Powertrain to 2025: Trends and Risks

Technical trends and developments in the five major powertrain areas. Analysis, discussion of recent events and developments and assessment of their likely impact.

Attention has recently been focused on self-driving vehicles and full electrification as major disruptors for the auto sector in the next decade.

But for the next several years the industry is likely to be dominated by radical changes occurring WITHIN the internal combustion (IC)-engined automotive model, as new engine management and optimization technologies and partial electrification address changes demanded by regulators and markets, such as achieving carbon emission reductions and fuel economy gains despite the sidelining of diesels.

“Powertrain to 2025: Trends  and Risks” examines the impact of these developments on the five major elements of the future powertrain:

  • IC engines
  • Transmissions
  • Control Systems
  • Batteries
  • Electric Motors

The report looks at technical trends and developments in each of these areas, and projects how those they might develop through to 2025 and 2030.

The report takes a unique approach to assessing the central track of the industry’s technological roadmap – and then discusses the threats and challenges to that projection as way of analyzing the risks and opportunities that will dominate the next decade.

In other words it establishes the consensus view, and then challenges it by identifying key uncertainties and potential disruptors.

Each chapter summarizes current developments for each of the technology areas, and then pulls them together into plausible, alternate scenarios to the central outlook to help planners “bookend” the best and worst cases.

The report builds on a series of in-depth studies of different powertrain technologies, as well as Autelligence surveys of experts.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Consumer attitudes count
1.2 Scenarios and developments – the Consensus View
1.3 The shape of technical disruptors and innovations
1.4 Key questions, uncertainties, and trends

Chapter 2: Overview of market drivers and regulatory requirements worldwide

2.1 Criteria and GHG emissions
2.2 Fuel economy
2.3 Test cycles – the day of reckoning
2.4 Fuel availability and affordability
2.5 Plug-in sales
2.6 Government incentives – its effect on automakers
2.6.1 California
2.6.2 China

Chapter 2 Summary – forecasts and uncertainties

Chapter 3: Gasoline engine developments for light duty vehicles

3.1 Better fuel economy, more soot
3.2 Technology map – a quilt, not a blanket
3.2.1 Potential disruptors and innovations
Chapter 3 Summary – forecasts and uncertainties

Chapter 4: Diesel engine developments for light duty vehicles

4.1 Technology – strengths and weaknesses
4.2 Growth constrained by high diesel fuel prices and demand
Chapter 4 Summary – diesel forecasts and trends

Chapter 5: Electric battery storage

5.1 Background and batteries – development progresses
5.2 Economics and price – is $100/kWh valid?
5.3 Battery progress and projections
5.4 Battery suppliers
5.5 Potential disruptors and innovations in energy batteries
5.6 Charging a battery
Chapter 5 Summary – forecasts and uncertainties for electric battery storage

Chapter 6: New business models and user acceptance of electric vehicles

6.1 Mobility as a service
6.2 Personal BEVs, fun tempered by range
6.3 Synthetic fuels
Chapter 6 Summary – forecasts and uncertainties

Chapter 7: Trends and projections – a scenario approach

7.1 Common assumptions
7.2 Low Tech Scenario – less technology and electrification than the Consensus View
7.3 High Tech Scenario – accelerated development of high tech combustion and electrified technologies

Appendix A: Powertrain systems overview

A.1 Electrification of the powertrain
A.2 Technology and architectures

Appendix B: Transmissions for light duty vehicles

B.1 Types of transmissions – terms of reference
Appendix B Summary – forecasts and uncertainties

Appendix C: Electric drive system developments for light duty vehicles

C.1 Electric motors
C.2 Power electronics
C.3 Integrated units
C.4 48V hybrid developments

Appendix C Summary – forecasts and uncertainties for electric traction drive systems

Appendix D Research Update: 

The US 2022 – 2025 CAFÉ Standards: Finalized and then – again – up for review
EV Sales up worldwide as conservative politics in US dampens incentives
Black Swan Alert – the Opposed Piston Engine
2017 Autelligence Future of Powertrain Survey

Company profiles

Hitachi Automotive Systems
Magneti Marelli
ZF Friedrichshafen

Table of figures

Figure 1.1: In a survey conducted by Morpace, the conventional ICE engine remains consumers’ number one choice, followed closely by hybrids and GTDI as second and third

Figure 1.2: Data presenting Continental’s Powertrain Outlook for Global private and light vehicle engine production through 2024, referred to in this report as the Consensus View

Figure 2.1: The need to harmonize conflicting demands on automakers is the challenge today

Figure 2.2: Summary of regulations, timing of important worldwide criteria, and GHG emissions regulations

Figure 2.3: Vehicle criteria emissions standards worldwide tend to follow various versions of either European Union or North American/United States regulations. This chart shows worldwide the known conformance roughly to EU standards.

Figure 2.4: Why Chinese regulations matter – the Chinese market is now the largest in the world and expected to stay that way

Figure 2.5: A concise view of the fuel economy challenges (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)

Figure 2.6: Uncertainty remains in future fuel economy/CO2 regulations in the US, because of the “midterm evaluation”, where regulators and automakers will map out future feasibility

Figure 2.7: Cars are tested using fixed dynamometers on specific schedules on rolling, or chassis, dynamometers. Their emissions are measured over the cycles.

Figure 2.8: An example of a test cycle conducted on a chassis dyno

Figure 2.9: Portable emissions measurement systems will be a key element in RDE test

Figure 2.10: The US Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects gasoline prices in North America to remain well below $4/gal through 2025

Figure 2.11: Sales of HEV vehicles sold and marketed in the USA as HEVs wax and wane, in concert with inflation adjusted fuel prices among other factors

Figure 2.12: The Innovation Diffusion curve is well accepted approach to understanding the demographics of potential users

Figure 2.13: Fifteen years after introduction, HEVs have not broken out of the demographic group that are willing to try anything

Figure 2.14: Worldwide sales increase of EVs and PHEVs led by China and Western Europe

Figure 3.1: Efficient turbocharged gasoline direct engines, GTDI, make engines more efficient over a wider range of loads and speeds, improving fuel economy

Figure 3.2: Note the vast differences in take rates for various engine technologies by region predicted by IHS Automotive by 2020

Figure 3.3: Ricardo advocates incremental costs towards achieving needed improvements in fuel economy

Figure 3.4: Steady improvements in fuel consumption per unit of horsepower is shown

Figure 4.1: ExxonMobil projects that commercial transport will drive future fuel demand, driving up a demand for diesel

Figure 5.1: This illustration shows the inner workings of a lithium-ion battery

Figure 5.2: Notional diagram of battery operation for the three recognised modes of electrified powertrains, illustrating why batteries are oversized

Figure 5.3: Specification for commercialising a suitable battery for an electric vehicle

Figure 5.4: Using basic assumptions, $100/kWh provides cost parity to a fuel efficient passenger car in North America

Figure 5.5: Using the same cost model using average electricity prices in Germany and $250/kWhr seems a reasonable cost for battery storage to achieve price parity with gasoline passenger cars

Figure 5.6: Status of energy batteries against end-of-life goals as evaluated by USABC and USCAR in December, 2015

Figure 5.7: One research group, Lux Research, predicts battery prices falling into the $200/kWhr range by 2025

Figure 5.8: General Motors revealed its cost per kWh for cells and their projected glide path to 2022

Figure 5.9: Motivation for pursuing advanced electric batteries – the potential to rival gasoline energy density

Figure 5.10: According to Bloomberg, automotive traction battery costs could potentially bottom out at $100/kWh by 2025 through 2030

Figure 6.1: With an appropriately sized battery for a range of 150 miles, a BEV costs less to operate than a comparable ICE powered car

Figure 6.2: Data compiled by General Motors indicates that greater than 70% of potential EV buyers would be satisfied with a BEV that had a range greater than 200 miles on a single charge

Figure 7.1: Continental’s vision of a light duty market dominated by conventional powertrains by 2025 is commonly held in the industry, within certain parameters (reformatted), in millions of units worldwide

Figure 7.2: A variant chart from the Consensus View of light duty powertrains based on a scenario with drivers that favor lower technology powertrains, in millions of units worldwide

Figure 7.3: An aggressively optimistic projection of electrified and high technology light duty powertrain distributions as a variant on the Consensus Model, in millions of units worldwide.

Figure A.1: Conventional powertrain systems have a single source of energy and torque, generated from an internal combustion engine transferred via the crankshaft 

Figure A.2: According to BCG, improvements to powertrain – especially engines – outweighs all other potential conventional improvements automakers could make

Figure A.3: Generalised torque/speed curve. All ICEs, particularly gasoline, exhibit BSFC maps like this with worse efficiency under low, or part load.

Figure A.4: MY 2014 vehicle production that meets future US CAFE CO2 emissions targets, from 2016 to the proposed 2025 targets, according to data from the US EPA

Figure A.5: An example of some of the most common architecture models for “full” HEV systems

Figure A.6: This chart from Continental is good way to view the various options of electrification, from simple start-stop to a full electric vehicle, in terms of fuel economy at the point of use

Figure A.7: Comparison of idealised torque curve for an electric motor and an ICE engine, showing how they complement each other

Figure A.8: The decision landscape between electrification and conventional improvements to meet future fuel economy and CO2 regulations

Figure B.1: Global transmission sales (millions) projected to 2020

Figure B.2: The differences in the number of speeds in an automatic planetary gear transmission means the engine will operate more frequently at its most fuel efficient load/speed point

Figure C.1: The basic electric drive traction system, here shown as part of a hybrid electric system

Figure C.2: GKN Automotive showcased its new eTwinsterR torque-vectoring electric drive system for hybrid vehicles

Figure C.3: ZF’s electric drive system positioned centrally on the axle is also available as a unit fully integrated into a new modular rear axle concept

Figure C.4: Some in the industry are using the term ‘P4 Hybrid’ to describe the electrified axle configuration

Figure C.5: Continental predicts that saving fuel increases with each level of integration. Energy management can make more comprehensive use of an ICE and electrical energy

Table of tables

Table 2.1: Forecasts of key market driver questions summarized with probabilities assigned

Table 3.1: Forecasts of key engine technology questions summarised with probabilities assigned

Table 4.1: Forecasts of key engine technology questions summarized with probabilities assigned

Table 5.1: Approximate recharging times per SAE for PEVs and BEVs

Table 5.2: Forecasts of key battery electric storage questions summarised with probabilities assigned

Table 6.1: Summary of potential disruptors

Table C.1: Essential elements of electric traction drive systems

Table C.2: Essential elements of electric traction drive systems with “stretch”

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Author: Bruce Morey
Publisher: Autelligence
Published: August 2017
Pages: 120
Format: PDF

Who is the report for?

Chief Executive Officers, Marketing Directors, Business and Sales Development executives, Product and Project management, Purchasing and Technical Directors that need a powerful third party perspective and overview of the trends and issues in their sector and the potential ramifications for their business.

Author of this report:
Bruce Morey

Bruce MoreyWith over twenty five years of experience in technology development, research, and management, Bruce Morey brings a unique perspective to looking at the future of automotive engineering.  Sixteen years in the defense industry exposed him to a number of forward-looking methodologies, including scenario and contingency planning.  Six years in automotive product development at Ford Motor Company gave him an inside look at the day-to-day challenges and pressures of delivering quality vehicles and engines that customers want to buy, at an affordable price to both customer and company.

Mr Morey has published articles have covered computer simulation in support of engine development, future fuels, fuel cell vehicles, manufacturing, automotive engineering and product development.  He is also the author of two books, Automotive 2030 North America and Future Automotive Fuels and Energy, both published by SAE International.

Mr. Morey earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. Mr. Morey is a member of SAE International and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

About Autelligence

Autelligence is a leading provider of information to the automotive sector about the market and business implications of product, regulatory and technological developments. Over the last fifteen years Autelligence has supplied its insights to most of the leading vehicle makers and first and second tier suppliers. Autelligence staff based around the world conduct regular surveys and discussions with industry experts in Europe, Asia and North America on the key issues that will affect the industry in the coming decade.

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