Punch Powertrain & PSA form new joint venture
The PSA Group and the Belgian transmission manufacturer Punch Powertrain have signed an agreement to set up a second joint venture and expand their strategic partnership in the field of electrification. This will focus on transmissions for HEV and PHEVs – also for other manufacturers.
Punch Powertrain holds a majority stake of 61 per cent in the new joint venture that will develop, manufacture and supply Punch Powertrain’s DT22 dual-clutch transmission for the next generation of mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Operations should start in the third quarter of 2020. Punch Powertrain’s current DT2- related facilities in Sint-Truiden, Belgium, and Eindhoven, the Netherlands will become part of the new joint venture while the Groupe PSA will make a cash investment.
At PSA, the transmission will be marketed under the sales designation e-DCT. The joint venture ‘Punch Powertrain PSA e-transmissions’ will initially supply PSA brands while the joint venture is also aiming to provide other vehicle manufacturers internationally. The two versions of the transmission planned are a 48-volt version for mild hybrids, while a high-voltage version is intended for plug-in hybrids. PSA has not yet given the details of the exact system voltage.
“Our clear manufacturing strategy is to have vertical integration of components, particularly key technologies such as electrified powertrains,” says Olivier Bourges, Executive Vice President Programs and Strategy and member of the Executive Board. “We have understood that the future is much more than reducing emissions. The challenge ahead of us is electrification at affordable cost, aligned with our raison d’ être (Central Purpose)”
The first collaboration on hybrid transmissions between PSA and Punch Powertrain dates back to May 2018, when the focus was on the purchase of mild hybrid transmissions, while further details were announced in September 2018. The first joint venture ‘Punch Powertrain PSA e-transmissions Assembly’ is to produce up to 600,000 transmissions per year at the PSA plant in Metz from 2022. Details have not yet been given regarding the production capacity or the start of production for the second joint venture.
The Opel plant in Rüsselsheim, Germany, is undoubtedly a potential customer for the new hybrid transmissions. As the Group has now confirmed, PSA will have a third model produced in Rüsselsheim from summer 2021: an unnamed model from the DS Automobiles brand. PSA says that these investments will allow the Rüsselsheim plant to become a sustainable site for vehicle production that includes electrified models. This should be made possible by the localization of the Group’s EMP2 platform. The Opel Insignia is already produced in Rüsselsheim, and as the next generation of the Opel Astra should be (partially) electrified it will follow at the plant at the end of 2021.
To prepare the plant for the production of electrified vehicles, discussions are now in progress regarding the manner of this transition. For example, the “declining production” of the M1X transmission (i.e. without the hybrid option) is to end in 2021. This transmission is still used in the current generation of the Astra on GM basis, but the next generation will be based on PSA technology.