notes that its partnership with GM represents a step forward in the move toward an all-electric future and contributes to improving next-generation powertrains. “This agreement ensures long-term supply of silicon carbide to GM to help them deliver on their promise of an all-electric future,” added Lowe.
Wolfspeed will produce the silicon carbide components at its Mohawk Valley facility in Marcy, New York. This is the second-largest silicon carbide fabrication facility and will eventually expand to meet increasing demand as the production of battery-electric vehicles grows worldwide. Silicon carbide is emerging as the auto industry’s standard semiconductor as it undergoes full electrification. The material allows for the creation of more efficient powertrains with a longer range while minimizing weight and providing better use of space. This will also allow automakers like GM to make more vehicles that can support 400 to 800-volt charging architectures, enabling them to take advantage of high-powered DC chargers being installed across the country.
GM is one of several automotive companies that has doubled down on electrification as the way of the future. By 2035, it will have a fully electric lineup across its five brands, which includes BrightDrop, a new division building commercial vans based on the Ultium platform. The initial salvo of Ultium-based vehicles like the Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV pickup and SUV should be among the first to get these new silicon carbide components. All three vehicles are expected to arrive sometime within the next two years with the Hummer models being the most powerful ones. There’s at least one version of each that can travel over 300 miles of range or more per charge.
Following the two Hummer variants and the Lyriq will be a Cadillac sedan called the Celestiq and an all-electric Chevrolet Silverado. The latter is aimed directly at the Ford F-150 Lightning and has been teased earlier this year. GM also confirmed that the Silverado EV has four-wheel steering. Not much is known regarding the Cadillac Celestiq other than it’s a flagship four-door sedan. That means it will be around the same size as the Tesla Model S and will likely have the longest range considering it will have the most aerodynamic shape. Other vehicles on the Ultium platform include the BrightDrop EV600, a delivery van that can travel 250 miles per charge and has been optimized for urban missions.