Category Archives: Engineering Service

All articles and posts regarding engineering services in english.

Effects of Automotive Megatrends on NVH

Noise Vibration Harshness

10. October 2018 | Engineering Service

Noise Vibration Harshness

Several trends in the automotive industry, driven by social and political changes, as well as new technology possibilities, will cause fundamental changes for future vehicles and will strongly effect vehicle NVH requirements. Four megatrends are summarized by the acronym CASE: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric.
It’s been scientifically proven that human-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions contributes to global warming, and since then, strategies to reduce traffic-related CO2-emissions have been a major factor in (conventional) powertrain and vehicle development.

For some years, downsizing combustion engines to reduce fuel consumption was an important field of development, driving and fueling a number of research activities. Recently, electrification of the powertrain has become the strongest trend with regard to CO2-emmission reduction. Hybridization in varying degrees is already widespread in the automotive market. For the European market, FEV expects a major shift towards plug-in-vehicles, with a final distribution mainly dependent on customer preferences.

A second trend that is already visible is the increasing degree of shared mobility. Recently, companies with a strong commercial focus have explored the field of shared mobility with enormous growth rates. With regard to ongoing urbanization and the population increase, the demand for public and shared mobility can be expected to increase at the cost of motorized individual traffic.
Two more megatrends can be identified in the automotive world and are largely linked to each other: connected vehicles and autonomous driving. FEV expects the first fully autonomous cars in ~2027, with an expected market share of about 12% in 2030. Fully autonomously driving vehicles can be expected to develop a very different environment from conventional vehicles. Connecting vehicles to each other, the road and the world is not only a prerequisite to enabling autonomous driving, it will also provide drivers and passengers various information. This, too, will have an impact on the NVH properties demanded from the vehicle.

>> Customers have certain expectations concerning brand sound and the sound character

The new trends in automotive industry raise many questions for current and future development: How will the car of tomorrow look? What will it be able to do and how will it sound? What will the interior look and feel like? To which extend can personal taste be addressed when cars are no longer personal property, but have largely become shared goods? What kind of environment will the automotive industry create inside of an autonomously driving car and which role does NVH play in this environment? How much and which information will be provided acoustically, and how? For many of these questions, there are answers and for some of them, none. However, FEV would like to offer some ideas and encourage you to develop some of your own.


Different car manufacturers and models distinguish themselves from others through various attributes. Besides rather objective properties like weight, power, fuel consumption, size or price, soft skills, such as exterior and interior design, and NVH are more important selling points. FEV uses evaluation criteria to describe a vehicle’s NVH characteristic. Two very important parameters of these are applied to describe a vehicle’s NVH: comfort and dynamic. These parameters are determined by jury evaluations or are calculated from objective sound characteristics. Generally, vehicles that are more dynamic tend to be observed less pleasant.

If vehicles of the future are shared between many users, not just by one, how should the vehicle be positioned on a map that shows comfort and dynamic ratings? A potential scenario is that future shared vehicles are tuned to the current customer’s taste by active sound design, which may mean adding driving situation related noise shares by the HiFi-system, as seen in Figure 1.

Fig. 1: Target variants for positioning of Dynamic/Comfort-Ratings and possibility for tuning through Active Sound Design

The current vehicle user would be identified by his or her chip-card, which also stores their personal NVH preferences. The systems in the vehicle, which take active influence on the interior noise, are then controlled by user preferences.


Connected vehicles will have increasingly more access to various types of information. Some of this information will be used solely by the vehicle itself, and some of the information will be forwarded to driver and/or passengers. Such information will be presented visually, aurally or for example by movements of the seat or other features. However, this is largely the situation today. Thus, the increased connectivity is expected to influence tomorrow’s vehicles’ NVH rather indirectly by enabling other technologies like autonomous driving.


The electrification of automobile propulsion is probably the most advanced of the trends considered here. Electrified vehicles, whether hybrid or fully electric, have been successfully introduced in series production by many OEMs.
Different subject areas arise when NVH of electrified vehicles is considered (Figure 2).

Fig. 2: NVH phenomena of electrified vehicles

Safety: Some countries already prescribe an additional vehicle warning noise for pedestrian safety. The challenge is not to lose the advantage of traffic noise reduction with quieter electric vehicles by deliberately created irritating warning noises. In addition, the warning noise should not be perceived by the driver or passenger. Therefore, a good isolation between the loudspeaker and interior must be implemented.

Irritating interior noise: Although electric vehicles are often considerably quieter than comparable vehicles with combustion engines, the interior noise is marked by high-frequency noise components, which typically are subjectively perceived as irritating and unpleasant. Tonal noise components are especially critical.

Masking: Moreover, disturbing noise is no longer masked by combustion engine noise. That means, noise from the drivetrain itself, as well as unpleasant noise shares from other vehicle systems, come into the fore. Due to the missing noise from the ICE, road and wind noise will become more apparent. This frequency dependent background noise is used to define target lines for other noise shares from e-motors or transmissions.

Sound character/brand sound: The automotive industry has experience in designing the interior sound of vehicles with combustion engines. In addition, customers have certain expectations concerning brand sound and the sound character regarding comfort and dynamic. Quiet electric vehicles offer new creative prospects, which must be filled by responsible engineers. More frequently, synthetic sound is used to give the driver load feedback and thus create a dynamic sound impression.
Amongst other trends in automotive industry, vehicle electrification offers interesting possibilities:

  • Autonomous: Option to create more quiet and comfortable interior noise, and less vibration as it is expected from a driver not concentrating on driving
  • Shared: Quiet electric vehicles offer more options to create customized interior noise for the specific user by active sound design
  • Connected: The sounds, which inform the driver about the surroundings, can be created more discreet due to less masking noise of the drivetrain


Autonomous vehicles offer the chance to use travel time for other things, which can be for occupational or recreational purpose. It is expected, that highly automated and connected vehicle concepts will enter the markets in the next ten to 15 years. Vehicles with different degrees of autonomous driving functionalities will be introduced step by step.

The transition from user driven to autonomously driving vehicles will have a strong effect on user expectations and thus on the vehicle requirements. The user of a fully autonomous vehicle does not actively take part in the traffic events; he is out of the control loop. His situation is similar to a passenger in a train or a person in the backseat of a chauffeur driven vehicle, but very different from the driver of a conventional vehicle. His main interest will likely be that the driving events do not disturb his activities like talking, reading, talking on the phone, watching movies or working on a laptop. Maybe the only wanted disturbance is information from the vehicle, such as when the estimated arrival time is changing. Considering this, it can be expected that all comfort oriented vehicle features will become more important, whereas other features like acceleration performance or engine power will become less important. Interior noise and vibrations (N&V) are main influencing factors for a comfortable impression of the surrounding, thus all comfort criteria of interior N&V will likely have a higher weight in the vehicle requirement book. The dynamic and sporty oriented noise features will not be needed, as the user will perceive them as interference.
A user surveillance confirmed this general evaluation. Together with experts for the different components and features of vehicle and powertrain, the relevance of different vehicle specifics of an automated vehicles in relation to a conventional vehicle is derived (Figure 3). For the rating of the vehicle specifics, two very different fields of vehicle application are distinguished: a specialized “City Pod” vehicle is purely designed for mobility within a city anda “Highway Pod” is designed for long distance travel. In such a future mobility concept, vehicle hubs can be assumed, where the passenger changes from city-pod to highway-pod and vice versa.

Fig. 3: Change in relevance for vehicle specifics in dependence of use case

According to this assessment, engine features, such as nominal power and torque will become less important, especially for the city-pod. Low-end torque and responsiveness will become less important especially for the highway-pod. Comfort-related NVH features, such as jerkiness of start, interior vibration, high frequency quality of interior noise and low- and high-speed boom are expected to be significantly more relevant for automated vehicles. Again, the importance of the NVH criteria differs according to the vehicle use case, with the behavior at vehicle start clearly more important for the city-pod, and high-speed behavior more relevant for the highway-pod.


Electrification and its Impact on the Machinery Industry and Component Suppliers

FEV Study

10. October 2018 | Consulting, Engineering Service

FEV Study

The transformation of passenger car propulsion systems from combustion engines towards electrified and all electric powertrains is gaining traction. For the three main automotive markets – EU, USA and China – FEV expects battery electric vehicles to account for 22 percent of sales by 2030, while full and plug-in hybrid vehicles account for another 13 percent. This transition has a major impact on the automotive supply chain because an electric powertrain requires approximately 60 percent less manufacturing process effort than a conventional powertrain. On the other hand, the manufacturing process effort of a plug-in hybrid powertrain is approximately 25 percent higher. Considering future sales volume of powertrains as well as their required manufacturing effort, FEV expects that manufacturing process related value creation will increase by 1.7 percent annually between 2017 and 2030. However, some systems and markets will face consolidation. Companies in the automotive supply chain need to assess their market positioning and re-allocate resources in order to actively shape the transition and participate in the growing business of electrified powertrains.

Electrification trends in the passenger car industry

In 2017, 90 million light-duty vehicles have been sold globally increasing to 118 million units by 2030. The three major automotive regions, Europe, USA and China, account for approximately 60 percent of the global market. Between 2017 and 2030, vehicle sales are likely to stay constant in Europe and the USA. For China and the rest of the world, an annual sales growth between 1.5 percent and 4 percent is forecasted. Sales of combustion engine based powertrains (including hybrid electric drivetrains) are expected to increase throughout 2025 reaching a maximum of approximately 100 million units, which represents a 12 percent increase compared to 2017. In the base scenario, sales of combustion engines are expected to reach a plateau between 2025 and 2030 before declining in the long-term. Sales of electric powertrains are expected to increase significantly reaching 20 million units by 2030. This includes almost exclusively battery electric vehicles, while large scale market penetration of fuel cell based drivetrains is only expected for the period after 2030.

In Europe, USA, and China, the transition from conventional to electrified powertrain systems will be happening significantly earlier than in less mature markets. As a result, the number of internal combustion engines sold in these three markets in 2030 is expected to be approximately 10 percent below the 2016 sales volume. Hybrid drivetrains (including mild hybridization with 48V technology) are expected to account for approximately 56 percent of sales. 

>> Sales of electric powertrains are expected to Increase significantly reaching 20 million units by 2030

The technological change also affects other components of the powertrain. The average number of cylinders decreases by 8 percent from 4.3 to 4.0 due to an ongoing trend towards turbocharged three and four cylinder engines.

Among the three key automotive regions, the pace of the transition towards electrified powertrains varies. In Europe, a share of 21 percent battery electric vehicles is forecasted for 2030. A main driver for this development is the regulation of CO2 emissions for newly registered vehicles, which every vehicle manufacturer has to abide by individually. In addition, aversion against combustion engine based vehicles is increasing in some parts of society and the acceptance of e-mobility is increasing. The expected investments into charging infrastructure and roll-out of electric vehicle portfolios by many manufacturers are likely to facilitate the transition. For the US market, a lower sales share of electric vehicles (9% in 2030) is expected for 2030. Compared to Europe, the US CO2 emission regulation is less stringent. In addition, electric vehicles are less suitable for average US customers, which prefer larger vehicles and are driving longer distances compared to Europe. However, in some regions of the USA, especially the coastal areas, a higher market share of electric vehicle is expected. In China, a comparably high electric vehicle share of 29 percent is expected for 2030. Main driver for the high market penetration is a variety of regulatory programs pushing electric vehicle sales, such as fuel economy targets, electric vehicle sales quotas (“NEV credit targets”) and advantages for electric vehicles in license plate assignments.

Change of manufacturing processes for powertrains

The manufacturing process effort required to produce a powertrain depends not only on the type of powertrain (e.g. conventional, hybrid or battery electric), but also on its technological complexity. Especially for conventional and hybrid powertrains, the technological complexity is expected to increase towards 2030. This will be mainly driven by fuel efficiency improvements as well as pollutant emission reduction measures. In consequence, the requirements for production technology also increase for these types of powertrains.

The results of a comprehensive cost analysis show substantial differences between conventional and electrified drivetrains. Compared to a combustion engine based powertrain, a battery electric powertrain has significantly higher material costs, mainly attributable to the traction battery. On the other hand, the manufacturing process effort for an electric drivetrain is significantly lower. Especially those manufacturing processes, which currently dominate the production of combustion engines, are reduced. Their overall value-add for a battery electric powertrain is 64 percent lower compared to a mild hybrid powertrain (note: a mild hybrid powertrain is expected to be the “standard” powertrain in Europe by 2030). The extent of reduction varies between the individual manufacturing processes and ranges from approximately 50 percent to 80 percent. In contrast to that, the production of a plug-in hybrid powertrain requires 24 percent more manufacturing process effort than a mild hybrid powertrain, because a powerful electric drivetrain is installed in addition to the combustion engine.
The development of the overall manufacturing process related value creation can be estimated by combining the manufacturing process effort of individual powertrain types with their expected sales volume.

 As a result, it is expected that manufacturing process related value creation (excluding battery cell production) for the combined EU, US and Chinese markets will increase by 1.7 percent annually between 2016 and 2030. The negative impact of the transition towards battery electric vehicles is expected to be overcompensated by three major positive impacts:

  • Increase of hybrid powertrain market share, requiring high manufacturing process effort,
  • Increase of complexity for remaining conventional powertrains,
  • Increase of overall vehicle sales in China (23 million units in 2016; 32 million units in 2030)

However, the overall growth needs to be analyzed in detail. The development of value creation varies significantly between different powertrain components and sales markets: The value creation for internal combustion engines is expected to decline by 1.3 percent per year for the European market and it is likely to stagnate for the US. Only for China will we see an annual increase of 1.5 percent. For electric powertrain components, applied in hybrid and all-electric vehicles, a strong increase of value creation (approx. 20 percent annually) is expected. Additionally battery cell production is expected to account for another 11 billion Euro of manufacturing process related value creation.

FEV’s Zero Emission Vehicle Index – A new monitoring system

The results outlined in the previous chapters are based on FEV’s baseline scenario for market penetration of electrified vehicles. However, the success of e-mobility is uncertain and depends variety of influencing factors ranging from regulatory boundaries to social acceptance. The development of these influencing factors are decisive for the pace and the extent of electric vehicle adoption in different markets.
As a consequence the most relevant factors should be identified, understood and carefully monitored. For this purpose FEV developed a new framework, the “Zero Emission Vehicle Index” (ZEV-Index). Forty different influencing factors (i.e. parameters) are included in the ZEV-Index covering the following dimensions: regulation, technology availability, infrastructure, behavior of industry, economic aspects and social acceptance. For each factor, the status quo is recorded individually for different markets (e.g. number of charging points in EU, USA and China). Additionally, the development of the parameters until 2030 is forecasted. Based on technological and economic assessments the different parameters are normalized in order to integrate different dimensions into one single index value. As a result, a forecast of the ZEV-Index value is generated specific for each analyzed market. An index value of 100 represents market boundary conditions, in which the attractiveness of an electric vehicle is equivalent to a conventional vehicle. Thereby the ZEV-Index can be used as an instrument for development of market scenarios regarding adoption of electric vehicles. Additionally, the constant monitoring of key indicators allows for quick identification of changes in the e-mobility ecosystem in order to derive individual needs for action.

For the European market, electric vehicles are expected to be as attractive as conventional vehicles by 2024. In 2016 the ZEV-Index value was only 47. The main drivers for the steep increase towards 2024 are:

  • Roll-out of a broad range of electric vehicles by all major vehicle manu­fa­ctu­rers
  • Significant expansion of occasional and fast charging infrastructure
  • Battery technology improvements and cost reduction
  • Broad social acceptance of e-mobility and increasing electric vehicle demand

In China, parity of attractiveness between electric and conventional vehicles is expected to be reached two to three years earlier than in Europe. The main reason is the distinct regulatory framework pushing e-mobility. For the USA, the equivalent attractiveness is expected only in 2028.
Conclusions and recommended actions for suppliers of machinery and components

Recommended measures for machines and component suppliers

Between 2016 and 2030, the manufacturing process related value creation combined for the three markets Europe, USA, and China, is expected to grow by 1.7 percent annually. The reduction of value creation in the conventional powertrain area can be overcompensated by electrified powertrains, advanced technology application and increasing vehicle sales.

By 2030, the number of combustion engines sold in Europe, USA and China, is expected to decrease by 10 percent compared to 2016. China continues to be the largest market for internal combustion engines.

For the machinery industry, as well as component suppliers, the field of internal combustion engines will remain a substantial business area. However, against the background of consolidating markets in Europe and US, individual market players should analyze and adjust their business models accordingly. In order to remain profitable, allocation of development and production resources should be reevaluated. The growing market in Asia will continue to gain importance, so market players should consider to intensify their Asian business by analyzing, if sales and production structures need to be expanded.

There are also opportunities for additional business in the conventional powertrain area. For the majority of combustion engines, an increase of technological complexity is expected due to application of advanced engine technologies. In order to participate in the resulting value creation, market players have to gain or remain in technology leadership position by continuously improving their competencies and capabilities.

The market volume of electric powertrain components – applied in hybrid and battery electric vehicles – will grow significantly. In turn, new business opportunities will arise for market players across the entire automotive supply chain. Each company should identify its individual opportunities to participate in these markets. Existing core competencies and capabilities should be extended through dedicated build-up of additional know-how. Sustainable innovation networks combining industry and science can contribute to the development of new competencies.

In this study the timeline for the transition of powertrain systems is oriented on expected vehicle sales. However, the impact on the business of supplier of components and machines occurs much earlier, because investments into R&D and manufacturing require considerable lead time. As a consequence the business transformation process should already be ongoing or initiated immediately. Companies, which act fast and flexible, can foster their leadership position and exploit the potential of additional business. In the long run, participation in the market of electrified powertrains is imperative for the economic success of suppliers of components and machinery.

Underlying study

This article summarizes a part of the results of the study „Transformation of Powertrain – the electrification and its impact on the value added of vehicle powertrains by 2030″. FEV Consulting conducted the study in collaboration with the German industry associations „Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbauer (VDMA)“, „Forschungsvereinigung Antriebstechnik (FVA)“ and „Forschungsvereinigung Verbrennungskraftmaschinen (FVV)“. Three vehicle categories have been in focus and were analyzed separately: passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and non-road mobile machinery.

The three major automotive markets Europe, China, and USA have been covered in detail, but the findings are transferrable to other markets as well. The results of the study include a forecast of the sales volume of conventional and electrified powertrains as well as an analysis of the required manufacturing processes for different powertrain types. By linking these two factors a forecast of the overall manufacturing process related value creation has been conducted.

[1] Lüdiger, T.; Wittler, M.; Nase, A VDMA study: Transformation of Powertrain – the electrification and its impact on the value added of vehicle powertrains by 2030, Frankfurt, 2018
[2] Scharf, J.; et al., Gasoline engines for hybrid powertrains – high tech or low cost? 38. Internationale Wiener Motorensymposium, Wien, 2017
[3] Glusk, P.; et al. Electrified Future Of Mobility – Is The Expected Value Chain Shift Opportunity Or Threat For OEMs And Suppliers?