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Beyond Electrification: The Smart, Sustainable Car of the Future

As a mountaineer and an expert skier, I measure global warming in terms of snowfall and the length of the skiing season in the Austrian Alps, where dramatic changes are occurring. On some of the slopes where I learned to ski as a child, there is no snow. Ski lifts have been dismantled in some areas, and the season for winter sports starts later and ends earlier.

These troubling personal observations bring climate change into sharp focus for me. My global team and I often share our concern for the challenges facing our planet as we develop and launch the eco-friendly powertrains of today and the future.


Many of us are engineers who used to measure success solely in terms of horsepower and performance. Today, we’re proud of Magna’s socially responsible EtelligentDrive powertrain portfolio. It covers the entire range from single components to complete systems, from mechanical eAxles and eDrive transmissions up to highly integrated eDrive platforms as well as complete electrified and connected powertrain solutions. Our mild-hybrid solutions are bound for production by the end of 2021, followed by our next-generation hybrid and battery electric-drive solutions in 2022, and then our high-voltage drives for BEVs.

While we have a grounded connection to our day-to-day business and the needs of our OEM customers, our product engineers are thinking beyond such trends as vehicle electrification and pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Electrification is enabling us to go a step further and develop high-tech software features and functions – kick-starting a further paradigm shift in the automotive industry. At Magna, we aim to be at the forefront of sustainable mobility solutions throughout the total lifecycle of our powertrain products as we work on the smart car of the future.

To achieve that holistic approach, our experts are working on several simulations that follow a vehicle’s powertrain from the factory to recycling. The goal: eliminate CO2 emissions in manufacturing and develop smart vehicle innovations that combine data and product attributes to help consumers optimize vehicle usage and maintain mobility.

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We are gathering data from our Magna demonstration vehicles and our personal use of EVs to help us understand the needs of every consumer – not just an “average” one – and then provide tailor-made solutions based on real vehicle usage in urban and rural areas. Our engineers are dedicated to improving “quality time” for consumers by coming up with innovations that reduce charging time, extend mileage and reduce range anxiety in EVs.

At the same time, we are studying the carbon footprint of energy production and distribution in various countries to determine whether energy comes from coal or cleaner sources. This information will be conveyed by future vehicles to help consumers determine where, when and how to charge an EV, depending on the source of energy.

Simply put, your future vehicle is likely to have a heightened awareness of the world around it, much like a skier noting changes in snowfall patterns, thanks to integrated smart features and functions.

The smart car of the future will help consumers to become more active participants in protecting the planet for current and future generations by enabling them to make smart choices during everyday tasks such as refueling. And Magna will be there to provide the market with those new exciting steps toward sustainability.

Jim Quesenberry

Walter Sackl

Magna’s powertrain innovations ensure a sustainable route to energy-efficient, modern mobility. Focusing increasingly on electrification, hybrid technology, and lightweight concepts, we drive advancements for CO2 emissions reductions forward.

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