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In this paper, static and switching characteristics of a 1200 V 4H-silicon carbide (SiC) bipolar junction transistor (BJT) at a bus voltage of 600 V are reported for the first time. Comparison was made between the SiC BJT and a 1200 V Si insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT). The experimental data show that the SiC BJT has much smaller conduction and switching losses than the Si IGBT. The SiC BJT also shows an extremely large reverse bias safe operation area, and no second breakdown was observed. This removes one of the most unattractive aspects of the BJT. The results prove that, unlike Si BJTs, BJTs in 4H-SiC are good competitors for Si IGBTs.