The technical innovations needed to deliver ambitious plans for future low carbon vehicles were revealed with the launch of the Automotive Technology Roadmap Report. Published by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), on behalf of the Automotive Council, the report draws on the expertise of 139 organisations from vehicle manufacturers and technology suppliers to consultants and academics.
“After decades of evolution, vehicle technology is now at an inflexion point, changing faster than at any time in the last 100 years. That presents a tremendous opportunity for British businesses,” states Advanced Propulsion Centre’s CEO, Ian Constance. “This new analysis will help investors, innovators and government understand which technologies need to be developed as we drive at increasing speed to low carbon transport, helping them make the decisions that will ensure the UK remains a global player in the $1 trillion global market by 2030 for low- and zero tailpipe emissions vehicle technologies.”
Electrification of internal combustion powertrains sets the pace
Divided into five sections – electrical energy storage, electrical machines, power electronics, thermal propulsion systems (internal combustion engines), lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures – and covering passenger cars, buses and commercial vehicles, the Roadmap provides a global view of the key technology trajectories in low emission propulsion.
Growing electrification presents new approaches for internal combustion engine design. While some vehicle manufacturers will achieve ultra-low emissions by developing increasingly sophisticated IC Engines, others may choose to simplify engine design by focusing on optimisation of a narrow operating region. This will enable greater levels of synergy between the ICE and powertrain electrification and permit further optimisation of the engine, such as the use of novel combustion cycles.
Very high levels of integration are also predicted in electric drives, with the e-machine, transmission and power electronics coming together to create a single, light-weight, tightly-packaged and lower cost unit with greatly reduced complexity.