Automotive Engineering - March 2022 - 12

TECHNOLOGY REPORT
POWERTRAIN
Light-vehicle horsepower hits historic high in 2021
Full-electric propulsion for the U.S.'s light-vehicle market segments
is gaining momentum, but developers of the internalcombustion
engine aren't throwing in the towel just yet.
Figures recently compiled by the U.S. EPA to include the 2021
model year indicate average horsepower for light-vehicle engines
reached a historic high of 252.2 hp in 2021.
The highest-ever horsepower figure came, said the EPA,
despite average engine displacement remaining at a nearhistoric
low. Average light-vehicle engine displacement in
2021 was 2.9L and has been less than 3.0L since 2014. The
lowest-ever average displacement is 2.8L, which was recorded
in several years since 2014.
The EPA's light-vehicle dataset, dating to 1975, is nearing
50 years of scope. In 1975, average horsepower was 137.3 and
the lowest-ever average was 102.1 hp in 1981 - despite an average
displacement that year of 3.2L. Average displacement
was 3.0L or larger for nearly a quarter-century from 1988 to
2013 and after 2014 has never again exceeded 3.0L. The
years 1975 and 1976 had the highest average displacement,
4.8L, in the near half-century of the U.S. Dept. of Energy
(DOE)/EPA's records.
The DOE's Vehicle Technologies Office noted the marked
increase in engine specific output by summarizing, " From
1975 to 2021, horsepower has increased by about 84% while
ELECTRIFICATION
ZF debuts new chip-agnostic EV inverter, ADAS for Vinfast
ZF recently debuted a new scalable and
modular e-motor inverter architecture
that can be used in powertrain systems
ranging from 400V to 800V. But it's the
other flexibility built into the system
that will likely attract the most attention
in the face of the global semiconductor
crisis. The new inverter architecture is
not dependent on predefined semiconductors,
ZF said, and was designed " to
support vehicle manufacturers in bridging
the silicon-to-silicon-carbide transition
while also being prepared for future
semiconductor trends. "
This next-generation inverter, called
the Modular eDrive Kit, " [optimizes] the
link between the power semiconductor
boundary conditions and control software
in order to gain the full potential
from the semiconductor configuration, "
ZF said, especially when used with silicon-carbide
(SiC) semiconductors. The
Modular eDrive Kit will be ready for
production by 2025 but the real benefit
12 March 2022
might be in the way this set-up helps
automakers shorten their product development
lead times.
ZF board of management member
Martin Fischer said by using different
semiconductor chips, whether traditional
silicon or silicon carbide, and the different
voltage ratings, ZF has created a platform
that can be easily shaped and configured
for customer applications. " When we
started early, we had the comfortable
situation of three years between getting
the order and shipping the product, " he
said. " We target cutting that in half. "
And the company's long history of
working with global automakers now
extends to Vietnam. ZF and VinFast
Automotive, the automotive arm of the
VinFast Global conglomerate, announced
at CES 2022 that it would bring advanced
driver assistance systems
(ADAS) to VinFast's electric vehicles.
VinFast will use ZF's so-called " Level 2+ "
ADAS functions (enhanced SAE Level 2)
in the new EVs when they launch in mid2022.
The ZF-VinFast partnership will
lead into Level 3 technologies " over the
next several years, " the companies said.
VinFast claims that the Eco and Plus
trims of its EVs will come equipped with
ZF's " L2+ " automated driving features,
while the Premium trim will feature SAE
Level 3 or 4 autonomous technology, but
limited to automated parking situations,
VinFast claims.
ZF will supply " multiple cameras, radars
and lidar sensors " to VinFast, as well
as a central control unit that will fuse the
information from these sensors in order
to offer features like traffic jam pilot, highway
driving chauffeur and automated
valet parking. VinFast said its EVs will be
" among the first systems intended to rely
on the vehicle sensor set to operate rather
than pre-mapped and instrumented
parking structures, " when the Level 4 ZF
Automated Valet Parking arrives.
Sebastian Blanco
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
Average light-vehicle horsepower hit an all-time high in 2021, despite
average engine displacement near a historic low of 2.8L.
engine displacement has decreased by 40%. " The information
was derived from the EPA's 2021 Automotive Trends Report.
[https://www.epa.gov/automotive-trends]
Bill Visnic
U.S. EPA
https://www.epa.gov/automotive-trends

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