In our third and final interview with Continental while at this year’s commercial show at Hanover, Matthew Beecham talked with Wolfgang Gutbrod, Head of the commercial vehicles customer segment Business Unit Engine Systems.

Could you tell us about Continental’s Engine Systems business?

Our Engine Systems business is responsible for engine control systems and after-treatment systems for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Our CV business brings together experience from a number of different companies such as Motorola and Siemens VDO where the focus is on electronic only for medium and heavy trucks, and on the other side passenger car fuel injection technology on the gasoline and diesel side. Following a period of merger and consolidation activity, we are aiming to realise synergies between passenger car and commercial vehicle technology in order to win new business.  

In terms of your fuel injection technology, what is your focus?

We are focusing 100 percent on our Piezo technology. This technology offers advantages like fast cloning and opening, stability and closed coupled injection. With our Piezo technology, we can utilise that into light duty and later on into medium duty applications.

We also expect the market to increase pressure.  We are currently at around 2,000 bar at light duty applications but there is a clear target, at least for mid-term, to achieve 2,500 bar.  At 2,500 bar seems to be the right compromise between combustion advantages and higher torque request for the pump.  As far as heavy duty is concerned, we see more amplified conveyer systems in the market place.

I believe that Continental is using Hanover to present some new solutions for exhaust gas after-treatment in commercial vehicles, in particular a liquid cooled version of its blue injectors for heavy truck applications. In what ways does this innovation improve engine efficiency?

The SCR aftertreatment system decreases the NOx emission but allows us to bring the engine into a different mode which then decreases the fuel consumption. The liquid cooled injector is able to run at higher temperatures which make the SCR system more efficient.

How do you support your commercial vehicle customers?

We supply our customers as needed:  on the one side we offer turnkey solutions (in cooperation with our joint venture EMITEC) on the other side we deliver only components if the customer decides to make the system integration by himself. There we especially supply electronics only with basic software and optional function support.

We are seeing increasingly stringent emission legislation introduced leading to the exhaust after-treatment system becoming perhaps more complex, particularly for diesel engines. What lies ahead for diesel aftertreatment systems?

With regard to SCR, we have a state of the art technology. The future will be to improve this technology regarding cost, weight etc. There might be a slight adaption of the emission legislation with a higher focus on NO² which means of course new algorithms will be necessary which needs additional /new sensors. 

Yet these after-treatment systems are adding cost. How do you temper that to meet legislation and yet contain costs?

With the introduction of SCR aftertreatment systems, system costs are increased on the one side.  On the other side with this technology you can achieve improved fuel consumption.  With this after-treatment solution you will get your money back with high mileages in the commercial vehicle environment. Becoming a mainstream aftertreatment technology volumes will increase. More competitors will be available and that again will drive developing technology to decrease costs.