The Mercedes connection

The Challenge

Hybrid vehicles use combustion engines and electric motors in parallel. High-voltage supply systems in these new vehicles place considerable demands on the connectors which provide the interface between the battery and the electronics. ODU Automotive GmbH based in Mühldorf, Germany specialises in the development and manufacture of connectors for use in the automotive industry.

When Mercedes-Benz wanted to introduce the first German hybrid car onto the market, it turned to ODU to equip the vehicle with a reliable connection system. The project received a great deal of attention.

The reliability of the locking was of particular importance. If the connection system was loosened by vibrations, this would inevitably lead to the failure of the supporting hybrid function of the vehicle

The Solution

The search for a suitable locking system led to Nord-Lock. Thanks to the locking function of Nord-Lock washers, the risk of bolts coming loose could be eliminated. A permanent connection between the battery and electronics was ensured.

“In this important project, we only had one chance to do every­thing right”, explains Richard Espertshuber, General Manager of the Automotive department at ODU. “We therefore chose the bolt locking system which we felt would offer the best possible chance of success.”

The Result

The connection system was installed in the first prototype cars. It then immediately achieved qualification according to AK test guidelines. The AK test guidelines were developed jointly by automotive manufacturers Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen and define various tests for the properties of connections.

In June 2009, Mercedes-Benz successfully launched the S-Class with hybrid drive onto the market.