Continental has been developing technology solutions for the two-wheeler industry for almost two decades, and with India being a focus area for all major OEMs in this segment, it intends to deliver customised solutions at an affordable price point. Auto Tech Review met Soorajith Radhakrishnan, Head – Powertrain Division, Continental Automotive India, to discuss the Indian scenario for two-wheeler technology adoption and the road ahead for this segment.
Soorajith Radhakrishnan is presently the country head of the Division Powertrain, Continental Automotive India. Additionally, he also heads the Business Unit Engine Systems in India. Soorajith comes with over 17 years of experience in the automotive business. He has worked with several Business Units within Continental in Production Plants and headquarters in different roles. He studied mechanical engineering at the Regional Engineering College, Calicut, presently known as National Institute of Technology, Calicut. Prior to the role in India, Soorajith was Head of Strategy for Business Unit Engine Systems at Continental AG, Regensburg, Germany.
ATR _ What are the various innovations in engine management systems Continental is working upon?
RADHAKRISHNAN _ Continental has a strong focus on integrated solutions, sizing and packaging across the product range. Our products are benchmark in terms of the functionality for different application purposes we put in a small and compact sized box. A similar principle is applied on the fuel supply side too, like our new generation fuel injectors for port injection, comes in extra-small version or a fuel supply unit for single cylinder engines up to 150cc engine displacement. Focusing on max 150cc engines we are able to serve 80 % of the global two wheeler market.
How do you envision integration of electronics in current generation IC engines, particularly for the Indian market?
The currently available two wheeler technologies or the envisioned trends are majorly inspired by the passenger car technologies. However, the challenge that we face are the adaptation and customisation of these technologies for two wheelers and powersports as per the demands. The size requirement defines the level of complexity. For commuter applications the main driver is the cost.
Considering both the aspects, high integration over standalone solutions is the key. In other words, it is not logical to fit different standalone components to a bike as we do in passenger cars, simply because of the size of the vehicle and the space availability. To overcome this challenge, we focus on high integration. In the future too we will strive to offer more solutions that are integrated, for example the V2X functionality into a cluster instead of fitting another box.
How does Continental address the key requirements and challenges of hybrid vehicles?
We currently see two trends in this vertical. For commuter applications there is an upcoming demand for an integrated starter generator based on 12V. Today’s generator or alternator is already attached to the crankshaft, this will going forward replace the existing device by an electrical machine to start the engine and to provide the power supply (ISG). This is a kind of hybridisation in a highly cost sensitive environment. We are currently working with various OEMs to provide such a solution.
China is already an established market for electric two-wheelers in the world with roughly 25 million units sold per year. Recently global two-wheeler OEMs have significantly accelerated their activities and demands for full electrical vehicles. They are using a different approach to that of China, when focusing on full electric two-wheeler. These new solutions are designed to compete with 100cc IC-engine powered bikes. We are closely following this trend.
Explain the advancements in electrically heated catalysts (EHC).
Electrically heated catalyst design and development as an after treatment substrate can be adapted for two wheelers based on the requirement from OEM. The catalyst light-off temperature can be reached in less time and during no-load phases, there is reduced catalyst cooling. Also, EHCs have a potential for precious metal reduction and additional energy added to the exhaust improves vaporisation of liquids. The low-temperature catalyst performance improves over time and the system offers intelligent activation for lower heating power.