48V likely to become the new standard for mass-market cars

The technology has more to offer than might be expected of a low-voltage solution. By Freddie Holmes

Where does 48V technology plug in to the future of mobility?

With an emphasis on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and creating clean air zones within cities, many might wonder why automakers continue to invest in internal combustion engine (ICE) based mild hybrid technologies. However, most drivers are not yet ready to ditch gasoline and diesel in favour of an electric vehicle, and so the industry must come up with alternatives that not only lure buyers, but also ensure automakers hit fleet CO2 targets.

The 48-volt (48V) space has quietly been capturing a growing portion of the market. Today, 48V ‘mild hybrid’ systems can be found even on entry-level A-segment cars, and serve as a welcome entry point for drivers looking to go green. The technology offers a range of possible benefits that can be tailored according to the automaker’s wishes, and with no plug to worry about the driving experience remains largely the same.

48V technology looks to be a welcome interim step for both drivers and emissions regulators

But within the wider world of electrification, does 48V technology present that much of a change from a conventional ICE, and can it do enough to help gasoline and diesel cars clean up their act? To find out, the industry’s leading powertrain suppliers have been bolstering their portfolios to test and develop a wide array of different 48V architectures.

Marco Warth is Director of Corporate Advanced Engineering at MAHLE. “48V technology can…