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Global trends in vehicular emissions regulations, current “hot topics” and their impact on powertrain technology

Both the light- and heavy-duty sectors of the automotive industry are currently under unprecedented pressure from a wide range of factors particularly in terms of environmental performance and fuel consumption. Test procedures have undergone massive changes and continue to evolve, meaning that standards are becoming much harder to meet, especially in Europe but also in other continents. Such developments force changes in testing methodology, powertrain development, aftertreatment systems and strategies and calibrations. This presentation examines the current situation regarding regulation of exhaust emissions and the impact on powertrains used in new vehicles across the world. Powertrain technologies which can help to overcome challenges are mentioned and key trends are analysed. Fundamental changes to the propulsion strategy for on-road vehicles, most notably (but not exclusively) hybrids of various types, and the development of fully electric vehicles (BEV) or fuel cell-powered vehicles represent a revolution in the industry, occurring in the context of the aforementioned effects. As development requirements are more complex than in the past and the test volume is also much higher, the challenges posed in developing, testing, approving and certifying such advanced solutions is considerable. Finally, some brief comments are offered on what the next few years will bring for this field.
Topic: Global trends in engine technology
Author: Dr Piotr Bielaczyc