Greater powertrain efficiency could enhance EVs' driving range. Pictured is the Renault Fluence Z.E. (Photo: Renault)

Germany's Continental and Switzerland's Oerlikon will jointly develop and market integrated motor and transmission systems for hybrid and electric vehicles.

The aim of the cooperation is to improve the efficiency of electric powertrains by improving the integration of electric motors and transmissions. “Electric drive is a field where integrated system-level optimization is the only way to offer significantly improved customer benefits," said Ralf Schmid, head of r&d at Continental's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Business Unit in Berlin.

Paolo Mantelli, head of Oerlikon's Italy-based Performance Automotive division, predicted a significant efficiency improvement for electric powertrains.

The two companies said said their areas of expertise complement each other in the venture. Continental will contribute its know-how in the area of conventional, hybrid and all-electric powertrains, while Oerlikon Graziano will contribute its expertise in the development, production and design of high-performance transmissions.

The companies, which expect they'll be able to offer reduced costs and weight in future systems, will decide on a case-by-case basis which of the two will be systems supplier for a given project.