Dr. Breitbach, the electric drive is being hailed as the savior of environmentally friendly mobility. Will this render the turbocharger an outdated concept?
Dr. Breitbach: The turbocharger is often perceived as a product that belongs to the combustion engine. However, electrification will definitely not render turbocharging systems redundant. Although market research institute IHS forecasts that the market for vehicles powered solely by a combustion engine is likely to decline over the next ten years, this will be more than compensated by the strong growth in hybrid vehicles. The electric vehicle segment, on the other hand, is only like to display very slow growth, starting from what is a very low level anyway. Added to this is the fact that the turbocharger is absolutely in its element in hybrid vehicles. This is because turbocharging systems are ultimately used less to generate extra power or torque and far more to improve efficiency.
What solutions does BorgWarner offer for this growth market?
Jausel: We offer eBooster® and eTurbo™ specially for the hybrid market. We have established dedicated departments that bear full product management and profitand- loss responsibility for these new products. A dedicated sales team supports our customers with comprehensive expertise in the electric mobility sector. We quite intentionally established small and agile units to focus on these electrical products.
Have concrete orders already been received for the new products?
Breitbach: The eBooster® for the Mercedes- Benz S-Class represents an initial series application (see article starting on page 10). A 183 cubic inch inline six cylinder unit was equipped with our electrically driven booster compressor here. A starter generator with 20 hp output feeds a 48V on-board power supply system. This allows the eBooster® to be operated at 6.5 hp, which in turn significantly improves starting response. The new, downsized engine even beats the previous 280 cubic inch V8 in traffic light starts, while at the same time consuming over 20 percent less fuel. Beside this series production project, two other eBooster® projects are currently in development and will soon enter series production.
Jausel: Electric boosting in hybrid vehicles is extremely efficient thanks to its amplification factor. The electrical power that pumps air into the engine generates up to ten times the engine output. This is something we are keen to communicate more clearly. Conversion of electrical drive power into engine output with a high amplification factor is an important advantage of our electrical turbocharging systems.
has held the position of Vice President Global Engineering and Innovation at BorgWarner Turbo Systems since September 2015. He began his career as a research associate at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences (RWTH Aachen) and the University of California in San Diego. After this, he held various development and management positions at Delphi Automotive in Luxembourg and most recently worked as Chief Engineer in England. From 2004, he worked as a department head at Daimler in Stuttgart, where he was responsible for preliminary development of diesel engines and later for series production development of injection and turbocharging systems, as well as operating supplies. Dr. Hermann Breitbach joined BorgWarner as Director Global Product Development Passenger Car Turbo Systems at the start of 2014.
Dr. Hermann Breitbach
You already mentioned the eTurbo™. How does this system differ from the eBooster®?
Breitbach: The eBooster® is an electrically driven impeller that works together with a turbocharger. On the eTurbo™ it is a component: a turbocharger that is supported electrically. Employing the same aerodynamic components, this turbocharging system must cover the entire operating range, which represents a major challenge for the developers. The two systems also differ in terms of their positioning. The eBooster® supports downsizing and reduction in fuel consumption by optimizing the engine’s response at low revs. The eTurbo™, on the other hand, brings driving pleasure throughout its operating range, including high loads. Although it obviously also supports downsizing to a certain extent, this is clearly not the product’s main focus.
Is the eTurbo™ designed for passenger vehicles like the eBooster®?
Breitbach: During preliminary development, the eTurbo™ was originally intended for commercial vehicles. After all, a turbocharger permanently rotates in the exhaust gas stream and there are many occasions where it receives more power than actually required. Until now, this energy has simply been blown off and therefore wasted. With the eTurbo™, however, we can use energy recovery. This focuses on using the super fluous energy to generate power and thereby reduce the load handled by the on-board power supply system. As commercial vehicles are generally operated more frequently in the high load range, a significant surplus of turbine energy is created here. This can then be used to improve the efficiency of vehicles.
Jausel: In the case of the eTurbo™, however, passenger car manufacturers seem to be faster in implementing the innovations. This is why we are currently transitioning the eTurbo™ to the passenger vehicle sector. But our development is set up in such a way that we can also quickly cater to any commercial vehicle customers interested. We will have a platform that can be transferred, which will enable us to guarantee a shorter time-to-market.
What about 48V applications?
What does BorgWarner offer in this area?
Jausel: The trend among hybrids is currently moving toward 48V systems, and even higher voltages are likely to be established in future. We are launching our power electronics development platform this year, taking into account both 48V and future high-voltage solutions.
We are therefore ideally prepared for all current and future hybrid architectures and their voltage ranges. We already offer a wide range of 48V products, from electrical turbocharging systems, through starter generators with integrated electronics, all the way up to motor generators, electrical drive modules, fans, and auxiliary heaters. BorgWarner is increasingly becoming a system supplier with these offers.
Breitbach: An excellent example of this is a demo vehicle that we produced last year. Colleagues from Group Preliminary Development, from Turbo Systems, and from PowerDrive Systems worked together to integrate our eBooster® and a belt-driven starter generator into the 48V on-board power supply system of a large SUV, the Ford F150. All customers who saw a demonstration of this vehicle were very impressed. The Ford offers stop-start functionality and the high flexibility of the iBAS generator to supply or feed back power – delivering both driving pleasure and efficiency in combination with the downsizing offered by the eBooster®.
The high levels of boost offered by the eBooster® allow small and highly charged engines to be developed with dynamic performance comparable to that of large, normally-aspirated engines delivering the same power. As an electrically operated booster compressor, it supplements a classic turbocharger and significantly improves the corresponding engine’s response at low revs. BorgWarner supplies complete systems for gasoline and diesel engines, as well as 12 V or 48V on-board power supply systems
has held the position of Director Product Development Electronics and therefore been responsible for the topic of electrification at BorgWarner Turbo Systems since October 2016. He began his career in 1996 in the field of research and development, as well as project management for sensor projects at Siemens. After holding various other positions at Siemens and Siemens VDO, Heiko Jausel made the switch to Continental Automotive. Here, he was initially responsible for the Customer Center for Electronic Power Steering Systems (EPS) and establishing EPS development in both Asia and South America. Most recently, he managed the Global Electronics Team from Continental in the field of fuel and exhaust gas management and was responsible for establishing the global development and manufacturing organization.
How do BorgWarner’s areas of expertise, which are more in the field of mechanics, fit in with electrified products?
Jausel: A vehicle with electric drive not only comprises motors and power electronics. In fact, it requires comprehensive thermal and mechanical expertise. Then again, electrical systems are definitely not uncharted territory for us. We have actually been using electrical actuators, which paved the way for electrical systems, in several of our turbochargers for quite some time. However, the topic of power electronics is relatively new for Turbo Systems. Here, we do a lot of development work in close cooperation with colleagues from BorgWarner Emissions & Thermal Systems in Ludwigsburg who have extensive expertise in this field. This location is also home to a team from Turbo Systems that focuses on joint development activities. In addition to this, we have established new manufacturing operations in Portugal together with Emissions & Thermal Systems which produce power electronics for the eBooster®.
Breitbach: Our expertise with mechanical systems also helps us greatly in the field of electrification. We can already handle exhaust gas temperatures of up to 1,040°C, rotational speeds of 300,000 rpm, as well as component integration in the tightest of spaces and engines. We can transfer this turbocharger expertise very effectively to the field of electrification. For example, our experience with dynamic balancing also helps us optimize the NVH behavior of the eBooster® or the rotor dynamics on the eTurbo™, which are even more exacting. Our expertise is then also required in the field of thermal management. After all, feeding 6.5 hp of energy to the eBooster® generates a great deal of heat, which needs to be dissipated. Our expertise is also required in resolving packaging tasks.
How are you preparing for the radical changes expected in the market as we move towards electric mobility?
Breitbach: With our eBooster®, eTurbo™, and some of the other concepts we have in the pipeline, we consider ourselves very well prepared for the hybridization of vehicles. In addition to this, we constantly scrutinize our own portfolio and develop new products that could prove very useful for vehicle electrification. In these endeavors, we build on the expertise we have acquired in the field of electronics and now also power electronics.
Jausel: In the past, the concept of electrification focused primarily on individual products for us. However, we are now greatly diversifying and working towards platform development. We are also making preparations that will enable us to develop and also produce our electrified products worldwide to uniform standards.
Could you perhaps give us an example of this?
Breitbach: At BorgWarner, we have further expanded and standardized our software development activities. eBooster® and eTurbo™ are the first BorgWarner turbochargers to employ complex software. The development processes required for this are fundamentally different from those used for mechanical components. We therefore decided to integrate the SPICE process into our turbocharger development process and also had this approved through customer audits. The SPICE process is now being rolled out at BorgWarner level, enabling us to use synergies within the Group. So it is fair to say that we have most definitely arrived in the field of electrification.
Jausel: Our customers are often surprised just how effectively we have established electrification and the accompanying development process on an international basis. We use worldwide resources and expertise to boost growth in the field of electrification. There is a great deal of interest within the Group to use expert forums as a way of exchanging knowledge assimilated at Turbo Systems, Emissions & Thermal Systems, and PowerDrive Systems. This is where I see the great strength of BorgWarner for the future. Our product areas will grow together even more, providing one another with optimum mutual support.
The eTurbo™ is a turbocharger with integrated electric motor that serves as both a drive and an alternator. The electric motor supports the compressor in building up boost pressure, particularly at low speeds, and thereby improves response. When electrical support is deactivated, the eTurbo™ operates just like a classic turbocharger and can be used to recover energy from the exhaust gas stream in its function as a generator. BorgWarner supplies 48 V and high-voltage systems with continuous output of up to 17 hp and peak output of up to 30 hp together with the matching control electronics.
So how exactly does an exchange of knowledge or expertise work in the company?
Breitbach: A good example of this is the Innoboost Innovation Challenge, a worldwide project which we are using to drive forward the innovative capacity of Turbo Systems. Here, our employees were able to submit anonymous ideas for innovations on an intranet-based system. Other colleagues could then add their comments and proposals to these ideas. We were genuinely surprised how many people chose to get involved and how many great ideas were submitted. A total of almost 400 employees posted and then developed good ideas, three of which we are initially pursuing further.
Jausel: The project was very well received. Our employees gave lots of positive feedback, as they were able to submit their ideas for discussion and development without having to comply with stipulations. We will definitely repeat this, as it is important for us to survey our employees. After all, there is some real treasure hidden there. The markets are changing very rapidly today and BorgWarner is also continuously moving forward. This process of innovation is therefore extremely important for us.
What other solutions are you working on for future drive systems?
Jausel: We are currently working hard on transitioning the eTurbo™ to series maturity and are envisaging 2021 as the start of series production. We are also currently developing the second generation eBooster®. Thanks to our “Design for Value” methodology, we can improve the cost efficiency of the power electronics – despite the system delivering greater performance and efficiency.
Breitbach: There are also several other projects in their early stages where we can effectively combine our expertise in the fields of boosting and electrification. For example, we are working on a system which we can use to recover mechanical energy from exhaust gas energy using a so-called organic rankine cycle (ORC). This solution enables us to improve the fuel efficiency of commercial vehicles. Thanks to our knowledge in the field of turbines and the heat exchanger expertise of our colleagues from Emissions & Thermal Systems, we were already able to develop an extremely compact system and are currently handing over initial prototypes to interested customers.
Dr. Hermann Breitbach
Another project focuses on the use of a turbocharger with generator as a turbine in combination with a combustion chamber. A system of this type could be used as a drive unit for a range extender. A turbocharger that generates 65 hp or 105 hp of electrical energy could be used to permanently charge a battery on board a vehicle, which would then be used on board a vehicle solely powered by electricity. The combustion in a combustion chamber is very clean and the turbine can be operated at its optimum operating point. The drive is therefore both very clean and efficient.
Jausel: Beside this, we are also currently working on a fuel cell air supply system. This technology would fit in perfectly with our areas of expertise.
Where do you see BorgWarner’s main strengths with regard to electrification?
Jausel: BorgWarner offers a package that is unparalleled in the market. On the one side we have comprehensive mechanical expertise that ranges from transmissions, through thermal components, all the way up to highly integrated turbochargers. On the other side we have electronics expertise, which has also been bolstered by the acquisition of both Remy and Sevcon. This enables us to develop complex electromechanical drive systems. However, we are not simply looking to sell single products. Instead, we are targeting improvements to the cost-benefit ratio for our customers through the interaction of our solutions and thereby winning new projects.
Breitbach: Our electronic systems testing expertise is something that also differentiates us from our competitors. For example, our colleagues at Emissions & Thermal Systems in Ludwigsburg can today already perform many of the standard tests associated with ISO regulations. Among other things, we have a certified test chamber for electromagnetic compatibility available at this location. We are also keen to further expand our electromechanical testing expertise.
Jausel: Another strength of BorgWarner is the close networking of core functions such as manufacturing engineering, supplier quality, purchasing, early Involvement of suppliers, etc. We are already very well prepared to develop and produce innovative products for the electrified market worldwide.
Many thanks for the interesting discussion.
Fotos: © BorgWarner