The global powertrain industry continues to be dominated by internal combustion engines (ICE), specifically, gasoline engines, while diesel engine’s share has been falling since the dieselgate scandal. While the share of IC engines operating on alternate fuels has remained constant, vehicle electrification is on the rise.
Irrespective of the type of powertrain, the primary focus is on driving down emissions and improving fuel economy. To this effect, each region has different priorities and methods on lowering emissions, with engine downsizing, alternate fuels, mild hybrids, full hybrids, Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), and battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), all finding suitors across the globe and a recent addition to the list being Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV).
Even in powertrain electrification, the fastest growing trend in the last 5 years is that of mild hybridization, using 48V, 24V, and 12V, which plays a supporting role to conventional ICE. This will continue to be the fastest-growing trend in the short-to-medium term, ahead of electric vehicles (BEVs, FCEVs, and PHEV).
Increasing electrification, however, is not limited to propulsion and is often applied to optimize powertrain subsystems. Engine downsizing, for example, is a key area that directly brings down fuel consumption and emissions, and even here, electrification is making a mark with electrified turbocharger for instant response and increased energy recovery.
In a bid to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable energy, the challenge is often the variable supply of renewable energy and its storage. While battery electric vehicles offer a solution for storing excess energy from the grid and supplying it back when required, the use of synthetic fuels offers another method of renewable-energy storage. This form of energy storage enables the use of existing production, storage, and distribution methods while ensuring carbon-neutral mobility.
All the above ensure that despite the high media and public interest in powertrain electrification, ICE will continue as the leading prime mover for at least a couple of decades.