Venturing into new areas
Purely battery-powered electric drives are not currently suitable for all mobility needs due to the “ecological rucksack” of the car battery. Sustainable production and the supply of renewable electricity are also not yet fully understood. Therefore, MAHLE sees a drive mix as the future of mobility. The fuel cell has great potential, but the internal combustion engine has a future, too: With synthetic and renewable fuels, our mobility will become sustainable in the future—without CO2 or NOx emissions. Alongside e-mobility, these fuels can play a significant role in helping us achieve the climate goals.
Fuel cells: electricity and heat
The future is electric, but not purely battery powered. For long distances and transporting heavy loads, the fuel cell comes into play. Incidentally, it was invented before the combustion engine. Now, the technology is ready. In a vehicle’s fuel cell, hydrogen reacts with oxygen from the air. This produces electricity for charging the traction battery as well as water and heat. The thermal, air, and liquid management of fuel cells is very similar to that of combustion engines, and therefore aligns precisely with our core competence. We’re already developing a comprehensive, modular systems portfolio for fuel cells.
Synthetic fuels: e-fuels
With e-fuels, a combustion engine only emits as much CO2 as was bound during its production. E-fuels are synthetic fuels, produced from water and carbon dioxide (CO2) using electricity. But what about compatibility of the various synthetic fuels with the engine components and filters? MAHLE teamed up with a well-known German vehicle manufacturer to investigate this. And the results were positive: admixture of these fuels in line with existing fuel standards had no impact on the MAHLE components that were tested or on engine performance. This opens up a wealth of possibilities for using these fuels. MAHLE assumes that an e-fuel admixture of up to 20 percent is possible with current fuels.
Biofuels: fuel from nature
Fuels can also be obtained from renewable raw materials such as oil plants, cereals, beets, and wood. To create biofuels, hydrogen (H2) is extracted from water (H2O). This hydrogen is then processed with carbon dioxide (CO2) into a liquid fuel such as bio natural gas or biomethane. One advantage of these fuels is the closed CO2 loop, which integrates fuel extraction seamlessly into our natural ecosystem without causing damage. So, the future won’t be shaped by one “right” type of drive—but by a diversified drive mix with different possibilities for different applications. We intend to discuss the drive mix of the future objectively, remaining open to all technologies, and use every lever at our disposal to “defossilize” our mobility.
>> What will this diverse drive mix mean for your workshop in the future?
That you should be prepared for all eventualities! And we will help you with that!
Prepared for any situation
If you want to repair modern vehicles with alternative drives in the future, you need two key things: spare parts and expertise. As an original equipment manufacturer, MAHLE is geared toward the mobility transformation, and that includes its aftermarket portfolio—with its high level of availability and top quality. MAHLE also supports you with a wealth of services and information, including diagnostic tools and service units, training, and repair and maintenance information (RMI).
The path of electricity
MAHLE has built up a broad product portfolio in the area of e-mobility. This traces the path of electrical power in the vehicle - from charging through power electronics, more efficient air conditioning for greater cruising range, and the electric motor.
- Large-scale charging infrastructure with chargeBIG
- Wireless charging system: MAHLE Wireless Charging
- Noise filters to minimize electrical interference
- Onboard charger for fast and gentle charging
- Battery housing with integrated thermal management - protecting the environment while maximizing cruising range
- Inverter and DC/DC converter for vehicle electronics
- Efficient air conditioning for driving comfort
- Electric traction motors for all alternative drive types
Enclosed we present three products in more detail:
DC/DC converter: the alternator of tomorrow
Fuel cells and electric car batteries supply up to 800 volts, far exceeding the 12- and 24-volt levels that are customary in the automotive sector. In order to continue using existing components such as headlights, fans, window lifts, or windshield washer pumps, the high-voltage electrical system that includes the battery must b separated from the low-voltage electrical system with the various units. This task is performed by a DC/DC converter developed by MAHLE. The DC voltage converter brings the power to the required voltage level for the 12- 24-, and 48-volt units and separates the high- and low-voltage electrical systems safely.
Traction motors: thermal management is becoming increasingly important
The trend toward electric motors is set to change vehicle servicing. When it comes to thermal management of the battery and drive, the combustion engine and electric motor differ fundamentally. Thermal management for electric cars has two tasks: to dissipate heat and to use it for efficient air conditioning. The less the battery is used, the greater the cruising range. Handling these issues professionally requires you to have a great deal of expertise—and MAHLE can give you specific support in this new business area. MAHLE already offers drive solutions for mild and full hybrid vehicles and for vehicles with a range extender, as well as for purely electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.
Oil management module: all in one unit
Some electric cars have an oil-cooled powertrain, and MAHLE has introduced a new oil management module for these vehicles. It comprises a filter, electric oil pumps, coolers, and a thermostat in one unit. This oil management module saves weight and increases efficiency—for a greater cruising range. The advantage for you is that MAHLE also offers replacement parts for maintenance and repair—such as filter elements, coolers, or pumps.