With 48-Volt Technology, the Future is Closer than it Appears
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We’ve been debating about how to power our vehicles since we started building them. We started building vehicles as soon as we figured out how to build motors, so the debate is 150 years old.
The modern discussion is as complex as the technology behind it. Increased regulations on emissions and fuel economy, environmental concerns, and objections to our reliance on fossil fuels combine to make a convincing case for hybrid and electric vehicles.
But the consumer isn’t buying it. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, electrified vehicles accounted for only 3.02% percent of the total U.S. market in 2015 through July, down from 3.47 percent last year. The internal combustion engine (ICE) is still the unchallenged front-runner.
The reasons are easily understood. Hybrid and electric vehicles are more expensive than their ICE cousins, and the “it pays for itself in 5 years” statement morphed to about 10 years when fuel prices in the U.S. dropped from $4 per gallon to $2.66 on average. Then there’s range anxiety, lack of charging stations, and vehicle performance compromises on all but the elite-class vehicles.
We all know that adoption rates of EV’s and hybrids will increase in time. Advanced technology will solve battery life, drivability, and manufacturing issues, just as new ideas gradually improved vehicles over the last century.
We should accept the fact that vehicle electrification is more evolutionary than revolutionary. For the average consumer to convert, the industry will need to deliver a variety of vehicles that provide the driving experience they want at a price they can justify. Realistically, that may take 5-10 years and serious perception adjustments.
Meanwhile, the electrification technology we are developing at Remy can substantially increase fuel economy and meet compliance without significantly adding manufacturing costs or sacrificing drivability. We are using 48-volt technology to bridge the gap between today’s ICE-powered vehicles and tomorrow’s electric dream machines.
Vehicle electrification is more evolutionary than revolutionary, with a new generation of power generators leading the charge.
Bridging the Electrification Gap
48-volt technology makes a difference that is anything but subtle. It can deliver hybrid-like fuel efficiency for lower manufacturing costs. On vehicles with downsized engines, it can minimize, even negate, drivability issues.
Remy International is committed to vehicle electrification. We are North America’s largest independent designer and manufacturer of electric traction motors for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Given this, we believe that 48-volt technology is a game changer. We have seen proof that even small steps can lead to remarkable increases in fuel efficiency, especially in heavy-duty applications.
The application of 48-volt technology includes Belted Alternator/Starter (BAS), Integrated Starter/Generator (ISG), and other advanced high-output alternator technologies. These designs employ an electric motor in place of a standard alternator to add power to the drive train in the form of start-stop and power assist, or by allowing regenerative braking. General Motors, Hyundai, Audi, BMW, and others are employing these technologies.
Full Electric Is Alive and Well
Even as we advance the architecture of electric power assisted vehicles, we remain committed to full-scale electrification in segments where it makes sense for our customers.
For full electric power, our electric traction motors are a popular choice for many manufacturers of commercial and passenger vehicles - and even motorcycles - around the world. Powered by our proprietary HVH™ technology, these motors can operate at system voltages up to 700 while delivering outstanding power density.
We work in close collaboration with our customers to deliver custom designs for their programs, or help design vehicles around this proven platform.
Full Speed Ahead
It’s easy to adopt a cause, easy to call for change. But it takes time to deliver a viable solution that makes economic sense for most people.
While we work on tomorrow’s technology, we can provide environmentally responsible vehicles today, at attractive prices that improve fuel economy and reduce emissions without sacrificing performance. It’s a solution that’s hard to debate against.