MAHLE rides on cleaner vehicles
German-based, auto components maker, MAHLE GmbH, now has more commitments towards clean air, fuel efficiency and driving pleasure. Keeping the global trend in mind, the company is now more committed to these areas in its product development. MAHLE is also bullish on India as it gears up to snap up new business opportunities arising out of the incoming BS VI norms and the tech evolution in the form of EVs. For the IC engines, the global automotive supplier has also made a few innovations that include new generation oil control rings: U-flex piston rings, liquid management model for lower emissions and CareMetix cabin air filter.
MAHLE, which was founded in 1920 when pistons made of heavy grey cast iron were being used in internal combustion engines for automobiles. The company came up with the trend of producing light-alloy pistons. And, to keep dirt and dust out of the engine, it eventually developed air and oil filters as well, and the light-alloy pistons began to take over the market.
Now, with over half of all automobiles produced worldwide contain MAHLE components. Arnd Franz, Member of the Management Board, and Corporate Executive Vice President, Sales, Application Engineering and Aftermarket, MAHLE GmbH spoke to Auto
Components India, about the firm’s new ventures and a lot more. The group’s newest product enables them to supply, the complete traction system with integrated control from a single source. “Cars are 25% below high voltage and that is a figure that might change, because the cost of electrical components is high. With volumes estimated and it may go up or not and there might be a lot of changes. But, technically from engineering cost estimate, we should be 25% below that. So, there we reach some of the levels for the whole vehicle depending on who is going to make and where they are making it. May be in the 10,000-12,000 Euros which will be considerably below electric vehicles that are in the market today,” Franz said.
Referring to the low-cost traction system, Franz says that it is a first concept and it is not a predecessor. “We are comparing the cost of components that we know, like electrical traction motor, 48 valves versus electric
high voltage, motor controller, some of the auxiliary drive, and the engineering estimate of industrialisation cost of all the system components including wiring, body, packaging situations etc. It is an estimate and for the time we call this as a qualified estimate and we are quite comfortable with it,” he said.
Franz said that it is not exclusive for the Indian market, but it is one of the important markets. The products are built for urban, congested and highly populated areas. He believes that there would be a drastic change in the urban transport solutions and this could be one of the solutions. MAHLE is looking for individual transportation as well as the collective which could be on rails or tyres. “When it comes to collective transport on tyres there will be a high demand increasing proportion of vehicles with electrical propulsion systems. Our need is a global project for the time being. We have a lot of customer feedback from what we showed them at Frankfurt and in India too.”
Speaking about the launch in India he said, “It will depend on the individual customer programme. The products are at different material levels. But, some are ready to roll. So, you will see some of the products like traction motor that would be industrialised soon. And if possible, India could be ahead of Europe.”
The firm also came with a new vehicle concept MEET (MAHLE Efficient Electric Transport) which is systematically aligned to the needs of urban mobility. The concept combines maximum efficiency, individual comfort, driving pleasure and is still affordable. It includes a highly integrated drive unit, which combines motor and electronics in one housing. This reduces costs and package and is only possible by combining the competences in electronics, electric motor, and thermal management. It is also said to have more focus towards the urban population, roads and the future. He said that the MEET found some good answers on charging, space requirement, compactness.
He said, “With industry is leading clean air cabin air filtration technology, we have implemented a small test and fragment technology, that we normally do for luxury vehicles. This is for clean air and fragrance and are pushing this forward for the democratic model. Clean air should not only be obtained for people who buy luxury cars. It should be a right of an Indian family to have clean air inside their own vehicle. And then there is human machine interface, which is the central control with gestures. We are excited to have created something like a holistic control of individual mobility.”
With the newly developed e-compressors, the components maker is also a full-line supplier in air conditioning systems for electric vehicles. The electric compressor is the heart of the air conditioning system, which MAHLE has developed in both 400 and 800-volt versions for diverse power classes and a wide array of applications. “Another thing we have is the surface heating and cooling. For example, in summer, you have parked vehicle somewhere and it is really hot, it feels hot. If it is 42 degrees outside, one will feel 60-80 degree inside the vehicle. So, in the future with the new technology, using smartphone your vehicle will know when you are approaching. Then the surface cooling and heating uses electrical power to cool down
the surface to a comfortable 30 degree, which will make sure you do not feel the heat. In winter it is the other way around. The dashboard, side panel and seat will be in a comfortable degree for the user. It is a concept of multitude of ideas and surely it will not be the last of them. These all go in to one car that may be a representation of individual transport in metropolitan areas of the world. India will have them in some of the top metropolitan areas of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai etc.,” he said.
Products for E-mobility
With over 78,000 employees across the world and 4000 in India, MAHLE recently acquired Nagares SA, which comprises control and power electronics for electric auxiliary components and thermal management systems, as well as power converters for e-mobility solutions. This acquisition is an extension of the same thought to combine all components and to bring the best to the customers.
“The company we purchased is a supplier for our PTC element and the capabilities in the company went far beyond that application into power electronic for chargers for onboard chargers. This would be counterparts of the charging station, converters, inverters and also the power electronics like fuel cells. MAHLE is one of the leading suppliers of fuel cell for cars. We also ship components to some of the famous manufactures like Toyota, Honda, Daimler etc. We also do power electronic for fuel cell monitoring the voltage bin stack layers versus the temperature. We are happy that they are on board.”
The firm is also presenting a new generation of oil control rings to reduce oil ash and particulate emissions in combustion engines: U-flex piston rings. If oil enters the combustion chamber of a gasoline engine, oil ash and particulate emissions are produced. With U-flex piston rings, it lowers particulate emissions and oil ash by up to 30%. The number and mass of particles decreases as a result, and the particulate filter generates less counter pressure reducing CO2 emissions over the vehicle’s lifetime.
In a process to identify the customers, MAHLE introduced a latest generation with a new coding for lower friction and we hope to introduce it in the Indian market and launch sometime soon. “It is amazing, and it looks simple. But, it is complicated. One need to take a look through a magnifying glass as this is one of the most precision made. It is continuous steel band that is formed in a certain way and is really adjusting very nicely to cylinder walls. It avoids the oil consumption by oil entering into combustion chamber from one side to the other. Normally, in the lower end you have the crankshaft and oil. In the upper end you have the fuel and the air. The piston is going up and down and the first 2 rings are supposed to maintain the compression. We have a design that all time attaching the cylinder walls are not cylindrical. The cylinder is shaped little bit like an apple and rings do not stay in a fixed position. So, you need something that is very flexible that makes sure that the cylinder is always lubricated and also there is no oil passing by into the combustion chamber,” he said.
MAHLE say that the company is ready for the upcoming BS VI with steel and aluminium piston rings, charger coolers, plastic cylinder cups, assemble camshafts etc. Fairly, a large number of products are ready, and they are at different stages of validation. “We will be ready before April 2020. We need to be gearing up six months ahead for production. The main issue with the Indian market is the load in terms of ambient conditions, driving behaviour of drivers, and air quality. With the new BS VI, fuel consumption is optimised, and these components are smaller, have lower tolerance. So, these require a lot of testing and we are validating all that,” he said.
He also said that, there will be a pre-buy in 2019 and will witness a drop in 2020. When this transition happens and as it recovers in 2021, they have to use these. Speaking about the electrification process, he added that it might be possible for hybridisation to minor segments. “But, it is going to take a long time in India,” Franz concluded.
Ramesh Sundararajan, President & Head of Sales India, MAHLE Holding (India) and Arnd Franz, Member of the Management Board, and Corporate Executive Vice President, Sales, Application Engineering and Aftermarket, MAHLE GmbH.
MAHLE manufactures wide range of products for e-mobility.
MAHLE’s cabin air filter.