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2014 Finalists


  1. American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. – citation

    EcoTrac™ Disconnecting All Wheel Drive

    Typical all-wheel drive wastes fuel because power is sent to all four wheels even when extra traction isn’t necessary. American Axle’s system saves fuel by automatically disconnecting the rear driveshaft and differential when extra traction First Customer: 2014 Jeep Cherokee
  2. ArcelorMittal and Magna Cosma International Co-winnerscitation

    Laser-welded, hot-stamped door ring

    Steel teamwork saves weight on Acura MDX
    Innovation: Teamwork was essential for this innovation, a strong, lightweight door ring for an auto body. Honda R&D Americas designed the door ring. ArcelorMittal provided the steel blank and laser welding. Magna Cosma International developed the hot stamping for the laser-welded blank. The ring cut 8.6 pounds from the vehicle’s weight. First Customer: 2014 Acura MDX
  3. Autoliv Inc. – citation

    Pedestrian protection airbag

    In a collision with a pedestrian, an exterior airbag is triggered to cover the hazardous lower parts of the windshield and A pillars. First Customer: Volvo V40, 2012
  4. Autoliv Inflators Sweden Winnercitation

    “Green” Airbag Inflator

    The typical airbag uses sodium azide, the so-called pyrotechnics, to inflate. Autoliv’s inflator uses environmentally friendly hydrogen, oxygen and inert argon gas. The inflator is lighter, less expensive and has a faster response time than current versions.
  5. BASF Corp. Winnercitation

    High-gloss black interior door switch bezels

    Ford wanted to replace painted interior plastic parts with molded-in-color ones to cut costs and environmental hassles. The challenge, though, was to achieve high gloss and scratch resistance in frequently handled parts. BASF, working on a tight deadline, developed a resin with adequate scratch resistance. First Customer: 2013 Ford Fusion
  6. BorgWarner Transmission Systems Winnercitation

    BorgWarner Stop/Start Accumulator Solenoid Valve (Eco-Launch™ Solenoid Valve)

    When a stop-start engine stops, the transmission fluid begins to lose pressure. This can cause the auto to lurch when the engine and vehicle restart. A hydraulic accumulator can efficiently maintain the pressure. BorgWarner engineers developed a solenoid valve for accumulators that is quiet and allows high flow.
  7. Robert Bosch Car Multimedia GmbH – citation

    Open source infotainment system

    Most suppliers write time-consuming custom software for automakers’ infotainment systems. Bosch used the open-source Linux operating system, which has some ready-to-use software and no licensing fees. This opens system development for others and cuts development time and cost. First Customer: CUE infotainment system for the Cadillac SRX, XTS and ATS, 2012
  8. Robert Bosch LLC Winnercitation

    Spray Enhancements in Gasoline Direct Injection Enabled by Laser Drilling

    Bosch uses lasers to drill spray holes with precise shapes in fuel injectors. This improves fuel atomization and mixing with air. The holes can reduce unburned hydrocarbons during startup by as much as 20 percent.
  9. Continental Automotive, Chassis and Safety Business Unit Winnercitation

    Pressure Sensor for Pedestrian Protection (PPS pSAT)

    When an auto strikes a pedestrian, the impact is reduced when the vehicle’s hood lifts slightly. Continental uses two air-pressure sensors connected to an air tube across the front of the vehicle to help lift the hood. Previous systems used as many as seven sensors and other related equipment.
  10. Dana Holding Corp. – citation

    Spicer AdvanTEK 40 Tandem Axle

    The axle for semi-truck tractors uses a “fast” drive ratio that saves fuel by cutting engine speeds from 1,300 rpms to 1,100 at cruising speed. It also can handle 30 percent more torque and is 21 pounds lighter than competitive axles. First Customer: Paccar, January 2014
  11. Dassault Systemes – citation

    Co-creation of products on the cloud

    Dassault’s cloud-based co-creation process allows engineers to discuss product development — from idea generation to launch — with potential customers and engineers of other suppliers. Engineers working on different software can easily exchange renderings, enabling quick feedback and speedier development. First Customer: Visteon Corp. for e-Bee concept car, 2011
  12. Delphi Automotive – citation

    Heated-tip start system

    In Brazil, ethanol fuel does not always vaporize well, which is necessary for cold-weather starts. So automakers install expensive backup gasoline fuel systems. But the gasoline can sit for months and degrade. Delphi developed a fuel injector that rapidly heats ethanol, eliminating the need for the gasoline backup system. First Customer: JAC Motors, 2013
  13. Delphi Automotive – citation

    Friction stir welding of sealed enclosures and heat exchangers

    Friction stir welding uses a small, rotating tool that plasticizes the edges of the surface to be welded. This process creates a strong, corrosion-free and leakproof joint for use in harsh engine compartment environments. First Customer: BMW and Chrysler vehicles, 2008
  14. Delphi Electrical/Electronic Architecture Winnercitation

    ErgoMate™ Mechanical Assist System

    Autos have a staggering number of wires that come together in large bundles that need connectors. Delphi’s connector uses a geared cam and slider. Workers can snap together the bulky bundles with a simple push from one hand.
  15. Denso – citation

    Integrated stop-start system

    The typical stop-start system stops the engine only when the vehicle stops. Denso’s system also stops the engine when a vehicle is decelerating. In addition, the battery supplies regenerative power to some components, including the navigation and audio systems. This reduces the load on the alternator and engine, saving more fuel. First Customer: Suzuki Wagon R, 2012
  16. Dow Automotive Winnercitation

    BETAMATE™ epoxy structural adhesive for durable bonding of untreated aluminum

    Adhesives for aluminum typically require treated metal and lengthy heat curing. Dow’s Betamate epoxy creates a long-lasting bond without heat curing even with untreated aluminum, cutting labor, material and capital costs.
  17. Dräxlmaier Group – citation

    Visible Nature natural fiber door panel

    Draexlmaier developed a door panel surface with natural fiber to replace the leather and chrome often used on upscale vehicles. The surface of the panel is half kenaf plant fiber and half polypropylene.
  18. Eaton Automotive Controls – citation

    Fuel tank isolation valve

    Hybrid engines, because they run intermittently, can’t always burn fuel vapor from the carbon canister. Vapor is stored in the canister to prevent leakage into the atmosphere. Eaton’s fuel tank valve electronically controls the vapor flowing from a hybrid’s pressurized fuel tank to the carbon canister, preventing overloads of the canister. First Customer: Ford C-Max Hybrid, 2012
  19. Federal-Mogul Winnercitation

    Lead-free bearings for high-performance engines

    For more than a century, hazardous lead has been used in engine and other bearings. Federal-Mogul replaced lead with an alloy of copper, nickel and silicon. First Customer: Select BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars, 2008
  20. GKN Driveline – citation

    AWD Disconnect System

    The system saves fuel when extra traction is unneeded by disconnecting the rear driveshaft at a power takeoff unit on the transmission. The system also disconnects the rear-drive module at the rear axle to further reduce drag and improve fuel economy.
  21. Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp. – citation

    Centrifugal Air Compressor for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

    Fuel cell stacks require pressurized air to create electricity. Halla Visteon’s compressor delivers air without oil mist, the primary cause of poor performance in fuel cells. The compressor uses an oil-free contact bearing.
  22. Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp. – citation

    High efficiency piston for air conditioning compressor

    Halla Visteon developed a welding process to help manufacture a lightweight compressor piston. It also devised a sprayer to coat the piston with low-friction material. First Customer: Hyundai Sonata, 2003
  23. Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. Winnercitation

    LED matrix beam headlights

    Innovation: Hella’s headlights cast the equivalent of high-beam illumination constantly at night. A camera and computer track vehicles and send on and off signals to each headlight’s 25 light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, eliminating glare. The system can create nearly 1 billion light combinations and has no moving parts. First Customer: Audi A8, 2013
  24. Henkel Adhesive Technologies Winnercitation

    Bonderite 2798 for coating aluminum

    Automakers use zinc phosphate to clean and prepare vehicle surfaces for paint. But if a vehicle uses lots of aluminum, sludge can build up in the preparation baths, which is expensive to remove and send to landfills. Bonderite 2798 coats aluminum with zirconium, a metal resistant to corrosion, which significantly reduces sludge. First Customer: 2013 Ford F-150
  25. Honeywell Turbo Technologies – citation

    GTD Variable Nozzle Turbine Turbocharger Technology for Euro 6 and Beyond

    Honeywell made improvements to its main turbocharger for diesel engines. It improved wheel dynamics, for instance, and reduced friction in the bearings. Variable vanes on the nozzle can change shape and “focus” exhaust on the wheel so it still spins with low flow. The innovations boost an engine’s fuel economy as much as 6 percent.
  26. Nexteer Automotive – citation

    Magnasteer with Torque Overlay and Smart Flow

    Nexteer wanted efficient and responsive steering for heavy-duty pickups. It started with hydraulic power steering and added two features: Delphi’s Magnasteer variable effort steering and a hydraulic pump that reduces drag on the engine while improving fuel economy.
  27. Nvidia Automotive – citation

    Tegra computer module

    Automakers want the latest computer-related features in their vehicles. But features can be locked in years in advance by automakers’ complex product development. Nvidia developed from its gaming expertise a standardized computer module with a main processor and separate audio, video and image processors. The module lets automakers add the latest features quickly before a vehicle’s production design is locked in. Automakers can also swap new Nvidia modules into vehicles on the road and download new features into existing modules. First Customer: Tesla Model S, 2012
  28. Schaeffler Group Winnercitation

    Torque Converter with Centrifugal Pendulum Absorber

    Downsized engines tend to vibrate more than larger ones. Schaeffler developed a pendulum, operated by centrifugal force and mounted to the torque converter, that cancels vibrations from the engine.
  29. TI Automotive Winnercitation

    Flexible manufacturing process for blow-molded plastic fuel tanks

    Before blow molding is completed, this process places fuel-delivery components of different sizes and configurations inside the tank. This enables a single blow molder to produce plastic fuel tank variants for diesel, flex-fuel, gasoline and hybrid powertrains. First Customer: Mercedes-Benz S class, 2013
  30. Valeo, Driving Assistance Product Group Winnercitation

    Back-over Protection System

    Valeo’s system helps avoid accidents when vehicles are backing. The system integrates data from a rearview camera and ultrasonic sensors to provide extra rear object detection.
  31. Valeo, Powertrain Transmission Product Group – citation

    Long Travel Damper Dual Mass Flywheel

  32. Valeo – Flywheels engage the starter motor and dampen vibration from the engine. Valeo redesigned the springs in the two-part flywheel to significantly reduce vibration.

    Water-cooled condenser for air conditioning

    The condenser uses water, not air, to liquefy air-conditioning refrigerant vapor. Water is a more efficient coolant than air, which saves fuel. Water condensers also permit flexible packaging under the hood because they can be placed in various spots, while air-cooled condensers are placed in the front of the radiator. First Customer: Imperia hybrid, a Belgian nameplate, in January 2014
  33. The Woodbridge Group – citation

    Ventilated seating

    The ventilation system draws air past occupants and through the seating, cutting temperatures and moisture. This is achieved by placing all ventilation components in the foam seating pad, which also reduces complexity and cost. First Customer: Skoda Superb, 2010
  34. ZF Friedrichshafen AG Winnercitation

    Nine-speed automatic transmission for front- and all-wheel-drive cars and crossovers

    The transverse-mounted transmission provides a wide spread of gear ratios. This keeps engine rpms in optimal range, increasing fuel efficiency. The design is also simple and compact. For instance, two of the four planetary gear sets are nested together. First Customer: Range Rover Evoque, 2013


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