Automotive power differential is a system that is used to vary the speed of the inner and outer wheels of the vehicle, while turning, as the outer wheel of the vehicle needs to travel a longer distance as compared to the inner wheels. Automotive power differential consist of a set of gears to transfer the drive according to the requirement, usually it transfers more drive to the half shaft experiencing lower frictional forces while taking a turn. Two-wheel drive vehicles contain a single power differential unit mounted on the driving axle of the vehicle; however, in four-wheel drive vehicles, the number of the power differential gets doubled due to presence of more driving axles.
Increasing production of vehicles coupled with the increasing demand for multi utility vehicles and crossovers is expected to drive the automotive power differential market at a significant growth rate. The rising trend of off-road vehicles is also likely to boost the automotive power differential market during the forecast period due to the all-wheel drive technology provided in the vehicle, which utilizes more differential units as compared to two-wheel drive vehicles. Increasing focus of the automotive industry toward autonomous and electric vehicles is estimated to be a key restraint for the automotive power differential market, as autonomous and electric vehicles eliminate the need for a differential unit by directly providing drive to the wheel hubs.
The automotive power differential market can be segregated based on component gears, features, position, vehicle type, and region.
Based on component gears, the automotive power differential market can be segmented into standard power differential and Torsen power differential. Standard power differential unit consist of bevel gears inside a differential case for the transmission. The Torsen power differential consists a set of worm gears for the transmission. The Torsen differential unit is utilized in very few high-end vehicles due to its robust construction and high manufacturing cost.
In terms of feature, the automotive power differential market can be classified into open differential, locking differential, limited slip differential, and auto limited slip differential. Open differential is the simplest of all types and requires considerably low maintenance. Locking differential unit provides a feature of locking both half shafts as a single shaft while propulsion, which is helpful when either side of the wheel starts spinning unnecessarily. Limited slip differential has a feature of adjusting the transmission if very less amount of friction occurs on either side of wheel. In auto limited slip differential, it automatically adjusts the transmission by sensing the motion of the wheels due to very small amount of friction occurring between the path and the wheel.
Based on position, the automotive power differential unit market can also be segmented into front axle, rear axle, and both axles. In the front wheel drive vehicles, the automotive power differential unit is installed on the front axle of the vehicle. The power differential unit is installed on the rear axle in the rear wheel drive vehicles. However, the automotive power differential unit is installed on the both axles of four wheel drive vehicles; hence, increase in the number of four wheel drive vehicles is projected to boost the automotive power differential market.
In terms of vehicle type, the automotive power differential market can be segregated into passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles. Passenger vehicles are generally lighter than commercial vehicles, which use smaller power differential units. The passenger vehicles segment can be further sub-segmented into hatchbacks, sedans, and multi utility vehicles. The Commercial vehicles segment can be further split into light commercial vehicle and heavy commercial vehicles. Heavy commercial vehicles consist of very heavy power differential units.
Based on region, the automotive power differential market can be segmented into Asia Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Currently, Asia Pacific dominates the power differential unit market, followed by Europe and North America. The automotive power differential unit market is anticipated to expand during the forecast period due to the increase in production of vehicles across the globe.
Key manufacturers operating in the automotive power differential market are EATON Corporation, ZF Friedrichshafen AF, BorgWarner, Schaeffler AG, GKN plc, LINAMAR, Motive Gear, and BONFIGLIOLI RIDUTTORI S.P.A.
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