Minutes after announcing that Wolfspeed would invest in a massive new manufacturing facility in Chatham County, CEO Gregg Lowe spoke with WRAL’s Debra Morgan about why the company chose to locate this new facility in North Carolina and what differentiates the technology to be built there. .
North Carolina pays $1 billion to land Wolfspeed facility over bid from New York
Lowe called the transformation from chips made of silicon to those made of silicon carbide a once-in-a-generation innovation, and said Wolfspeed is poised to lead that revolution.
“It’s definitely not for the faint of heart because we’re trying to do things that are unique,” he said.
The new chips will increase efficiency specifically for electric vehicles, allowing them to go faster, charge faster and travel further 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 facility will benefit from an educated workforce. Lowe cited the local universities as a tie.
Where will Wolfspeed find, train new workers? NC A&T to help
“We will need engineers and technicians and people with a technical background. It just gives us a really good feel for how we’re going to develop the workforce over the next decade,” he said.
The company has committed to creating more than 1,800 jobs and paying $77,000 a year on average, a number Lowe expects to easily hit.
“The demand for electric cars and the adoption of electric cars is happening faster than people expected. The introduction of silicon carbide inside electric cars is happening faster than anyone expected, and customers choosing to go with us versus others is happening more than we expected. So you have the three the trends. That gives us a huge tailwind,” he said.
The demand is so great that Wolfspeed will not waste time.
“We made the announcement today,” Lowe said Friday. “We’ll be on that site on Monday. We’re going to take the weekend to take a little break here, but on Monday we’re going to start breaking ground and we expect to actually get the structure built and start the first production there in January 2024.”
Lowe says electric vehicles are just the beginning for the silicon carbide chips.
“We’re very, very optimistic about the future,” he said, noting applications for jet skis, drones and other aerial vehicles and inventions yet to be discovered.
“I think that tidal wave is coming, and it’s unstoppable,” he said.