‘Demand for turbos in India is slated to grow from 43% in 2015 to 48% in 2020.’

Milind Godbole, MD, Honeywell Transportation Systems India, on meeting OEM needs for fuel-efficient downsized engines, synergies between aerospace and automotive, and developing solutions for a BS VI-headed India.

Shobha Mathur By Shobha Mathur calendar 12 May 2016 Views icon7110 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘Demand for turbos in India is slated to grow from 43% in 2015 to 48% in 2020.’

Milind Godbole, Managing Director, Honeywell Transportation Systems India, on meeting OEM needs for fuel-efficient downsized engines, turbo synergies between the aerospace and automotive sectors, electrification of turbochargers, and developing innovative solutions for a market like BS VI-headed India. An email interview by Shobha Mathur. 

Can you detail the changing scenario and trends in the aero-turbo and automotive turbocharging industry globally?

Today, there is a clear demand for more sophisticated turbo technology that covers the entire powertrain performance envelope. This includes advances in software technology to increase engine efficiency while reducing costs by replacing physical sensors with software solutions.

Honeywell’s 2015 Global Turbo Forecast sees the evolving needs of automakers driving not only turbo adoption globally to 47 percent by 2020, but an increasing appetite for turbo technology innovations that enhance a vehicle's overall powertrain system, reduce complexity and are tailored to local market needs.

The biggest growth will be seen in China, from 28 percent in 2015 to 47 percent of all new vehicles by 2020. In comparison, demand in India is slated to grow from 43 percent in 2015 to 48 percent in 2020. All regions continue to show growth as global macros of increased regulation and growing consumer performance expectations help drive what we refer to as the golden age of turbo.

In particular, automakers are turning to suppliers like Honeywell to meet the needs of fuel-efficient downsized engines, increase power from legacy engines with advanced aerodynamics, and deliver electric boosting and energy recovery systems for advanced hybrid powertrains. Advanced Variable Nozzle Technology (VNT) boosting for diesel engines is another key technology option, especially for India, to help automakers achieve greater engine performance, without breaching fuel economy regulations.

For India, leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI is one of the most important macro trends the region is faced with. What you might not be aware of is that India is taking Europe’s lead when it comes to emissions standards – but the country remains challenged by an implementation lag and the availability of higher quality fuel.

Globally, diesel engines will retain an important share of light vehicle sales, due to their lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Honeywell expects proven and available diesel technology to remain a key solution for improved emissions and fuel economy for automakers even as gasoline (petrol) turbocharging capability and adoption grows in popularity. Consumers are adopting fast, and expect the highest levels of quality and reliability.

Honeywell is very positive on the growth trajectory for turbos overall.

How similar and dissimilar are turbos for use in the aero and automotive industry globally and in India?

Turbocharger technology is modified to meet the needs and demands for the automotive and aerospace industry. Shared engineering expertise and technology synergies give Honeywell a unique perspective. For the transportation systems business, the direct connections within Honeywell Aerospace – given its size, scale and research, and development budgets to help develop these technology improvements for the automotive industry – is a tremendous resource and a real differentiator.

Interestingly, both aerospace and automotive industries face similar challenges – namely increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions; it’s simply a different customer set. Honeywell has deep roots in both the automotive and aerospace industries. With more than 10,000 engineers co-located and collaborating across the globe, Honeywell customers benefit from our cross-engineering expertise and technology transfer.

For instance, our first turbo application was created 60 years ago by our aerospace engineers in California for Caterpillar. Since then, our turbo engineers have derived synergies from material science, bearing technology, aerodynamic, thermal management and we continue to introduce into the marketplace a lot of innovation.

Some examples of our tech transfer include: Honeywell’s auxiliary power unit on Boeing’s 737 airplane which uses similar titanium compressors and nickel based super alloy turbines, as well as some of Honeywell’s turbochargers. And Honeywell’s jet engine has helped Gulfstream’s G280 business jet to be the best-in-class in fuel economy, just like Honeywell’s turbocharger helped Ford’s F250 diesel truck reach the same accolade. 

How are Honeywell's aerospace technologies fueling innovations in vehicles and what are the expected future technologies in the auto sector in turbos?

With the help of technology, vehicles today have significantly increased fuel economy and reduced emissions so people can travel further without stopping to re-fuel. For instance, downsized turbocharged engines can increase fuel economy as much as 20 to 40 percent in gas and diesel engines when compared with naturally-aspirated gas engines. What many people don’t know is that some of these technologies providing this new wave of fuel efficient cars have their roots in aerospace. 

From material science, ball bearing technology, aerodynamics, sensing controls, software development and thermal management, Honeywell takes aerospace technology and delivers it with automotive quality.

One of the most exciting areas Honeywell is championing is the emerging area of electrification. As CO2 reduction becomes a global imperative, the integration of electrical and mechanical components – as developed for Honeywell aircraft auxiliary power units – has a vital role to play in delivering a more energy efficient and cleaner future.

This electric system expertise is now being applied to vehicles today to improve fuel mileage and performance. One recent example is our partnership with a leading global car manufacturer using Honeywell’s Two-Stage Electric Compressor for fuel cells for a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle it intends to bring to market by the end of 2016. Featured on this new car model, the compressor represents a fusion of aerospace and automotive competencies offered at a lower cost structure and quality level that matches the needs of the automotive industry.

Continued hybridisation and fuel cell development will feature Honeywell hardware as well as software to develop high-performance powertrain and vehicle systems that are attractive to customers and reflective of increased fuel economy and emissions regulations around the world.

What are the challenges encountered in upping fuel economy and reducing emissions in turbocharged engines in both the sectors?

Meeting the regulations and standards set regarding the emissions of exhaust gases such as CO2, nitrous oxide and particulate material from automobiles is the biggest challenge faced by the global automotive industry. Another challenge is the increasing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles from consumers as well as governments. Honeywell’s turbocharged technology offers the benefits of both improved fuel economy and a reduction in emissions.

Downsizing and boosting is a mature technology that is proven and reliable. It works. Second, from the perspective of fuel economy benefit verses vehicle on-cost, turbocharging is among the best values in available technology with a high fuel economy gain for minimal investment.

Third, turbocharging is what we refer to as an ‘And’ technology: meaning that it is compatible with other powertrain and vehicle enhancements including variable valve timing, direct injection, advanced transmissions, light-weighting, and others. It is a key enabler for automakers to use multiple technologies for maximum benefits.

Ultimately, downsized petrol (gasoline) turbocharged vehicles deliver up to 20 percent better fuel-economy and emissions than the larger naturally-aspirated engines with similar power outputs which they replace. They also can have better torque and are often more fun-to-drive than non-turbocharged vehicles.

How are aero technologies being applied to the automotive sector in terms of materials especially in terms of lightweighting, aerodynamics, sensing controls, thermal management and ball bearings?

Honeywell Transportation Systems benefits from synergies with the Honeywell Aerospace division when it comes to aerodynamics, rotor-dynamics, materials science, facilities and testing, as well as electrification. Collaborative efforts in these areas are helping to push the envelope of turbo performance – offering automotive manufacturers a competitive advantage as they pursue ultra-low emissions and fuel efficiency goals, as well as consumer appeal.

How is electric boosting set to play a significant role in boosting next-generation automotive engines, both petrol and diesel?

Honeywell sees electrification of turbochargers as a key technology that is set to shape the automotive industry in the upcoming decades. We’re seeing more automakers move to pair traditional turbocharged internal combustion engines with hybrid powertrains. Electric turbos can help improve performance and vehicle efficiency through both aspects of a hybrid powertrain. Electric boosting technologies are applicable to vehicles with internal combustion engines as well as advanced powertrains like hybrids and full electrics using fuel cell technology.

Turbocharging works very well with advanced powertrains. It can help the internal combustion engine be more efficient when paired with a hybrid system, and we are starting to see that now in the industry. We are also using our motorsport activities in Formula 1 and endurance racing at Le Mans to develop electric aerodynamic machines which evolve the role of the turbo. We believe the industry’s development of electrification will involve our products to achieve vehicle goals at the system level. A turbo can use electrical power, generate electrical power for other systems, and ultimately, both.

Furthermore, we are excited about our role in helping global automakers bring fuel cell vehicles to market. Honeywell developed an innovative air compressor that makes the technology more viable, making fuel cell vehicles a reality. Electric air compressors for fuel cells essentially enable electric cars that will power themselves through a sort of internal hydrogen energy station in the vehicle itself. This may sound futuristic, however this is not far from being a reality soon. 

Will the transition in the Indian emission roadmap from BS-IV to BS-VI by 2020 involve a lot of work on Honeywell turbos to make them compliant with the new emission regime?

The Indian emission roadmap is a very important part of addressing the pollution issue. India has been following Europe’s emission standards with a five-year lag. There is need for an integrated approach for controlling vehicular emissions with increasingly environmental-friendly technologies that meet evolving fuel quality standards, and vehicular technology to meet air quality targets. 

In India, we develop locally relevant products for our global and domestic customers specific to India’s market based on our proven technology from Europe and around the world. Based on this ‘East for East’ product development approach, for the last several years, we have been investing in the country for enhancing our engineering and testing capabilities. As a result, we have become a trusted partner given our diverse portfolio and experience in delivering innovative solutions to a very demanding and sophisticated auto market.

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