Delphi says new 48-volt mild hybrid system has 2 customers

Delphi Automotive said it will work with two automakers to put a new 48-volt mild-hybrid system developed by the supplier into production next year.

The supplier did not reveal which automakers would utilize the system, which the supplier said would utilize a 48-volt lithium ion battery to boost an engine’s performance and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 10 percent when compared with a standard vehicle.

Delphi unveiled the technology today at its annual analyst day in London, where it showcased the system in a Honda Civic with a 1.6-liter diesel engine. Delphi said the system gave the Civic 25 percent more low-end torque compared with a standard battery.

“This intelligent approach to vehicle power, wiring and data management will not only improve fuel efficiency, but will also enable a world-class driving experience while providing additional power for active safety systems and increased connectivity in the car,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi chief technology officer, in a statement.

Delphi said the system, which backs up a vehicle’s standard 12-volt battery, can provide the engine with more power and can power the vehicle’s heating and air-conditioning systems, among other accessories, allowing a car to heat up or cool down faster upon start.

“Car buyers will buy 48-volt, mild hybrids for the added performance and car companies will offer the technology because it will help them comply with environmental regulations,” Owens said.

Owens said the market for 48-volt mild-hybrid systems will grow over the next decade, estimating about 10 percent of new cars sold in 2025 will utilize them.

“To put that into perspective, that’s 11 million units a year — three times the volume of pickup trucks sold annually and more than half of the world’s anticipated diesel passenger car market,” he said.

Delphi also said in a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it launched a $1.5-billion share repurchasing program. It also said it won an appeal with the IRS that allows Delphi to be considered a British company for tax purposes.

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