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48-Volt Mild Hybrids, Much Cheaper Than A Full Hybrid System

Delphi rolling out a new mild hybrid system, and it is apparently good enough to already capture the attention of two automakers. The supplier did not reveal which automakers would utilize the system, which the supplier said would utilize a 48V lithium ion battery to boost an engine’s performance and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 10 % when compared with a standard vehicle.

Delphi promises that its 48V mild hybrid system can both boost performance and fuel economy. The secret lies in the hybrid system, that uses juice from a 48V, lithium ion battery to power an electric motor that both starts the engine and also provides additional get-up-and-go. The system steps down power to 12V to power the car’s accessories, as well.


Delphi said the system, which backs up a vehicle’s standard 12-volt battery, can provide the engine with more power and can power the vehicle’s air-conditioning and heating systems, among other accessories, allowing a car to heat up or cool down faster upon start.

Normally when we think of hybrids—whether that’s a car like the Toyota Prius or plug-in EVs like the Chevrolet Volt—it is a high-voltage system. That means over 60V, identifiable in the car’s engine bay by bright orange cables (which being the color that the industry has standardized on). Mild hybrids work at 48V, and while they contribute a lot less torque and power than a high-voltage hybrid system, they’re also significantly cheaper, and most importantly, they can be enhanced to traditional powertrains relatively easily by manufacturers.

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