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Renault Combines Six-Speed Automatic with New 2.0L Diesel in Espace Van

18 June 2007

Espace
The Renault Espace.

Renault has coupled its newest 2.0-liter dCi 150hp and 175hp engines to the AJ0 flick-shift, six-speed, proactive transmission developed jointly by Renault and Nissan in its Espace van family.

The engines, also recently applied to the Scénic range, have been optimized for Espace with a new torque converter and shorter ratios for enhanced performance. The six-speed automatic Espace 2.0 dCi is equipped with a particulate filter and offers combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.2 litres/100km (28.7 mpg US), equivalent to 217 gCO2/km.

The 150hp (110kW) version of the engine offers 340Nm (251 lb-ft) of torque from as low as 2,000rpm, while the 175hp (127kW) version delivers torque of 360Nm (266 lb-ft) from 1,750rpm. The engines use 1,600 bar fuel injection and piezo-electric injectors, and feature a variable geometry turbo.

Photo_media_en_12198_bd_ren2006scen
The compact AJ0 six-speed automatic transmission.

The six-speed transmission offers two principal advantages over four- and five-speed transmissions: the shorter first gear improves pull-away performance, while the longer sixth gear ensures lower fuel consumption and less noise when travelling on highways.

The AJ0 transmission constantly monitors and analyzes a variety of parameters (vehicle speed, engine speed and torque, position of pedals, etc.) with a view to selecting the ideal gear. It also communicates constantly with the engine control unit to ensure optimal torque during gearshifts.

The AJ0 transmission has auto-adaptive settings which are based on three parameters: driving style, type of road—uphill, downhill or flat—and the driver’s reactions in real-time. The control unit is programmed to instantly downshift whenever the driver presses hard on the accelerator pedal (“kick down” function) to deliver extra power when overtaking.

In manual mode, the driver dictates his or her own driving style by activating the flick-shift lever. It also incorporates a number of automatic functions designed to facilitate driving (for example, it automatically engages first gear when the vehicle comes to a standstill) or to protect the gearbox (protection against over-revving).

When at standstill, the system releases the cinematic chain when the vehicle is at a standstill to minimize residual vibrations and fuel consumption at idle.

With a pressure-cast aluminium alloy casing, the AJ0 weighs a low 93 kg (without fluids) and its compact dimensions (length: 385mm) permit the powertrain to be located transversely in the engine compartment.

June 18, 2007 in Diesel, Europe | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

217g CO2/km is a nice improvement over the 268g CO2/km (based on 20.7 mpg avg) we're currently getting in our Toyota Sienna.

I'd enjoy trading in our minivan for this one- just so I can bypass the pump and use recycled vegetable oil. See www.greasecar.com

The ability to achieve 30% better fuel efficiency would just be the icing on the cake!

I'd buy this over a hybrid minivan anyday. Oh, but I forgot, niether is available in the US market.

DieselHybrid,
I don't know how you drive your Sienna, but my 2002 Sienna with 4-speed automatic transmission averages 24 mpg in combined driving, with 40% city and 60% hwy driving, hwy at 65-70mph. That was before I started using Mobil 1 synthetic oil. Besure to inflate your tires, and slow down far before stopsign or traffic light.

People tell us we need to go easy on Detroit, and that it will take "huge behavior changes" to accomplish energy security or greenhouse gas reductions.

Bullpockey. Just build vehicles like this one, and let us buy them. Add mild hybrids, and prepare everything for series hybrids. Trade imbalances, energy security, greenhouse gas emissions, all of these things could be dramatically impacted in 3 years if we just made these vehicles available in the US, and if we forced the issues on SUV with a carbon tax or weight-based taxation.

It enfuriates me when I consider that right now I need a 5000 lb SUV to transport my family of four and my parents in the same vehicle.

I have the '04 model of this with the older 2.2 HDi engine and manual transmission.
I get about 35 mph (UK) [28 US] from it in mixed town and short country runs. (It is the slightly larger "Grand Espace" version)
It is nice to drive, but would be a better car if it was a mild hybrid (or even a full hybrid).
It weighs about 1700Kg.
I would buy another, and while Renault has a mixed reputation for reliability, I have had no problems.
The newer (06/07) models are more powerful and economical (!) - it is quite adequate for 7 people though we normally use it for 6. The seats are a pain to remove - that is the only annoying thing about it.

Your car is equiped with a DCi engine, not a HDi one.
HDi is the name for Peugeot Citroën's engine.

You dreams on this car? Well, perfect... but it's not really efficient, as it is really often used by a single (sole?) person.

What I do find interesting is that we could see Honda get there first in the USA market with something akin to the Renault Espace model mentioned in this article.

The Honda Stream minivan sold in Japan could be modified to allow installation of the Honda's i-CTDi turbodiesel engine, probably with slightly higher displacement better suited for American driving conditions. Sold in the USA with a six-speed automatic such a vehicle could get freeway mileage around 30 mpg, based on the new EPA 2008 standard to measure fuel economy.

Here are some interestin tidbits:

1. We have a 2000 CHEVROLET Venture Minivan, has a V6, 4sp automatic, runs on gasoline, and get about 21 combined driving. On road trips we see 25 mpg at 65 to 72 MPH. We use "synthetic" 5W30 oil in it. It has 100K+ miles on it.

2. For a 2.0L Diesel Minivan to get 24mpg is not any news.

FYI: For the person who said, come on Detriot, here is some news - GM ALREADY BUILDS THESE! An they have for a number of years. They have a division called Vauxhall in the UK and they build diesel mini-vans that get better than 24MPG combined - in fact thier "city" number is around 22... Look it up for yourself: http://www.vauxhall.com - look at the Zafira Club a/c 1.9CDTi (120PS) Automatic, and then look a the technical details. Combined number is well above 24. Get it with the manual trans, and now your talking MPG! (like close to 40 MPG on the freeway!)

Note: you do have to convert liters per 100KM to US MPG - They show imperial MPG which isn't quite the same.

3. So this may lead some to ask - why doesn't GM just bring it to the US? I don't know - maybe it was because up until October 2006, US diesel fuel was filthy, with up to 500 ppm sulfer. Maybe it is because even with ULSD (15ppm Sulfer) our cetane rating on our diesel still is not optimal at 38 vs 45+ for Europe. Maybe it has something to do with Europena Diesel having a better ad. package for lubrication as well.

Wait... GM doesn't bother becasue even now that clean diesel is available in the USA, the "DO GOODERS" in California desinged the emissions laws in California, which have been adopted by many other states, that would not allow these vehicle to be sold in California and a few of the other large markets in the USA. All this combines makes it not worth the effort for GM or any other auto maker to bring diesels to the vehicles into the USA. To top it off, most car dealerships and generic mechanics can't work on Diesels and when they do, they manage to mess up something as simple as an oil change.

IMHO - Any law maker in Claifornia that doesn't draft a law that would allow sales and use of diesel vehicles that meet the current European standards for the next 5 years, is just basically writing a check to the Oil companies, as people are forced to buy less efficient gas powerd vehicles. I am all for cleaner air, but the lawmakers let the oil companies get away with dirty fuel, and the minute the fuel is cleaned up, they pass new laws to keep the efficient modern diesels out.

So if you want one of these, save your money until the 2010 model year - they are on thier way, slowly.

The Vauxhall (Opel) Zafira is smaller than the Renault Espace.
Zafira is in the middle segment, whereas Renault is in the upper one.

The Vauxhall (Opel) Zafira is smaller than the Renault Espace.
Zafira is in the middle segment, whereas Renault is in the upper one.

OK,

So it is smaller, hence the better fuel efficiency. I wonder if they stuck the same powertrain in a larger van, how would it do?


The point is that is that:

1. US Based companies already know how to build these
2. The six-speed gear box isn't buying that much, probably not enough to justify the extra cost. A better approach would be to use some mild hybrid technology, like what BMW is doing here:

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/03/new_bmw_1series.html

(I know the numbers for a car don't compare to a van)

Last...
I know it is bigger, but the Dodge Sprinter is available in the US with a M. Benz 5 cylinder diesel and plenty of plumers and other contractors are running around town getting right at 20 MPG with these.

Walt

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