With Contiental’s 48V High-Power technology, this hybrid system now offers the same functionality as previous full hybrid vehicles. The key component here is a new, water-cooled electric motor with a high degree of efficiency whose peak output has been doubled to 30 kW compared to the previous system. This makes it possible to drive purely electrically up to a speed range of 80 to 90 km/h.
The developers succeeded in doubling the power while retaining the diameter of the electric motor. Overall, the installation space required by the 48V High-Power Technology is only slightly larger than that of the previous system. The weight also changed only minimally.
However, the electric motor is not the only new component in the 48V High-Power technology. The integrated power electronics also work with a new technology that now allows significantly higher currents to be processed. The innovations of the new 48V High-Power technology lead to an electrical efficiency that exceeds that of the previous system by almost 10 %. And for recuperation, the new technology is much more effective than before, as the losses incurred have been halved.
The 48V High-Power technology thus offers all the advantages of a conventional full hybrid vehicle with a high-voltage system, i.e. optimised driving efficiency with lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. In addition, there is another argument in favor of Continental's new hybrid solution: the comparatively low costs - which enable OEMs to develop low-cost hybrid vehicles and achieve a high level of market penetration. The reason: A 48V system requires considerably less insulation protection effort than a comparable vehicle with high-voltage technology; in addition, the electrical components are more compact and less expensive. The design can also be much more compact because the spacing between the individual components can be smaller than is necessary with high-voltage technology.
Continental is demonstrating the new 48V High-Power technology in a Ford Focus test vehicle. "With the new hybrid system, we are bringing out what is currently technologically possible in a 48V system," says Stephan Rebhan. The technology is ready for series production.
In view of the new WLTP cycle approval regulations that have been in force in Germany and other countries since September 1, 2018, a further step in the development of 48V High-Power technology could be taken: If the system is supplemented by on-board charging technology and a larger battery, even a plug-in hybrid drive with 48V technology would be possible. Because in order to benefit from state subsidies for plug-in vehicles, the central criterion is not the ability to drive purely electrically, but generally the conversion of electrically stored energy into traction. The decisive factor for various support measures is whether CO2 emissions can be reduced below 50 g per kilometre.