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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Way ahead for powertrains: Electrification and hybridisation
Way ahead for powertrains: Electrification and hybridisation
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After BS VI implementation across the board, electronic fuel injection and engine management system technology adoption is expected to pick up; the benefit for the consumer being improved starting, drivability and lower emissions. This will not just contribute towards a cleaner environment but will also create an avenue for future connectivity, believes Neellohit Banerjee.
Emissions have been a point of concern in India for the last few years. There has been an increasing level of awareness on clean energy and cleaner automotive emissions among Indian consumers, an increased commitment from OEMs towards this front and supporting government mandates as well. The world, along with India, is looking towards a future with electric cars. There is considerable R&D being done towards this front.
The long term trend is still hazy and there is a strong likelihood that a multitude of options could co-exist; the short term trends are however becoming clearer. With regulations getting stricter for reduced emissions and higher fuel efficiency, we see more penetration of downsizing, turbo charging, light weighting and advanced injection systems while gradual disappearance of higher cylinder engines, torque converters and cast iron.
“We believe the transition from combustion engine to e-mobility will massively pick up speed only between 2025 and 2030. In the meantime, the focus is towards making combustion engines more efficient. Schemes like FAME have also encouraged the uptake of 48 Volt mild hybrid systems, full and plug-in hybrids as well as full electric vehicles in India,” says Anurag Garg, Head of Powertrain business, Continental India.
Raj Kalra, President, MAHLE Holding (India) Private Limited reveals, “We are keeping in pace with changing market dynamics rather trying to be a step ahead to support our customers with the advanced products, ultimately enabling them to achieve improved efficiency and reduced emission targets not just for India, but also for some of their export markets. Few examples are our assembled camshafts and evolite pistons which are lightweight yet more efficient and are already into production. We are continuously looking deeper into metallurgy and technology of our products to keep improving them.”
Assessing Maruti decision’s impact
Clean, intelligent, and connected vehicles are the future. It is important for our future to make mobility sustainable. automated driving, driving safety, electric mobility, digitalisation, and infotainment become a critical part of this movement.
“We had envisioned a gradual uptick in gasoline engines in India, particularly in the compact car segment, as the country begins to focus on meeting stringent emission standards. Continental has been actively working on innovative technologies that set new market standards since 2016, scaling up our R&D and production towards this,” Garg informs.
Additionally, Continental has been supporting OEMs in meeting the stringent emission standards globally, such as Euro 6. “Our R&D teams in India have been working towards developing relevant products, and we are ready with the required technologies for the market. We anticipated this move towards gasoline products. As India moves towards reducing carbon emissions significantly in the years to come, we believe there will be further opportunities beyond diesel or gasoline vehicles and others. We expect opportunities to develop further in the hybrid electric vehicle sector, which is again something we are working towards strongly,” reveals Garg. Continental is well-equipped for the change in drive technologies. In the process, it is focusing on the growing demand for highly efficient, low-emission technologies for internal combustion engines as well as on electrified and all-electric drive systems.
Reduction of demand for the diesel cars, especially for 1.5L and below is the new reality that all suppliers have to get used to. MAHLE is also trying to adjust to the new market dynamics. Kalra adds, “We are continuously evolving our products to cater to downsizing and light weighting demands. However, at the same time we are closely working with various OEMs to support them on their electrification products in India and abroad.”
Future powertrain systems
With rapid growth in India’s two-wheeler market and BS VI implementation across the board, Continental also expects electronic fuel injection (EFI) and engine management system (EMS) technology adoption to pick up; the benefit for the consumer being improved starting, drivability, and lower emissions. This will not just contribute towards a cleaner environment; it opens up the path for future connectivity.
“Continental has been working towards this shift in the last few years and with our state-of-the-art offerings, we are well positioned to support OEMs,” says Garg.
“Commuting convenience, cost economics and emission-free mobility will drive the need for consumers to prefer electric mode of transportation. This will see a rising trend of consumers switching to the electric powertrains when it comes to 2W, 3W or 4Ws. In this direction, Greaves has solutions in the electric mobility domain that cater to the 2W and electric rickshaw, informs Ravi Damodaran, CTO, Greaves Cotton.
“Our attention is focused on two parallel efforts as far as emissions go. The first is the full value creation from the growing demand for the most efficient combustion engine technologies that also guarantee the lowest emissions, and, the second is to benefit from the prospective growth in environmentally friendly, electrified and fully electric drive systems,” says Garg.
When it comes to electric drive systems, the primary concerns are still range and costs. Eventually, a consumer is looking for a mobility solution that is on par with a petrol or diesel vehicle – in terms of costs and mileage.
Technologies need to be upgraded, and further investments are required for the same. On the other hand, infrastructures to support electric mobility are yet to be fully established for easy charging of electric vehicles. But this move does create more interest towards electric drive systems.
Technology moulding powertrains
A research vehicle, based on an existing mid-size EV, is exhibited by Continental for the first time at the 32nd Electric Vehicle Symposium. Furthermore, solutions for fuel cell vehicles can provide an answer to long distance driving, especially for larger and commercial vehicles. Continental now utilizes AI and the principle of swarm intelligence to design optimum fuel cell systems. The demand for higher power density in electronics, with greater power levels and more functions integrated into ever smaller packages will only increase, particularly for smaller EVs and plug-in hybrids. New semiconductor materials like gallium nitride (GaN) are potential solutions which enable such high integration, for example in bi-directional on-board chargers (OBC).
“Electric vehicles, hybrids and fuel cell vehicles will all be an integral part of the future mobility mix. As they offer a new experience to drivers, it is important to get the vehicle practicality right. This extends far beyond driving. To make electromobility a success we must also address the trickier bits, which can spoil the fun of driving, if left unattended. Thermal management and efficient charging rank high on that list because they can add to the usability of driving an EV,” says Stephan Rebhan, Head of Technology & Innovation Powertrain, Continental.
The thermal management research vehicle is equipped with specifically developed multi-port Coolant Flow Control Valves (CFCVs), coolant pumps and the newly developed Electro-Thermal Recuperator (ETR) or smart heater. Working together, these components harvest heat and energy where it originates in the vehicle and transport it to places where it is useful. By doing that, the energy demand from the battery is reduced which increases range. Depending on the temperature level of core components such as the battery, the heat flow can be flexibly re-directed as needed.
The smart heater, for instance, can help to either heat up the cabin or the battery when it is too cold for the battery to accept electric energy from recuperation (regenerative braking). For that purpose, the smart heater will turn electricity into heat that is available for appropriate use. “In an EV, both human and machine want to be in their comfort zone. A car that is equipped with our smart heater, for instance, can achieve the comfort zone in a third of the time of a model without smart heater,” Rebhan informs.
Gallium nitride, due to its lower conduction and switching losses, is a compelling technology for power electronics. For example, GaN in a bi-directional, air-cooled OBC enables charging efficiency of 95 per cent, thus reducing charging times and increasing overall energy efficiency, which in turn improves the practicality of electrified vehicles.
A fuel cell powertrain is rather complex to design. It consists of two electrochemical power sources (i.e the fuel cell and battery) which are connected via at least one DC/DC link to the inverter and the electric motor. To get the maximum efficiency out of this powertrain, one needs to find the best operating strategy and power split between FC and battery. The powertrain division of Continental is using AI and Pontryagin’s Minimum Principle (PMP) optimisation algorithms to compute the optimum fuel cell system and powertrain design for a known drive cycle. By harnessing its AI and swarm intelligence know-how, the fuel cell experts were able to lower the energy losses in the battery-DC/DC link by around 3.5 per cent, through finding and applying intelligent control principles.
journey toward e-mobility
Recent policy changes, significant moves by OEMs and others are leading to a future of e-mobility. The pace and progression, however, will be decided by various factors including policy makers and the consumer.
“We definitely see the changing dynamics of market towards hybrid/electrified powertrains. However we still believe the engines are here to stay and have thus adopted two pronged strategy – continue investing in advancement of ICE products, yet work together with OEMs to cater to hybridisation and electrification, says Kalra.
Garg says, “The powertrain market, before switching to electric drives entirely, will focus more on making current technologies more sustainable and energy efficient. 48 Volt mild hybrid systems, full and plug-in hybrids will be gaining more attention in the next few years, along with further electrification of current systems.”
India would be one of the last markets to adopt full electrification and still a healthy amount of demand for powertrain would still exist. This as an opportunity to continue catering to large ICE population in India while also exporting ICE products to countries where volumes are decreasing and is no longer economic to produce there. “At the same time, we are getting involved with OEMs for hybrid and electrified powertrain and have a first mover advantage,” Kalra informs.
Garg says, “We, in powertrain, are working to develop futuristic component in thermal management which is linked to many requirement for EV so that we are not only well prepared for growing demand of EV systems, but also to keep pace for the other opportunities in the segment.
As India moves towards reducing carbon emissions significantly in the years to come, we believe there will be further opportunities beyond diesel or gasoline vehicles and others. We expect opportunities to develop further in the hybrid electric vehicle sector.”Anurag Garg, Head of Powertrain business, Continental India
We definitely see the changing dynamics of market towards hybrid/electrified powertrains. However we still believe the engines are here to stay.” Raj Kalra, President, MAHLE Holding (India) Private Limited
Electrification And Hybridisation
Electronic Fuel Injection And Engine Management System
Electronic Fuel Injection
Electric Vehicle Symposium
Hybrid Electric Vehicle
FC And Battery
Lectro Thermal Recuperator
Flow Control Valves
Electric Drive Systems
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