Vehicle Electrification a Key Strategic Initiative for Magna; Steady Increases in Capabilities and Technology Portfolio Over Past Few Years
Canada-based international auto supplier and contract assembler Magna International, now with a Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of Opel from General Motors (earlier post), sees vehicle electrification as one of its key strategic initiatives. Accordingly, it has been steadily increasing its capabilities with hybrid and electric vehicle technologies over the past several years.
At Magna’s Annual General Meeting, held earlier this month, Magna Co-Chief Executive Officer Siegfried Wolf noted that Magna has the capability to develop and produce many of the key components that are new and unique to electric vehicles. A key competitive advantage for the company, he said, is its “ability to integrate these new technologies into the complete vehicle and to develop complete vehicle concepts for pure electric mobility.”
At last year’s meeting, I highlighted our efforts towards electrification of the vehicle. We have come a long way in a year’s time. Our mila ev concept presented at the Geneva motor show was newly developed from the ground up as a unique full electric vehicle platform without the need for modification, retrofitting or conversion. The platform is ready for use, for every OEM specifically to design. Or in simple words, we deliver the rolling chassis, the OEM puts an exterior design on top.
Overall we are developing a strong position in electric vehicles, with Magna Steyr as the core of our complete vehicle competence, together with Magna’s Electronics, Powertrain and Cosma groups.—Siegfried Wolf
The most complete series production example yet of this increasing capability was the announcement by Magna and Ford at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January that the two were jointly developing a new Ford battery electric C-platform global small car for 2011. (Earlier post.) Magna is providing the electric traction motor, transmission, motor controller, Lithium-ion energy storage system, battery charger and related systems.
Magna will also share in the engineering responsibility to integrate the electric propulsion system and other new systems into the vehicle platform architecture.
In March 2009, Magna Electronics, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., and BRUSA Elektronik AG, a developer and supplier of high-efficient power electronics and electric motors, formed a collaboration on electric and hybrid vehicle applications. (Earlier post.) The two companies said that the collaboration enhanced both their positions in developing and supplying components and systems to the emerging global automotive market for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Shortly prior to the BRUSA announcement, Magna introduced the mila ev concept at the Geneva Motor Show 2009. The core of the mila ev is a fully integrated electric vehicle platform which could be used by an OEM as the basis for production-vehicle development of a full battery electric vehicle, or with natural gas, fuel cell or hybrid drive, Magna said. The mila ev is driven by a 67 hp (50 kW) electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack developed by Magna Steyr. (Earlier post.)
In October 2008, Magna Electronics, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., acquired BluWav Systems LLC (formerly Wavecrest Laboratories), a developer and supplier of controls, motors and energy-management systems for hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and battery electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)
BluWav had concentrated on five main product areas: Motor design; Motor control hardware, software, and drive electronics; Vehicle requirements analysis, system optimization, and performance validation; Vehicle control systems; and Energy storage systems.
In 2007, Magna Steyr brought its HySUV hybrid concept to EVS-23 in Anaheim. (Earlier post.) The converted Mercedes ML 350 features an electric four-wheel drive module (E4WD) developed by Magna Powertrain and Siemens VDO and lithium-ion storage system developed by Magna Steyr.
Earlier in 2007, Peter Pichler, Product Manager for Battery Systems at Magna Steyr, said that the company was developing a series of lithium-ion energy storage systems for a range of hybrid electric vehicle applications including mild (10-30kW); full (30-70kW—also for use with a fuel cell vehicle); and heavy duty (70-200 kW).(Earlier post.)
At that time, he said that Magna Steyr will put its lithium-ion packs into series production in 2009, and that it was developing a pack for plug-in hybrids using prismatic cells with a 2010 target.