Hella expects 20% CAGR
Dr. Martin Fischer, president of Hella Electronics Corporation and the head of the company’s Corporate Center USA in Plymouth Township, Michigan, said Hella expects to increase its electronics business in North America at an annual rate of 20 percent over the next three years.
He also said Hella is expanding its operations in the NAFTA trade region with fuel-saving electronic components, increased production volumes in Mexico, and a line of non-automotive products.
Demand for more fuel-efficient cars and light trucks will spark additional sales for electronic components, Fischer predicted. “Conventional engine and hybrid vehicles require various electrical and electronics components to meet new government mileage requirements,” he said. Hella currently offers fuel-saving technologies including start-stop controls, battery sensors, accelerator pedal sensors, engine actuators for turbochargers and intake manifolds, demand-driven fuel pumps, and electric vacuum pumps.”
The German automotive supplier of lighting and electronic equipment secured long-term financing for its global operations in the midst of the world’s financial crisis and further solidified its position with a bond offering during the fourth quarter of 2009.
Hella recently began production of electronics components for U.S., Mexican and Brazilian customers at a new manufacturing facility in San Jose Iturbide, 155 miles north of Mexico City. The plant currently is operating at more than 90 percent capacity with room for further expansion. Hella produces lighting components at two plants in Guadalajara and another in Mexico City. Hella supplies automotive-assembly operations for Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Volkswagen and others in Mexico.
Energy management technologies
Fischer said proven energy-management technologies are key to meeting new U.S. fuel-economy regulations. “Despite a growing interest in hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles, Hella believes North Americans in the near future actually will prefer more fuel-efficient versions of the cars and trucks they are currently driving. Significant fuel-cost savings can be achieved on current production vehicles through electronics and lighting technologies already in use in Europe.”
He cited as examples start-stop controls, intelligent battery sensors, accelerator pedal sensors, fuel and oil-quality sensors, demand-driven fuel pumps, electric vacuum pumps, electric turbo charger actuators, full-LED-lighting, and HID-lighting systems.
“The cumulative benefits of these technologies can have a significant impact on a vehicle’s overall fuel economy, increasing its efficiency by up to 30 percent,” Fisher pointed out.
In a study of two European cars with similar engines (approximately 138 horsepower, 229 foot-pounds of torque), the vehicle with a start-stop system, which includes Hella’s intelligent battery sensor and voltage stabilizer, produced 17 percent less carbon dioxide than the one without these technologies. Fuel consumption for the Hella-equipped car also was 20 percent better.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency said it expects auto manufacturers to meet new federal standards by “more widespread adoption of conventional technologies that are already in commercial use.”
“There is no ‘silver bullet’ when it comes to fuel efficiency,” Fischer noted. “A variety of electronics will play an important role in helping automakers reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the future.
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