2015 Key Highlights
Share of diesel vehicles declined by % in Europe; NA market also turned hostile, following the diesel gate scandal. DI engines grew by %, high-speed transmission by %, and EVs had % growth over 2014.
- Passenger car sales grew significantly in North America ( %), Europe ( %) and China ( %).
Impact of VW scandal was not significant on yearly sales as it fell towards the last quarter. European diesel sales share dropped by over %. France witnessed the most substantial decline; its diesel share went down by more than %.
- Exposure of diesel gate scandals turned the eyes of regulatory authorities towards diesel powertrains and testing procedures. German regulators have approved VW's fixing procedure for its 1.2L, 1.6L and 2.0L engines, while in North America, the company faces a strong challenge because of stricter NOx regulations. Across regions, this scandal reinforced the need for standardized emission testing, reflecting real driving conditions.
- Adoption of high-speed transmissions: As OEMs strengthen their bet on performance models across segments, the adoption rate of high-speed transmissions grew by % over 2014. Approximately % more SUVs came fitted with 8-plus speed AT and DCTs in 2015. North America witnessed the fastest growth, followed by Western European markets.
- Powertrains continued to make innovative strides. Direct injection (DI) technology grew by more than % among gasoline engines. North America produced % more DI engines in 2015, while EU produced % more. Technology innovations such as dual injection system and Atkinson/Millers cycle signaled the willingness of OEMs to take tangential path for regulatory compliance.
- More than 0.5 million EVs were sold globally in 2015. This is more than % growth over 2014 levels. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by % and PHEVs by more than % in 2015. In China, EV sales more than doubled, clocking close to million in 2015. Europe nearly doubled its EV sales, from in 2014 to units in 2015.
Top Powertrain and Electric Vehicle Predictions for 2016
Diesel will decline by %, giving way to other gasoline and alternative powertrains, but will continue to evolve to address fleet fuel economy requirements. Anticipation of tougher standards will keep development costs high.
- Gasoline Diesel Equation: Exposure of excessive emissions from diesel engines will turn the wave against them, from imposing stronger penalties to banning sales in different markets. This is expected to weaken the sales share of diesel engines by % globally, throwing opportunities to advanced gasoline engines, full hybrids, and electrics.
- OEM Approach towards Diesel: Amidst strong regulatory control, OEMs will continue with their endeavor at developing cleaner diesel technologies as they form an integral part of fuel economy compliance across the fleet. Spearheaded by German OEMs, these technologies will be brought on to powertrains, and will continue to add to energy efficiency, rendering better driving dynamics.
- Atkinson Cycle, Dual Injection, and More: Toyota is expected to launch more engines running on energy-efficient Atkinson cycle for non-hybrid applications and a self-cleaning dual injection system. Japanese automakers are expected to embrace more of DI and boosting, while European makers are expected to embrace more electrification in powertrains, making it a year of large-scale innovations.
- Evolution of Testing Standards: Emission testing procedures are expected to move closer towards reflecting real driving conditions. Although implementation of WLTP will take a while, development of powertrain technologies at OEMs will be tuned to these requirements, creating great pressure on suppliers and consequently increasing product development and overall costs.
- Synchronization of OEM R&D Efforts: As OEMs realize the effect of duplication of engineering and R&D efforts and the value of co-research and development, it is expected that this year will witness the next level of cooperation among some OEMs for the development of energy-efficient powertrains at a lower cost and lesser development and execution time.
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