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POWERTRAIN


We’re looking at a 10-15% improvement over the next three or four years. It’s called the Mahle Jet ignition system and we have two varieties: Active, which features a second injector in the pre-chamber, and Passive, without the extra injector. The system enables us to run with higher levels of charge dilution. The latter, which is nearer to market as it’s simpler, gives us 210-215g of carbon dioxide/KwH and it works very well with external EGR. Looking at other engine designs, such as rotary, they are often eff orts to get over the perceived downsides of piston engines – reciprocating losses due to the oscillating mass of the pistons – but when you do a kinematic analysis of the crank train any losses are ultimately recovered. I don’t see any step changes in engines, especially considering the years and years of experience making the components. In 20 years engines will look very similar to how they do now.


ENGINE DESIGN? Yes. The big challenges of effi ciency and emissions mean that we are spending a lot more time doing detailed CFD. If you look back 10 years it was quite hard to do that kind of analysis, it just


ARE ADVANCES IN MODELLING AFFECTING


took too long. Even now, with a cluster of computers it


can take three days to generate results. It’s still expensive, but it does enable us to examine the ‘what-ifs?’ So, things that are hard to set up experimentally. We’ll see more of this, especially


focusing on the induction and aftertreatment systems. From a testing perspective advances in 3D printing are helping us stay one step ahead of the analysis. It’s especially good for complex shapes.


Above:


Power cell unit Left and


below: The Active


Jet ignition system


We also make extensive use of CNC machinery on the manufacturing side. For example, take the pistons made in Germany for our Motorsports division – they have some incredible fi ve-axis machines that make the ovality and barrel-shaped profi les.


WHAT ARE THE


CURRENT MATERIAL TRENDS?


We’ve recently launched some bearings with a polymer coating that is designed to reduce friction. This is important as there is a movement toward thinner oils as part of a wider move to greater overall effi ciency.


ARE TASTES IN TRANSMISSIONS CHANGING?


If you look at the European and Chinese markets automatics are becoming more prevalent. I see this as a continuing trend over the next 10 years. On the lower end of the market torque converters will be retained with some type of lock-up function to improve effi ciency, with the more expensive and complex CVTs available on the higher end models.


There are fuel economy advantages in taking the gear change away from the driver as the engine can be used in its optimal range. This is also important where hybrid drives are concerned. We are seeing a variety of views in the market place regarding whether a plug-in or self-charging system is best, opinions diff er. What is certainly true is that there is an increased interest in 48V systems, in particular for larger vehicles, say over a tonne and a half in weight. I predict in Europe everything that isn’t a plug-in hybrid will use a 48V system. We’ve recently been doing some


research on batteries and we’ve built a high power 25kW unit, using what we learned when we designed a 48V demonstrator in 2016.


WHERE ARE WE


WITH REGENERATIVE TECHNOLOGY?


From a design perspective, it all hinges on the lay out. A P4 (see end note) lay out lends itself well to maximising the regenerative energy in an effi cient manner, likewise P2s are good.


With a starter/alternator arrangement they are less attractive as the engine is


www.engineerlive.com 23


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