The S400 uses a newly developed mild hybrid powertrain and the Continental battery is only slightly larger than the conventional lead acid battery in the non-hybrid vehicles. As a result, Mercedes has been able to mount the new battery underhood in the same location as the conventional battery. Thus it doesn't take up any trunk or other storage space as in some other hybrids. The Nüremberg plant that started production late in 2008 has a capacity of 15,000 units a year, an amount that can be doubled if demand warrants.
The Center for Transportation & Logistics Neuer Adler e.V. (CNA) awards the 7th "Intelligence for Traffic and Logistics" innovation prize and recognizes an "important milestone towards electrifying the passenger car drive train"
Nuremberg. Continental, the international automotive supplier was yesterday awarded the "Intelligence for Traffic and Logistics" innovation prize for developing and starting the world's first series production of a lithium-ion battery for use in hybrid vehicles. This innovation prize is awarded by the Nuremberg-based Center for Transportation & Logistics Neuer Adler e.V. (CNA) to companies which have played a significant role in securing jobs and maintaining the competitiveness and sustained growth of the Bavarian economy. Awarding the prize at a ceremony held in Continental's Nuremberg plant in front of some 50 representatives drawn from the worlds of politics, commerce, science and the media, the CNA Chairman, Jürgen Nutz, paid tribute to the innovative technology, saying that "an important milestone had been reached in Germany on the way to electrifying the passenger car drive train". Jörg Grotendorst, head of the Powertrain Division's Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Business Unit drew attention to the major fuel savings made possible by the use of hybrid technology, savings which amount to some 25 percent compared with the traditional gasoline engine. "In two years, Continental's lithium-ion technology will also be ready for use in the commercial vehicle sector", said Grotendorst. "Our latest generation of powerful lithium-ion batteries prepares the ground for hybrid buses driven purely by electric power. This could lead to a future reduction in the level of pollutants and CO2 emissions, particularly in inner-city areas where pollution is such a sensitive issue."
Powerful batteries thanks to lithium-ion technology
The lithium-ion batteries developed by Continental offer significantly greater storage capacity compared with the nickel-metal hydride battery technology still in current use in hybrid vehicles. The battery's energy density is around 30 percent and its power to size ratio some 50 percent greater, while still retaining its compact dimensions. The lithium-ion batteries manufactured in Nuremberg, including their hybrid technology, will be used in the series production of the new Mercedes S400 BlueHYBRID. Thanks to the innovative technology, this luxury-class sedan with its six-cylinder gasoline engine will achieve a consumption rate of 7.9 liters of super gasoline per 100 kilometers, equating to CO2 emissions of 190 grams per kilometer. This will make the vehicle the world's most economical petrol-engine luxury saloon. The battery which Continental has developed can supply sufficient energy for an electric motor to supplement the combustion engine's power output by up to 19kW, thus producing a considerable fuel saving when accelerating or starting off. The battery is charged whenever the vehicle brakes or decelerates, for example when freewheeling up to a red light. This regenerative braking or recuperation is controlled by the power electronics. Like the integral automatic start-stop function which automatically switches off the engine when the vehicle comes to a standstill and switches it on again when starting off, recuperation is included as part of Continental's hybrid modular system, which combines all our hybrid technology expertise in a single package.
Major safety and reliability requirements
Using lithium-ion technology in vehicles poses particular challenges. It is vital that the battery functions safely and reliably throughout the whole service life demanded by the vehicle manufacturer. A sophisticated battery management system ensures that this requirement is met. The electronics compare the battery's overall condition, temperature and energy reserves against its age; while safety circuits prevent the energy storage unit from becoming too hot. A Cell Supervising Circuit monitors the individual cells and ensures their optimum interaction. This guarantees that the lithium-ion batteries will really last - with unimpaired functionality, power and safety - for the required ten years or 160,000 to 240,000 kilometers.
Production capacity in Nuremberg is 15,000 units
Since autumn 2008, the series production batteries have been manufactured in Continental's new Nuremberg plant. The series production facilities were planned and built within twelve months at a total investment cost to Continental of around €3.3 million, creating 23 new jobs in the Production Department and related areas. At present, 15,000 lithium-ion batteries can be produced annually in a production facility covering an area of 300m²; and this capacity can be doubled at short notice.
Strengthening the competitive position of the traffic and logistics sector
By choosing "Intelligence for traffic and logistics" as the slogan for its competency initiative, CNA is playing an active part in shaping the future of the traffic and logistics sector. At present, over 100 companies, institutes, towns and associations are members of the CNA e.V. which aims to reinforce and further develop the competitive position of the traffic and logistics sector. A further objective is to publicize the innovative potential of Bavaria as a commercial center and of the Nuremberg metropolitan area in general to a wider audience.