Applications and market innovations
With the reconsideration of diesel and the rise of electricity, the automotive industry is undergoing a revolution. But is this the end of the combustion engine? Nothing is less certain! Two engineers from EFI Automotive tell us their vision of the automobile in 2040.
For some time now, car manufacturers have systematically accompanied the presentation of their new models with an electric version. “The enthusiasm for this motorization can be explained, on the one hand, by the improvement in technology with electric vehicles that offer greater autonomy and lower production costs and, on the other hand, by the increasingly strict regulations for internal combustion engines,” explains Olivier Brunel, E-mobility & Strategic development Market Manager. Indeed, a version 7 of the Euro standards, which have been limiting pollutant emissions from internal combustion engines since the 1990s, could be introduced and the European Union decided at the end of 2018 to impose on manufacturers a limit on CO2 emissions during use cycles as of 2020, with heavy fines per car produced in the event of non-compliance.
“However, if the share of diesel is reduced, the internal combustion engine will not disappear in the short and medium term,” continues Olivier Brunel, “internal combustion and electric vehicles will coexist, particularly with the development of hybrid vehicles, because if we think globally, it is estimated that in 2030, about 45% of cars will be internal combustion, 35% hybrid and 20% all-electric.” These figures are based on industry figures, but they are more a trend than a forecast. “There are still many unknowns,” emphasizes Philippe Grébert, Product Line Manager, “particularly as regards the time it will take to make the transition, the evolution of world demand, particularly in developing countries, and the consequences of electricity consumption if nearly a third of the cars sold were electric.”
Nevertheless, even if these contours remain blurred, this transition to electrification is a reality. For Philippe Grébert, Product line manager, “the switchover has already taken place in the design offices of car manufacturers, and most of the projects we are working on involve electric or hybrid engines. ” EFI Automotive was one of the first to anticipate this changeover. “The group began working on sensors for electric vehicles about ten years ago,” continues the product manager. “Today we offer a complete range that meets our customers’ expectations and sometimes we even anticipate them, as with the project for a new bearing sensor developed with NTN SNR,” he explains. Today, as in the past, EFI Automotive is continuing its successful innovation policy. The 300 engineers in its Research and Development department are currently working on tomorrow’s solutions, mainly around electric motors. Without revealing any industrial secrets, Olivier Brunel mentions a project for a current sensor that would make it possible to control the use of actuators, the electric pump or even battery charging. “We are currently evaluating this new technology,” says Olivier Brunel, “and we will offer it to our customers if we are convinced that it will be accepted by the markets and that it will bring value to our customers.”