Category Archives: Consulting

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?


Cost Development of Electric Vehicles Considering Future Market Conditions

Market study and cost analysis of electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles

24. July 2017 | Consulting

Market study and cost analysis of electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles

With a market share of only about 1% of new vehicles sold, battery driven electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (“xEVs”) stand, from a European market perspective, far below expectations. In Germany, the xEV share is 0.6%; corresponding to about 25,000 vehicles sold in 2016. Germany is below the EU average. It is clear that the purchase and tax subsidies from the German government have, so far, not had a significant impact: In the first 3 months, only 4,500 sales were realized. Despite the subdued market demand, the number of public charging stations for electric vehicles tripled between 2015 and 2016. Against this background, FEV Consulting conducted a market and cost study to answer the question of how electric vehicle costs will develop in the future under conditions of increased sales volumes, growing demand for raw materials, and developing production capacities. The main objective is to assess the extent to which xEV vehicles can be cost competitive with conventional vehicles and which powertrain type will dominate the market.

FEV’s study answers the following core questions:

  • What are the latest trends in electrification and hybridization?
  • What are key market and technology trends regarding xEVs towards 2025/30?
  • How high are costs for alternative powertrains today, and what will they be in 2025/30?
  • What are the primary cost drivers and how will they develop?
  • Will combustion engines still be the cost leaders in 2025/30?
  • Which additional costs are expected in order to meet statutory and supervisory requirements?
  • How cost competitive will fuel cell technology be in 2025/30?

Driven by “diesel gate”, statutory regulations, regulatory pressure and technological advances, alternative drives (or xEV vehicles) have developed into a key trend in the automotive sector. Many European OEMs are convinced that the tipping point for electric vehicles will soon be reached: OEMs and suppliers are currently investing heavily in the development of their EV fleet and EV component portfolios. Volkswagen just recently released the launch of its xEV platform (MEB) with a goal of achieving a 600 km electric driving range in its compact car concept, “ID.” Daimler showcased an electric SUV Coupé called “Generation EQ,” at the Paris Motor Show that is based on a dedicated EV architecture. Other manufacturers are planning similar concepts, including purely electric as well as hybrid, and fuel-cell electric vehicles with electric ranges exceeding 350 km. Aside from the regulatory and legislative motivation, the financial implications for OEMs over the next 10 years are still not clear. The question of whether xEVs will be able to attain a significant market share largely depends on future price competitiveness compared with their conventionally powered counterparts.

Graphic - Cost development fo electric vehicles

Exemplary cost split for selected fuel cell
component in 2025 [in €]

Comparison - Cost development fo electric vehicles

Selected vehicle concepts for cost comparison of future xEVs

Methodology and Assumptions

Several alternative powertrain vehicle concepts and a conventional compact vehicle were compared in a cost analysis study. The selected models included typical plug-in hybrids (PHEV), pure battery-electric vehicles (BEV) and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) in the compact car segment. In order to capture market and technology uncertainties, 3 scenarios were developed that reflect technology development costs and fluctuations in raw material prices. For all 3 scenarios, a set of boundary conditions were determined to allow a fair cost comparison between the different concepts.

Selected boundary conditions for the 2016 cost baseline:

  • Vehicle segment: Compact car
  • Baseline vehicle for cost comparison is a conventional ICE with start-stop and 12V
  • Low production volume for Fuel Cell Vehicles
  • Battery specifications based on current market concepts

Selected boundary conditions for the 2025 cost forecast:

  • Vehicle segment: Compact car
  • Conventional baseline vehicle is MHEV (48V) with an additional 12 kW of electric power
  • Production volume for FCEV has been increased to 50 thousand units
  • Higher specific energy [Wh/kg]

Selected Study Results

In 2016, the manufacturing costs of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles (PHEVs & BEVs) were about one-third higher than a conventional ICE-powered vehicle with a Start/Stop automatic transmission. Fuel cell electric vehicles (VCEV) manufacturing costs are nearly 5 times as high as those for a conventional vehicle. The reasons for this are lower sales volumes and high development cost in 2016.
By 2025, it is expected that the electric range of xEV vehicles will nearly double, with marginal cost savings of approximately 5% (Allrounder EV). Compared to mild hybrid comparison vehicles with 48V technology, the costs are about 20% higher. The cost of fuel cell electric vehicles, with an electrical range of approximately 800 km, is expected to fall to one-fifth of today’s price, leaving a remaining cost gap of 60% compared to the 2025 baseline vehicle (48V mild hybrid). Battery costs are expected to decrease by 50% for traditional OEMs due to economies of scale associated with increased production volumes and improvements in cell technologies. The electric capacity of a typical BEV is expected see a significant increase from 36 to 70 kWh (500-600 km).
In addition to the comparison of the total cost and the delta analysis of the selected xEV vehicle configurations, detailed powertrain cost splits are provided in the study for key components like the electric motor, controller, battery, transmission, etc. Each key component has been further broken down into the main cost drivers, including material costs as well as overhead costs which were determined using the FEV “should cost” methodology. Uncertainties in future production volumes are considered in the “conservative,” “most likely” and “progressive” scenarios.

Impact on the Automotive Industry

Fully electric drivetrains are far less complex than their conventional counterparts with internal combustion engines, since many components of a conventional drivetrain are no longer necessary. The sales potential of injectors, fuel pumps, filter systems and turbochargers is adversely affected by increasing EV sales. Conversely, the strategic importance of new components, such as the electric motor, battery and power electronics increases. For the future, manufacturers need to decide what share of the added value they want to provide from within (vs outsourcing). This decision is strongly influenced by endogenous factors such as cost competitiveness, exogenous factors such as raw material prices, vehicle range and future development of charging infrastructures.
Suppliers – especially those with a product portfolio focusing on conventional powertrains – will have to undergo a fundamental transformation over the next 15 years, which can be subdivided into 3 steps:


Comparison - Cost development of electric vehicles

Modification / Change of powertrain configurations in a 15-year-timeframe

1  Today: Strategic Analysis and Preparation of Realignment

Although the industry is in a state of upheaval, there is still partial restraint. On the one hand, the change to the development of alternative propulsion systems is already visible in the organizations of major manufacturers and large or specialized suppliers. On the other hand, traditional suppliers that are active in the internal combustion engine market are still in the preparatory phase.

2020: Implementation of the Realignment and Transition

As soon as market shares of xEVs have increased, product and service portfolios must be realigned and value chains have to be reorganized. The orchestration of an orderly ramp-down of the traditional business requires a solid strategic plan and dedicated implementation. It is very likely that the early inefficient suppliers will fall victim to the industry transition and exit the market. As a further consequence, the future R&D focus of the OEM’s will shift even more clearly toward electrification and other value-added product offerings, such as automation and (digital) mobility services.

3  2025+: Completion of Transition Phase

Depending on the respective scenario, market shares for conventional powertrains (ICE-only) will shrink significantly. In one radical scenario, ICE vehicle sales are likely to drop to 75% of the 2016 level. On one hand, as a result of shrinking market volumes, further (and even stronger) consolidation of the remaining suppliers in the field of conventional powertrains is expected. On the other hand, market participants will be well-positioned with an early strategic focus on the realignment and transition toward the new boundary conditions for the future xEV market and technology competition.

Graphic -

Iterative transformation for suppliers over the next 15 years


Refreshingly excellent

Prof. Stefan Pischinger explains the past and future of FEV Consulting

4. August 2016 | Consulting

Prof. Stefan Pischinger explains the past and future of FEV Consulting

Professor Stefan Pischinger, chairman of the board and managing partner of FEV Group Holding, sat down with us for an interview to explain why FEV Consulting was founded, what distinguishes it and where he sees it in five years.

Prof. Stefan Pischinger, we would like to start by congratulating you on the fifth anniversary of FEV Consulting GmbH and thanking for agree to do this interview with us. What were the key reasons for founding FEV Consulting in 2011?

Prof. Pischinger: As a matter of fact, since its foundation in 1978, FEV has received regular requests for consulting services with regard to powertrain topics, especially in combustion engines, from clients in the automotive and engine industry. There were many successful projects here as well. However, the focus of FEV service provision was naturally on the applied research and engineering area, even in the early days; over the years, it has achieved considerable depth and breadth in this subject area, along with high market penetration. In doing so, market and strategy topics slipped into the background, which obviously doesn‘t mean that they are any less important to our clients. For many client requests, it even reaches the point where the combination of different services, meaning market assessments, strategy development, and engineering, makes the desired comprehensive statements possible and enables guiding decisions.

Were there other reasons?

Prof. Pischinger: Yes, of course. The aforementioned combination of classic consulting services and in-depth engineering know-how enables us to offer our clients both comprehensive and customized solutions. Furthermore, consulting services enable us to reach a considerably larger client base to which we can make our experience and expertise available; this often happens with our existing clients, as well as outside of the automotive and motor industries. Additionally, an agile, well-connected group of consultants with its own complementary service topics makes a positive contribution to padding the broad engineering portfolio of the FEV Group, enables access to other relevant contact persons at our client‘s offices, and perfectly rounds out the service portfolio. I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that, thanks to its independence and excellence, FEV Consulting is regularly in a position to also have a refreshingly positive and decisive impact within the FEV Group with our fresh impulses and innovative solutions.

Do you use FEV Consulting a lot within the Group?

Prof. Pischinger: On the contrary. FEV Consulting generates 95% of its turnover from external clients and, after five years, has its own large industrial client base. Of course, and this is absolutely intended, there are many client projects in which FEV Consulting and the engineering companies work shoulder-to-shoulder for our clients. I consider this economic independence combined with the extensive professional topical diversity to be very important, since it significantly contributes to the acceptance of FEV Consulting within the Group and makes it an attractive partner for strategy topics within the FEV Group.

Where should FEV Consulting be in another five years?

Prof. Pischinger: FEV Consulting has already achieved so much in its short life – it has been continuously growing since its foundation, discovering new subject areas for FEV, winning new clients, and economically successful. I would like to see FEV Consulting continue to firmly follow this path with the same enthusiasm, thus making an important contribution to the global growth of the FEV Group. In this context, I can easily imagine FEV Consulting increasing its worldwide presence through additional locations and strengthening its positive momentum.

Prof. Pischinger, thank you for this interview.

FEV Consulting

FEV Counsulting: Linkage of Strategic Management Expertise and Technical Know-how


Versatile, competent and interdisciplinary

Best of two worlds

4. August 2016 | Consulting

Best of two worlds

Our combination of expertise in the field of management consulting and engineering enables FEV Consulting to offer a broad range of services. The projects we work on cover a variety of industries, from pre-development to after-sales and from general project management to detailed subprojects.  

Technology Roadmapping

In order to approach an innovation process within a company in a structured manner from the start, FEV Technology Roadmapping creates a roadmap that answers three important questions: what are the market and technology drivers? What are the technological solutions? When do they reach critical market penetration? This approach enables us to avoid the „fuzzy front-end“ – meaning those often difficult-to-define initial phases with which every innovation process starts. The roadmapping process can be flexibly adjusted to meet the client‘s requirements. However, it still includes the central aspects, from trend and driver analysis to sensible technology scenarios for future motors, transmissions, and powertrains for all transport-relevant applications. FEV Consulting shows the client which product and corporate strategies are relevant for it and helps to implement them.

Technology Roadmapping

Powertrain Concept Studies

The powertrain and its conceptual layout remain the central lever in achieving future CO2 and exhaust emission goals. FEV Consulting examines various possible solution concepts and supports its clients with decisive concept proposals and CO2/costs trade-off analyses. In the process, FEV Consulting not only takes into account how to optimize traditional combustion engines, it also looks at the use of hybrid solutions.

Powertrain Concept

Supply Chain High Performance Management

FEV Consulting helps companies to perfectly manage their own value creation chain with a multi-step process. In doing so, it assists clients in analyzing the background situation, identifying realistic target figures, and implementing an overall strategy. FEV works together with its clients to establish how to ideally balance cost-effectiveness and flexibility and identifies the levers with which to adjust these factors.

Supply Chain High Performance Management

Product Development
Process Optimization

The success or failure of technological innovations largely depends on the development processes behind them and how they are organizationally integrated and implemented. This is where the work of FEV Consulting begins; the consultants support their clients with experience gathered internally in the area of product development and on the basis of their direct and unique access to the capacities of the FEV Group. In so doing, they take into account specific client requirements as well as the three core elements of successful product development: quality, cost, and time.

Product Development Process Optimization

Intelligent Transportation & Connected Vehicles

FEV Consulting helps OEMs, suppliers, digital companies, energy suppliers, and insurance to develop innovative business models and new technologies. This process enables them to adequately meet their needs for intelligent, efficient, and multimodal mobility chains. These are becoming more and more important in an increasingly urbanized, connected, and environmentally conscious world in which the „sharing economy“ is booming. Together with its clients, FEV Consulting develops successful growth strategies in new and existing markets.

Symbol Intelligent Transportation Connected Vehicles

Modularization Strategies

Passenger vehicle manufacturers in particular are attempting to master increasingly complex powertrains by introducing modular product toolkits. Thanks to its comprehensive industry know-how, FEV Consulting is able to explain current modularization trends and the approaches of global OEMs in individual studies and then explain the advantages and challenges. The consultants identify client-specific framework conditions, as well as complexity drivers and requirements, in order to be able to establish a customized modularization strategy on the basis of cross-industry best practices.

Modularization Strategies

Smart Cost Reduction

In order to significantly save costs on technical products, FEV experts from different areas proceed in an interdisciplinary manner. They make detailed analyses of existing cost drivers, benchmark products from competitors, and generate a calculation of target costs from the bottom up. In addition, they generate innovative solutions for cost reduction through Value Engineering and implement them by way of international sourcing — or commercially, through supplier management — at the required quality level. FEV extensively trains client employees and installs proven methods and tools. This ensures the achieved savings in the long term.

Smart Cost Reduction

Manufacturing 4.0

In order to be able to survive in global competition, companies must develop structures and processes that are both lean and flexible enough to work in a cost-effective manner. Furthermore, companies increasingly operate within digital systems, the requirements of which regarding interfaces and data have a significant impact on business and production processes. Together with its clients, FEV Consulting establishes strategic and tactical levers to meet the individual challenges faced by internationally active companies in production, logistics, and procurement.

Manufacturing 4.0

Mergers & Acquisitions

For clients that are planning corporate mergers or acquisitions, FEV Consulting offers a unique combination of business administration and technical expertise. FEV Consulting helps its clients to identify potential target companies, the acquisition of which serves a specific corporate or investment strategy. As part of the due diligence phase, the consultants analyze the business model in detail, as well as business administration performance and the viability of the organization. Finally, FEV Consulting assists in integrating the organization.

Mergers & Acquisitors


In order to increase performance and/or reduce CO2 emissions, FEV Consulting analyzes as part of vehicle projects individual technologies and technology strategies, especially electrification strategies, driver assistance systems, and vehicle measures. For targeted light construction, FEV Consulting provides support with the Smart Weight Reduction Process. Additionally, support is provided for clients in the development of an overall vehicle strategy through the planning and definition of product characteristics by FEV Consulting.




Competence in the aviation industry

In our interview, Helmut Färber talks about challenges in aviation and projects with FEV Consulting.

4. August 2016 | Consulting

In our interview, Helmut Färber talks about challenges in aviation and projects with FEV Consulting.

While the FEV Group is generally heavily focused on motors and the automotive industry, FEV Consulting has deeply involved itself from day one in the aviation industry with a wide variety of projects. Our consultants have been able to establish a strong reputation with many top-tier suppliers in the areas of launch and ramp-up management, lean supply chain, missing parts and supplier intervention management, as well as project turnaround and performance management.

In 2015, FEV Consulting went to the Airbus Helicopters site in Donauwörth. There, it supported the airplane doors production unit in the area of the A350 production ramp-up. The person responsible for this unit is Helmut Färber. He sat down with FEV Consulting to talk about the differences between automotive and aviation construction, and to explain what he appreciates about FEV Consulting.


Mr. Färber, a typical combustion engine is made up of approximately 500 individual parts and requires 3 to 4 years of development. Do these figures make aviation experts smile?

Helmut Färber: No, not at all! The development of the Airbus A350 took almost 10 years. The big difference in automotive construction, however, does not lie in product development. The market forces us to start production at a very early stage in development. That is the key difference

Can you elaborate?

Färber: Airplanes can easily reach a unit price of over USD 200 million and are produced in lesser quantities than in the automotive industry. In order for the program to also be a financial success and for the development costs of several billion euros to be recouped, it is practically necessary for the prototype and preliminary production to be done at the series level and sold.

How do you achieve that?

Färber: By generating a flowing transition from prototype construction to series production and directly integrating the feedback from test flights into the production. This also explains the lower delivery rates during the first years of a new airplane program.

In your current position, you are responsible for airplane doors. Is everything now done at the series level?

Färber: As with every new program, we also had various startup difficulties with door production of the A350. We broke new ground with regard to the production processes and materials. However, the difficulties have been resolved and the production ramp-up is going as planned.

A350 Airplane Doors Carbonfaser

A350 CFK door structure, Airbus Helicopters plant Donauwörth – Ramp-up difficulties fixed

You have known FEV Consulting since the early days. The first project – the A350 – started at the end of 2011.

Färber: Yes, I was the plant manager for the aviation supplier Premium Aerotec in Nordenham. Several strategy consultancies have supported the A350 Joint Improvement Project; FEV Consulting was one of them.

You were not immediately won over by this support. Why?

Färber: (laughs) That‘s true. Unfortunately, I have had varied experiences with consultancies. Some start by acting dominant and end up creating more support work for the employees than the actionable benefit they bring to the company.

Is FEV different?

Färber: Well, there was always very little support work. Most of the consultants have proven experience in the aviation industry. FEV has always rapidly identified the heart of a problem and provided us with an implementable solution proposal.

Is that what you appreciate at FEV?

Färber: Yes. I also appreciate the supportive work method. Unlike other consultancies, FEV has no problem with staying in the background and supporting the decision-makers in the company through words and deeds.


Helmut Färber

Helmut Färber (Airbus Helicopters, Vice President, Head of Plant Airplane Doors)


Focus on fleets

How FEV Consulting supports automotive manufacturers and suppliers with strategies to reduce emissions through powertrain and vehicle technologies.

5. July 2016 | Consulting

How FEV Consulting supports automotive manufacturers and suppliers with strategies to reduce emissions through powertrain and vehicle technologies.

Automotive manufacturers are faced with increasingly strict CO2 emission goals, which will challenge them until 2025 and beyond. The manufacturers must manage to implement client expectations simultaneously taking into account cost effectiveness and low emissions. In this context, a solution can be provided by concepts that not only fit the company, but also enable it to flexibly react to new framework conditions. Typically, there is more than one ideal solution. FEV Consulting supports manufacturers and suppliers with a structured and comprehensive approach, enabling them to select the ideal technology for them out of many technology options.

In Technology Roadmapping, FEV Consulting identifies new technologies and assesses their impact on important characteristics. Following that, strategies for powertrain and vehicle technologies are examined, thus supporting product planning. The target values respectively the consequences of individual configurations are determined by taking the vehicle fleet into consideration. This ensures that the result can be assessed in the context of the CO2 emission goals of the vehicle manufacturer.

Analysis of Drive Technology Strategies

Next to driver behavior and vehicle characteristics, the powertrain is the main factor influencing the CO2 emission of a vehicle. Said powertrain is becoming increasingly complex: traditional combustion engines and transmissions receive additional electric components, multiplying the potential drive topologies. With so many factors, it is obvious that there must be several ways of efficiently reducing emissions: „Identifying the most advantageous path highly depends on the automotive manufacturer‘s specific technology portfolio and existing competencies,“ explains Dr. Michael Wittler, Manager at FEV Consulting. Using a comprehensive approach, the experts at FEV therefore assess technology on the combustion engine, the transmission, and the entire vehicle. The database for this is constantly being expanded. Based on the results, the consultants determine the technology configuration that they deem to be the most advantageous for the respective automotive manufacturer. The FEV approach also enables us to analyze and compare technology trends.
It also answers questions that arise from changing framework conditions, such as will downsizing be the right approach if the EU implements the WLTP as the standard drive cycle, replacing the NEDC?

Fleet Strategy

In order to achieve the CO2 target values for the entire fleet of the respective automotive manufacturer, FEV Consulting takes into account both the portfolio of each vehicle segment and the most important powertrain types: What fuel is being used? Is it a hybrid vehicle? If so, how much electrification is used? How many electric vehicles does the manufacturer offer? How well are certain vehicle technology concepts accepted by the client? All this data is incorporated in the prognosis of the FEV consultant regarding how the future vehicle segment portfolio should look and how the powertrain types should be distributed in order to emit less CO2 from the point of view of the entire fleet. Vehicle measures are also taken into account, since lighter vehicles with less driving resistance also help reduce emissions. Last but not least, experts at FEV take regional legal regulations into account. „Finally, scenarios can be modeled so that different strategies can be assessed against one another. The sensitivity analysis identifies how efficiency measures can best be leveraged with regard to the whole vehicle fleet,“ concludes Dr. Wittler.

Through the connection of the elements Technology Roadmapping, powertrain technology strategy analysis and vehicle fleet compliance analysis, FEV Consulting is able to develop consistent strategies. In doing so, questions from the both suppliers and the automotive manufacturers are addressed.

FEV Consulting


Deep dives and precise planning

Technology roadmapping: How the experts from FEV Consulting find the perfect technology for their customers

3. June 2016 | Consulting

Technology roadmapping: How the experts from FEV Consulting find the perfect technology for their customers

Since FEV Consulting was founded in 2011, Technology Roadmapping has been an important part of our product portfolio. On the very first project in the company‘s history, the service line began with roughly 80 technologies on the radar, using an Excel-based solution to help FEV experts document technologies and generate reports. Since then, FEV Consulting has continuously improved its approach to Technology Roadmapping. Today, the information we use is stored in a database and encompasses more than 450 technologies from different areas of powertrain and overall vehicle engineering.

What is FEV Technology Roadmapping?

The approach used in FEV Technology Roadmapping helps us to structure the fuzzy front end, that is, the early phase of technology scouting in an innovation process. In this phase, we encounter many technologies that are either nested in the early stages of research, are starting the initial steps in design, or are already moving on to advanced prototyping. Uncovering these trends, describing them, and assessing them are key elements in early technology scouting. Though it proves challenging to OEMs and suppliers, it is extremely important to the strategic decision-making of both.

FEV‘s Technology Roadmapping process is an efficient solution for documenting technologies—whether in the early stage of development or already established. FEV consultants usually try to answer three crucial questions:

• What current and future trends and drivers will influence the research and development of relevant products?
• What relevant technologies or concepts are known, and what impact do they have?
• When will the technologies reach both maturity and relevant market penetration?

When reporting on trends and drivers, we analyze global mega-trends as well as the ensuing specific drivers. Our experts tap into their worldwide network, attending relevant lectures and trade fairs, conducting interviews among key industry players, suppliers, and end customers, or analyzing legislation that may become important in the next 20 years.

When working on projects, we focus on the client‘s specific constraints and requirements. While considering a client‘s individual product environment, the client‘s core competencies and, if necessary, specially-requested technology topics, the service line identifies technologies — whether already in series development or just now in an early stage of research — that are of special interest to the client. They are generally identified through interviews conducted with selected FEV experts, analysis of lectures and literature, and attendance at conferences and trade fairs. We then draw up a standardized report on the technologies for the client. The report describes the operating principle; explains the advantages, disadvantages, and interactions with other technologies; and assesses the potential for use in a variety of applications, including passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, industrial, marine and railroad applications. As our most unique selling point, FEV Consulting offers its clients what we call „technology deep dives,“ in which the experts from FEV elaborate on selected topics with in-depth technical details and numerous case studies taken from simulations or measurements. Finally, the technologies are evaluated based on a variety of client-specific criteria and designated scales to determine their influence on predefined technology packages. The criteria include factors such as fuel consumption, emissions, performance, weight, and cost. The criteria are then expanded to include criteria tailored to the client‘s needs — for example, exhaust system parameters or important constraints for certain system components — in order to offer clients the greatest possible benefit.

To create our technology roadmaps, we hold expert workshops to discuss both the maturity of the technology and possible market penetration scenarios. They are performed on different applications (gasoline or diesel passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, farming and construction equipment, etc.) and for different regions (Europe, US, China, Japan, India, etc.), so that we get a detailed overview of which technologies will become established for which application, in which region, during which period of time, and with which level of market penetration.

Technology Roadmapping


New Product Opportunities Thanks to Roadmapping and Deep Dives

Over the past few years, numerous clients have used Technology Roadmapping to identify and evaluate new product opportunities. The FEV consultants select technologies that could be of interest to the client, either because they fit in with client core competencies in the area of products and/or production technology or they match the client‘s strategic orientation. They usually make their selection following early technology scouting during the innovation process.

To decide whether the technologies will actually be a reasonable addition to the client‘s current portfolio, we subject them to another, more detailed process of evaluation. Known as Phase 2, it involves a market and industry structural analysis, in which FEV determines factors such as market volume and growth potential, examines the intensity of competition, and researches patents. With the aid of the findings, our experts can estimate whether a technology will be profitable.

At the same time, they check the technology to see how functional it will be, generally as part of an intensive technology deep dive. This examination explains in detail how the technology operates, what advantages and disadvantages exist, how it affects other technologies and concepts, what main competitors exist, and what potential there is for distinguishing the technology on the global market. In workshops held with the client, our consultants specify and document possible product ideas and improvements early on. They also calibrate skills required with those that the client already has, thereby revealing any gaps.

Afterwards, if a technology still shows promise, FEV will devise a scenario for implementing it. First, however, the client must decide what level of production to carry out internally and which parts it wishes to source from outside suppliers. The client also needs to decide whether it wants to be a pioneer in bringing the technology to market or if it would rather be a fast follower or a „me-too.“ Based on this estimate, the consultants then define what to do and when — with respect to research and development, production and procurement, as well as sales — in order to meet a desired start date for production.

In the final step, senior management can use this information to decide how to fund the development of the technology internally.


How do clients benefit?

OEMs and suppliers worldwide use the results of the FEV Technology Roadmapping process in a variety of ways. FEV enables clients to assess technological developments in terms of their maturity, market relevance, and impact on other technology concepts. For example, clients can deduce their future R&D budgets, develop new product ideas, appropriately target their marketing strategies, or even tap into new areas of business. The results combine the knowledge from nearly 40 years of FEV history — a unique selling point that underscores the high quality of FEV‘s Technology Roadmapping.

What have we done since 2011?

Since our beginnings in 2011, the FEV Technology Roadmapping approach has been consistently improved and refined, both in terms of content and functionality. Though FEV started with just under 80 technologies and one application in 2011, we now work with a database currently containing over 450 technologies and a large number of applications and markets. In the last five years, our experts have successfully advised many different clients around the world. The technologies are by far no longer devoted to just the engine itself; they also encompass technologies in transmissions, alternative fuels, various concepts for electrification, batteries and fuel cell technologies, and the overall vehicle (lightweight design, for instance). The number of applications has also grown. FEV started with agricultural equipment, but we now work with passenger cars (gasoline and diesel), commercial vehicles, a wide range of mobile machinery, locomotives, marine applications, generators, and projects in the aviation and wind power industries.


Alexander Gulden from thyssenkrupp on the necessity of building more efficient vehicles and how Technology Roadmapping helped the Group to implement new product ideas.

Dr. Gulden, thyssenkrupp, as an automotive industry supplier, is also active in the powertrain area. What challenges are you currently facing?

Dr. Alexander Gulden: Given that regulation makers are demanding a significant reduction of CO2 emissions, the vehicles have to become more efficient. To do this, we need new technologies. In addition to the well-known combustion engines, the hybrid drive is therefore becoming more and more important, as are electric vehicles.

How are you preparing for these topics?

Our mission is to identify projects for which we are able to provide our specific expertise and skills as a diversified technology group in order to generate added value for our clients from the automotive industry.

What role did FEV Consulting play in all this?

Dr. Gulden: We already knew FEV to be a skilled development partner. FEV Consulting combines the technical expertise of FEV with the abilities of a management consulting firm. The Technology Roadmapping concept that the consultants presented to us won us over. The evolution of the projects and the results confirmed our expectations.

Can you go into more detail? What particularly impressed you?

Dr. Gulden: Over the course of the project, we received a proven specialist perspective on development trends in powertrain technology. We have had in-depth technical discussions. We were thus able to compare our own assessments and discover new information. At the same time, the structured project approach made sure we did not lose sight of our goal. Out of a wide variety of product options, the consultants identified the most attractive ones for us in a step-by-step process using interesting workshops.

How is the project result helping you now?

Dr. Gulden: Out of more than 450 technology choices, FEV Consulting selected 7 that are attractive for us. In addition to the technical implementation, the market and competition situation was comprehensively assessed; product development processes were created. In doing so, all the necessary core competencies for development and production were established. This enabled us to clearly see which specialist areas within thyssenkrupp had to be involved. At the end of the day, that is our success – we now know how to successfully implement the selected new product ideas with our know-how.

Dr. Michael Wittler


Success with the Ikea principle?

Toolkit concepts to unite different engine model series

30. May 2016 | Consulting

Toolkit concepts to unite different engine model series

Should the headlights be halogen, xenon, or LEDs? Should the roof railing be in the vehicle color or aluminum? Should the make-up mirror be lighted or not? Nowadays, anyone using a vehicle configurator will realize that the number of potential equipment versions is essentially limitless. Some manufacturers claim up to 1038 possible combinations – a number with 39 digits. The powertrain in particular is impacted by the many different goals. Can modular concepts actually help master complexity?

Manufacturers increasingly rely on modular principles to master complexity. They market PR-type terms such as „Modularer Querbaukasten“ (MQB, Volkswagen), „Modulare Frontantriebsarchitektur“ (MFA, Mercedes-Benz), or „Volvo Engine Architecture“ (VEA, Volvo). In past projects, FEV Consulting was able to successfully demonstrate the potential, along with the restrictions and risks, of these concepts.

Different requirements across the world – regarding performance, consumption, and price, for instance – and also legal emission thresholds, lead to the powertrain in particular having to show a type of previously-unknown technical diversity in the conflict area between fuel, hybrid power splitting, drives, and energy carriers. Often in one and the same vehicle.

FEV Consulting addresses this problem in the service line „Modularization Strategies“ and develops customized modular concepts – similar to the proven systems from the Swedish furniture store.

City Engine Meets Heavy Load Operation

An example of this is a one-year project for an internationally successful utility vehicle manufacturer; the goal was to develop a module uniting several previously stand-alone engine model series. The concept had to work from a cost-sensitive, medium-sized engine for urban distribution transport up to a performance-optimized power package for heavy load operation. The framework conditions were small item quantities, a high degree of personalization, long product life cycles, and high client expectations. Furthermore, it had to be clear in which areas the most savings could be achieved and how the supplier portfolio would influence the development. Lastly, processes, methods, and tools to ensure sustainability had to be implemented.

A multi-disciplinary team of representatives from various specialist areas on the client side and FEV experts pursued a holistic approach – in the fundamental phase, they examined the status quo with regard to version drivers and causes, applied the client‘s requirements to the engines and their components, and documented the costs of the resulting variants. On this basis, they established different concept scenarios for each prototype group and assessed them with regard to monetary goals and individual requirement fulfillment.

Stringent Concept with Savings Potential

Vague theory or actually feasible? Through their collaboration with FEV experts, in the early preliminary development phase, the client was able to examine the most attractive concepts and how they were to be implemented in the system as a whole on the basis of CAD data.

The result was a stringent concept with component standardizations and similarities, interfaces, and planned variants. The engine model series from a single source offered savings of more than ten percent in the development phase, as well as an annual two-figure million potential in production; all this without having to make any compromises in the performance of the motors.

modular toolkit

Goals of a modular toolkit





modular toolkit









Lower consumption and fewer emissions thanks to an integrated system of coaching

How future cross-platform driver assistance systems can reduce energy consumption, emissions, costs, and the length of transport operations

17. May 2016 | Consulting

How future cross-platform driver assistance systems can reduce energy consumption, emissions, costs, and the length of transport operations

Cutting back on greenhouse gases and energy consumption in an eco-friendly way remains one of the biggest challenges in the automobile and transportation industries. To lower real consumption specifically, FEV Consulting has developed an integrated optimization approach that involves the entire process chain for one trip from end to end. The driver and his driving behavior play a key role.

The conditions under which a vehicle‘s fuel, or energy, consumption is to be lowered are extremely individual. Previous approaches that managed to cut emissions focused primarily on improving individual components. However, FEV‘s system inspection optimizes the entire process chain and all its dependent factors. That includes preparation for the trip or transport, selecting the means of transportation, and optimizing the manner of driving and operational strategy while taking the outside world into account. The integrated approach to system optimization is divided into three areas of coaching: vehicle, driver, and transport.

Vehicle coaching: Making cars and buses smarter

Instead of further developing the hardware of individual components, optimized operational strategies significantly help reduce a vehicle‘s fuel consumption. Today‘s hybrid powertrains are capable of adapting to travel routes and can, for example, optimize battery charging tasks and other components. One trend in this area is flexible, model-based (rather than rule-based) operational strategy. The rules allow operations to be controlled with the optimum calibration for each situation, using the latest sensor and operational data.

However, there is still one big unknown in the models: the ability to predict exactly how drivers will behave. If drivers do not behave as predicted, that could cause the entire operational strategy to fail in a worst-case scenario, leading to increased fuel consumption. We provide vehicle coaching in an attempt to avoid precisely that. By enabling the vehicle to „learn“ its driver‘s behavior, it can adapt to the driver and situation and process driver requests optimally (for fuel consumption). For example, if a driver regularly takes curves too fast, the coach can briefly adjust the accelerator pedal position, provided outside circumstances allow it. Ideally, it can even initiate coasting times sooner or extend them in order to increase the (electric) range.

The increasing connectivity of vehicles will eventually enable the application of swarm intelligence, allowing vehicle coaches to coordinate with each other. The coaches compare driver intentions and operational strategies to initiate optimized group maneuvers. The maneuvers may need a local judge to make decisions and determine the best approach in certain situations — for example, when nearing a traffic light. As an alternative, there is also a way for vehicles to agree with one another based on a specific protocol, which would first need to be laid out and implemented.

Driver coaching: motivating operators to behave ideally

Sustained improvements in driver behavior are becoming more and more important and gaining potential in the age of electric vehicles and connected cars. The driver coach knows the profile of the road and the traffic situation ahead and can realize increased potential for savings by executing optimized coasting maneuvers at high speeds. It gives drivers precise instructions on how best to behave behind the wheel. The learning driver coach also knows which instructions work well on certain drivers and which ones are less effective. Advanced HMI and motivational techniques (such as active gas pedal, heads-up eco displays, and gamification) are needed to exploit the driver coach‘s full potential without distracting drivers too much. Thanks to iterative improvements, the coach adjusts its strategy for communicating with the driver and can also select personalized environmental campaigns to boost the driver‘s motivation in specific areas.
An instructional method, or „campaign,“ can apply cutting-edge, playful, motivational mechanisms („game mechanics“) from the game industry, thereby ensuring the greatest possible success. User-oriented design is essential for achieving maximum benefit from the assistance system. Today‘s assistance systems and eco displays are still in the beginning stages, as illustrated in our study titled „Gamified Eco-Coaches.“

It is precisely the interplay between functions that produces benefits. The vehicle coach can predict the effect of the driver coach and adjust how it regulates individual components. A very teachable driver, for instance, can be expected to adhere to the recommended speed for rounding a curve with high probability, enabling him to begin coasting sooner. If he doesn‘t, the driver coach can transmit feedback to the driver through the accelerator pedal. That encourages the driver to navigate the next curve at the ideal speed on his own.

The driver coach can also combine information from past drives and current sensor data to recommend an optimized speed profile for the driver, taking traffic and road conditions into account.

Mobility Coach

Mobility Coaching: Holistic system optimization to reduce real fuel consumption







Transport coaching: Multimodal transport management

The greater the complexity of a transport operation, the higher the potential for the transport coach. Its job is to avoid trips or select means of transport that consume less energy. The coach plans transport operations by collecting information for current and future decision-making, such as traffic volume, expenses, duration, and return routes. Its interaction with the other coaches enables advanced transport and fleet management. By analyzing transport tasks, income and expenses, transit networks, and provider information, the system can make decisions in real time at actual and standard costs. The first transport coaches have already been deployed in fleet management systems. In the area of passenger transport, vehicle manufacturers have introduced the first multimodal route planners such as the one found on the BMW i series. The first non-proprietary apps (such as the Fraunhofer Society‘s MyWay project) for mobile devices are also showing promising results.

Smart networking offers tremendous potential

To lower real consumption significantly, it will no longer be enough to concentrate on the further development of individual coaches. The strong interdependencies between planning a trip, the driver‘s behavior, and the vehicle‘s behavior require integrated system optimization from one end of the transport chain to the other. The weighting of the sometimes disjointed goals is both crucial and highly specific (costs, emissions, duration, etc.).
Current examples and projects show that the following key elements determine success or failure:

• Clearly-stated project goals, e.g., CO2 accreditation, USP for end clients, costs of consumption, etc.
• Cross-platform and multi-system solutions with maximum integration
• Integrated view of transport routes
• Advanced driver motivation techniques
• Clearly-worded instructions using suitable HMI concepts (see, hear, feel)
• Agile development and rapid prototyping

The circumstances in which each system improvement is to take place are very individual and affected by the underlying conditions. In fleet management, there have already been attempts to introduce telematics systems that may lead to further optimization. Yet, OEMs in the passenger car sector have only simple assistance systems for driver coaching and third-party apps with a lack of integration available to them.

So, FEV Consulting possesses many important skills for optimizing systems, both individually and across the board. We have in-depth technical expertise in powertrains, commercial vehicles, and passenger vehicles, plus project experience in the areas of digitization, eco-coaching, motivational techniques, app and platform development, and business model design.

Game mechanics

Comparison of „Game mechanics in use“

Intelligent transport


Anticipated Driving 2.0

Denso and FEV Develop a Predictive Operating Strategy

17. May 2016 | Consulting

Denso and FEV Develop a Predictive Operating Strategy

Many of today’s powertrain improvements target to improve the vehicle’s operation strategy in terms of drivability, fuel consumption, emissions and NVH. These strategies are often rule-based and non-predictive using only current locally available parameters for situation interpretation and vehicle operation controls. These parameters include current driver’s request, vehicle velocity, battery state of charge, etc. So far, computation does not consider information about future road profile, traffic and infrastructure as well as future driver’s request to optimally control vehicle operations. This implies that pre-defined driving cycles are used to calibrate a set of operation rules by which the vehicle and powertrain is controlled. As a result, the vehicle controllers are in optimal state only, when the driving profile is very similar to the pre-defined driving cycles. An “electronic horizon” can be setup to predict the state of the vehicle for a specific future time span. Adapting the controllers based on predictive parameters enables vehicle operation in a quasi-global optimized status.

DENSO and FEV are currently developing a predictive operating strategy including an electronic horizon that not only achieves additional fuel consumption savings in the real driving scenarios, but also increases the drivability of the vehicle. The strategy is based on using a-priori knowledge of the road ahead from vehicle’s navigation system in combination with data about provided street topography and traffic information, speed limits and traffic lights status by car-2-x technology. Utilizing this data, an optimized operating strategy for the powertrain as well as for the HVAC system is determined for a predicted period of time.

Predictive Hybrid Operation Strategy

“With the prediction of upcoming driving scenarios, the suitable parameters are pre-selected and applied to the hybrid controllers”, explained Max Nakagawa, President and CTO at Denso International Europe. “The target is to achieve quasi-global optima within the predicted horizon.” To investigate the improvement in drivability and fuel consumption through predictive operating strategies, a 3D vehicle simulation environment with real-world driving situations and traffic scenarios was setup for multiple test cases.

Predictive Cabin Thermal Management

Especially less powerful vehicles are prone to a deterioration of both drivability and fuel consumption caused by the energy consumption of the Air Conditioning (AC). This effect is even stronger in particularly demanding driving cycles or extreme hot weather conditions. Using an advanced and predictive thermal management system in combination with a thermal storage device enables to optimally schedule the additional load from the AC compressor. This reduces the fuel consumption while the cabin temperature is kept within the comfortable zone.

Result and Outlook

According to simulation results, the predictive hybrid operational strategy and predictive HCAV not only decrease fuel consumption and CO2 emission, but also improve drivability of the vehicle. Since these predictive strategies are based on already existing vehicle and hardware, applying them will reduce the fuel consumption and improve drivability of the vehicle with nearly zero additional cost. Therefore, these strategies are promising candidates for implementation in future advanced powertrains.

To exploit all the potentials of predictive strategies, DENSO and FEV will continue the development and setup demonstrator vehicles for road testing.


Simulation environment for predictive strategy