Continental is putting more focus on the
electric and hybrid power train realising the trend of electric future of
mobility over the regular integrated combustion engine driven vehicles. This is
due to the investments, research, production capacity for innovation is showing
a negative growth, which clearly suggests trends for clean and green
Andreas Wolf, head- Powertrain division, Continental,
said, “Our customers are increasingly and consistently turning to the
electrification of combustion engines through hybrid drives as well as to pure
battery-powered vehicles. We have long been a technological leader in the field
of electronic control units and related functional software. In keeping pace
with our customers and markets, we are now focusing more rapidly and
systematically on our strengths and are targeting the future of electric
mobility with our broad and successfully applied experience.”
With this strategy and gradual optimisations
to the portfolio, Continental aims to ensure that the powertrain business
remains financially strong, competitive and sustainable in the long term.
“The future is clearly electric. We are
convinced of this. The transformation phase along the way will almost certainly
be characterised by a combination of drive systems. In other words, classic
combustion engines will continue to be used for many years and – especially in
combination with efficient hybrid technologies – will make a significant contribution
to lower emissions,” added Wolf.
The market for high-voltage components and
hybridisation solutions, for example, is growing at a much faster pace than
anticipated. This sharp rise in production is leading to an economically attractive
business at an earlier stage than previously thought.
Combustion-only components are set to offer
only selective growth opportunities in the future, which prompted Continental’s
powertrain division to reduce investment in the hydraulic components business.
This part of the strategy relates primarily to injectors and pumps for gasoline
and diesel engines. “Investments in research and development and in production
capacity for innovations are becoming less profitable,” informed Wolf,
explaining the reason behind this decision.
This means that existing orders will be
fulfilled, but new orders will play an increasingly marginal role. “This
transformation phase will likely extend over a number of years, as combustion
engines essentially serve as the basic drives for hybrid solutions,” added Wolf,
before adding that the business in components for exhaust-gas after treatment
and fuel delivery would also be reviewed. “The main reasons for this are
intense price pressure and a high degree of dependency on the further
development of the diesel engine market. We are currently examining all
possible options here to ensure our portfolio is sustainable, profitable and
competitive. We’re also considering partnerships,” Wolf explained.
The announced changes will affect segments,
technologies, locations and jobs to varying degrees. “Given all these changes,
it is important for us to look for specific solutions. In doing so, we must
remember to involve our customers and employees in the transformation process.
Wherever possible, we will make our employees fit for the future in the new
technological fields by providing them with new skills and enabling them to
take on new responsibilities,” Wolf notes.
The powertrain division is already one of
the few providers capable of supplying complete electrification systems from a
single source. The portfolio includes efficient technologies for 48-volt
electrification, electric motors and power electronics for hybrids and
battery-powered all-electric vehicles, as well as those for fuel-cell vehicles,
intelligent energy and thermal management systems. “Clean drive systems for
clean air have long been our guiding principle. As a result, we already offer
ultra-clean conventional drives. Our technologies enable drivers of both
gasoline and diesel vehicles to keep well within emission limits. In the medium
term, we will make transportation for the masses even cleaner by offering
comprehensive support for mild- and full-hybrid solutions. The next generation
of technology for long-term, CO2-free mobility is already being developed in
our laboratories and workshops. This includes e-drives as well as technologies
for CO2-neutral, hydrogen-based fuels, fuel cells and synthetic fuels,” Wolf told.
In this context, Wolf also indicates that
Continental will not consider potentially entering into the production of
solid-state battery cells in the future.