Toyota recently announced that it has manufactured a semiconductor chip that could improve the fuel efficiency of the OEM's hybrids, such as the Prius, by as much at 10 percent. The chips, which were produced using a silicon carbide power semiconductor, will be used in the automotive power control unit.
According to the automaker, the chip has already shown a 5 percent improvement in fuel efficiency in test vehicles. Toyota aims to commercialize the technology by 2020. The chips are made from carbide, one of the hardest materials in nature, and, theoretically, have superior characteristics such as one-tenth the electrical power loss and 10 times the drive frequency. Toyota said the chips would also allow it to reduce the size of current automotive power control units by 80 percent.