Jaguar Land Rover has signed a deal with Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturer that produces silicon carbide chips. The deal will supply chips for the inverters in the coming electric Land Rovers, and the chips will be produced in Wolfspeed’s brand-new facility in Marcy, New York.
Wolfspeed, which rebranded from Cree in 2021 and was known on the consumer side for its Cree LED lighting division that it spun off in 2020, opened the facility in Marcy this April, as an early step in moving semiconductor manufacturing to America on a larger scale. Marcy, outside of Utica (and about an hour and a half away from Atlantic British’s Clifton Park, NY headquarters), is now looking at new opportunities as a central piece of an East Coast semiconductor industry.
The Wolfspeed factory is the largest 200mm silicon carbide semiconductor factory in the world, supporting 614 jobs and coming in at $1 billion to build. The Marcy facility produces the finished semiconductor product, but Wolfspeed has already invested $1.3 billion in Chatham County, North Carolina for another facility that will produce the silicon carbide wafers themselves to then ship to New York to get installed in the full assembly.
These next-generation semiconductors allow for next-generation electric vehicles to go further than EVs of today, helping to eliminate "range anxiety" which holds so many people back from buying them. The chips will be used in the inverters, which transfer the power from the battery to the electric motors. The efficiencies built into the Wolfspeed chips will allow upcoming JLR vehicles to have a longer range. The factory was opened by Lucid, an EV manufacturer that is touting 500-plus mile ranges using Wolfspeed semiconductors, and a range like that puts an electric Range Rover in line with the range of the internal combustion versions.
The first vehicle to get the new technology will be the all-electric version of the 2024 Range Rover. Starting in 2025, Jaguar will be an all-electric brand, with a completely new (and unreleased) fleet of vehicles. There will also be electric-only versions of the Discovery and Defender product families, as well as presumably some of the non-flagship Range Rover models.
Wolfspeed is no stranger to JLR, as their chips have been used in the Jaguar TCS Racing team, an all-electric Formula E team that has raced for five seasons. Surely, many of the lessons from that project will trickle down into the consumer JLR vehicles.
JLR’s Reimagine strategy focuses on becoming an electric-first company, with a goal of total carbon neutrality across the company, vehicles, and supply chain by 2039. Though Jaguar will become an EV marque in 2025, Land Rover will retain some internal combustion engines, mild hybrids, and plug-in hybrids to adapt to the variety of global markets in which their vehicles are sold.
Get the ROVERLOG Newsletter Delivered to your inbox
Sign up and receive once every 2 weeks