Wolfspeed sees green-tech subsidies in the European Union as on par with what the U.S. is offering to attract production of semiconductors important for electric cars.
Tax breaks and other incentives under the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act and support in the European Union are similar, Wolfspeed CEO, Gregg Lowe, said.
The U.S. chipmaker is ramping up a wafer factory for silicon-carbide chips in New York state and pushing forward with plans for a $3 billion semiconductor plant in Germany’s Saarland state with supplier ZF Friedrichshafen.
Wolfspeed plans to start chip production in Germany in 2027, subject to commitments on subsidies amounting to about a quarter of the investment. Lowe expects a go-ahead in the coming months.
Wolfspeed and ZF plan to set up a 300-million-euro ($331 million) research and development center for silicone-carbide chips in the Nuremberg region in Bavaria, the companies announced Wednesday.
“The advantages for us in Germany are the readily available workforce and getting an international manufacturing footprint,” Lowe said Wednesday on the sidelines of an event in Munich.
“Our German automotive customers are also excited to have a wafer fab around the corner.”
Executives have hailed U.S. President Joe Biden’s $370 billion plan to support industries cutting carbon emissions as much easier to access, leaving Europe and its cumbersome processes lagging.
Northvolt, the Swedish battery maker, has delayed a decision to go forward with a plant in Germany to potentially give precedence to an expansion into North America.
For Wolfspeed, the EU’s funding labyrinth is outweighed by good access to a skilled workers in Saarland, Lowe said. The western state is traditionally strong in carmaking with Ford, Robert Bosch and Schaeffler present.