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Vitesco Technologies wins major order for electric heating elements for diesel catalytic converters in 48V MHEVs

Vitesco Technologies, formerly (until September 2019) the Continental Powertrain Division, has won a major contract from an European vehicle manufacturer for the supply of innovative electric heating elements for diesel catalytic converters. This EMICAT brand e-catalyst technology will be used in two of the manufacturer’s 48-volt hybrid van models. Start of production for the multi-million contract is scheduled for 2022.


The EMICAT e-catalyst is part of Vitesco Technologies’ electrification strategy © Vitesco Technologies

The capability to heat up the catalytic converter rapidly at all times increases the overall efficiency of exhaust-gas aftertreatment. This means that the vehicles will be prepared to meet the future extremely stringent Euro 7 standard.

The EMICAT e-catalyst developed by Vitesco Technologies ensures effective exhaust gas aftertreatment, even when the exhaust gas is actually too cold for this purpose. This is the case, for example, when a diesel engine is producing very little heat in slow urban traffic. The 48 V current for the e-catalyst is obtained via recuperation in the vehicle’s mild hybrid system.


The electrification of the drivetrain, which goes along with higher electrical power, clearly supports emission reducing innovations like EMICAT. The e-catalyst allows a robust emission control with regards to all real driving situations for an extremely clean future mobility. EMICAT eliminates a decisive weak spot with regards to real driving emissions, namely excessively cold exhaust gases. The first serial production of e-catalysts worldwide confirms the importance of emissions safety in all driving situations.

—Klaus Hau, head of the Sensing & Actuation business unit at Vitesco Technologies

The high efficiency of modern diesel engines means that the engine barely gets warm in certain operating situations. In principle, this is desirable, as lost heat means lower efficiency. However, exhaust gas pollutants can only be converted into harmless substances in a catalytic converter if the exhaust gas and therefore the catalytic converters are sufficiently hot. This is often not the case, particularly in slow inner-city traffic where conditions previously only familiar during cold engine starts are frequent.

This is critical for compliance with stringent emission standards because the vast majority of pollutants in a test cycle are released during the cold start phase.

—Rolf Brück, head of Catalytic Converters and Filters at Vitesco Technologies

In vans equipped with 48-V mild hybrid technology, the current harvested during recuperation is used to heat up the catalytic converter system in these situations.

In a dedicated mild hybrid demonstration vehicle with a diesel engine, Vitesco Technologies has demonstrated the effect that the EMICAT can have with its 4kW heating output: In the Super Clean Electrified Diesel vehicle featuring a 48V system, NOx emissions dropped by 40%, and CO2 emissions decreased by 3% in the WLTP test. In the extremely slow “Traffic for London” cycle, NOx emissions fell by 62%. In the Super Clean Electrified Diesel, the efficiency of exhaust gas aftertreatment rises to 97%.



The e-cat has been around for quite some time but has only been in limited production in some case over the years. Perhaps this could lead to a breakthrough.


Wow....one more item on the very long list of add-ons in an attempt to extend the life of ICEs. This is not a surprise, and EV fans should not underestimate the staying power of such a large incumbent industry. I need to add catalyst preheaters to this infopinion:


Interestingly, we considered this in the 1970s for all vehicles, but I seem to recall that the EPA agreed to created the two-bag collection system to recognize that it takes time to heat up the catalyst. The rules encouraged the adoption of very low mass catalyst beds to speed warmup. Anyone remember that action?

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