Firing Order

The automotive industry is in a transition period as the stringent emission norms and fuel economy target in all aspects of the internal combustion (IC) engine are subjected to close scrutiny. Currently, the global automakers are working hard to manage the inefficiency of the IC engines. The global competition for affordable energy and resources will lead to increasing diversification of energy sources, fuel types, and vehicles. This diversification will be greatest in urban environments where the transport and distance requirements are more compatible with diversified energy types and new energy distribution infrastructures.

In India the government speaks about electric vehicles but, where is the infrastructure to charge those vehicles? To promote electric vehicles, incentives alone cannot help to increase sales, proper infrastructure has to be laid in terms of adequate charging stations across the country. Global OEMs are ready to bring advanced technologies to India but lack of buyer familiarity with fuel-saving technologies will be a major hurdle for automakers.

Fuel-economy regulations will continue to tighten and compel automakers to add expensive powertrain technologies to their cars and trucks, but buyers do not see the benefit, especially when gasoline prices remain a relatively cheap. Conventional gasoline engines rule the mind of people. To change this mindset, OEMs have to educate consumers about technologies such as diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

To highlight these issues, we tried to focus on the Powertrain technologies in this edition that are available in India and its road ahead. It is evident that electrification of the vehicle has already been identified as a future priority area for R&D but projections for the penetration of alternative powertrain technologies clears that a large proportion of new light-duty vehicles will continue to use an internal combustion engine equipped with advanced concepts and technologies. In order to curb emissions and to boost fuel efficiency, downsising of internal combustion engine is also in the order list for the automakers. By doing so, the consumers will be witnessing with some of the most efficient engines in the world that has ever seen in the mass market.

On the transmission side, India is still in the nascent stage and has to travel a long way to use the advance technologies that are available in the developed markets. American auto majors like General Motors, Ford and Chrysler started to adopt the automatic transmission way back in 1960. But in India still the adoption of automatic transmission is very less. Only by inculcating the advantages of automatic transmission, the penetration of the same can be increased. The current edition also features US-based Allison Transmission’s Chennai plant in the Shopfloor section, that talks about global best practices that are followed and shows how the automatic transmissions are made.

Hope you find this issue interesting. Looking forward to your feedback.

Bhargav TS
Executive Editor


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