Delphi Automotive PLC has unveiled its new 48-volt vehicle solution that the company says could prove pivotal for automakers in meeting future emission regulations without sacrificing performance for customers. Delphi reports it is working with two global automakers on the technology and could see production within 18 months.
Showcased in a Honda Civic 1.6-liter diesel vehicle at the company’s annual investor update, Delphi’s 48-volt, mild hybrid technology enables “intelligent” electrification. The customized vehicle architecture maximizes the use of the 48-volt electrification to minimize the demand on the engine, improving performance while lowering CO2 emissions by more than 10 percent, according to Delphi.
“This is not only a significant step forward with reinventing the electrical architecture for dual voltage capability, it is also a triumph of software,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer. “This intelligent approach to vehicle power, wiring and data management will not only improve fuel efficiency, but will also enable a world-class driving experience while providing additional power for active safety systems and increased connectivity in the car.”
Delphi says this new solution gives automakers ample room to innovate without moving up to bigger engines to get more power. This technology leverages what engineers call an “e-charger” for improved vehicle launch. Delphi’s demonstration vehicle increases low-end torque an average 25 percent.
According to Owens, Delphi will have a competitive advantage in 48-volt, mild hybrid systems because of the company’s deep history in system design, proprietary engine management software and expertise in electrical architectures.
“Car buyers will buy 48-volt, mild hybrids for the added performance and car companies will offer the technology because it will help them comply with environmental regulations,” said Owens.
According to IHS market research, the industry is going to see a sizeable shift within the next decade.
“One out of every 10 cars sold globally in 2025 will be a 48-volt, mild hybrid,” said Owens. “To put that into perspective, that’s 11 million units a year – three times the volume of pickup trucks sold annually and more than half of the world’s anticipated diesel passenger car market.”
From an environmental viewpoint, the savings have great potential. It is estimated that 11 million 48-volt, mild hybrid vehicles would reduce oil consumption by four billion gallons (more than 15 billion liters) over the life of the fleet, Delphi adds.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the impact of not burning that much fuel would equal the carbon sequestration of a forest the size of the state of New York or all of Iceland. As for greenhouse gas emissions, it would have the same effect as conserving 124 million barrels of oil or not burning 57 billion pounds of coal, according to the DOE.