Emissions, Electrifications & Other Global Challenges

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Horst Binnig, now CEO of KSPG Automotive (kspg.com), has been with the organization since 1999, during which time he has held a number of positions within the company, with responsibilities ranging from pistons and plain bearings to aluminum engine blocks and mechatronic accessories.

One of his assignments had him working on what was to become a joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), which was established in 2001.  That was the second JV the company has in China.  Today, the company, which is based in Neckarsulm, Germany operates several facilities in China (as well as throughout the world).

The company’s focus is on providing products for under-the-hood applications.

The reason why China comes up is because Binnig is looking ahead to an automotive landscape that will be significantly changed from the one that exists right now, one wherein, for the most part, combustion engines, mainly gasoline, but diesel, as well, dominate.

And he thinks that this change is going to occur within the foreseeable future.   

Part of this change is evident in major cities in China, like Shanghai and Beijing, where air pollution is a significant problem.

Although he acknowledges that the U.S. market has taken to electric vehicles (EVs) in a big way, even if there are small numbers (according to Inside EVs (insideevs.com), in 2014 there were 119,710 EVs sold in the U.S. and 320,713 worldwide, so some 37% in the U.S.), he believes that going forward, “The big market for e-mobility will be China.”

This is not because China is simply a massive market for vehicles of all kinds (the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers expects 2015 passenger-vehicle sales to be 21.3-million units), but in order to address the pollution issues.

Binnig goes on to say that in Europe OEMs are going to have to continue their deployment of technologies to reduce CO2 in order to stay in compliance with the EU regulation for 95 g CO2/km.  This also means, Binnig says, that there will be an array of powertrains deployed—gasoline, diesel, hybrids, full-electric—as the OEMs work to balance their portfolios to stay within the emissions regulations.

And as for the U.S. market, again there will be more of an array than any singular solution.

“Different regions of the world will have different main technologies for powertrain,” he says, noting that this is a change from what had historically been the case with internal combustion engines.