The maiden Asian Powertrain Conference (APC) 2018 organised by AutoParts Asia Magazine in Chennai, India discussed key challenges in the automotive industry not only in India but across the globe. On day one, there were four content-rich technical sessions.

Purushottam Panda, Executive Director, PowerTrain, Maruti Suzuki India Limited was the session chairman for the first technical session on ‘Optimising Thermal Efficiency’. He touched upon the topic Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE). He opined that hybrids vehicles have to be prominent in the future.

“Immediately after BS-VI, the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) norms are coming in India in 2023, followed by BS-VII in 2027. The CO2 emission target will be further reduced from 130g/km @1037 kg to 98g/km. The major question going forward will be how to increase thermal efficiency. Under this engine operating efficiency, compression ratio, cylinder size and engine architecture and heat management are crucial factors,” he said.

Yogesh Umbarkar, Vice President Asia, Ricardo Software, said that hybrids and electric vehicles bring more complexities in the thermal management system.
“The electric system operates at much lower temperature compared to conventional engines. With batteries, there are thermal design challenges. The focus areas are different battery cell types, heat generation and thermal criteria,” he pointed out.

Guruprasad Potdar, Head, Precision Components Segment (India) Oerlikon Balzers Coating India Limited also talked about methods to optimise thermal efficiency.

The second technical session of APC 2018 was on ‘Role of Aftertreatment in accomplishing BS-VI’. Gopal Krishnan CS, Assistant Vice President, Production, Hyundai Motor India Limited, was the chairman of the session. He emphasised on the challenge of reducing emissions in his speech.
“Globally seven million people die due to polluted air and about 19 percent people breath polluted air. Hence reducing emissions is a major challenge. The auto sector in India to grow 10 percent during 2018-2023. India is committed to reducing emissions by 33-35 percent by 2030 from what it was in 2005. With the transition from BS-IV to BS-VI the country aims to reduce Nox emission from 50 ppm to 10ppm and to reduce polyaromatic hydrocarbons to eight percent,” he said.

Dr Christian Teich, Vice President, Head of Development and Application for Diesel Systems, Bosch Limited, said that there will be a strong increase in mobility demand, especially in India.
“With the introduction of BS-VI vehicular emissions of new vehicles expected to reduce significantly. Latest Real drive emission and fuel consumption results in EU confirm the competitive potential of a diesel powertrain. Bosch with its diesel platform demonstrator showcases the diesel powertrain has the potential to achieve low emissions and low fuel consumption at affordable costs,” he said. However, Dr Teich cautioned that mobility comes at the cost of emissions.

Dr S Rajadurai, Head, Research & Development, Sharda Motor Industries, also highlighted the present scenario and detailed about the challenges ahead.

Sadagopan Krishnan, Senior Vice President and Head of Engines, Ashok Leyland, was the chairman for the third technical session on the topic ‘Challenges in Designing and Developing Nextgen IC Engines’.

“The biggest challenge now is to deliver the right product understanding the needs of the customers. The facets of future technologies include fuel efficiency, emission reduction, safety and durability, cost-effectiveness and innovative features. The designers’ challenge is to get a consistent vehicle for sale. Besides, the cost is another designing challenge. Integration of new technology and optimum design are other key aspects,” he said.
He further said that we don’t have much manufacturing technology in light-weighting.

Dr R Mahadevan, Whole-time Director, India Pistons, while speaking in the session, said that OEMs have to be ready to redefine their role if required. “The component industry is dictated by what happens in the OEMs. They will be prepared for greater investment in technology/R&D. The industry should anticipate competition from outside auto industry cluster. We have to be flexible with collaborative partnerships and business models,” he said.

According to Mahadevan, government policies and regulations to be consistent and supportive.

Selvaraj Muthu, General Manager – Product Design and Development, Mahle Engine Components India, said that MAHLE has the right piston solutions for all loading situations. He added that low viscosity oils demand solutions with higher scuffing resistance.

The fourth technical session on day one of APC 2018 was on ‘Fuel Injection Management’. K Chandru, Senior General Manager, Engineering Research Centre, Tata Motors, was the chairman for the session.

“The diesel/gasoline engines are going to co-exist with other powertrains. Currently, we are looking at suppliers for improvement in fuel injection system. The ethanol/CNG injection system has to take care of the related challenges as well. Before we migrate to full electric there are many things which need to be addressed by the government/policymakers. The government must ensure that apart from after treatment, in-service infrastructure should be there. As and when the electric vehicle infrastructure develops we need to have the right skilled people to handle this trend,” he said.
Chandru stressed that the software should also support hybridisation.

Viswanath B, Head, Engineering, Delphi-TVS, said that diverse mobility, autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity are the major disruption trends in the automotive industry. He added that India witnesses major developments in the automotive segment as the country targets 30 percent of electric vehicle penetration by 2030.

Sanjay Chadda, Managing Director, Stanadyne India, also spoke on a variety of challenges and possibilities going forward.