Continental enables full hybrid vehicles with 48V

July 02, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Continental enables full hybrid vehicles with 48V
In the run-up to the IAA 2019 motor show, supplier Continental is already providing some insight into the planned innovations. In the field of environmentally friendly drive systems, the company will be presenting a technology that enables the implementation of full hybrid vehicles with only 48V. Vehicles equipped in this way can drive purely electrically. Until now, 48V technology was only applicable to so-called mild hybrids without such a capability.

A full hybrid vehicle with 48V technology - previously this was not considered feasible. If a hybrid vehicle can also drive purely electrically, the electrical part of the drive usually uses high-voltage technology, i.e. high voltages of up to 800V. Continental has now succeeded in developing a 48V hybrid system with comparable features to a high-voltage electric drive: 48V High-Power technology.

The 48V High-Power system comprises the electric motor with integrated power electronics and battery. According to Continental, it reduces fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions by around 20%, compared with comparable vehicles with internal combustion engines. At the same time, the new 48V technology is significantly more cost-effective than the high-voltage systems used to date. "Our development goal was to use 48V technology to achieve a driving efficiency previously reserved for high-voltage systems. We have now achieved this," says Stephan Rebhan, Head of Technology & Innovation Powertrain. 

Previously, 48V systems were known as mild or so-called P0 hybrids. Fuel consumption is reduced primarily by supporting the combustion engine during acceleration (boosting) and by recovering excess kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration (recuperating). However, purely electric driving is not possible with such systems. In more recent development stages, the position of the 48V system in the powertrain has been modified. The electric motor was no longer positioned in front of the combustion engine on the crankshaft, but behind it - between the combustion engine and the transmission (P2 hybrid). The effect: fuel savings could be increased and in certain situations, such as driving through a 30 km/h zone, only the electric motor could move the vehicle across very limited distances.


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