Punch Powertrain – Driving a Sustainable World
Within the move to hybrid and electric vehicles, Punch Powertrain is on a mission to be a partner of choice for efficient and affordable powertrain solutions.
Punch Powertrain is an independent full system supplier of fuel-efficient powertrains and propulsion systems with a global reach, headquartered in Belgium.
The company is the original creator of the Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT) concept as it is known today. Using its wide-ranging experience, Punch Powertrain has now expanded its product portfolio to include dual-clutch transmissions (DCT), as well as electric powertrains for new energy vehicles such as hybrids (48V & PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs).
The company CEO Jorge Solis says: “Our slogan ‘Gear up for the future’ goes to our core. Constantly working on innovative technologies and solutions that shape the transmissions and powertrains of tomorrow, Punch Powertrain is staying at the forefront of the sector, true to its legacy of a pioneering spirit.
“We are agile, with passionate, dedicated people. Over the years, we have invested heavily in state-of-the-art processes, production and research equipment, including some exceptional and even world-first technologies, and as such are well-positioned to meet the needs of the automotive sector of the future.”
The company offers a range of pre-defined products, which are highly modular and scalable so that customisation is possible at a limited cost. Over the last few years, investment in product development has been considerable.
Punch Powertrain has specifically designed highly cost-effective hybrid dual-clutch transmission (DCT) for various vehicle segments. The benefits of its DCT include a reduced number of components and thus reduced weight and volume, with reliable performance and efficient fuel consumption at a competitive price.
Mr Solis points out that as a result of its patented revolutionary invention of the hybrid dual-clutch transmission, the company is set to grow with a factor of 10+ in the coming years. At the same time, Punch Powertrain is establishing its place in the electric vehicle arena, its next growth accelerator.
“Our vision is to bring more sustainability to the automotive sector: be that through more efficient conventional, or through hybrid and fully electric vehicles. We know that affordability is a key factor in increasing the adoption of these new technologies. We are therefore focussing our innovations and inventions on higher efficiency and lower cost.”
The company employs around 1,600 people globally, of which over one third in product development. With its 6 international R&D centres, located in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, China and India, Punch Powertrain is progressing towards its vision to ‘drive a sustainable world’.
Speaking of dual-clutch transmissions, Mr Solis mentions two types that are ready to go into production: DT1 and DT2.
“DT1 is a very compact and state of the art DCT for those markets where the conversion to electric is not as fast as in Europe, i.e. Russia, India, Mexico and South America for example. This product is highly beneficial for reduced cost and fuel consumption, even with conventional applications,” he says.
Over €350 million is being invested in the DT2 project alone – a hybrid dual-clutch technology, a cost-effective, compact and modular e-DCT. This DCT was conceptualised as a mild hybrid transmission first, followed by plug-in hybrid and conventional variants, enabling full optimization and economy on several aspects of the hybrid variants.
A sum that has certainly paid off, as the product has made Punch Powertrain a chosen partner for the supply of hybrid transmissions to Stellantis, the multinational automotive manufacturing corporation, formed in 2021 on the basis of a 50-50 cross-border merger between the Italian-American conglomerate Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group.
The company is now preparing for the launch of DT2 through its joint venture with Stellantis. “This is a major milestone for Punch Powertrain as we are the main supplier for the entire hybrid offering of former Groupe PSA. Since the Stellantis merger, this offers additional opportunities,” says Mr Solis, adding that as such, Punch Powertrain is set to be Number One supplier in Europe for P2 hybrid transmissions in 2025, with an expected turnover of €3 billion.
Progress also continues in the electric vehicle arena. Based on its existing expertise, the company has developed a modular and scalable component portfolio of e-motors, gearboxes and inverters.
“Thanks to the scalability and modularity of the components, through minimum modification at the component level, we can offer an infinite number of systems that perfectly answer the needs of any application,” says Jorge Solis. “We are a system integrator, and that is one of our competitive advantages.”
Transformation & digitisation
Another strength is human capital, he says, both in terms of the company’s own people, and its reliable supply network, pointing out that given the expected growth ahead, the organisation and the way people work will need to evolve. To this end, the company has set out on a transformation journey, at the bottom of which is digitisation.
Punch Powertrain has defined a comprehensive strategy defined around three pillars – ‘excellence in execution’, ‘cost efficiency’, and ‘technology leadership’ – and has reorganized itself around 3 Business-Units: CVT, DCT and EV, while continuously looking for M&As and partnership opportunities. Within this framework, a strong focus is put on talent and leadership development programmes, while employees are encouraged to perform within a global and agile culture of innovation, accountability and diversity.
In 2020 the company concluded a €65 million planned investment in the headquarters, to build a new state-of-the-art Technology Centre and a fully equipped Test Centre. The company is also building global competence centres in China and India to provide customer-centric service to the customers’ home markets.
“Within the next 18 months, our company culture, geography and DNA will have changed extensively – we will start the production of the two types of DCTs, while expanding our business with new and existing customers. And last but not least, we will progress further on our transformation journey: shaping our company culture, processes, structures and developing our people and leadership,” affirms Mr Solis.