Lippstadt, February 28th, 2014. With the aim of supporting vehicle manufacturers to meet the ambitious CO2 regulations imposed by the European Union, HELLAs expertise in electronics has enabled work on a joint project which teaches vehicles to "coast". When the gas pedal is released as the vehicle is moving, the engine switches off. The vehicle coasts on with the engine switched off and the clutch disengaged. This is usually what happens when the driver approaches a speed limit or drives down a steeply sloping road. As soon as the gas or the brake pedal are touched, the engine starts up again. In a typical driving cycle, shutting the engine off in this way can save around 2.6 mpg, which is equivalent to 12 grams of CO2. Commenting on the engine-off-coasting function, Dr. Carsten Hoff, Head of Energy Management at HELLA says "All the functions, from power steering to the radio and the heating, continue to operate during the coasting phase, so that the safety and comfort of the vehicle occupants are guaranteed at all times. Currently, we are expecting the first conventional vehicles with the engine-off-coasting function in 2016."
HELLA has developed two different products to support the engine-off-coasting function in different automotive segments. The focus is on ensuring that the electricity supply continues whilst the engine is switched off. For larger vehicles, HELLA offers a 48/12 volt DC/DC converter for flexible implementation of a dual-voltage vehicle electric system. Additionally to the engine-off-coasting function the 48-volt vehicle electric system also assists recuperation, boosting acceleration with the aid of the 48-volt generator as well as creeping (electric starting).
HELLA has also developed an integrated module for use in compact vehicles which combines an energy storage such as lithium-ion battery cells and a power electronic unit to control charging and discharging. An energy accumulator module is used to allow the engine-off-coasting, optimized stop-start operation and recuperation.