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ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system for axle hybrids or fully electric vehicles

23 June 2017

ZF is using its plug-in Vision Zero concept vehicle to showcase a number of new safety and zero local emissions technologies. The vehicle features a 150 kW electric axle drive system for dynamic acceleration. The entire propulsion system, including the integrated power electronics, is housed in an innovative, space-saving modular ZF rear axle system called mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension).

This modular axle system makes it easier to electrify volume production vehicle platforms—even existing ones as demonstrated in the Vision Zero Vehicle. The system offers vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to respond to a diverse range of market requirements using just one car platform variant.

Continue Reading “ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system for axle hybrids or fully electric vehicles”

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Nissan teases new LEAF with ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous features

23 June 2017

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Nissan chairman of the board and chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn announced that the company would launch a new Nissan LEAF with ProPILOT technology (earlier post,) enabling autonomous drive functionality for single-lane highway driving. (Earlier post.) Nissan has now released a teaser image and video of the application of ProPILOT Assist in the new LEAF.

ProPILOT Assist supports drivers by helping control acceleration, braking and steering during single-lane driving on the highway. In the coming years, Nissan’s ProPILOT technology will offer increasing levels of autonomy, with the system eventually able to navigate city intersections.

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Volvo Technology Award for wave piston design

23 June 2017

The Volvo Group’s new truck engines are more fuel efficient as a result of their new piston design which adds waves to the piston crown to improve the use of oxygen. (Earlier post.) The engineers (John Gibble, Frank Löfskog, Michael Balthasar, and Jan Eismark) behind the innovation have now received the Volvo Technology Award 2017. The new wave design has now been patented.

In the case of a standard piston, the injector is located at the top of the cylinder and the fuel is sprayed toward the sides of the cylinder through a number of orifices in the injector. The combination of heat and pressure causes the fuel to ignite before it reaches the cylinder wall.

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ICCT calculates consumer benefits of increased efficiency in 2025-2030 light-duty vehicles in the US

23 June 2017

A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates Consumer benefits of increased efficiency in 2025-2030 light-duty vehicles in the US.

According to the analysis, under current standards, buyers of model year 2025 vehicles would fully recoup the extra cost for technology in the vehicle in the third year of ownership under a cash-purchase scenario. Those who finance their vehicles will see a net positive cash flow—again, specific to the additional cost of technology—starting immediately. Consumer benefits would be more than 3 times the costs of the standards. Fuel savings are 2.4 times the costs if fuel prices stay low for the next several decades.

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French electric autonomous vehicle maker NAVYA to build 1st US assembly plant in Michigan; partnership with U Michigan

23 June 2017

NAVYA, a pioneer in developing and manufacturing autonomous vehicles, will establish its first assembly plant outside of Europe in Southeast Michigan. Beginning last year, the French company partnered with Mcity, a public-private partnership led by the University of Michigan to accelerate advanced mobility vehicles and technologies, to bring the NAVYA ARMA, a 100% driverless, completely electric, Level 5 autonomous shuttle vehicle to Mcity.

Based on the strong partnership with the university, NAVYA has decided to manufacture its vehicles in the Ann Arbor area.

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Audi A8 fully active electromechanical suspension powered by 48V electrical system; predictive adjustment using front camera

22 June 2017

The new Audi A8 will feature a fully active, electromechanical suspension system which drives each wheel individually and adapts to the prevailing road conditions. Each wheel has an electric motor which is powered by the A8’s 48-volt electrical system—used for the first time as the main electrical system. (The Audi SQ7 TDI introduced in 2016 offered a 48V subsystem as well as a 12V system for the alternator. Earlier post. The new A8 also features a 48V mild hybrid capability (mHEV).)

Additional components include gears, a rotary tube together with internal titanium torsion bar and a lever which exerts up to 1,100 Nm (811.3 lb-ft) on the suspension via a coupling rod. The new Audi A8 makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona on 11 July.

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Renault introduces new Kangoo Z.E.; longer range and faster charging

22 June 2017

Renault’s new Kangoo Z.E. electric van delivers more than 50% range—270 km (168 miles) NEDC, equivalent to 200 km (124 miles) real use in the summer, compared to 170 km previously. A new 33 kWh battery mated to a new motor and the new incorporation of a heat pump combine to produce the best driving range in the electric LCV (light commercial vehicle) market.

Further, a new 7 kW (32A, 230V) charger enables the vehicle’s battery to be fully charged in as little as six hours (easily possible overnight), while a one-hour lunch break allows enough time to add a 35-kilometer (15.5-mile) top-up.

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CMU study finds SOA levels in cities like LA will remain high despite cleaner cars; nonlinear relationship between SOA and NOx

22 June 2017

The findings of a study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, with colleagues at UC Berkeley, suggest that changing atmospheric NOx levels over the next two decades will likely significantly reduce the effectiveness of stricter new gasoline vehicle emissions standards in reducing concentrations of secondary organic aerosol (SOA). The study is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Secondary organic aerosol is a major component of atmospheric fine particles, which negatively affect the human body and the earth’s climate. SOA production depends on both precursor concentrations (e.g., intermediate volatility organic compound (IVOC) emissions from vehicles) and atmospheric chemistry (SOA yields due to the photo-oxidation of exhaust). The study, led by CMU Professor Allen Robinson (earlier post), found a strongly nonlinear relationship between SOA formation and the ratio of non-methane organic gas to oxides of nitrogen (NOx) (NMOG:NOx). As an example, changing the NMOG:NOx from 4 to 10 ppbC/ppbNOx increased the SOA yield from dilute gasoline vehicle exhaust by a factor of 8.

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Roland Berger and fka Index: China to dominate EV market and industry in foreseeable future

22 June 2017

In the latest E-Mobility Index report (2Q/2017), consultancy Roland Berger and partner Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen Aachen (fka) find that China has for the first time moved into the pole position. The consultancy says that China will dominate both the market and the industry in the foreseeable future. France, however, has moved past Germany to take the lead in technology, according to the index. The two countries had jointly held the lead in Q1.

The index assess the relative competitive position of the seven leading automotive nations (Germany, France, Italy, the US, Japan, China and South Korea) on the basis of three key indicators: technology; industry; and market.

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Toyota’s new conventional and hybrid powertrains for 2018 Camry deliver significant boost in efficiency

22 June 2017

The 2018 Toyota Camry, the new eighth-generation of the most popular mid-size sedan in the world and the best-selling car in America for the past 15 years, will be going on sale in the US in late summer. Toyota unveiled the 2018 Camry at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. (Earlier post.)

The new Camry is based on the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) (earlier post), manifested with the use of the GA-K platform. Along with the new platform, an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine, new Direct Shift-8AT eight-speed automatic transmission and a new double wishbone rear suspension design are all representative technologies that have evolved through TNGA.

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EIA: growing octane needs widen price difference between regular and premium in US

22 June 2017

The difference between US average retail prices for premium and regular gasoline reached $0.50/gallon in late 2016 and it has remained near that level so far in 2017. This price difference, or spread, has been generally increasing since 2000. Many factors on both the supply and demand sides are influencing this trend, according to a new brief prepared by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the US, retail gasoline is usually classified by its octane rating: regular gasoline with a typical octane rating of 87 and premium gasoline with a typical octane rating of 91 to 93. On the demand side, the premium gasoline share of total motor gasoline sales has steadily increased in recent years, reaching a high of nearly 12% in August 2016—the highest share since 2004.

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Rolls-Royce and Svitzer demo world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel; testing autonomous operation

22 June 2017

Rolls-Royce and global towage operator Svitzer have successfully demonstrated the world’s first remotely operated commercial vessel in Copenhagen harbour, Denmark.

Earlier this year, one of Svitzer’s tugs, the 28m Svitzer Hermod, safely conducted a number of remotely controlled maneuvers. From the quayside in Copenhagen harbour the vessel’s captain, stationed at the vessel’s remote base at Svitzer headquarters, berthed the vessel alongside the quay, undocked, turned 360°, and piloted it to the Svitzer HQ, before docking again. The companies have also signed an agreement to continue their cooperation to test remote and autonomous operations for vessels. The primary systems involved will be autonomous navigation, situational awareness, remote control centre and communication.

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