ACI Bureau

In the advent of upcoming new emission regulations, the engine manufacturers, vehicle makers and component suppliers are looking at the opportunities the changing powertrain landscape is throwing up for them. To tap the fast evolving market, the component industry has to further improve its capabilities by acquiring technologies to make these parts through joint ventures or technical partnerships.

With the new options like electrification of motors, turbocharged gasoline engines could gain steam as smaller diesels like the 1000cc engine, could get eclipsed as the new BS-VI emission regime would make it much harder to tweak the smaller crop of engines. More affordable powertrain solutions like electric and hybrids will also offer more viable options. To boost engine power, turbo proliferation and industry adoption will continue to grow at a fast pace in India reaching Rs 2,600-2,800 crore by FY20, according to the ratings agency ICRA.

In 2020, when BS-VI engines will become expensive with the cost of their after treatment, the acquisition cost of a diesel vehicle will also rise commensurately. This high after-treatment cost for a diesel engine will drive the shift in percentage terms towards gasoline engines. The diesel percentage will consequently decline due to the price sensitive nature of the market.

The OE manufacturers are working in close co-operation with the component suppliers on localization and innovations right from the design stage. For instance, some of the top carmakers have 95-97% localisation in their top models that helps rein in costs. With technology continuously changing, innovations have to keep pace with them.

For India, engines with high and low-end torque for manoeuvring traffic snarls in cities are relevant. However, higher engine power would be necessary for driving down highways on week-ends, similar to those preferred in Europe and the US. Industry experts agree that there will be complexities in upgrading the diesel engine to BS-VI. Striking the right balance between technology and cost will be a major challenge.

Introduction of turbocharged gasoline direct injection technology would become mainstream in the compact SUV segment, while diesels would continue to dominate in the mid and high-end SUVs due to their fuel efficiency. Three and four-cylinder engines would be popular in petrol and diesels for passenger cars and SUVs, while the two-cylinder engine would drive commercial applications.

Looking at the current trend of SUV demand, more powerful engines will be looked at. While three and four-cylinder cylinder engines will be popular for smaller cars, the hybrid technology would leverage the motor to draw on additional power requirements. The diesel-dominated commercial vehicle and taxi segments will continue to be such in the near future also. However self-driven smaller cars in urban markets may move to the more fuel efficient gasoline motors.

Despite the upcoming policy on electric vehicles, hybrids will find relevance with powertrains varying from mild to strong, based on the vehicle manufacturers and their applications.

While downsising and fuel efficiency will continue to be the key focus, the utilisation of start-stop technology will also rise. Officials predict that, in passenger cars, the shift to gasoline has already started and it will stay in the 75:25 gasoline:diesel ratio in the future.

With the increasing focus on the environment, OEMs have been bringing in hybrid solutions and with the development of charging infrastructure and electric powertrain, electrically-driven vehicles will also grow. In addition, the change in emission norms will give a push to a cost-effective electric boosting technology solution like e-chargers and e-turbos. These will scale up efficiency and performance of the internal combustion engine in a mild hybrid vehicle.

In 2030, the share of electrified vehicles could range from 10 to 30% of new-vehicle sales. Adoption rates will be highest in developed, dense cities with strict emission regulations and consumer incentives (tax breaks, special parking and driving privileges, discounted electricity pricing, et cetera). Sales penetration will be slower in small towns and rural areas with lower levels of charging infrastructure and higher dependency on driving range.

Through continuous improvements in battery technology and cost, those local differences will become less pronounced, and electrified vehicles are expected to gain more and more market share from conventional vehicles. With battery costs potentially decreasing to $150 from $200 per kilowatt hour over the next decade, electrified vehicles will achieve cost competitiveness with conventional vehicles, creating the most significant catalyst for market penetration. At the same time, it is important to note that electrified vehicles include a large portion of hybrid electrics, which means that even beyond 2030, the internal-combustion engine will remain very relevant.

The Cover Story of the current issue is taking a close look at the new products and systems that support the development of new powertrains to be complaint with the new emission norms and mobility solutions like hybrids and electric vehicles.

Bosch, a world-leading multinational engineering and electronics company, is gearing up with products to support the upcoming BS-VI norms in India. “We are working on a lot of BS-VI products and we want to support the OEMs for the timely launch in 2020. We have a big team of system engineers and categorisation engineers who are working on the BS-VI solution. On technology-agnostic solutions, we are working closely with various OEMs, and legislative agencies and are trying to participate in legislation and technology participation for the future,” Sandeep N, Executive Vice President, Mobility Solutions, Bosch, said.

The Bengaluru-based General Motors Technical Centre India (GMTC-I), an engineering and research centre of General Motors(GM), is working on new products for the upcoming trends in the world market and helping GM to bring in the best future-ready products. “We are focused on the vision of GM that is zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Zero emission is the ultimate goal and to achieve this we need to take several steps. From an internal combustion engine perspective, we will continue to work on the engines and will make it more efficient for quite a long time. At the same time, we will also work on electrification,” Brian McMurray, Vice President, GMTC-I Engineering and Operations, said.

As the different types of the hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) are becoming real competitors of the classical ICE-driven cars, hybrid spin-off applications, such as the integrated starter-generator (ISG) is emerging with benefits to hybrid electric vehicles. It was in this background that Continental developed its first 48V mild-hybrid system. It has been developed for cost-efficient mass hybridisation.

The Chennai-based Lucas TVS Ltd is coming up with a new traction motor for electric vehicles. “The traction motor is our first step towards the new things that are happening in India. The motors will be of 1 kWh, 3 kWh and 5 kWh and will be able to power, e- rickshaw and e-autos,” Aravind Balaji, Joint Managing Director, Lucas TVS, said.

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