Hella Develops Products for Energy Management in Vehicles

November 15, 2010 by Jeff Shepard

Hella, an automotive electronics supplier, is developing two energy-management products to improve the performance of vehicle electric systems – a voltage stabilizer and a dc-dc converter.

Hella’s voltage stabilizers are described as critical components for fuel-saving and start-stop engine systems. The stabilizers supply a constant output for voltage-critical loads in systems that require a steady flow of voltage, such as navigation displays, lights or radios. Even at a traffic signal, for example, lighting, safety-displays or audio-system disruptions can be distracting to the driver.

Hella’s bi-directional dc-dc converters connect power networks with two different voltage levels – especially useful on hybrid-vehicles that use different power levels. When the vehicle engine needs to deliver power in a variety of levels, a converter controls the output.

Hella was the first major auto supplier to introduce 200W voltage stabilizers in 2007 for use in BMW and Volkswagen vehicles. The company’s 400W stabilizers already are in production with plans underway for a second generation of 200W stabilizers in the near future.

Dr. Martin Fischer, president of Hella Electronics Corporation and head of Hella’s Corporate Center USA, both in Plymouth Township, Michigan, said that voltage stabilizers are more commonly used on vehicles in Europe due to a higher manual-transmission usage rate. "Now that automatic transmissions can use start-stop technology, auto manufacturers throughout the world are expressing additional interest in voltage stabilizers."

Discussing dc-dc converters, Fischer pointed out that a heated front windshield is an electrical feature that needs additional power. Hella’s dc-dc converters can triple a battery’s current output by boosting power to the windshield heater to create a clearer, safer view for drivers.