China turns to drive technology ‘made in Germany’ for sustainable solutions
China is the world’s largest individual market for construction machinery. By switching to clean engine technology, it can leverage this size to make a significant contribution to environmental and climate protection. Chinese legislators are already making rapid progress in this area with the introduction of emissions regulations, but what is often still missing are advanced drive systems capable of meeting the new standards.
The introduction of the China IV non-road emissions legislation is imminent and should be in place for all of China’s non-road equipment by 2020. China IV will bring about another significant reduction in the limit values for nitrogen oxide and particulates compared to China III (see graph using the example of the 130-560 kW power range). A new limit value for the number of particles will also be introduced, requiring the use of a diesel particulate filter – similar to EU Stage V legislation. And in the heavy-duty on-road sector, the new China VI (which largely corresponds to EU Stage Euro VI) will be introduced for urban commercial vehicles from mid-2020 and nationwide in 2021.
This may just sound like a lot of meaningless bureaucracy, but it presents a huge challenge for Chinese vehicle and engine manufacturers. Especially since the Chinese regulations are rapidly catching up with European standards. For experienced manufacturers, however, it opens up attractive opportunities to offer their technology expertise and generate greater business volumes in China while at the same time promoting clean and sustainable transport solutions that help the climate and the environment.
SANY, China’s largest manufacturer of construction machinery, is one example of a Chinese company using German engine know-how. It has formed a partnership with DEUTZ AG, a specialist in diesel, gas and electric engines with many years’ expertise in engines and exhaust aftertreatment. A new production facility is currently being built in Changsha as part of a joint venture in which DEUTZ holds a 51 percent stake. This will be producing around 75,000 engines a year for SANY by 2022. To put this into context, DEUTZ currently supplies around 10,000 engines a year in total to China. There is further potential for growth, as Dr. Frank Hiller, Chairman of the DEUTZ Board of Management, explains. “We expect demand to continue rising in China. We will also be able to use the joint venture to provide a local supply for other customers. The Chinese government is promoting the development of cleaner diesel engines while at the same time pressing ahead with alternative drive technologies such as electrification, sustainable fuels and hydrogen drives. At DEUTZ, we embrace new technologies in all these areas, which puts us in a strong position to compete in the Chinese market.”
DEUTZ has particular expertise in the area of diesel, where it is a long-established technology leader. It was the first manufacturer in the world to achieve EU Stage V, the strictest non-road emissions standards to date. But it is also a serious player in the area of electric motors, having acquired electric drive specialist Torqeedo at the end of 2017 and battery specialist Futavis in 2019. Torqeedo – market leader in electric and hybrid drives for boats – supplies fully integrated drive systems including battery and power electronics that DEUTZ has already successfully adapted for use in a variety of construction equipment. Another interesting area is the use of alternative fuels and hydrogen in combustion engines. DEUTZ is collaborating in this area with a Munich-based start-up by the name of KEYOU. They intend to jointly develop commercially viable carbon-neutral hydrogen engines for non-road and on-road applications, and bring them to production readiness by 2021/22.
This broad range of technologies is in great demand in China’s booming economy and will open many doors. The joint venture between DEUTZ and SANY is part of SANY’s intelligent heavy truck project, a big-ticket project that forms part of SANY’s digitalization strategy. It involves DEUTZ taking over engine manufacture in the area of heavy trucks for SANY, in addition to various non-road applications.
“China is focusing on sustainable mobility, and companies such as SANY are relying on experienced partners such as DEUTZ. With our advanced drive systems, we are ideally placed to support China in this aim and to contribute to sustainability at both local and global level. We see this as a genuine win-win situation, achieving growth while having a positive effect on the environment and climate,” says Dr. Frank Hiller.