Autonomous and connected mobility will continue to require efficient and clean propulsion systems
As driver assist, autonomous-drive features, connectivity solutions, and new ride-sharing models continue to evolve, propulsion-system developers are facing the question: what does e-mobility mean for the propulsion domain? Future vehicles still will need to get from one point to another, but how these vehicles are operated will be the decisive factor in future propulsion systems.
If we assume all future vehicles will be highly automated and connected, one way of categorizing would be based on if they are privately owned by the drivers or they are shared commercial vehicles—for ride sharing, taxis, and shuttles. As long as the human driver privately owns and drives the vehicle, and uses autonomous features on demand, it’s expected the main propulsion system requirements will remain as we see today: efficiency, low emissions, performance, drive experience, image, reliability and total cost of ownership. Once the vehicles are owned by commercial fleets with sharing models and the human driver is out of the pilot seat, it’s expected additional emerging requirements will be the priority, such as high reliability and durability, uptime, and total cost of operation, as well as increased ride comfort and fail-safe/fail-operational.
As the evolution of emobility concepts continue to drive new challenges and opportunities for the propulsion systems, two main requirements will remain unchanged—efficient and clean propulsion solutions. Technologies required for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving need to process massive amounts of data and power new sensors and actuators, which means a significant amount of additional energy will be needed for the vehicles to function. As more autonomous and connected technologies are added in vehicles, propulsion efficiency will remain critical.
To maximize vehicle range, minimize fleet costs, and meet stringent global fuel economy standards, the next-generation of propulsion systems will have to offset the additional power demand with considerable gains in efficiency. The additional power demand can be achieved by today’s battery-electric vehicles only by significant increases in battery storage capacity or frequent charging schedules. Until the challenges of battery range and infrastructure can be overcome, to meet the global efficiency and emission requirements as well as additional power demand of autonomous systems we anticipate that, in the short term, increasing hybridization of propulsion systems will continue. With the combined effects of autonomous features and increasing levels of electrification, we see tremendous short-term opportunities in efficient and clean hybrid propulsion solutions.
Autonomous, connected, and shared e-mobility will introduce new dimensions to the propulsion system requirements matrix, creating new challenges to overcome and opportunities to differentiate with new technologies. As the global leader in clean and efficient propulsion systems, BorgWarner assists OEMs in propelling the vehicles with all emerging architectures based on internal combustion, hybrid, and electric propulsion systems. The company’s well-established manufacturing processes and in-house technology development for both passenger and commercial vehicle segments is the basis of its ability to discover the needed breakthroughs in propulsion-system solutions for the autonomous and connected vehicles of today and tomorrow.