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To­day’s economies are dra­mat­i­cally chang­ing, trig­gered by devel­op­ment in emerg­ing mar­kets, the ac­cel­er­ated rise of new tech­nolo­gies, sus­tain­abil­ity poli­cies, and chang­ing con­sumer pref­er­ences about own­er­ship. Digi­ti­sa­tion, in­creas­ing au­to­ma­tion, and new busi­ness mod­els have rev­o­lu­tionised in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing au­to­mo­tive. These forces are giv­ing rise to 4 dis­rup­tive tech­nol­o­gy­driven trends: di­verse mo­bil­ity, con­nec­tiv­ity, elec­tri­fi­ca­tion and au­ton­o­mous driv­ing.

Most in­dus­try play­ers and ex­perts agree that these trends will re­in­force and ac­cel­er­ate one an­other, and the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try is ripe for dis­rup­tion. Given the wide­spread un­der­stand­ing that game-chang­ing dis­rup­tion is al­ready on the hori­zon, there is still no in­te­grated per­spec­tive on the shape of the in­dus­try af­ter a decade or so. Ev­ery­one is talk­ing about the emer­gence of al­ter­na­tive pow­er­train con­cepts like hy­brid and elec­tric ve­hi­cles for zero emis­sions. How­ever, to re­duce CO2 emis­sion in a sus­tain­able man­ner, it is crit­i­cal to op­ti­mise fur­ther the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion (IC) en­gine and make it more fuel ef­fi­cient. But with­out any he­si­ta­tion I will say IC en­gines won’t die and it will con­tinue to dom­i­nate the roads at least for the next 15 years with a lot of ef­forts to bring down emis­sions.

In city traf­fic in par­tic­u­lar, fuel sav­ings of up to 25% could be achieved with an au­to­matic start-stop mech­a­nism. Au­to­matic en­gine cut-off can re­duce fuel con­sump­tion by 4%. In fur­ther hy­bridi­s­a­tion (strong or par­al­lel), an elec­tric mo­tor with suf­fi­cient ca­pac­ity to power the ve­hi­cle in­de­pen­dently is in­stalled along­side a con­ven­tional com­bus­tion en­gine. There has also been a grad­ual up­shift in the de­mand for au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Au­to­matic gear boxes with wider gear spac­ing and hy­drauli­cally or elec­tron­i­cally sup­ported gear-change can re­duce fuel con­sump­tion by around 10%.

A per­fect pow­er­train so­lu­tion will ad­dress fuel econ­omy, to­tal cost of own­er­ship and com­fort. Trans­for­ma­tion of the mo­bil­ity sce­nario in In­dia is only pos­si­ble with the con­certed ac­tion of all stake­hold­ers. Only with a clear and un­am­bigu­ous pol­icy, the in­dus­try can move to­wards cleaner mo­bil­ity. The cur­rent is­sue is power-packed with re­ports on dif­fer­ent pow­er­train tech­nolo­gies and cor­po­rate ini­tia­tives to re­duce emis­sions and in­crease fuel ef­fi­ciency.

Bhar­gav TS

Ex­ec­u­tive Ed­i­tor s.bhar­[email protected]­pub­lish­

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