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Toyota Counting on Diamond-Like Material to boost MPG of its Hybrids

New semiconductor chips could yield 10% better fuel economy.

by on May.21, 2014

Toyota believes new silicon carbide chips could improve the fuel economy of the Prius hybrid up to 10%.

It’s nearly as hard as a diamond, something that’s made silicon carbide a popular material for everything from abrasives to car brakes and even bulletproof vests. But Toyota thinks it’s found an alternative application that could yield huge benefits in hybrid vehicles, such as the popular Prius model.

By replacing silicon-only semiconductors in hybrid power control units, or PCUs, Toyota and partner Denso Corp. believe they can improve the fuel economy of vehicles like the Prius by as much as 10%.

Efficient Use of Your Time!

The maker says it will begin testing the new system on public roads in Japan “within a year.” It says it has already achieved a 5% increase in mileage in test vehicles but believes it can make additional gains before the technology is commercialized by 2020. (more…)