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Continental to change course and focus powertrain business on electric future

Continental to change course and focus powertrain business on electric future
Photo courtesy of Continental AG

Germany’s Continental AG announced that it is putting more focus on the electric future of mobility. This is due to the tightening of political targets, that are leading to an increasingly disruptive market in which future technologies are determined by regulations, the company said. 

“Our customers are increasingly and consistently turning to the electrification of combustion engines through hybrid drives as well as to pure battery-powered vehicles. We have long been a technological leader in the field of electronic control units and related functional software. In keeping pace with our customers and markets, we are now focusing more rapidly and systematically on our strengths and are targeting the future of electric mobility with our broad and successfully applied experience,” says Andreas Wolf, head of Continental’s Powertrain division, which in the future will operate under the name Vitesco Technologies with Wolf as CEO. 

“With this strategy and gradual optimizations to the portfolio, we aim to ensure that the powertrain business remains financially strong, competitive and sustainable in the long term,” he adds.

“The future is clearly electric. We are convinced of this,” says Wolf. “The transformation phase along the way will almost certainly be characterized by a combination of drive systems. In other words, classic combustion engines will continue to be used for many years and – especially in combination with efficient hybrid technologies – will make a significant contribution to lower emissions.”

Within this mix of drive systems, Continental expects diverging dynamics. The market for high-voltage components and hybridization solutions, for example, is growing at a much faster pace than anticipated. This sharp rise in production is leading to an economically attractive business at an earlier stage than previously thought. 

The Powertrain division is already one of the few providers capable of supplying complete electrification systems from a single source. The portfolio includes efficient technologies for 48-volt electrification, electric motors and power electronics for hybrids and battery-powered all-electric vehicles, as well as those for fuel-cell vehicles, intelligent energy, and thermal management systems.

“Clean drive systems for clean air have long been our guiding principle. As a result, we already today offer ultra-clean conventional drives. Our technologies enable drivers of both gasoline and diesel vehicles to keep well within emission limits,” Wolf says. “In the medium term, we will make transportation for the masses even cleaner by offering comprehensive support for mild- and full-hybrid solutions. The next generation of technology for long-term, CO2-free mobility is already being developed in our laboratories and workshops. This includes e-drives as well as technologies for CO2-neutral, hydrogen-based fuels, fuel cells, and synthetic fuels,” Wolf says. 

“We will gradually shape our future-oriented transition in the powertrain sector and from a position of strength. In the future, Vitesco Technologies will concentrate primarily on areas where we can benefit from competitive advantages and develop attractive business models. With a focused portfolio, Vitesco Technologies will be very well positioned for this and we are confident that this will allow us to successfully harness the growth opportunities offered by the growth of electrification. We will step by step make more targeted investments in electrified and all-electric technologies, increasingly shift internal resources in this direction and continue to significantly strengthen our outstanding expertise in electronics.”