What’s the biggest challenge facing the powertrain industry?
The requirement to reduce fuel emissions and thus CO2 emissions of the drive unit is greatly increasing and in the foreseeable future the aim is to achieve zero emissions. Ambitious goals like these can only be achieved through a reduction of weight through lightweight construction and a switch to alternative powertrain systems.
Do legislators help or hinder?
Today, support for alternative powertrains does not exist. The goal to achieve 1.000.000 electric vehicles on the streets of Germany by 2020 is not supported by the right incentives for the end consumer. There are rumors concerning financial subsidizations by the German government right now, but in our opinion expansion of electric infrastructure would move more people to buy an electric vehicle. The Chinese government has already understood this and supports electric vehicles not only through financial incentives, but also by improving electric infrastructure. Furthermore, the low oil price and the strong lobbying work by big oil corporations hinder emissions free driving in Germany at the moment.
What technologies is MWS working on at the moment?
Lightweight construction is the key to reduction of emissions. Accelerating a car with less mass is much easier to achieve and implement by using aluminum alloys, compared to other materials. This represents our philosophy at MWS and we will dedicate ourselves even more to the reduction of weight and emissions in the upcoming years. By expanding our resources and with the implementation of new innovation management, MWS aims to expand its expertise in advanced aluminum solutions. Simultaneous engineering enables us to support our clients from the beginning of a project. Thereby we develop a design that fulfills the client’s demands and is suitable for our production lines at the same time. Thanks to the almost unlimited freedom in design that can be found in sand- and gravity die casting, MWS is able to develop compact integrated solutions.
How will your work evolve in the next 10 years?
We will experience a major change in our product portfolio coming from a classic combustion engine background, to lightweight components for alternative powertrain systems such as electric engine housings and external tempering devices for batteries. Aluminum offers even more potential in electric vehicles. For example, thanks to the high thermal conductivity of this material, the heat generated by electric devices in EVs can be used for heating of the passenger compartment.
How will powertrain technology have changed by 2030?
Expectations that the internal combustion engine will be completely replaced by alternative powertrain systems by 2030 are premature. However, an increased demand in alternative powertrains can be expected in Asia and the pacific, especially in China. We assume that half of newly registered automobiles in China will have an alternative powertrain, thanks to the incentives put forward by the Chinese government.