Continental’s earlier hybrid options didn’t win over automakers as a result of they had been too „unique,” the provider’s powertrain boss, Jose Avila, mentioned.
The corporate responded by teaming up with Schaeffler to create a light hybrid primarily based on 48-volt expertise. The reasonably priced, easy-to-adapt answer, which Continental says improves gas financial system by 20 %, debuted in Europe on Renault’s new Scenic and Grand Scenic minivans late final 12 months. Continental predicts international manufacturing of 48-volt hybrids will rise to four million by 2020 and 25 million by 2030.
Avila, 61, talked concerning the expertise with Automotive Information Europe Managing Editor Douglas A. Bolduc.
Q: Why did Continental enter the 48-volt hybrid sector?
A: A couple of years in the past we had been fighting the truth that we invested rather a lot in electrification and hybridization, and one way or the other the top merchandise had been seen as unique, low-volume options. Due to this fact, we determined to spend money on reasonably priced hybridization. I feel it was a great wager that we took.
The purpose was to create one thing for high-volume automobiles, proper?
Continental’s motivation after doing all these kind of low-volume hybridization workouts was to get on a car the place you have got excessive quantity.
Describe your 48-volt system.
It’s a gentle hybrid. It shops power. It provides power again. It supplies almost all of the performance of a full hybrid.
How lengthy will it take for the system to turn out to be worthwhile?
We have now enterprise on three continents, and we’re including manufacturing strains on all three.
I hope that by round 2019 the volumes are respectable and present a bent to proceed to develop.
However you do not wish to go so far as saying worthwhile, proper?
The problem is that you just’re investing rather a lot in product strains. We do not report by product line. However the strains which can be absolutely utilized undoubtedly ought to be producing economically respectable margins.
When will demand stabilize?
Someplace round 2020 and 2021, hybrid and full-electric automobiles will probably be rising however they are going to stabilize. The shoppers will not be trying to hold revolutionizing this answer. Hopefully, we are able to then attain a candy spot with the applied sciences, after which you’ll be able to produce the identical base platform for a number of years.
Is the backlash in opposition to diesels boosting 48-volt hybrid curiosity?
After among the diesel struggles, there was some shifting towards gasoline to satisfy the longer term [CO2] fleet common. It will assist the implementation of 48-volt techniques. Many issues are beginning to come collectively.
Why is your first 48-volt system on a diesel model of the Renault Scenic as a substitute of a gasoline engine?
The 48-volt may also help each varieties of engines due to the way in which it really works, particularly the smaller engines. On the bigger engines and heavier automobiles, the diesel nonetheless has a bonus.
The Renault Scenic is a compact-sized automotive. Is that this the place we are going to see the vast majority of 48-volt techniques in Europe?
In Europe it is most likely beginning on C [compact] and D [midsize]. Within the subsequent decade it should most likely migrate into smaller platforms, however the system will probably be totally different, providing much less energy and fewer vary as a result of value sensitivity is a giant issue on this phase.
Schaeffler Chief Expertise Officer Peter Gutzmer thinks that within the subsequent 10 years, 48-volt techniques will account for almost all of hybrids. Do you agree?
You get fairly a little bit of performance for comparatively low price. That is the marvelous compromise of the system.
What sort of take charge do you count on? Will the 48-volt system be helped by the harder CO2 rules that begin to take impact in Europe in 2020?
What we’re seeing is a change in psychology. It will begin as an choice and the purchasers will monitor the take charge. As 2020 approaches, nonetheless, in lots of markets it may turn out to be a base product due to the necessity to cut back CO2. Some automakers are already saying that only a few vehicles bought in mature markets within the subsequent decade is not going to have some electrification. It’s potential that their total fleet will probably be electrified whether or not that be with 48-volt techniques to hybrids to full electrical vehicles.
Continental has invested closely on this system. Given the velocity at which new expertise is being launched, is there a threat that this answer will probably be surpassed earlier than you begin seeing a giant revenue?
Loads of elements are coming collectively associated to decreasing emissions. It isn’t simply electrification. Automakers additionally have to have stability. They can not reinvent the expertise each two years. It isn’t a great proposition for them or us as a result of the work is so complicated and so large.