Dr. Elmar Degenhart
© Continental AG

Dr. Elmar Degenhart: Cars of the future will feature electric drives

Statements by the Chairman of the Executive Board Dr. Elmar Degenhart at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on April 28, 2017 regarding the topic electrification

Cars of the future will feature electric drives, which will be fully connected and automated. But the combustion engine is evolving, too. It actually still has its peak ahead of it. We don’t expect to see a gradual decline in volumes until after 2025. Up until this point, we can make it even more efficient, for example with our “people’s hybrid” for wide-ranging vehicle segments. Our 48-volt system is making the combustion engine quieter and the air cleaner. We are a trailblazer in this respect, having been the first to bring this system into production for the market. We strongly believe in fully electric driving. This is the market of the future. This is why we have invested a total of more than €1 billion in it over the past few years. We are currently working on some 20 production projects worldwide.

Our components and systems for electric cars are opening up new growth opportunities for our company. We are able to generate greater revenues per vehicle with them than with solutions for combustion engine drive systems. In the eyes of car buyers, the electric vehicle still requires two key elements to finally break through: greater range and lower acquisition costs. Both of these requirements could be met with, above all, a leap forward in battery-cell technology. And we expect to see this by 2025.

We are investing on an increasingly bigger scale in the research and development of electric drives. Demand for our products and systems for hybrid and electric vehicles is growing. In the past year alone, our orders were worth more than €1.2 billion, up 17 percent on 2015.

By the same token, we want our combustion drive business to remain competitive globally. We want to help set the tone of the industrial transition in the next 15 years from a position of strength. We want to create momentum in this demanding market – with additional innovative solutions such as exhaust-gas aftertreatment systems.

Please click here for the complete statement (PDF, 4.8 MB) of the Annual Shareholders' Meeting 2017.