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In a motor vehicle, the term powertrain or powerplant refers to the group of components that generate power and deliver it to the road surface, water, or air. This includes the engine, transmission, driveshafts, differential, and the final drive (drive wheels, continuous track like with tanks or Caterpillar tractors, propeller, etc.). Sometimes "powertrain" is used to refer to simply the engine and transmission, including the other components only if they are integral to the transmission. In a carriage or wagon, running gear designates the wheels and axles in distinction from the body.

A motor vehicle's driveline consists of the parts of the drivetrain excluding the engine and transmission. It is the portion of a vehicle, after the transmission, that changes depending on whether a vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or the more exotic Six-wheel drive.

In a wider sense, the power-train includes all of its components used to transform stored (chemical, solar, nuclear, kinetic, potential, etc.) energy into kinetic energy for propulsion purposes. This includes the utilization of multiple power sources and non–wheel-based vehicles.


Powertrain development for diesel engines involves the following trends: modular injection,electronic valve control, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), and advanced combustion. Spark ignition engine development trends include: Fuel injection, and more recently, Gasoline direct injection, and...
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