Automotive > Powertrain, Body, Chassis & Safety Blog

Passive Keyless Entry Increasingly Found In Compact Segments - Cost Still An Issue

by Kevin Mak | 12月 20, 2010

From the model launches in 2010, Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) systems are increasingly found in compact models outside Japan.

  • Ford in Europe have launched many compact models, such as the Fiesta, with its "Key-Free System".  Ford in North America will follow suit with the MY 2011 Fiesta and MY 2012 Focus.
  • The Nissan Juke is a compact SUV assembled in the UK - the Tekna trim level comes with the "Intelligent Key" system. 
  • The Volkswagen Golf comes with "KESSY" - the system only activates on the front doors in order to lower cost. 

Evidence of this trend, over the past year, can be seen in the latest Strategy Analytics "Advanced Entry and Start System Supply and Fitment Database": This shows that certain OEM and supplier strategies aim to spread the availability of PKE, in the hope of raising volumes and lowering cost through economies of scale. And in assisting cost reductions, suppliers, both at system and at semiconductor level, aim to integrate components and functionality in order to reduce module size.

  • TRW launched a module that can combine the RF functionality for a PKE system with that for a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).  The latter system is mandated in many markets, thus the module can offer additional functionality at minimal cost.
  • Atmel has integrated the immobilizer functions onto the same chip for a PKE system, as well as transceiver ICs integrating remote start and TPMS functions.
  • Continental and Kathrein have developed an integrated antenna for all kinds of features, such as radio and navigation, as well as PKE.
  • Maxim's MAX1441 touch sensor IC has 5 passive components instead of the 16 used by competitors. 

Furthermore, some RKE designs are using push button engine starts as a base for their PKE designs:

  • The MY 2009 Audi A4 has a slot with which the RKE fob is pushed further in to start the engine.  Slots for PKE systems are used when the battery in the fob is depleted.
  • Established brands with this kind of RKE system, and can also come with similar PKE systems, include BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Volvo and the Volkswagen Passat.  Some of these models may have a separate starter button for both RKE and PKE systems.

But despite this, almost all PKE systems are offered as an additional cost option to the consumer and because of its higher cost, few are deployed.

  • According to Strategy Analytics, only 8.1 million units of PKE (equating a penetration rate of around 11 percent) are being deployed for 2010.

Forecast data can be found in the "Automotive Electronics System Demand Forecast 2008 to 2017: Q3 Update":   Strategy Analytics believes that further cost reductions are needed before PKE can see widespread deployment.

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