Responses from Federico Gaiazzi, FPT Industrial Head of Marketing
Technologies of the Future: Hybrids, Electrification and Smart Systems
Has there been any recent advancement in hybrid technology which will help, or have the potential to, further increase their prevalence in the heavy-duty equipment industry?
We all know that municipalities and public transport agencies - especially in booming major cities - need to count on a transport fleet more cost-efficient and, above all, sustainable for the environment. In our vision, hybrid solutions can have an even more strong spread also in [the] light commercial vehicles market and for urban distribution applications.
In recent years, FPT Industrial has developed and installed hybrid solutions, running projects in both parallel and serial architectures, in combination with diesel and natural gas engines.
We believe that coupling [a] hybrid solution with a natural gas engine could bring benefits to the customer and to the environment. Concerning natural gas, we can leverage over 25 years of experience and more than 30,000 CNG engines sold. Today, we are a leader and we can offer engines capable to run with compressed (CNG), liquefied (LNG) or renewable form (bio-methane).
In regards to hybrids, what technological limitations currently exist that are impeding the ability to harness the full potential of hybrid power?
The development of hybrid solutions depends on the availability on the market of efficient and competitive components. The architectures of hybrid solutions also depends on the type of use and mission, and creates a complexity that does not promote standardization. Furthermore, the competitiveness of this kind of powertrain solution relies not only on each individual component performance, but also on the management strategy. To maximize benefits customization to each specific application is necessary. To face this challenge FPT is working more and more close to its customers. This is also strengthened by having seven R&D centers around the world, geographically distributed to be close to our customers and ready to answer to their needs.
What’s next on the technology horizon? Are there emerging technologies which will affect your products or the industry as a whole? How will hybridization, electrification and smart systems continue to progress within the next year and on into the future?
To face future pollutants and CO2 reduction challenges the right combination of these technologies is a key element. Furthermore, regarding powertrain hybridization, we are living a situation similar to the one has been experienced with alternative fuels several years ago: the challenge is a widest diffusion of products in terms of volumes and of supporting infrastructure networks.
Challenges on the Horizon
What new challenges do you see the industry as a whole facing, and how is your company looking to address/provide solutions with which to solve those challenges?
The present and future challenges FPT is addressing are linked to the pollutants (NOx and PM) and CO2 reduction, maintaining the best performances for customers. Our response to these challenges is continuing to develop more efficient engines and focusing on alternative fuels, a sector FPT plays a leading role. This has to be matched, according to the missions, with hybridization/electrification technologies of the powertrain.
The interaction between the components within the engine and the vehicle, and the connection of these with the outside world via telematics are catalyzing factors that are coming overwhelmingly in the market and will affect future developments. At FPT, we want to continue to play a key role because we want to give our customers more and more efficient solutions, respectful of the environment and capable to improve their productivity.