Alternative powertrains drive on the fast lane
As consumer preference is a priority, vehicle makers have to ensure that the powertrain that goes into a vehicle maximises performance, fuel efficiency and minimises exhaust emissions. In addition to these, other factors like cost, quality, reliability, and durability drive the need for advanced powertrain technologies and provide an impetus to look at alternative powertrains that are slowly gaining importance.
Strong consumer demands and the need for environment-friendly vehicles with low emissions have resulted in tremendous innovation and advancement in powertrain technology. Vehicle makers strongly leverage software and advanced electronics to differentiate and to enhance the capabilities of their engine and transmission systems. In a decade, the powertrain technology will touch the brim of high efficiency, advanced combustion - lean stratified SI and low temperature combustion-, combined with supercharging systems, advanced low- carbon fuel formations, and EV powertrain system for city vehicles.
Ascending demands for driving dynamics accompanied by low exhaust emissions and lower fuel ingestion are the challenges for engine and powertrain development. The main innovation carriers are new and alternative powertrain concepts like hybrid and electric drive systems, along with the further development of the existing engine concepts. The application for these powertrain is becoming progressively complex.
To achieve a reduction in particulate matter by 82% and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 68%, auto makers need a combination of technologies - one is the diesel particulate filter (DPF), a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter, or soot, from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine. Then there’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR), which is for NOx reduction. SCR is a process that uses a catalyst to convert NOx in exhaust gases to nitrogen and water, which are then released into the air. In EGR, the engine re-circulates a portion of the exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders depriving it of certain amount of oxygen thereby leading to lower temperature burn. This reduces NOx emissions, but produces more PM, which is reduced using diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and particulate filter.
Hybrid and electric vehicles
Electric vehicles are powered exclusively by a battery that is recharged from the electric utility grid. In today’s energy climate where gasoline prices have risen dramatically,