Mahle in Farmington Hills Developing Motors for Electrified and Hybrid Vehicles


Farmington Hills’ Mahle Monday announced it is developing high-voltage traction motors for fully electrified vehicles, as well as 48-volt drive motors for new-generation hybrids.

J.D. Kehoe, director of product development, filtration, and engine peripherals for Mahle Filter Systems in North America, says greater internal combustion engine downsizing, 48-volt hybridization, and electric traction motors are all affecting powertrain development.

Mahle produces high-voltage and low-voltage traction motors for full-sized vehicles, as well as for off-road two-wheel and four-wheel drive leisure vehicles.

“Downsized internal combustion engines, with higher compression, advanced combustion, high boost, and electrified turbocharger actuation will be part of the automotive landscape for decades to come,” says Kehoe. “Smaller engines, for example, are expected to deliver 300 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon with a third less displacement.”

The Mahle Group has components on 50 percent of the vehicles annually produced worldwide.

Kehoe says that 48-volt electrical systems are also gaining acceptance. Mahle has developed electrified HVAC systems and electric auxiliary components such as electric oil coolers and hydraulic pumps in response. Electrified riding mowers and material handling equipment have also become more common.

Mahle’s 48-volt electrical systems are supplied with integrated electronics to govern a typical output of 14 kw, or 19 horsepower, and have been demonstrated on passenger vehicles such as the SMART.

Electronic vehicles have achieved high market profiles, but sales remain at 2-3 percent of global deliveries, Kehoe says. However, analyst Alix Partners estimates that by 2023, more than 205 electronic vehicle models will have entered the market.

Mahle’s high-voltage traction motors for automobiles employ imbedded permanent magnet technology. The motors are liquid-cooled and governed by Mahle-designed-and-patented liquid-cooled controllers.

Manufacturers may specify voltages from 200-400 volts, based on a motor’s battery pack. Power delivered by each motor, up to 100 kw, or 134 horsepower, will depend on vehicle design.

Mahle also offers automakers higher-voltage motors that operate in the 400-800-volt range. They have up to 96-percent efficiency and peak power output up to 180 kw, or 240 horsepower. The design is flexible and adaptable to customer requirements.

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