Leoni and Continental awarded CNA innovation prize

Joint development of ready-for-production high voltage power distributor

Nuremberg – The Center for Transportation & Logistics Neuer Adler e.V. (CNA) this year awarded its “Intelligence for Transportation and Logistics” innovation prize for the tenth time. The companies awarded on this occasion were Leoni and Continental, which jointly developed a high voltage power distributor for vehicles with electric drive.

Dr Rainer Müller, CNA’s chairman, emphasised while presenting the prize the “positive example set by the joint development work of these two automotive suppliers in the region.” As a key component of an electric drive system, this innovative, high voltage power distributor raises the efficiency and safety of hybrid and electric vehicles – and thus the market opportunity for forward-looking, environmentally friendly mobility solutions.

Together with a number of media representatives, about 60 participants from government, the business and scientific communities were guests at the award presentation held at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Nuremberg for the central Franconia region. In the Ludwig-Feuerbach Hall, Dr Michael Fraas, economics spokesman of the city of Nuremberg and director of the Economy and Infrastructure Forum of the metropolitan Nuremberg region, in his tribute praised the exemplary cooperation between the two companies and the innovative outcome of their joint work.

Electromobility: concentrated expertise in Nuremberg

The metropolitan Nuremberg region is today a key centre for electromobility. The two awarded companies are making a major contribution in this respect. Continental’s Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) business unit is based in Nuremberg, as is Leoni AG. Continental is recognised as being among the world’s leading suppliers in the e-mobility market and, in Nuremberg, produces both lithium-ion batteries and power electronics for hybrid and electric vehicles. Leoni is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of automotive cables and wiring systems and, for cars with alternative drive systems, provides both special cable systems and electromechanical components as well as charging cables for the infrastructure.

Helmut Fennel, Head of Development at the Hybrid Electric Vehicle unit, and Rainer Pühl, Continental’s facility and plant manager in Nuremberg, accepted the prize on Continental’s behalf. Jürgen Linhard, Managing Director of Leoni Bordnetz-Systeme GmbH, and Dr Michael Frommberger, Head of Business Unit Electromobility, accepted the award for Leoni. Helmut Fennel emphasised the pre-competitive collaboration as a key success factor. “Based on this collaboration we were able to take better account of the system aspects than in normal projects in which the mutual customer, the carmaker, stipulates the requirements.” Dr Michael Frommberger also underscored this point: “In the case of electrical wiring system products the innovations are in the detail. And such detail development is best taken forward when, as in this case, a manufacturer of high voltage components and a wiring systems specialist collaborate at the pre-competitive stage.

Benefit & innovation

The high voltage power distributor developed by Leoni and Continental meet the special requirements that modern electric and hybrid vehicles impose on these important components. The distributor box can, moreover, be set up flexibly and application-specifically, thereby enabling development times to be shortened and system costs to be reduced. The success and therefore the benefit of this cooperation lie primarily in the fact that the component and the wiring systems manufacturer can offer their customers, the carmakers, a better product. Continental is already testing the distributor in a prototype vehicle and it can now be applied in mass production.

Hybrid and electric vehicles require a high voltage power distributor so that, in addition to the main units (battery, power electronics and electric motor), ancillaries such as the air-conditioning compressor, auxiliary heater and charger can also be connected to the wiring system. The distributor’s many novelties cover above all such areas as safety, weight-saving and installation space optimisation.