MAHLE, Continental Advance NextGen Vehicle Technology

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MAHLE, a global developer of engine systems and electronics for the automotive industry with North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, has developed new software that manages the consumption of battery energy for plug-in hybrids.

The company is working on a range-extended electric vehicle that is powered by an electric motor and has a compact battery that can be charged from a residential outlet. An on-board electrical generator recharges the battery while the vehicle is in motion. The car has a two-cylinder, 4-stroke gasoline engine.

After a driver enters information about their desired route, the software uses GPS and topographical road data to calculate the battery’s available power throughout a trip.

“The software pre-determines the optimum operating strategy for the gasoline engine resulting in the best charging efficiency,” says Bernie Porter, head of the calibration and controls engineering group at MAHLE. “We’ve seen considerable benefits from the use of the new control software. Those benefits include improvements in fuel economy and a reduction in emissions.”

MAHLE North America employs 10,000 people across 29 locations.

IN RELATED NEWS, Auburn Hills-based auto supplier Continental has developed a test vehicle in which the adaptive cruise control function is combined with the company’s eHorizon system, which makes decisions based on information from exterior vehicle sensors.

The sensors produce data on lane-keeping and routing, as well as information about the curve radius and upward and downward slopes of a road or highway.

“By using the Connected Enhanced Cruise Control all that is required of the driver in many driving scenarios is the steering of the vehicle,” says Lutz Kuehnke, head of the advanced driver assistance systems business unit for Continental North America. “With this system, we are implementing another key element in the advancement toward highly and fully automated driving.” 

Kuehnke says the vehicle takes charge of recording and providing data for the entire system. He says the system also can record information such as speed limits or lane positioning.

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