Forward current-voltage (I-V) characteristics and non-equilibrium carrier lifetime, τ were measured in 4H-SiC pin diodes (10-kV rated, 100 μm base width). The τ value was found to be 3.7 μs at room temperature by measurements of open circuit voltage decay. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the above lifetime value is the highest reported for 4H-SiC. The forward voltage drops were measured to be 3.44 V at current density of 100 A/cm2 and 5.45 V at 1000 A/cm2 showing a very deep modulation of the blocking base by injected carriers. Diodes operated well at elevated temperatures up to 400oC. No essential forward degradation was detected after 300- A×min current stress at 400oC.