Minutes after announcing that Wolfspeed would be investing in a massive new manufacturing facility in Chatham County, CEO Gregg Lowe explained to WRAL’s Debra Morgan why the company chose to locate this new factory in North Carolina and what that distinguishes the technology that will be built there. .
North Carolina pays $1 billion price tag to land Wolfspeed factory on New York bid
Lowe called the transformation from silicon chips to silicon carbide ones a one-of-a-kind innovation, saying Wolfspeed is poised to lead this revolution.
“It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, because we’re trying to do some unprecedented things,” he said.
The new chips will increase efficiency specifically for electric vehicles, allowing them to go faster, recharge 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 slots,” Lowe said.
The new plant will benefit from an educated workforce. Lowe cited local universities as a draw.
Where will Wolfspeed find and train new workers? NC A&T to help
“We’re going to need engineers, technicians and people with that technical background. It gives us a really good idea of how we’re going to grow the workforce over the next decade,” he said.
The company has pledged to create more than 1,800 jobs paying $77,000 per year on average, a number Lowe expects to easily achieve.
“The demand for electric vehicles and the adoption of electric vehicles are happening faster than expected. The adoption of silicon carbide inside electric vehicles is happening faster than expected, and customers who choose to join us instead that others are happening more than expected. So you have those three trends. That gives us a huge tailwind,” he said.
Demand is so high that Wolfspeed won’t waste any time.
“We announced today,” Lowe said Friday. “We will be at this site on Monday. We’re going to take the weekend to take a little break here, but on Monday we’re going to start innovating and we plan to have the structure built and start initial manufacturing there in January 2024.”
Lowe says electric vehicles are just the beginning of silicon carbide chips.
“We’re very, very optimistic about the future,” he said, noting applications for personal watercraft, drones and other aerial vehicles and inventions yet to be discovered.
“I think this tidal wave is coming and it’s unstoppable,” he said.