While there is an accelerated push towards zero-emission mobility worldwide, German Tier 1 components major Schaeffler forecasts that, given the possibilities of reducing emissions without major engine optimisations, there will be a 30-40-30 scenario globally, in terms of vehicle propulsion systems by 2030. This ratio would include IC-engines, hybrid-electric vehicles and full-electric vehicles, respectively.
As a result, the company is upping its efforts in the area of offering innovative solutions to OEMs to meet the stringent emission norms in various countries around the world.
One such technologically-advanced product from the Tier 1 giant is the electro-hydraulic fully-variable valve-train system for gasoline (petrol) engines, that the company believes can help OEMs minimise emissions, while still following a non-disruptive path of sticking to conventional fossil-fuel powertrains. The solution is christened UniAir.
According to Anirban Mukherji, head of key accounts management, Automotive Technologies, Schaeffler India, “Schaeffler has worked very closely with one of the global OEMs (FCA) and developed a fully-variable valve-train system that offers a software control mechanism.”
Mukherji was a presenter on the topic – ‘Innovative powertrain solutions to reduce CO2 emissions’ – at the two-day Autocar Professional virtual seminar titled ‘Meeting Emission Challenges’.
The electro-hydraulic valve-train system for gasoline engines is claimed to offer optimised charge cycles, de-throttling and charge motion, while offering multiple valve lift profiles including hybrid-lift, multi-lift and boot-lift.
Schaeffler also claims that without having to undertake significant changes in the existing powertrains, OEMs can obtain significant benefits by implementation of the UniAir fully-variable valve-train system.
According to Mukherji, “By adopting the UniAir alone, there is a 3.6 percent efficiency enhancement on a WLTP simulation basis. And, just by adopting a higher compression ratio, it could move from 3.6 to 6 percent, and by further adding the transient benefits, it could jump to 10 percent.”
Moreover, coupling an entry-level hybrid system like a P0 or P1, the benefits are touted to scale up to 16 percent, and going further within the hybridisationtechnology, gains as high as 20 percent can be obtained with P3 and P4 powertrains.
The UniAir fully-variable valve-train system aids in emission reduction, fuel efficiency enhancement, engine torque control and reduced full-load enrichment.
In India, Schaeffler anticipates only up to a 10 percent BEV adoption by 2030, therefore, the role of such technologies becomes even more critical. The company says it is exploring the opportunity to implement the system with Indian OEMs as well.
According to Mukherji, “We are already in deep engagement with one OEM in India, and we believe it could be an extremely viable solution in the Indian context.”
Schaeffler’s technology has seen mass production in the Fiat FIRE and TwinAir (2009) gasoline engines, Chrysler’s Tigershark (2013) as well as the Alfa Romeo GME T4 (2016) powertrain.