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Old 4th September 2019, 00:33   #1
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Default Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?



The internal combustion engine has not been challenged as it is being now. Similarly the car ownership has also not been challenged as it is about to be in an era of autonomous vehicles.

An interesting debate....
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Old 4th September 2019, 15:12   #2
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Default re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

Today's makers of ICE cars may, in some cases, convert successfully to EVs or Plug-In Hybrids but some will surely miss the boat. To understand the future sometimes we need to look into the past. Let's look at what happened in the warship propulsion and aero engines industries one and two generations ago. Whenever change is thrust upon us the first and second reaction is 'No', 'Non', 'Nyet', 'Nahi'. And that's what we see in today's car industry & ICE lovers too to some extent

Oil fired super-heated steam turbines were the staple form of warship propulsion from the early 1900s to roughly the 1970s. In terms of power:volume ratio, sheer power, efficiency, utter reliability it was tops. The big names were Parsons, Westinghouse, Babock & Wilcox, Foster-Wheeler, Yarrow to name some of the then biggies. Some like GE made the turbines but not the boilers. And none of these were small companies. Then came the marine gas turbines, in the 1960s, pioneered by the Soviets and soon thereafter by the British. The big guys here turned out to be a completely different lot - Rolls Royce and GE - and even today they dominate the marine gas turbine market other than those fitted on Russian built warships. Those other names never even got started. They saw themselves as makers of steam turbines and not as solution providers for big ship marine propulsion. Some re-oriented themselves exclusively for thermal power plants and industrial applications and others died.

Then let's look at aircraft engines that underwent a similar revolution between mid-1940s and mid-1950s. Till 1940s ICE engines ruled the roost. Over WW2 they had been refined to an art form. Jet engines were small, had limited endurance, weak MTBO, super high fuel consumption and prone to breakdowns. The big names of aero piston engines were Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney, Bristol, Wright, Napier, Hispano-Suiza, Allison among others. Of these only 3 transitioned successfully to the jet age - RR, P&W in full measure and Allison in the smaller power ranges of turboprops and turboshafts. The rest faded away. In the 1940s the maker of the most powerful aero-pistons was Wright with its R-3350 that powered all the big airliners of the 1940s and 1950s and the US bombers - today? - I doubt most T-BHP members have even heard of it.

So while I do not wish the demise of any company the possibility is high that from among the ICE car makers the financially weaker ones and the less nimble names will in 20 years be seen only at vintage and classic shows.

Change is the only constant.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 4th September 2019 at 15:13.
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Old 4th September 2019, 15:33   #3
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Default re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

I think that won't exactly happen in today's money driven world without much values or ethics. Its quite highly probable that most of the EV drivetrain technology will come from NON auto majors in today's books. It will be driven by pure technology firms and even smart start-ups.

But then - those will simply be gulped down by these monster auto-maker companies that have almost infinite cash piles now. So the leaders will remain pretty much where they are. They'll be using someone else's technology putting their badge on it at the power of money. Thats what has been happening in any domain over last 2 decades. Very small possibility that the auto sector will be an exception.
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Old 4th September 2019, 18:56   #4
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Default re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

I always wished there was someone like Michael Dell in the automobile industry. Buy parts from various manufacturers and assemble automobiles in the most optimal way.

Withe advent of EVs, I surely feel this is possible. Buy motors, batteries, seats, lights, ECUs etc from various sources and then assemble them in various configurations to suit the consumer budget and preferences.

We need manufacturers who think out of the box. These guys will be the real 'Dons'

Last edited by racer_ash : 4th September 2019 at 19:00.
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Old 5th September 2019, 12:08   #5
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Default Re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

There is no doubt that a few traditional car makers are going to be upended in the new world of electric cars & shared mobility. See how worried Suzuki was and how it went scurrying to Toyota.

Adapt or die is the new mantra. We're definitely going to see some changes in the balance of power. New car makers are going to emerge, as will new countries too (e.g. China betting heavily on electric cars).

That said, the well-funded car makers have already made big investments in electric cars and the good news is, it appears simpler to get right. I drove the Audi E-Tron for an entire day and the company has done it "almost" perfectly. If this was their initial attempt, VW e-cars will be absolutely rocking in another 2 - 3 years.
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Old 5th September 2019, 13:13   #6
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Default Re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

If the future is electric, then i would not be surprised if companies like Siemens, Bosch, Panasonic, Mitsubhishi, ABB, Schneider, GE etc would be the force to reckon with in the automobile industry. They already have the electric know how and are already " Big". Companies like ABB/schneider are into electric mobility through locomotives and heavy lift cranes BUs. Mitsubhishi is probably the only one which is having both divisions ( electric motors and ICE automotive). Not to forget that Tesla has already shaken up the e vehicles market.

The only thing working in favor of the old biggies would be the fact that they know the customer preferences and market nuances and also the fact that general public has a fixed mind set over brands. In fact, few of the companies like bosch/siemens are already heavily invested into auto sector and can make the switch into scaled manufacturing of personal automobiles easily. if you ask me, its a question of who would swallow who. Whichever way it plays out, there would a lot of consolidation in the future and its very early to play who's-the-winner game.

Last edited by srini1785 : 5th September 2019 at 13:14.
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Old 5th September 2019, 14:05   #7
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Default Re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

Quote:
Originally Posted by srini1785 View Post
If the future is electric, then i would not be surprised if companies like Siemens, Bosch, Panasonic, Mitsubhishi, ABB, Schneider, GE etc would be the force to reckon with in the automobile industry.
Well most of these - and also folks like ZF, HoneyWell and many more - are already the masters in internal combustion engines too. While we buy cars made by anything from Maruti-Mahindra-Tata to MB Maybach - the "engines" are actually built with components sourced from these folks and put together. The turbo chargers, ECUs, AMT/other auto transmission actuator components, actual gearbox transmissions, ABS units, fuel injectors, fuel rails and sensors - are actually made by these OEMs and simply supplied to car companies that put them together to make an "engine" as a unit. Behind the curtains, these guys you mentioned are already the masters even today.

For example, ZF's 8 speed automatic dual clutch gearbox is actually almost identically shared across premium cars from Jaguar, AstonMartin, McLaren, LandRover, MercedesBenz and what not! Just one example. Bosch pretty much rules the ECU segment which really is the heart of engines today. HoneyWell, Bosch are masters with turbos. And so on.

I'm just emphasizing further on your very valid point. These are the guys that will rule future of propulsion on wheels too. But whether they become actual "Power Unit" (F1 terminology!) manufacturers & suppliers or they remain OEM component suppliers for car makers to further design and assemble EV drivetrains, needs to be seen.
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Old 5th September 2019, 15:15   #8
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Default Re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

Transmission makers will surely go out of business. Its still the complete car that consumers care about and current companies can continue to hold sway. Component suppliers will be impacted the most.

The video mentions at the beginning that China is developing its own electric cars. Even then is it all about the drivetrain ? Chinese cars even with a great engine and transmissions are not that great complete cars like the traditional ones.
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Old 5th September 2019, 15:26   #9
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Default Re: Are the Dons of the internal combustion engine going to be 'also rans' in an electric future?

Quote:
Originally Posted by srini1785 View Post
companies like Siemens, Bosch, Panasonic, Mitsubhishi, ABB, Schneider, GE etc would be the force to reckon with in the automobile industry. They already have the electric know how and are already " Big".
Some may prefer to remain OEMs and not enter into the typical headache associated with the marketing, assembly, supply chain distribution etc of the entire vehicle / brand.
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Old 14th September 2019, 13:01   #10
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Default Video: German car industry struggling for survival

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Old 15th September 2019, 10:28   #11
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Default re: Video: German car industry struggling for survival

Had watched the video last week; it sure is sign of going down. Basically it says how Germany capitalized on engineering & Diesel to stay top of the game in last century. And how China is now capitalizing the new wave of engineering & alternative energy (Battery) to capture to ride in the next wave. I wonder what's the scenario in Japan.

Food for thought - If a big player is at top of their game, why does it become difficult for them to adapt to new technology & cater to market needs?
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Old 15th September 2019, 12:29   #12
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Default re: Video: German car industry struggling for survival

Quote:
Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Food for thought - If a big player is at top of their game, why does it become difficult for them to adapt to new technology & cater to market needs?


Same that happened with Kodak and Nokia. Here's an excerpt from an article -

Quote:
Kodak did not fail because it missed the digital age. It actually invented the first digital camera in 1975. However, instead of marketing the new technology, the company held back for fear of hurting its lucrative film business, even after digital products were reshaping the market.

Unfortunately, the company had the nearsighted view that it was in the film business instead of the story telling business, and it believed that it could protect its massive share of market with its marketing. Kodak thought that its new digital technology would cannibalize its film business.
Similarly, Nokia at the top of the mobile phone industry either didn't acknowledge the future trend for smartphones or shied away deliberately from Android repeatedly until finally bought by Microsoft.
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Old 15th September 2019, 12:34   #13
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Default re: Video: German car industry struggling for survival

I think this is already being discussed in this thread: https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...ic-future.html
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Old 16th September 2019, 14:54   #14
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Default Re: Video: German car industry struggling for survival

Quote:
Change is the only constant.
Sadly, the German car industry didn't think about this. And by the time they did, it was too little too late. The next-gen cars will definitely be not coming from Germany. Coupled with the diesel gate scandal, it did more harm to their brand as well. People are now apprehensive of diesels and holding on to their cars till electric vehicles become mainstream.

That said, with state backing, as demonstrated by both Norway and China, one can make a positive push towards electric cars and we know these are the future. I don't like it one bit personally, but thats how it's going to be.

Big companies like Mercedes and VW, are global players and might even survive the slowdown thanks to their global business but the 'German industry' as such is at a critical juncture.
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Old 17th September 2019, 20:51   #15
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Default Re: Video: German car industry struggling for survival

If I may add my 2 cents, I've always been of the belief that the Germans are masters of over-exaggeration, they have hyped their products, each and every one of them, be it cars, electronics, watches, clothes etc to no end and the whole world bought into their marketing in a big way, such that the very term "German-made" would evoke strong adjectives like "well made" "solid" "attention to detail" etc.

Don't get me wrong here, I've driven most German cars across all segments, from the VW Polo, Skoda Octy, VW Jetta, Audi Q3, BMW 3 Series etc. They are good, but are they so good that their competition seems absolutely pedestrian in comparison? Nope. Germans are good at creating first impressions and concentrate mainly on tactility and haptics and while that surely adds to the feel-great experience of owning a German product, they are usually horrible when it comes to value (worst on earth) and reliability. When it comes to electronics, they had a global presence with brands like Blaupunkt, Grundig, Braun, Loewe etc, yet they weren't quite as reliable (poor service as well, common with the Germans) and the competition like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, LG etc destroyed them.

I'd say design and attention-to-detail wise, the French products are probably better, and same goes to the Italians, though both flounder when it comes to reliability.

With cars, the Germans really didn't do ALL THAT, to succeed and to become number one, sure they were number one (VWAG) but with a plethora of sub-brands under them like VW, Audi, Skoda, Lambo, Seat, Bentley, Scania, Porsche etc who wouldn't? If any of the big 3 brands had ever focused on reliability (quite a sore point for most people globally, though a bit exaggerated at times), value pricing and post-sales experience, they'd have been far, far bigger, sales-wise, though far less profitable.

I'd put my neck out and say that the German government sounding the alarms about diesel this diesel that as if it's cyanide gas, after 2 decades of worshiping it as the ultimate fuel, is as silly as it gets, I mean who the heck didn't know that burning OIL is bad? Many people believed VW Group's rhetoric that their diesels are clean, yeah LOL. If anything the pollution commission worldwide and specially of Germany (a sister movement to the SJWs sweeping the globe) are pulling this stunt to make a ton of money with electrics, that's my guess anyway, going by the incredibly childish narrative (garbage) they've put out for 3 years.
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