Automotive component supplier Mahle has reported a significant boosted in sales and earnings. From January to June 2021, consolidated sales grew by 32 percent to about 5.7 billion euros, growing faster than the global automobile market.
The highest growth rates were recorded in the Electronics and Mechatronics business area. Increased sales, productivity along with numerous initiatives to reduce costs offset negative effects such as higher material prices.
“We have therefore achieved the turnaround we had aimed for. The positive figures confirm that we have become more profitable and more efficient in overall terms,” said Michael Frick, Chairman of the Group Management Board (ad interim) and CFO of Mahle, presenting the half-year figures.
The Stuttgart-based firm is more cautious as regards the second half of 2021. In view of various risks such as high raw material prices and semiconductor shortages, the second half could become more volatile. Nevertheless, Mahle expects to close the entire year with sales growth and a positive result. At the IAA Mobility, the company is presenting the next generation of e-mobility to the public in the ‘Open Space’ at Munich’s Königsplatz and to its customers at the Mobility Summit (exhibition center).
“Mahle has boosted the pace of its transformation. We will consistently build on the success achieved to date in our technological and structural reorientation,” said Frick. One of the key elements in this success is high R&D expenditure, which amounts to about six percent of sales. Future-oriented technologies and fields connected with climate-neutral mobility account for more than 80 percent of this figure.
Big display at IAA Mobility this month
At the leading industry showcase IAA, which opens on September 7, the technology group is highlighting its broad-based positioning with respect to e-mobility, ranging from charging technology to battery systems and electric motors.
“We are supporting energy flow through the entire vehicle and even start before we reach the vehicle,” said Vice President Corporate Research and Advanced Engineering Dr. Martin Berger. Mahle supplies smart charging infrastructure in the form of chargeBIG. The almost 1,000 charging points installed for long-term parking are to receive a key boost from the ‘chargeBIG Power’ system of fast charging stations with power ratings up to 750kW.
Mahle's chargeBIG gives an indication on a smartphone in accordance with German and weights and measures regulations.
However, fast charging not only calls for the right infrastructure. Vehicle technology, especially the battery, is equally important. For fast charging, temperatures within the battery cell must be evenly distributed and must not rise too high. Mahle’s solution of immersion cooling sees a non-conductive coolant circulate around the cells, the cables and all connectors of the battery. This reduces the maximum temperature and improves heat distribution within the battery cell. Charging in a matter of minutes at the same time as longer battery life improves the suitability of EVs for long trips and therefore public acceptance of this technology. Mahle expects the system to be introduced on battery-electric vehicles from 2025 onwards.
New magnet-free electric motor features high durability. Power transmission between the rotating and stationary components of the motor is completed without contacts and without wear.
Mahle will also showcase its new magnet-free electric motor, which represents a breakthrough in electric motor development. This electric motor does not need rare earth elements. This not only makes production more environmentally compatible but also brings benefits in terms of cost and raw material security. The key feature of the new motor is inductive, contactless power transmission – as a result, the motor operates without wear and is highly efficient over a wide speed range. At the drive system operating points most used, efficiency is over 95 percent – a value only achieved by Formula E racing cars to date. Mahle says it has “succeeded in combining the advantages of various different electric motor designs in a single product.” This new development is easily scalable and can be used on a wide range of vehicles from small cars to trucks.
By 2030, the company intends to boost the share of sales generated independently from internal combustion engines for passenger cars from the present figure of 60 percent to 75 percent.