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Helmut List was born in Graz in 1941, where he received his degree ("Diplom-Ingenieur") in mechanical engineering at Graz Technical University. During his studies Helmut List already worked as a trainee in engine factories in England, the United States of America, France and Austria. In 1966 he joined AVL, a company which his father, Prof. Dr. Hans List, founded in 1948 for the design and development of internal combustion engines. Within the company, he headed the blood gas analyzer development project based on a concept by and in cooperation with Prof. Karl Harnoncourt. Helmut List introduced substantial improvements, including several patents. Blood gas analysis became the core of AVL’s Medical Instruments Division, which Prof. List headed and intensively supported with his technical expertise from its inception to the sale to Roche Diagnostics in the year 2000.
After working in the electronics development department, he assumed responsibility in 1969 for the production of electronic and precision instruments as well as prototype engines within AVL. In 1970, he consolidated activities in the area of instrumentation into a separate business unit which he headed. By introducing product management, assuring better market orientation of product development and setting up a network of representatives and later on AVL’s affiliates in important export markets, he established the basis for the rapid growth of this business unit. In 1979, Helmut List became President and CEO of the company. Under his leadership AVL has continually achieved high growth rates. Today AVL is the world’s largest privately owned and independent company developing internal combustion engine powertrains plus the associated instrumentation and test systems and employs in its worldwide network of marketing and engineering companies over 3100 people.
Helmut List initiated and supported closely AVL’s research and production of a new type of high temperature piezoelectric crystal (GaPO4) for transducers and other applications. He was also responsible for expanding AVL’s instrumentation activities into the development and turnkey supply of advanced powertrain test cells, a field in which AVL today is a world leader.
One of Helmut List's most important concerns is the emphasis on research in many key areas of internal combustion engines (diesel and gasoline) and related development tools. This is also reflected in a great number and variety of co-operations with university institutes both in Austria and around the world.
In the field of modeling flow and combustion processes, Mr. List’s initiative and support over the last 20 years has led to the recognition of AVL as a leader in this field as well as in the mathematical simulation of other key aspects of powertrain systems.
Beginning in 1983 and using AVL’s reputation as a pioneer in direct injected diesel engines as a springboard, Helmut List initiated and managed the company’s expansion into automotive gasoline engines. The company’s gasoline engine group today enjoys worldwide recognition for its expertise in advanced combustion systems including direct injection.
Inspired by AVL’s research work in the field of subjective noise, Helmut List developed the idea of correlating the test driver’s subjective assessment of a car’s driveability with simple quantities measurable on the vehicle or powertrain, in order to establish an objective (reproducible) standard. This standard is based on real subjective assessments and can be attuned very flexibly to specific target groups of drivers or clients. Helmut List is initiator and co-inventor of this “AVL Driveability Technology”, which has been successfully introduced by numerous automakers.
An important topic at AVL is the development of the engine development process. Based on the idea and concept of Helmut List, the development process of an engine has been described in detail in modular form on the level of the technical data flow at the technical decision points and the interplay of the numerous development tools that are used (simulation, instrumentation, test systems). Engineering partners on the powertrain side are supported with development tools, platforms and their simulation models, and instrumentation and test systems. Development topics which focus on goals such as fuel economy and emission reduction can ideally realize the higher complexity of driveability and sound design requirements.
Helmut List has initiated the establishment of technical centers (USA, China, India, Germany, England, Sweden) and engineering centers (Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary) either as new companies or in the form of acquisitions.
CO2 beyond tomorrow - a fundamental approach
as author at Green and Smart Transport,