Major Japanese semiconductor manufacturer Renesas announced that it will double the output of semiconductors for the automotive industry with the restart of one of its closed plants.

Total investment in the project is JPY 90 billion ($703 million), Kallanish notes.

The company plans to restart production at its Kofu Factory, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. While the plant was closed in October 2014, Renesas intends to reopen the mill in 2024 as a 300-mm wafer fab capable of manufacturing power semiconductors.

Renesas especially anticipates rapid growth in demand from electric vehicles (EVs), and therefore plans to enhance its production capacity for power semiconductors such as IGBTs, in order to contribute toward decarbonization. Once the Kofu Factory reaches its mass production, the total production capacity of Renesas’ power semiconductors will double, it claims.

“We want to build a sustainable future where our semiconductor technology and solutions help make our lives easier,” said Renesas chief executive Hidetoshi Shibata. “This investment enables us to have our largest wafer fabrication line dedicated to power semiconductors, which are key to realizing decarbonization. We will continue to conduct necessary investments to enhance our in-house production capability while further strengthening ties with outsource partners.”

With the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s Strategy for Semiconductors in consideration, Renesas plans to conduct its investment within the year of 2022, while closely coordinating with the ministry.

Renesas returned to full production last July, following its plant fire in March 2021 (see Kallanish passim). It is the third-largest maker of automotive chips. Toyota, Nissan and Honda are among its biggest customers.

Earlier, the EU announced a €43 billion ($45 billion) plan to become a major chip producer, to ease dependency on Asian manufacturers of the components.

In 2022, global production of 4-6 million vehicles will be lost due to a lack of chips, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) says.