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Swiss team concludes that particulate filters should be mandatory for GDI engines

24 May 2017

Based on a three-year study of toxic and environmentally relevant pollutants from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, Swiss researchers have concluded that some GDI engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Further, the GDI particles carry numerous carcinogenic substances. Based on this current data, they recommend that particulate filters be mandatory for GDI engines.

In the spring 2014, the GasOMeP project (Gasoline Vehicle Emission Control for Organic, Metallic and Particulate Non-Legislative Pollutants) got underway. The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Bern University of Applied Sciences, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, several industrial partners and Empa were all involved. The project was funded by the ETH Domain’s Competence Center for Energy and Mobility (CCEM) and coordinated by Empa chemist Norbert Heeb, who has made a name for himself in the last 25 years by analyzing diesel emissions and studying filter systems.

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Six mobility start-ups launching Volkswagen’s incubator program at Transparent Factory

24 May 2017

Volkswagen has selected the first six teams for the new start-up incubator at Volkswagen’s Gläserne Manufaktur (Transparent Factory, earlier post) in Dresden: the start-ups Smart City System from Nuremberg; LoyalGo from Dortmund; Tretbox from Berlin; and Ekoio from Leipzig were declared winners on Thursday evening following a pitch competition at the factory. Volkswagen announced the incubator program at CeBIT 2017 in Hanover earlier this year.

They will move into the Gläserne Manufaktur in summer, together with the start-ups Geospin from Freiburg and CarlundCarla.de from Dresden. There they will be able to develop their ideas for the market with support from Volkswagen experts and financial support from the state capital, Dresden.

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Continental supplying transmission control unit, sensor cluster and software for Great Wall 7DCT

24 May 2017

Continental is supplying the transmission control unit (TCU), sensor cluster unit (SUU), and application software for Great Wall Motor’s (GWM) seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT). The new 7DCT transmission is Great Wall’s first in-house developed automatic transmission; the new GWM luxury brand “WEY” now is equipped with this this newly-developed 7DCT.

Dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) have become popular in the Chinese automobile market, because drivers benefit from improved fuel efficiency, smooth gear shifting and increased overall vehicle performance. Most manufacturers of the popular sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are concentrating on improving driving dynamics by using automated transmissions. DCTs are particularly suited for this goal as they provide an uninterrupted power flow even during shifting.

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Today’s Stunted Oil Prices Could Cause Oil Price Shock In 2020

24 May 2017

by Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

As oil prices remain unsteady and OPEC continues to make headlines every hour, the world is focused on oil’s immediate future. As Saudi Arabia announces plans to slash production and move their economy away from oil dependency, many industry insiders are predicting that the now over-saturated market will reach an equilibrium with higher commodity prices by 2018 and U.S. shale production will continue to grow along with global demand.

Robert Johnston, the CEO of one of the world’s biggest political risk consultancies, is unconvinced. In a speech made at the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators’ 2017 International Petroleum Summit, Johnston laid out his concerns for the future of oil.

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EIA projects light-duty vehicle energy use to drop 12% by 2025

23 May 2017

The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case projects a decline in light-duty vehicle energy use between 2018 and 2040 as improvements in fuel economy more than offset increases in light-duty vehicle (LDV) miles.

EIA projects that light-duty vehicle energy consumption will decrease 12%—from 16.1 quadrillion Btu in 2017 to 14.2 quadrillion Btu in 2025—in the AEO2017 Reference case, despite projected growth in vehicle-miles traveled of 5% over the same period. Nearly all of this energy consumption is gasoline, with gasoline consumption by light-duty vehicles projected to fall from 8.7 million barrels per day in 2017 to 7.5 million barrels per day in 2025 (-13.8%).

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US sues Fiat Chrysler over diesel emissions

23 May 2017

The Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ-ENRD) has filed a lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler for using software defeat devices in nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued a notice of violation (NOV) to FCA over the alleged violations of the Clean Air Act in January 2017. (Earlier post.) The undisclosed engine management software results in increased NOx emissions from the vehicles, EPA said. Since then, FCA US has been working with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the emissions control technology.

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Proposed 2018 Trump budgets cuts EPA funding 31.4%, DOE 5.6%, DOT 12.7%, NSF 10.7%

23 May 2017

The Trump Administration released its proposed FY 2018 budget, which it calls “A New Foundation for American Greatness”. To help achieve the Administration’s overall budget goal in 10 years, the FY2018 budget includes $3.6 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years, the most ever proposed by any President in a budget.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is targeted for the largest percentage reduction in FY 2018, with a $2.6-billion cut (31.4%) in discretionary spending to a proposed $5.7 billion. The US Department of Energy (DOE) faces a $1.7-billion cut (5.6%) to $28 billion, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) faces a $2.4-billion cut (12.7%) to $16.2 billion, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is looking at a cut of $800 million (10.7%) to $6.7 billion. (Health and Human Services faces the largest dollar cut: $12.7 billion, or 16.2%).

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan powered by 2.0L EA888 Gen3B engine

23 May 2017

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan arrives in US dealerships this summer powered by the most advanced version yet of Volkswagen’s EA888 four-cylinder engine, the Gen3B. The updated version of the four-cylinder, turbocharged and direct-injection engine uses a modified Miller cycle to offer an improved combination of power, efficiency and responsiveness. Audi engineers described the development of the Gen3B at the Vienna Motor Symposium in 2015. (Earlier post.) The Audi version of the EA888 Gen3B made its debut in the new A4.

First introduced in the 2009 CC, the EA888 continued Volkswagen’s move toward smaller, turbocharged engines that offer the fuel economy benefits of downsizing with the power of a larger-displacement unit. Though EPA estimates are not yet available, compared with the 1.8-liter EA888 Gen 3 engine that is fitted in the current Passat, Jetta, Beetle, and Golf family models, the new 2.0-liter EA888 Generation 3B is expected to offer improved fuel efficiency along with a 20% boost in maximum torque to 221 lb-ft (300 N·m).

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2017 smart fortwo electric drive offers more for less; starting MSRP $23,800 in US

23 May 2017

Arriving in US dealers this summer, Mercedes-Benz’ 2017 smart fortwo electric drive coupe will start at just $23,800; the electric drive cabrio will start at $28,000, excluding federal and state incentives. (Prices exclude $750 destination and delivery charge.) At launch, the smart electric drive cabrio will also be the only electric drive convertible on the market.

The all-new smart electric drive coupe will be $1,200 less expensive than the outgoing model, with improved range, more power, more space and additional standard features. Battery capacity remains the same at 17.6 kWh, but the new pack features 96 rather than 93 cells. Pricing on the cabrio remains the same.

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Researchers show mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles trigger respiratory “flare-ups”

23 May 2017

Researchers at Imperial College London, working with colleagues from King’s College London and University of British Columbia, have demonstrated a mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles directly affect the lungs to initiate symptoms such as a tightening of the airways and cough. These triggered respiratory reflexes can potentially worsen underlying conditions, such as asthma.

Previous research has shown a strong association between urban air pollution and respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, but the underlying mechanism has been unclear. In the study, published as an open-access paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the team showed that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the exhaust particles directly stimulate nerves in the lungs, causing a reflex response in the airways.

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DOE: gasoline direct injection engine technology showing very rapid adoption; 48.5% market share after 9 years

23 May 2017

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology has seen very rapid adoption in the US since its first significant use, according to data gathered by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Only nine years after its first significant use in the market, GDI penetration has climbed to 48.5% market share. (First significant use generally represents a production threshold of about 1%.)

Many auto manufacturers have used the combined benefits of GDI and turbocharging for increasing power output from downsized engines. This is evident in the rapid rise of turbo-charged engines in over the past five years, after 11 prior years of desultory growth.

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Toyota Research Institute exploring blockchain technology for development of new mobility ecosystem

22 May 2017

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology (BC/DL) (earlier post) for use in the development of a new mobility ecosystem that could accelerate development of autonomous driving technology. TRI is collaborating with the MIT Media Lab (MIT ML) and other industry partners to foster a digital environment in which users—both businesses and consumers—may securely share driving and autonomous vehicle testing data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions and store vehicle usage information that could be used in the setting of insurance rates.

Blockchain technology sends information over a network of independent computers (distributed ledger), intended to ensure that the transaction is secure and ownership rights over the data/property are protected. Blockchain originally underpinned Bitcoin, but has gained traction as a means to record and track the movement of assets. TRI believes blockchain may create transparency and trust among users, reduce risk of fraud and reduction or elimination of transaction costs, such as fees or surcharges applied by third party institutions.

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