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Strategic Analysis of Powertrain Light-weighting Measures

Strategic Analysis of Powertrain Light-weighting Measures

Key Findings

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.


  • Executive Summary
    • Key Findings
    • The Light Weighting Spiral
    • Light Weighting a Car-Weight Savings Opportunity by Focus Area
      • Table Powertrain Light Weighting: OEMs' Light-weighting Focus on Vehicle Level, Global, 2015-2020
    • Light Weighting-Cost Savings and Impacts
    • Efficient, Sensitive, and Convenient Materials-Keys to Light Weighting
    • Opportunities and Multi-dimensional Evolution in Light Weighting
    • Current and Future Position of OEMs in the Light-weight Matrix
    • Analysis of Powertrain Components-Weight Reduction Versus Cost
    • Key Conclusions and Future Outlook-Impact Analysis
  • Research Scope, Objectives, Background, and Methodology
    • Research Scope
      • Table Total Powertrain Market: Vehicle Sales by Manufacturing Groups, Key Markets, 2014-2022
    • Research Aims and Objectives
    • Key Questions this Study Will Answer
    • Research Background
    • Research Methodology
    • Key OEMs Compared in this Study
  • Definitions and Segmentation
    • Definitions
    • Automotive Light-weighting Segmentation
  • Light Weighting-Engine Cluster
    • New Materials and Applications-Light-weighting Engines
    • Construction Trend and Opportunities-Engine Light-weight Materials
    • Material Substitution Trends-Engine Light Weighting
  • Light Weighting-Transmission Cluster
    • New Materials and Applications-Light-weighting Transmissions
    • Light Weighting Approach-Transmissions
    • Dual-clutch Transmission (DCT)-Light Weight Construction Trend
  • Light Weighting-Exhaust Cluster
    • Key Exhaust Light-weighting Technologies
    • Exhaust Weight Reduction Key Attributes
    • Exhaust Light-weight Strategy-Material Substitution
    • Exhaust Light-weight Strategy: Parts Consolidation/Integration
    • Exhaust Light-weight Strategy: Design Optimization
    • Exhaust Light-weight Strategy: Wall Thickness Reduction
  • Case Study-BMW Group
    • Case Study: Light-weighting Approach-BMW Group
    • Material Solutions and Powertrain Types-BMW Group
    • Outlook on Materials Specific to Powertrain-BMW Group
  • Case Study-Volkswagen Group
    • Case Study: Light-weighting Approach-VW Group
    • Material Solutions and Powertrain Types-VW Group
    • Outlook on Materials Specific to Powertrain-VW Group
  • Conclusions and Future Outlook
    • Key Conclusions and Future Outlook-Impact Analysis
    • The Last Word-3 Big Predictions
  • Appendix
    • Market Engineering Methodology
    • Newer Materials and Newer Material Application Areas
    • List of Abbreviations

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