In the future, the simultaneous reduction of pollutant and CO2 emissions will require significantly enhanced powertrain functionalities that cannot only be adequately represented by the ICE (internal combustion engine) alone. Both automated transmissions and especially powertrain electrification can help to meet efficiently those extended requirements. The extended functionalities are no longer applied exclusively with the ICE itself ("Fully Flexible Internal Combustion Engine"), but distributed across the entire powertrain ("Fully Flexible Powertrain"). In addition, the powertrain will be fully networked with the vehicle environment and thus will utilize all data that are useful for emission and consumption-optimized operation of the ICE. Combustion engine and electrification often complement each other in a synergetic way. This makes it extremely sensible for the combustion engine to evolve in future from a "single fighter" to a "team player". If one compares the requirements of such an ICE with the definition of Industry 4.0, then there are extensive correspondences. Thus, it seems quite opportune to call such a fully networked combustion engine designed to meet future needs as “Internal Combustion Engine 4.0 (ICE 4.0)”. This even more so, as such a name can also be derived from the history: e.g. ICE 1.0 describes the combustion engines of the first mass-produced vehicles, ICE 2.0 the combustion engines emission-optimized since the 1960s and ICE 3.0 the highly optimized "Fully Flexible Combustion Engine", which currently offers a high torque and performance potential combined with low fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. In addition to further improvements in fuel consumption, the "Combustion Engine 4.0" offers such a low level of pollutant emissions that can best be described as "Zero Impact Emission". This means that such future ICE´s will no longer have a negative impact on the imission situation in urban areas. With the e-fuels topic, the ICE also has the potential to become both CO2- and pollutant-neutral in the medium and long term. This means that the ICE – also in passenger cars – will continue to be an essential and necessary cornerstone for future powertrain portfolios for the next decades.
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