MCE-5 VCRi: Pushing back the fuel consumption reduction limits

It’s not the right time to develop this
type of technology during an economic crisis

An economic crisis should not justify a failure to act, on the contrary, it’s during a crisis that carmakers can make the difference by providing real energy efficiency or economic advantages to their end customers in tight market. The failure to act or its opposite, dynamism, are real philosophies for a number of carmakers. For those who don’t act, during prosperous times they put forward the argument that they don’t have time to look at innovation because the priority is to produce as many vehicles as possible. In times of crises, these same companies state that they no longer have the budget to innovate. In other words, it’s never the right time.

The future of the automobile strongly depends on
innovation in the field of energy efficiency

In coming decades, the portfolio of innovations
available to end customers will essentially determine a
carmaker’s profitability and share value

Carmakers that follow this philosophy have become poorer over the last 10 years. They have abandoned a part of their ability to innovate on a technological level to focus on their ability to negotiate on a political level. Hence, several carmakers have made up for their inability to innovate by becoming masters in threatening additional layoffs, in mobilizing public funding and justifying their inability to adapt to a world that is changing faster than they are. These carmakers are in danger and are living on borrowed time.

Other carmakers, however, have always invested in innovation, even during economic downturns. If their investments are well targeted, they can be salutary. This has been proven time and time again. Ideally, investments shouldn’t be made on an emergency basis because you’ve turned around to see that you’re lagging behind: that’s too much like a rescue plan. The best attitude is one of constant openness to innovation as part of the system. Carmakers that adopt this type of strategy steadily gain market share every year from their competitors, get a foothold in new markets and territories and build a strong image of dynamic technological innovation. This attitude structures their R&D, attracts the most talented engineers and strengthens their technical collaborations with their partners. These carmakers build a virtuous circle that feeds their own success.

Having said that, companies that give too much power to their engineers can also potentially put themselves in danger. Innovation is a process that should aim at ensuring the short, medium and long-term profitability of the company, on the road to progress. Innovation for innovation’s sake can be dangerous. The hard part is to properly position the cursor. A technologically “fabulous” but unprofitable product can lead to economic disaster. We’ve seen carmakers produce innovations that did not help them to sell more vehicles or improve their profitability. We’ve also seen them pay a lot for innovations that only led to reliability and profitability losses. Hence, innovation is not just a question of engineering, it’s also a financial and commercial strategy. Innovation requires the involvement of all organizational levels, from blue collar to white collar. There are potential pitfalls everywhere, including on the management side. Innovation for innovation’s sake is dangerous in the same way as profitability for profitability’s sake. For example, cost killing can lead to immediate “artificial” profitability by reducing expenditures at the cost of jobs, quality and the unit added value of the final product. Cost killing should normally be limited to reducing useless costs, not all costs.

In the context of a latent energy crisis and a very real economic one, the finalization of a well-developed technology such as MCE‑5 VCRi provides solid prospects to carmakers to reinforce their medium-term and then long-term profitability. European CO2/km emission objectives are almost unattainable with only IC engines. This means that the farther a carmaker is off the mark, the more it will potentially have to invest in extremely costly solutions to reach them (hybrid, electric) or will have to pay in CO2 penalties. MCE‑5 VCRi will enable carmakers to get as close as possible to these objectives will only the IC engine, pushing back the need to resort to expensive solutions or the payment of penalties.

Today’s crisis is only a small taste of tomorrow’s, which MCE‑5 VCRi technology will help carmakers manage in the best possible conditions.