Al­ter­na­tive pow­er­trains drive on the fast lane

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - Story by: Ramya Srini­vasan

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,

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