Continental's low voltage, high-performance '48V High-Power Technology' paves the way for 48V full-hybrid vehicles.
Continental claims it has achieved something which was 'impossible' until now, with its latest innovation of the 48-volt electrification technology. While 48V systems are referred to as 'mild' hybrids, due to the fact that they can't support an electric-only drive, they are mainly used to support the ICE in order to reduce fuel consumption by providing a boost during acceleration and recovery of excess kinetic energy during deceleration.
Termed as the '48-Volt High-Power Technology', Continental has developed a full-hybrid powertrain using this tech which offers more power & efficiency at a lower voltage supply. For a hybrid vehicle to drive using just electricity, the electric motor requires high-voltage technology, which can produce up to 800 volts. However, the new High-Power solution from Continental is able to offer similar features of a high-voltage electric drive, but without the actual & complex high-voltage system.
The gains? Well, Continental claims that the new technology can reduce fuel consumption & CO2 emissions by up to 20 per cent (when compared to the ICE counterparts) and is also cheaper to produce than the conventional high-voltage systems currently in use. This will also help in bringing down the overall production costs of hybrid vehicles. Also, the electric motor is no longer placed in front of the combustion engine on the crankshaft. Instead, it is placed behind it, between the combustion engine and transmission. This has also led to a significant reduction in losses incurred by the electric drive system during kinetic energy recovery.
The 48-volt high-power system consists of a new, water-cooled electric motor which features a peak power output of 30 kW (40bhp). Due to the doubling of the output, the system can offer speeds of up to 90km/h in electric-only mode. Further, as the new motor carries over the dimensions of the previous design, there is no need to redesign surrounding components.
Continental will be showcasing this new 48V High-Power Technology at the upcoming IAA 2019 in Germany, fitted to a Ford Focus test vehicle.