Minutes after announcing that Wolfspeed will invest in a huge new manufacturing plant in Chatham CountyCEO Greg Lowe spoke to Debra Morgan of WRAL about why the company chose the location of this new plant in North Carolina and what distinguishes the technology that will be built there.
Lowe described the shift from chips made of silicon to those made of silicon carbide as a once-in-a-generation innovation, saying that Wolfspeed is ready to lead that revolution.
“It’s definitely not for the faint of heart because we’re trying to do unprecedented things,” he said.
The new chips will increase efficiency specifically for electric cars, allowing them to go faster, charge faster and travel farther on a single charge.
“I can add 300 miles of extra range in 20 minutes of charging at one of these fast charging locations,” Lowe said.
The new plant will benefit from an educated workforce. Lowe cited local universities as a draw.
“We are going to need engineers, technicians and people with this technical background. It gives us a really good sense of how to develop the workforce over the next decade.”
The company has committed to creating more than 1,800 jobs that pay an average of $77,000 a year, a figure Lowe expects to hit it easily.
“Demand and adoption of electric vehicles is happening faster than people expected. The adoption of silicon carbide within electric vehicles is happening faster than anyone expected, and customers who choose to go with us versus others are happening more than we expected. So you have these three trends,” he said. Huge tail wind.
The demand is so great that Wolfspeed won’t waste any time.
“We announced today,” Lowe said on Friday. “We will be on this site on Monday. We will take the weekend to take a break here, but on Monday we will start laying the foundation stone and expect to have the structure already built and start initial manufacturing there in January of 2024.”
Lowe says electric cars are just the beginning of silicon carbide chips.
“We are very optimistic about the future,” he said, referring to applications for personal watercraft, drones and other aerial vehicles and yet-to-be-discovered inventions.
“I think the tidal wave is coming, and it can’t be stopped,” he said.
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