Emission accomplished

Updated: 2013-03-01 09:16

By Cecily Liu and Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)

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Emission accomplished

Marco Warth hopes Mahle Powertrain Ltd can help China improve its air quality by raising the energy efficiency of Chinese automotive companies. Provided to China Daily


One driving force behind a push to raise engine standards in China is a British company

An important aspect of making engines work is getting components that serve different purposes to work together, and in that regard China may be a perfect fit for the British engineering company Mahle Powertrain Ltd.

Marco Warth, the company's engineering director, reckons that Chinese manufacturers are skillful at controlling costs, and that competitive advantage can be achieved when this expertise is combined with Mahle Powertrain's European engineers' expertise in ensuring quality.

Emission accomplished

"In Europe the work we do is closer to what is technically achievable, because European standards on emission are stricter," he says.

In that light, Warth sees great opportunities in helping China's automotive manufactures adopt low-emission and energy-efficient technologies.

Mahle Powertrain's competitive advantage in China is its experience in Europe, where the stricter emission standards mean leading technologies are developed more quickly, he says, adding that his team is keen to bring these technologies to its Chinese customers.

"We can definitely help China to improve air quality by supporting automotive companies to improve the energy efficiency of their engines," Warth says.

"The pace at which China's automotive sector is adopting European standards is remarkable, and the design of cars has changed massively. It's very exciting for Mahle Powertrain to be a part of this change."

Founded in the English city of Northampton as Cosworth Technology in 1958, the company became a part of the German engineering and automotive supplier group Mahle GmbH in 2005, and was later rebranded Mahle Powertrain.

In 2007, Mahle Powertrain set up a subsidiary in Shanghai, and now helps many Chinese automotive companies design, develop and produce prototypes of high-efficiency and low-emission power trains.

Subsequently, it opened an office in Changchun, Jilin province, to support local customers.

Warth says Mahle Powertrain has worked with eight of China's top 10 automotive companies. This would often involve Mahle Powertrain's engineers working with its Chinese customers' engineers in the research and development center to develop power trains tailor-made to satisfy specific needs.

Chinese laws on emissions standards are similar to legislation known as Euro 4, whereas Europe adopted a new iteration of the standard, Euro 5, in 2008 and will adopt the more stringent Euro 6 next year.

In Europe, the European Commission sets vehicle emissions standards. The first phase of legislation, Euro 1, was implemented in 1993.

Mahle Powertrain is now helping Chinese customers develop power trains that comply with Euro 5 standards so they can export cars to Europe, Warth says.

But he is also noticing another trend of Chinese customers voluntarily asking for power trains to be designed to future European Euro 6 specifications in recent years.

"Because regulations on emission standards change so fast, some of our clients take a long-term view to use stricter regulations voluntarily," he says.

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