Schaeffler is urging engine and transmission developers should work more closely together to achieve significant improvements in fuel economy.

“We must consider internal combustion engines, electrical components and transmissions as a whole”, Schaeffler deputy CEO, Peter Gutzmer told the Vienna Motor Symposium.

Experts from Schaeffler have undertaken simulations to demonstrate how electrification and transmission design processes influence one another.

The first calculation compares a C-segment vehicle with and without a 48-volt hybrid system, respectively. The 1.4L gasoline engine is identical in both cases but, while the non-electrified vehicle features a seven-speed transmission, the 48-volt hybrid has only four gears.

The use of this electrified transmission provides a fuel economy improvement of 18% in the WLTC (Worldwide harmonised Light Vehicles Test Cycle), claims Schaeffler, which will apply in the future.

In its second simulation, Schaeffler tested an SUV equipped with a 3L V6 engine. While the conventional vehicle features an eight-speed planetary transmission, the electrified version is equipped with a 24 kW electric motor installed in a five-speed automatic transmission.

Schaeffler says the fuel economy improvement achieved in the WLTC is 14% in this case, but significant savings can also be achieved even without electrification.

“The optimisation of the internal combustion engine therefore remains immensely important for Schaeffler”, added Gutzmer.