Global Commercial Vehicle Differential Market - Development of Lightweight Differentials Drives Growth | Technavio

16/12/2017 17:43


Technavio’s latest market research report on the global commercial vehicle differential market provides an analysis of the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2017-2021. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.

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Technavio has published a new market research report on the global commercial vehicle differential m ...

Technavio has published a new market research report on the global commercial vehicle differential market from 2017-2021. (Graphic: Business Wire)

One of the prominent factors that is driving the growth in the global commercial vehicle differential market is 2WD and 4WD/AWD application. It is widely being used in commercial vehicles.

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The top three emerging market trends driving the global commercial vehicle differential market according to Technavio research analysts are:

  • Electronic limited-slip differential
  • Differentials developed for EVs
  • Development of lightweight differentials

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Electronic limited-slip differential

Obtaining sufficient torque for every individual wheel which is regulated by the electronic control unit (ECU) is known as an electronic differential. Situations involving wheel slippage and regulation of the torque sent to the wheels to maintain adequate traction is monitored by an ECU, which comprises of microcomputers that assess inputs from wheel sensors. To increase the efficiency of torque transfer to the wheels, vehicle manufacturers have integrated the electronic differential systems. For instance, Mitsubishi has developed active center differentials that allow the driver to choose various drive modes depending on the type of road conditions. Mitsubishi's active center differentials have specific drive modes for driving in snow, road, and gravel conditions.

According to Raj Gaurav Singh, a lead analyst at Technavio for automotive components “Electronic limited-slip differentials are also known as active yaw dampening controls because they keep the front and rear wheels attuned. GM, Saab, Mitsubishi, and Jeep provide some of the main OEMs offering electronic limited-slip differentials.”

Differentials developed for EVs

The differential in an EV collects input from the steering wheel regarding the direction and the angle of turn, motor speed, and the throttle position. Majority of the EVs are equipped with wheels with individual motors. A central computer detects the amount of speed required by each wheel while taking a turn. However, EVs that come with a single powerful motor, transferring torque to both the front-wheels by means of an axle require a differential to control the amount of torque being sent to each wheel when the vehicle is taking a turn. Various parts of the drivetrain are required to operate the mechanical differentials. This further increases the weight of the vehicles and limits their operational distance.

Development of lightweight differentials

To reduce power loss in the drivetrain of the vehicle, automotive manufacturers prefer lightweight components within their vehicles. Thermoplastic compounds are being used by OEMs to develop drivetrain components for reduction of weight of the component. The thermoplastic compounds will be reinforced with carbon fiber for added strength and weight reduction. For instance, Eaton is developing drivetrain components, such as vehicle transmission gears, differentials, and differential housings, made of thermoplastics and steel.

“Lightweight counterparts, rather than drivetrain components, made of steel and thermoplastics will increase the drivetrain’s capacity to haul more loads, handle higher torque, and be economical to vehicle manufacturers in their production costs,” says Raj.

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