Continental, Oerlikon collaborate on HEV and EV powertrains

May 28, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Swiss technology group Oerlikon and the German automotive electronics supplier Continental will jointly develop and sell integrated motor-transmission units for hybrid electric and electric vehicles. The goal of the collaboration is to further improve the efficiency of electric drives through the holistic optimization of all components involved - including power electronics.

One of the most important design goals for HEVs and EVs is energy efficiency. The path towards this goal leads through the overall optimization of the systems and includes mechanical as well as electrical aspects. For instance, the electric energy can better be transformed into propulsion if the transmission-ratio spread as well as the exact number and position of switching points are well tuned to the characteristics of the electric motor. Thus, a perfectly tuned motor-transmission combo does not only provide the best energy balance but also the best costs and weight as a system.

In a joint effort, Continental and Oerlikon - through its Torino-based Graziano unit which focuses on design and production of transmissions and related software - will combine their respective expertise in transmission design and power electronics. Continental will provide the entire range of systems and modules for the electric powertrain. This includes all types of motors, power electronics and batteries. Through the move, Continental will be able to offer entire powertrains where hitherto the company only could provide motors and electronics. Besides jointly developing the motor-transmission units, the companies also plan to market them jointly. Which one of the two partners will assume the role of the system provider will be decided on a case-to-case basis.