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Continental has signed an agreement with Chinese automotive supplier and battery manufacturer CITC (Sichuan Chengfei Integration Technology Co., Ltd.) for setting up a joint venture company. The new company will deal with the development and production of 48-volt battery systems for electric vehicles in China. The joint venture company will produce a battery platform that is suitable for all conventional 48-volt topologies (P0, P2, Px) up to 25kW. While China Aviation Lithium Battery Co, Ltd, a CITC company will supply the battery cells for the joint venture, Continental will contribute its battery management system including the basic software.
The joint venture will deal with the integration of the components in the battery systems, customer-specific development work and integration of the systems in vehicles. The joint venture will also cater to customers who require only individual components of the 48-volt system, like wither the battery management system or the battery cells. Continental will have a 60 per cent stake in the joint venture while CITC will have 40 per cent of the shares. The company will operate not only in China and other Asian markets but will also cater to customers in Europe and North America. Based on current plans, the company will be based in Changzhou, near Shanghai, and it is expected to become operational by mid 2018. The long-term goal is for the joint venture company to become one of the top manufacturers of 48-volt battery systems on the global scene.
Through establishment of this joint venture, continental is venturing into the 48-volt battery systems. The company is hoping to strengthen its position as a system provider in the fast-growing mild hybrid market. Through this partnership with CITC, Continental will gain access to the highly important Chinese market. CITC also has the potential to strengthen Continental’s bid to become one of the key players on the global scene in the production of battery cells.
CITC’s subsidiary CALB has extensive expertise in the development and production of lithium-ion cells. The two partners have estimated that by 2025, about 14 percent of all new vehicles on a global basis will have worldwide will have a mild hybrid system.
Continental already has a 48-volt system which offers functions that were earlier available only in the more expensive high-voltage hybrid systems like a very fast engine start, coasting and effective recuperation of braking energy.
This technology will supplement the 12-volt on-board power supply with a 48-volt on-board power supply having three components:
• a 48-volt lithium-ion battery, which will play a key role in efficient recuperation of braking energy
• an electric motor having an integrated AC/DC converter instead of the generator;
• a DC/DC converter for exchange of energy between the two on-board power supplies.
Testing of Continental’s 48-volt system in real driving scenarios showed that it can reduce average fuel consumption and CO2emissions by up to 21 per cent in gasoline engines and by up to 9 per cent in diesels.
The 48-volt system can significantly reduce NOx emissions in diesel engines. The Continental system first entered production in 2017 in models from Renault and Audi. Further market launches for diesel and gasoline engines are planned in Europe, China and North America.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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