Continental puts first 48V hybrid drive into production

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Continental is to electrify one diesel variant of both the new Renault Scénic and Grand Scénic models. The system, offered as a hybrid assist, uses a 48V hybrid drive in production vehicles for the first time. Instead of the conventional starter generator, it uses an electric motor with a continuous output of 6kW (10kW temporary), which drives the crankshaft of the engine via a belt. The electric motors with integrated inverter will be supplied by the Continental plant in Nuremberg.

Since 2013 Continental engineers have been working together with Renault on a hybrid drive. With the new system, the auto maker aims to achieve combined fuel consumption of 3.5-liters of diesel per 100km. It also aims to reduce the new Scéni’s CO2 emissions to 92g/km, which is a new CO2 benchmark in this vehicle class.

Said José Avila, executive board member responsible for the powertrain division at Continental, “We are proud that we were able to secure Renault as the first customer for our innovative 48V drive. Other production launches for both diesel and gasoline vehicles are in the pipeline for Europe and other markets including China and North America.”

The 48V solution is relatively easy to combine with pre-existing internal combustion engines, as it does not require any more room than a conventional starter generator. This is thanks to the high power to size ratio of the electric motor, which does not contain rare earth materials. This is achieved by water cooling of the stator and the high efficiency of the induction motor. To save space, the inverter, which is needed to convert direct current stored in the battery into alternating current required for operation, is integrated in the housing lid of the motor.

In addition to designing the 48V drive for the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine in Renault vehicles, Continental is also working on other solutions. The electric motor can also be placed between the engine and transmission – allowing, for example, purely electric driving in inner city areas.

November 9, 2016

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards.

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