While batteries and motors tend to get most of the press, a vehicle’s power electronics is just as important to the overall efficiency of a powertrain, and thus to its range and performance.
International automotive supplier Continental, which produces power electronics components for five European automakers, has announced that its next-generation system will enter series production in August.
“The third generation of our power electronics is six times more powerful than the first generation,” says Axel Weber, Head of Power Electronics Development. “This means that it can operate an engine six times as powerful. The system’s weight has also been reduced from around 12 kg originally to around 8 kg today.” The system’s price per kW has also decreased, and development time has been shortened.
“The currently slightly muted euphoria regarding electromobility will not prevent electrified drives from playing an important role on the automotive market in the long term,” says Dr. Bernd Mahr, Head of Continental’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle Business Unit. “Regarding electrified drives, we will see a stronger focus on two market sectors in the future. One of these is plug-in hybrid vehicles. The second field is vehicles with hybrid systems based on 48 V, because this new technology can be integrated very easily into the architecture of conventionally powered vehicles, and leads to considerable fuel savings.” Continental plans to launch its “48 Volt Eco Drive” system as early as 2016.
Continental and other suppliers are providing power electronics for a growing range of different types of vehicles. “The new system generation will enter series production in the summer in plug-in hybrids. But it can also be used in all-electric vehicles as well as in all vehicle segments right up to powerful sports cars,” says Axel Weber.
Source: Continental AG