The move reflects the increasing demand for chips in the electromobility industry.
This week German technology giant Robert Bosch announced it intends to buy TSI Semiconductors, a US-based manufacturer of silicon carbide chips.
Based in Roseville, California, TSI produces application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs. Their focus is mainly on the mobility, telecommunications, energy, and life sciences industries. The company’s chips are made of silicon carbide (SiC), which can withstand higher voltage levels and temperatures than standard semiconductors.
Powering the e-car industry
SiC chips are widely used in systems such as electric vehicles that must operate reliably under demanding conditions. Indeed, Bosch’s announcement states that “electric cars as the driving force” behind the deal, as TSI’s SiC chips “enable greater range and more efficient recharging”.
“Over the next years, Bosch intends to invest more than 1.5 billion USD in the Roseville site and convert the TSI Semiconductors manufacturing facilities to state-of-the-art processes”, the company says.
Bosch says it is systematically reinforcing its semiconductor business because “the global boom and ramp-up of electromobility are resulting in huge demand for such special semiconductors”.
The expansion strategy also includes an upgrade to an existing silicon carbide fab the company operates in Reutlingen, Germany. Bosch says it will expand that facility’s capacity from 376,000 square feet of cleanroom space to more than 470,000 square feet.
Government subsidies play a decisive role
As for its US prospects, Bosch admits that “the full scope” of its planned investment “will be heavily dependent on federal funding opportunities available via the US CHIPS and Science Act as well as economic development opportunities within the State of California”.
Dr. Stefan Hartung, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, explained the primary purpose of the deal. “With the acquisition of TSI Semiconductors, we are establishing manufacturing capacity for SiC chips in an important sales market while also increasing our semiconductor manufacturing, globally. The existing clean-room facilities and expert personnel in Roseville will allow us to manufacture SiC chips for electromobility on an even larger scale”, he said.
Bosch and TSI Semiconductors have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the transaction. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.