Strategic Analysis of Powertrain Light-weighting Measures
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are required to reduce -% of their CO2 emissions on average in 6–7 years. Powertrain light weighting is expected to contribute significantly to this.
Powertrain Light Weighting: Key Takeaways, Global, 2015–2020
Emission Compliance—By 2020, powertrain components are estimated to have the potential to lose up to % of their weight. Every kg weight loss will result in the CO2 target reducing by g/km, while the same is expected to result in emissions getting lowered by 6–7 g/km, giving significant advantage to the OEM. German OEMs, such as Volkswagen (VW) and BMW, are expected to lead with at least a 10% weight reduction year-on-year (YoY) using lightweight techniques.
Material of the future is highly subjective to application. However, significant levels of material substitution will occur only if new materials score well in terms of their availability, economics, and sustainability. Plastics and reinforced polymers have large potential for light weighting, but their increased application is dependent on research advancement in their thermal properties and joining methods.
Downsizing engines will be the primary step adopted by OEMs for powertrain and vehicle light weighting. This will be facilitated by lighter body shells, eventually resulting in higher power-to-weight ratios and lower crash loads, further facilitating light weighting. As engines downsize, the prime targets for light weighting will be engine cradles such as aluminum/magnesium to advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), air intake manifolds (aluminum to plastics) engine blocks and cylinder heads (steel to aluminum/magnesium) and fuel systems (steel to plastics).
Transmission systems have the potential to lose up to % of their weight by 2020. For transmissions in load-carrying structural parts, composites of metals, polymers, or ceramics will be the alternative material solutions. Metal and polymer matrix composites are expected to evolve in terms of their thermal and torsional strength, availability, and economics to find increased application, resulting in lighter and efficient transmission systems.
Exhaust Systems—Light weighting of exhaust systems will be centered around integration of exhaust manifold in the cylinder head, reduction of exhaust component wall thickness, and reduction of volumes handled by exhaust components. Opportunities for these concepts are with respect to the noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), back pressure optimization, and achieving desired levels of conversion efficiency with newer materials and exhaust designs.
About this report
The study throws light on various light-weighting measures on powertrains and their importance and level of maturity in taking original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) closer to CO2 targets. The study has been broken down into 3 clusters—engine, transmissions, and exhaust after-treatment. Newer materials and the pace of substitution of conventional materials have been discussed. Supplementary technological advances required in manufacturing and joining process and economies of scales to be achieved are also detailed. The study delves into key participants, such as BMW and VW, for a deeper insight into their light-weighting strategies through 2 case studies. The base year is 2015 and forecasts have been provided till 2022.
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