At Auto Shanghai, supplier Continental is showing an extensive portfolio of solutions for electric mobility in China. Conti plans to significantly expand its production capacities in the Chinese cities of Tianjin and Changzhou in the coming years accordingly.
On display in Shanghai is an array of established and production-ready drive systems as well as new components extending from 48-volt mild hybrid applications and plug-in hybrid or sole and mild hybrids.
Continental considers its compact e-axle drive a highlight and “cornerstone” of the supplier’s e-mobility approach. The module is suitable for use in everything from compact to luxury vehicles, with a particular focus on the mid-range segment. The integrated axle drive system has a maximum power 150 kW and a compact, relatively lightweight design that integrates the electric motor, transmission and power electronics into a single unit. Continental intends to start production of the E-axle in Tianjin in the second half of 2019. “Production in Tianjin is an important part of our strategy for achieving an optimal positioning in the Chinese market. At the same time, this production site is also important for other markets,” says Gregoire Cuny, head of China Market at Powertrain.
Also in Tianjin, the supplier is aiming to produce its power electronics “starting some time in 2020,” reads the statement. Again these electronic systems target in a wide range of vehicles and Continental says it can supply the electric motor and power electronics either individually or in combination and thus offer customisation. Besides, the Group is also starting series production of thermal management systems for electric vehicles from the end of 2019.
Continental also plans to manufacture complete 48-volt systems with motor, control unit and battery in Changzhou via its joint venture with the Chinese CITC subsidiary CALB (China Aviation Lithium Battery Technology Co., Ltd.). While CALB supplies the battery cells, Continental contributes to the battery management system including the underlying software. The company’s goal is to start production of technically advanced battery systems by 2021.
“The Chinese market will continue to be of pivotal importance for the future development of electric mobility,” says Andreas Wolf, head of Continental Powertrain, a newly created unit. Reportedly the supplier is establishing three business units as part of corporate restructuring – including said Powertrain division, which, in addition to the combustion engine business, bundles hybrid and electric drives as well as all ongoing battery activities.