Delphi has unveiled its 48-volt vehicle solution which it says could prove pivotal for automakers in meeting future emission regulations without sacrificing performance for customers. The company confirmed it is working with two global automakers and could see production within 18 months.

Showcased in a Honda Civic 1.6-liter diesel vehicle at the company’s annual investor update in London, Delphi’s 48-volt, mild hybrid technology enables “intelligent” electrification. The customised vehicle architecture maximises the use of the 48-volt electrification to minimise the demand on the engine, improving performance while lowering CO2 emissions by more than 10%.

“This is not only a significant step forward with reinventing the electrical architecture for dual voltage capability, it is also a triumph of software,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer. “This intelligent approach to vehicle power, wiring and data management will not only improve fuel efficiency, but will also enable a world-class driving experience while providing additional power for active safety systems and increased connectivity in the car.”

The solution allows automakers ample room to innovate without moving up to bigger engines to get more power. This technology leverages what engineers call an “e-charger” for improved vehicle launch. Delphi’s demonstration vehicle increases low-end torque an average 25%.

Speaking to just-auto earlier this week, Owens said he sees 48-volt hybrids as an affordable option for car companies to reduce emissions and raise fuel economy. “We think 48V offers 50-70% of the value of a full hybrid, but at around 30% of the cost,” he said. 

According to Owens, Delphi will have a competitive advantage in 48-volt, mild hybrid systems because of the company’s deep history in system design, proprietary engine management software and expertise in electrical architectures.

“Car buyers will buy 48-volt, mild hybrids for the added performance and car companies will offer the technology because it will help them comply with environmental regulations,” said Owens.

Forecasts suggest that hybrid volumes in automotive production will see a steep rise, boosted by 48-volt systems that deliver fuel economy benefits at lower cost than full hybrid models.  

“One out of every 10 cars sold globally in 2025 will be a 48-volt, mild hybrid,” said Owens. “To put that into perspective, that’s 11 million units a year – three times the volume of pickup trucks sold annually and more than half of the world’s anticipated diesel passenger car market.”

From an environmental viewpoint, the savings have great potential. It is estimated that 11 million 48-volt, mild hybrid vehicles would reduce oil consumption by four billion gallons (more than 15 billion liters) over the life of the fleet.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the impact of not burning that much fuel would equal the carbon sequestration of a forest the size of the state of New York or all of Iceland.

As for greenhouse gas emissions, it would have the same effect as conserving 124 million barrels of oil or not burning 57 billion pounds of coal, according to the DOE.

See also: Delphi CTO targets user cockpit experience

just-auto’s management briefing series looking at 48V mild hybrid technology and its implications:

just-auto management briefing: 48V mild hybrids (1)

just-auto management briefing: 48V mild hybrids (2)

just-auto  management briefing: 48V mild hybrids (3)