DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham-based Wolfspeed will be President Joe Biden's first stop on Tuesday as part of the Investing in America tour.
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"When you get a phone call in the middle of the day that says we'd like the President to come visit, what do you think?" Wolfspeed CEO Gregg Lowe said. "The answer is yes, so we're super excited about it."
Biden's visit comes amid a national drive towards clean energy. The President signed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which aims to help the U.S. semiconductor industry keep up in global competition.
"I think the technology of silicon carbide as it overtakes silicon, the U.S. actually has a leadership position because we're obviously a U.S. company," Lowe said. "So maintaining that leadership position in this really crucial technology I think is going to be really important."
As the world's largest silicon carbide factory, Lowe hopes to showcase their work in Durham, and more to come with their expansion in Chatham County, which Lowe said will allow more than 10 times the output of the Durham facility and bring more than a thousand new jobs.
"We're preparing the ground right now for the building (in Siler City)," Lowe said. "We intend to start construction of the building later this year, and we should have the first phase of the building complete sometime in the first quarter of next year. That's a whole lot of giddy-up from where we were just a couple months ago when we announced this thing."
Silicon carbide is essential to accelerating the adoption of EVs, which Lowe sees in his vision in North Carolina.
"We're at an exciting time in the automobile industry as we move from the internal combustion engine to the electric vehicle, and we're a core part of that, because silicon carbide helps those electric vehicles go further with the same amount of battery but also charge faster," Lowe said. "Our tagline inside the company is that the internal combustion engine is called the "ICE," and we're helping end the ICE age."