It was heartening to see the enthusiasm among participants at our most recent conference, the 3rd edition of Transmission.tech – the country’s only dedicated conference on transmission technologies. While the conference has grown in numbers, we’ve also witnessed numerous new developments in the transmission domain across the globe in the preceding three years.
Consumer priorities have changed over the years with low cost and ease of driving making way for driving comfort and refinement. Nonetheless, it is projected that manual transmissions will remain mainstream at least for another seven to eight years, if not more. In India particularly, there is an increased preference for AMTs, which experts believe would eventually lead consumers to opt for more refined transmissions such as CVTs, ATs or DCTs.
Among these, penetration of ATs is expected to remain quite low due to cost and technology barriers. Acceptance of CVTs too is likely to remain low. DCTs, on the other hand, are expected to grow the fastest considering its similarity in architecture with MT and because of greater fuel efficiency. Transmissions are also getting hybridised and the modularity of transmission architectures is expected to become a stepping stone to fully dedicated hybrid transmissions (DHT) in the coming years. Will DHTs become commonplace in the long-term? What are the prospects?
Globally, the most important driver for transmission technology developments, as well as a strong basis for vehicle electrification, is legislation. Europe, for instance, has set an aggressive fleet average target at 95 g/km by 2020, while China has proposed a target of 117 g/km by next year (approximately 5 l/100km). India is aiming to achieve 4.8 l/100 km (113 g/km CO2) for 2022. Electrification of the transmission and driveline are likely to pick up pace in the next decade and half, and DHTs are expected to play a crucial role in optimising both the electric drive and engine efficiency.
It is widely accepted that pure ICE-driven vehicles will not be able to fulfil future emission regulations. Some of the experts we spoke to at our conference too shared the same perspective. Multiple transmission options will co-exist, but considering the fact that DHTs can be configured in both all-electric and fuel-based modes for high efficiency, it does offer a very compelling proposition. Of course, the transition in transmissions will be dictated by cost and consumer preference as well as how the industry moves towards cleaner and more efficient energy sources in the coming years. Time will tell.
DEEPANGSHU DEV SARMAH
New Delhi, May 2019