Continental has developed "super clean" 48 volt hybrid diesel vehicle technology which meets stringent RDE (real driving emissions) limits on CO2 and NOx. The first vehicle using this has already gone into production in Europe and a second will follow later this year

Continental has developed "super clean" 48 volt hybrid diesel vehicle technology which meets stringent RDE (real driving emissions) limits on CO2 and NOx. The first vehicle using this has already gone into production in Europe and a second will follow later this year

Continental, at the International Vienna Motor Symposium has shown a "super clean" 48 volt hybrid diesel vehicle, which meets stringent RDE (real driving emissions) limits on CO2 and NOx. The first vehicle using this technology has already gone into production in Europe and a second will follow later this year.

The supplier said this 48 volt diesel hybrid, with intelligent use of a combination of different technologies, "demonstrates the potential efficiencies achievable with this type of powertrain".

The clean diesel combines electrification based engine optimisation and an electrically heated catalyst integrated in the exhaust after-treatment system to achieve a 60% reduction in real-world NOx emissions and a simultaneous 2% reduction in CO2 emissions measured against the baseline Euro 6b vehicle.

"For [us], powertrain electrification will be key to shaping the future of mobility," said Kregg Wiggins, senior vice president, powertrain division, Continental North America.

"Whether with or without combustion engines, the focus must be on intelligently utilising the full potential of the vehicle as a holistic system. Connectivity, both in and beyond the vehicle, is one of a number of approaches offering important potential for reducing emissions and improving efficiency."

"This highlights the potential of our 48 volt technology. Particularly in Europe, a clear trend in this direction is already visible and customers in the US are expressing interest as well," added Juergen Wiesenberger, head of hybrid electric vehicles.

Continental said that, in addition to 48-volt 'Eco Drive' hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are also set to play an important role in the US and Europe.

Plug-in hybrids have enough electric range to cover typical short, everyday journeys in EV mode but also offer unrestricted overall driving range for longer journeys such as day trips and holidays.

High voltage technology is a key enabler for electric mobility (EVs and PHEVs), the tier one supplier believes.

"For the foreseeable future, the lead market in this sector will continue to be China. Continental is helping to meet the electrification needs of the Chinese volume production segment with market-specific solutions. These include the highly compact EMR3 powertrain module, which was developed specifically to meet the requirements of the Chinese market."

The "fully validated" powertrain module with reduction gearbox and power electronics is an electric drivetrain which can be integrated in the vehicle with minimum effort by automakers, Continental claims.

"This scalable platform product requires only minimal adaptation prior to installation in the vehicle – for example modification of the mounting points and coolant connections. The combination of compact dimensions, low weight, high power and affordable costs makes this module an attractive electrification solution for mid-range models."

Continental's high-voltage portfolio also includes individual components such as a third generation of compact power electronics and electric motors in series production. 

The supplier said overall efficiency of a vehicle is increasingly determined by the degree of coordination between its individual subsystems.

"The extensive interdependence between these subsystems, and the potential for integration, creates the need for the kind of holistic competence in the area of electrical, mechanical, thermodynamic, chemical and controls engineering, which is a hallmark of Continental."

Integrated powertrain technology is key to ensuring efficient energy management. Such integration includes thermal management (mechatronics), battery management and electrically assisted exhaust gas after-treatment technology (with heated catalyst) capable of operating independently of engine load.

"All these elements have important implications for vehicle efficiency," the supplier said.

"Under the headline of connected Energy Management (cEM), Continental has developed a comprehensive, proactive system for integrated energy management at powertrain level. A number of new functions have now been added to this system, for example an Overtaking Assistant and a Speed Profiler make for more comfortable and relaxed driving in hybrid operating modes."