With governments around the world pursuing more stringent norms on emissions and fuel economy, companies are gearing up with new energy-efficient powertrain systems, says Rakesh Rao.
With market for auto booming in Asia, global auto component companies are eyeing for bigger share of the market. Meanwhile, in India, the new emission norm (BS VI to be rolled out from April 1, 2020) is forcing companies to modify their powertrain systems. The demand for new products is also getting a boost with auto makers making their next generation powertrains.
Indian industry is dependent on imported technologies for auto manufacturing. So how competitive are Indian manufacturers in terms of developing powertrain systems? Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), answers, “Indian manufacturers do have a capability of developing powertrain systems. However, given that they do not have a luxury of large time available for complete new development for entire spread of vehicle models/platforms, it is clear that services from overseas development/research houses would be taken by them. In case of small vehicle manufacturers (two and three wheelers) the challenges are multifold.”
Powertrain consists of components (engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and the final drive) that provide the driving force for mobility of the vehicles. On the other hand, the drivetrain (refered to a group of components that typically comes after the engine) drives the wheels.
Governments around the world are pursuing more stringent norms on emissions & fuel economy to continually improve air quality in urban areas. India too has announced the implementation of BS VI norms by 2020 and soon will adopt CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) norms, which require cars to be 30 per cent or more fuel efficient from 2022 and 10 per cent or more between 2017 and 2021.
Urdhwareshe opines, “BSVI is not just the laboratory level emission measurement and compliance. It will for the first time bring in the new requirements like RDE (Real Driving Emissions), in-service checks, etc. This necessitates tight control over variability in various operating conditions. In addition, tight targets for CO2 (fuel efficiency) based on corporate fleet average (to meet CAFE standards) will govern the powertrain optimisation. It is expected that all engines would be electronically controlled with optimised after-treatment solutions. It is also expected that the share of diesel vehicle will go down in favour of petrol versions.”
In India, the auto industry will adopt BS VI (equivalent to Euro VI) emission norms by 2020. This will trigger changes in powertrain systems. “It is our belief that the efficiency of ICE can continue to be enhanced using new technology solutions. Schaeffler has the necessary technologies and solutions available having a profound impact on helping engines to consume less fuel and comply with increasingly stringent performance & emissions standards. For example, we have developed a technology demonstrator car which shows that by applying our range of technical solutions a 10 per cent fuel efficiency can be achieved,” says Harsha Kadam, President - Industrial Division, Schaeffler India.
Global companies are looking at expanding in India and develop local supplier base to meet the growing demand. “The introduction of the BS VI emission norms will be both challenge and opportunity for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. The demand for hybrid and electric architectures will rise and along with it the need for new technology solutions. As a global leader in clean and efficient technology solutions, we already have a comprehensive product portfolio for hybrid as well as electric vehicles and possess broad knowledge when it comes to emission-reducing technologies. In course of the new standards in India, we predict our engine timing system, for example, to be widely adopted. Another important aspect regarding the BS VI emission norms: upgrading existing systems so that they comply with the newly developed standards. As these procedures come at a certain price, we at BorgWarner see cost emerging as a key area. For that reason, we are developing a local supplier base in order to make our system more cost-effective,” explains Jens Lange, Director Product Strategy, BorgWarner PowerDrive Systems. The company supplies propulsion system solutions for all types of powertrains - whether they are for combustion, hybrid or electric vehicles.
Search for clean fuel
Due to emission effect, auto companies are looking at launching more of petrol/CNG variant than diesel. Rashmi Urdhwareshe informs, “Emission norms at BS VI level become technology agnostic. But the incremental increase in cost and weight in diesel would be very big challenges to overcome. Manufacturers will look at not just petrol and CNG options, but also EVs and hybrids are being seriously considered.”
The shift towards cleaner fuels is leading to changes in requirement of components used in powertrain systems. Emphasis is on efficient systems. Lange opines, “As we are developing and producing clean and efficient technology solutions, regardless of the propulsion system, we do not see this shift from diesel to gasoline as a risk or threat. Most of BorgWarner’s products are on the air path, which means they can be used in both diesel as well a gasoline engines – for example turbochargers and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) modules. We steadily try to optimise our technologies in order to support vehicle manufacturers on their way towards a cleaner and more energy-efficient future.”
As part of their sustainable development efforts, auto makers are looking to use products that reduce CO2 emissions and help protect the environment. “From an engine point of view, Schaeffler is into combustion technology. We are into improving the combustion efficiency in the engine. Dual-mass flywheel is one solution, pendulum based flywheel is another. These are solutions we can bring in to make the engines more efficient. There are several technological products with Schaeffler which compensate thermal efficiency losses and it also enhances the efficiency with higher reliability. The products like - hydraulically or electrically actuated variable cam timing system, UNI-AIR system help to improve thermal efficiency,” elaborates Harsha Kadam.
Companies are seeing a big opportunity to grow fast in India similar to the one in other regions like China where the supporting incentive from the government has provided a strong push for electrical vehicle sales. The average global share of electric vehicles is expected to be roughly 25 per cent of the market by 2025. For India too, the figure will be somewhat similar.
Urdhwareshe states, “There is a regulatory push towards EVs, public procurement of EVs and tightening of fuel efficiency norms (CAFE based). As necessary pull is created in the public demand, there is a need for standardisation and creation of public charging infrastructure. Manufactures will be working for step by step introduction of EVs. They will have to gear up for supply chain development for the critical components.”
Trend towards electrification will need more energy efficient powertrain system. “As electrification will enable the addition of multiple new features into the vehicles of the future, the power consumption of vehicles will rise - creating a need for new and efficient technology solutions. For years already, we identify market needs in order to deliver the right solutions at the right time. Therefore, we are well prepared to meet the challenges that come with the emerging trend of electrification. At BorgWarner, we cover four of the five key technologies or electric vehicles – electric motors, transmissions, power electronics and thermal management. We support vehicle manufacturers with multiple products, such as our High Voltage Hairpin (HVH) electric motor, which enables enhanced power density and high torque. Furthermore, the company’s compact eGearDrive transmission, allowing for high torque capacity. The electric Drive Module (eDM) combines these two innovative solutions, providing automakers with a complete propulsion solution for electric vehicles. Regarding thermal management, BorgWarner’s portfolio includes a High Voltage Air and Coolant Heater, providing high thermal power density as well as efficiency,” elaborates Lange.
With electric vehicles gaining traction in India, component suppliers are all geared-up to tap the opportunity. Harsha Kadam explains, “Electric mobility as a whole – including fully electric driving as well as hybrid solutions – will be defining mobility of the future. Electrified powertrain architectures are shaping the future of automotive progress, confronting the automotive industry with major challenges. Schaeffler has solutions for full range of electrification, starting from P0 (mild hybrid) to P4 (electric axle). We are already working with global manufacturers in Europe and China to provide advanced solutions for fully electric vehicles and hybrid technologies and as India adopts the technologies, we are ready with our solutions for our local customers.”
Beyond making electric vehicles, there are equally important dimensions such as generation and transmission of power which are needed for the success of electric mobility. “Experts refer to ‘well-to-wheel’ when taking the entire energy chain into account. It is a method that makes it look at total amount of CO2 emissions produced in the entire chain of locomotion – from the production and storage of energy through to its conversion into kinetic energy. Sustainable mobility can only be achieved if the primary energy for locomotion comes from renewable sources such as wind power, solar power, hydropower or geothermal energy. Schaeffler contributes technology and know-how to the consistent expansion of these energy sources,” Kadam adds.
Reinventing business models
Components suppliers are also reinventing their business processes and focus. For example, the Satara (Maharashtra) based Cooper Corporation, a supplier of engines and components (cylinder liners, cylinder blocks and heads), is planning for a transition from component maker to product manufacturer. Cooper, which is reportedly targeting a turnover of Rs 2000 crore by 2020, aims for equal contribution to its turnover from its auto component business and diesel & CNG engine unit. At present, about 60 per cent of the company’s revenue comes from auto components. The company - which exports cylinder liners to engine manufacturers and OEMs in Africa, Europe, China and Sri Lanka – will foray into the US for engines both diesel and CNG. Cooper already exports auto components to North America.
Technology companies are providing products that offer improve fuel efficiency of the engine and meet the emerging requirement arising due to the usage of new fuels. To tap this opportunity, engine manufacturer Greaves Cotton launched two new powertrain solutions at this year’s Auto Expo to address the growing alternative fuel segment and the emerging electric vehicle segment. The company is also working with its technology partners, Pinnacle Engines and Altigreen Solutions, to launch new powertrain solutions for the Indian market. Greaves Cotton has developed high performance electric powertrain, at the heart of which is an ultra-light compact high output induction motor, developed by Altigreen Propulsion Labs.
Towards green future
Currently, automakers search for ways to get engines more clean, efficient and powerful. Electrified turbocharging is an emerging trend, which is likely to grow even more, given the advent of mild hybrid systems featuring 48-volt power supply. Also, research is currently on in full swing on new fuels (such as hydrogen, fuel cell, etc).
Rashmi Urdhwareshe of ARAI concludes, “Globally the focus is expected to shift to cleaner energy options (hydrogen, fuel cell, HEVs) to address the energy and pollution crisis. More emphasis is being given to shift the trend to integrated transportation solutions rather than to personal mobility. For a big country like India, the local problems also will need local solutions in terms of energy supply. It is, therefore, expected that a combination of newly developed alternate energy powertrains and conventional optimised powertrains might emerge as a winner!”
For a big country like India, the local problems also will need local solutions in terms of energy supply. It is, therefore, expected that a combination of newly developed alternate energy powertrains and conventional optimised powertrains might emerge as a winner!
- Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI)
Electric mobility as a whole – including fully electric driving as well as hybrid solutions – will be defining mobility of the future. Electrified powertrain architectures are shaping the future of automotive progress, confronting the automotive industry with major challenges.
- Harsha Kadam, President - Industrial Division, Schaeffler India
The introduction of the BS VI emission norms will be both challenge and opportunity for vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. The demand for hybrid and electric architectures will rise and along with it the need for new technology solutions.
- Jens Lange, Director Product Strategy, BorgWarner PowerDrive Systems