As environmental considerations become increasingly important to consumers and regulatory agencies around the world, automotive manufacturers are challenged with balancing the rising cost of fuel and restrictive emissions standards with consumer preference for “performance.” This challenge has led to major industry initiatives in three areas: greater efficiency in gasoline and blended-fuel (gas/ethanol) engines, development of clean-burning and high-performance diesel engines, and development of hybrid powertrain architectures. This paper discusses these areas of cutting-edge technology and how providing low-cost, effective solutions in each requires a holistic approach to systems engineering.

Such an approach dictates that the integrated circuit (IC) supplier have extensive knowledge of applications, essential technologies, and customer requirements, so that system designers can purchase and work with what are essentially highly integrated silicon subsystems. A number of automotive silicon manufacturers, including Infineon, are employing this new method, providing a range of silicon devices that enable production of more efficient vehicle systems.