Continental AG Powertrain Arm Rebrands as Vitesco Technologies, Supplying Electric Drive Units to Hyundai and Groupe PSA

Continental AG Powertrain Arm Rebrands as Vitesco Technologies, Supplying Electric Drive Units to Hyundai and Groupe PSA

Author: Eric Walz   

Major OEM automotive supplier Continental AG has renamed its powertrain division Vitesco Technologies, as it gears up to build electric drivetrain components for the new crop of electric vehicles under development.

The company announced it signed agreements with French car manufacturer Groupe PSA and South Korean automaker Hyundai to supply the first fully integrated electric axle drive system for various volume-production models.

Vitesco is focused on electrification and electric mobility aims to be a leading developer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art powertrain technologies for EVs. As a division of Continental AG, Vitesco supplies electrified drivetrain systems, electronic control units, sensors and actuators to global automakers. 

"I am very excited to announce that two leading vehicle manufacturers have chosen Vitesco Technologies to produce innovative electric drive unit to power their electric volume-production models," said Andreas Wolf, CEO of Vitesco Technologies. "Our new integrated axle drive unit and our extensive experience in electrifying drive units have made Vitesco Technologies the partner of choice for carmakers striving to be at the forefront of e-mobility."

All-in-One Electric Drive System for EVs

Vitesco developed an innovative third-generation electric drive system that the company says offers outstanding power density. The unit consists of a permanent-magnet synchronous motor, an inverter and a reducer combined in a single housing. The axle drive is a compact, low weight all-in-one solution for car manufacturers designing EVs.

The axle drive has been developed for high volume market electric vehicles (EVs). The drive unit weighs less than 80 kilograms and includes a liquid-cooled electric motor and power electronics.

The first fully integrated electric axle drive system enters volume production in China initially, then production of the new electric drive system will begin in Europe. Production of the new drive units at Vitesco Technologies' plant in Tianjin, China, has already begun.

Based on their expertise in systems and electronics, Vitesco Technologies' engineers have improved the interoperability between the system's individual components, including the electric motor, power electronics and transmission. 

By improving the interoperability between the drivetrains's individual components, Vitesco said was able to eliminate excess connectors and cables, cutting production costs even further. These improvements result in a drive system that is lighter, more compact and cost-effective for electric vehicles, according to Vitesco. 

The new module It also features a new transmission-integrated electric parking lock function. 

The electric axle drive system comes in power ratings from 100 up to 150 kW said Thomas Stierle, Head of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle business unit at Vitesco Technologies, adding that the drive unit offers the best-in-class power density, size and weight.

191009_PP_VT_Integ axle drive customer.jpg

Vitesco's third-generation electric drive system consists of a permanent-magnet synchronous motor, inverter and reducer combined in a single housing.

Groupe PSA, the parent company of French auto brands Peugeot, Citroen and Opel, has selected Vitesco Technologies to supply the new electric drive system for its e-CMP modular electric platform, which electric vehicle models such as the Peugeot e-208 sedan and Opel Corsa-e will be built on. 

The Hyundai Motor Corporation has made Vitesco Technologies the supplier of choice in China through its joint venture Beijing Hyundai. Two Hyundai models will be equipped with Vitesco electric drive system beginning with the Encino compact SUV and the mid-size Lafesta sedan. 

Vitesco said that other vehicle manufacturers have chosen Vitesco Technologies to supply drive systems for battery electric cars that are planned to launch over the next 12 months. The electric axle drive system will also power the Sion battery electric vehicle from German start-up Sono Motors.

Vitesco Technologies first started developing electric drive systems in 2006. By 2011, its electric drive system was on the market in the Renault Zoe, Fluence and Kangoo. The company is using its experience and expertise in electric drive systems to bring the third generation of its electric axle drive system to market.

Vitesco Technologies will build its new electric axle drive system in China, currently the world's biggest and fastest-growing market for EVs, in order to be closer to its customers, the company said. 

The production will showcase the Tianjin plant's experience in the field of electric drive technologies, including highly automated production lines that allow for large production volumes at the highest quality standards, according to Vitesco.

As a former division of parent company Continental AG, Vitesco Technologies is one of the few automotive systems suppliers to offer complete electrification systems from a single source. The company's portfolio ranges from 48-volt EV technologies and key components for hybrid drives to full battery-electric drive systems.

"We will be focusing our investment strategy even more heavily on electrified and all-electric technologies and channeling more internal resources into these areas. In doing so, we are significantly strengthening our existing high level of electronics expertise." CEO Wolf said.

Vitesco Technologies recorded sales of EUR 7.7 billion in 2018 and employs more than 40,000 employees worldwide. The company is headquartered in Regensburg, Germany.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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