Member Profile: MAHLE Powertrain

18 February 2021 #Uncategorised

Tell us a bit about your business. How did it develop, and what does it do?
MAHLE Powertrain was formed in 2005 by the acquisition of the Cosworth Technology Group by parent company MAHLE, and now has eight technical centres worldwide, including its RDE Centre in Northampton. MAHLE Powertrain is a specialist in providing engineering services for the design, development and integration of advanced internal combustion engines (ICE) and electrified powertrain systems. We are engaged in the extensive research, development and application of new, advanced drivelines into cost-effective, production feasible solutions for enhanced efficiency, improved fuel economy and lower emissions.

The MAHLE Powertrain team has invested in both ICE and electrification development to underpin its ‘dual strategy’ for powertrain development. As a services subsidiary of the MAHLE Group, MAHLE Powertrain is currently engaged in several hybrid and ICE development programmes for mainstream manufacturers utilising its UK-based RDE Centre, as well as its technical centres strategically located in Germany, USA, China and Brazil. The company is well-placed to provide solutions around the globe. It operates independently of the main group when considering choice of components or technologies.

How has the landscape changed in the last 10 years?
Ten years at the moment feels like a very long time. The pace of change both in terms of the technologies available, the legislative constraints on emissions and the expectations of consumers have created huge turbulence, with so much emphasis placed upon emissions reduction and fleet efficiency. In this environment, over-stretched propulsion departments have been outsourcing powertrain development to engineering services companies like ourselves.

However, it was 10 years ago that we started our ‘dual strategy’ of parallel ICE and electrification development, and we’ve been well-placed as a result to help manufacturers integrate new powertrain technologies into series production vehicles, whether it’s a passenger car or a light commercial vehicle.

How is business? What’s the outlook for the year ahead?
While the Covid-19 pandemic combined with Brexit uncertainty did slow the pace of investment in 2020, we continued to support OEM development while adhering to strict Covid-safe rules. In some cases, our RDE Centre facility was able to support whole vehicle climatic and altitude testing, when the travel bans in place at the time would otherwise have seriously delayed vehicle sign-off. Travel restrictions aside, we can see such testing becoming a mainstream activity in the drive to shorten development timescales.

Looking ahead, we can see a positive picture emerging in 2021, with a strong emphasis on electrification. With our experience in developing hybrid and EV powertrains spanning over a decade, we are ideally placed to support such development, but MAHLE Powertrain has such a broad base of experience that it is as an integrator of new technologies where we can so often add value for our customers: ensuring that conventional, hybrid and EV propulsion systems are developed in tandem with chassis, drivetrain and battery systems

What are the big issues or technological advances that fill you with positivity?
Electrified powertrains are clearly now being seen as the next stage in vehicle propulsion development, whether for passenger cars or for commercial vehicles. While there are significant challenges to overcome regarding electric generation and distribution, battery life and recycling, the industry is fully focussed upon electricity being a vital component in the drive to reduce harmful emissions. A note of caution though: we are opposed to national governments setting the technical agenda, say by banning certain technologies. We would be much happier to see target-lead legislation, leaving the means to achieve it to the scientists and engineers who have the knowledge.

We can see an exciting future of a mix of technologies, all involving electricity, to mobilise us all in the future. It is certainly not without its challenges, but that’s why we became engineers – we all love a challenge.


Daren Mottershead, Sales & Marketing Manager

Update Newsletter