Toyota is testing out a new technology that it hopes will improve efficiency in its hybrid vehicles.
The brand will begin testing silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors this year on the streets of Japan. Every hybrid uses a power control unit that houses a power semiconductor, a part that currently accounts for about 20 percent of a hybrid vehicle’s total electrical loss. Toyota says that the SiC semiconductors allow energy to flow more freely, resulting in less loss.
Toyota will install the SiC components into a Camry hybrid prototype as well as a passenger bus that is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Over the next year, Toyota will track power usage along with driving speeds, driving patterns and conditions such as outside temperatures to see if the new technology reduces electrical loss.
The Japanese automaker says the goal of the trial is to put the SiC technology into practical use as soon as possible.
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