March 31, 2010
Hyundai Debuts Sonata Hybrid at New York Show
|The Sonata Hybrid system. Click to enlarge.|
As promised (earlier post), Hyundai unveiled the Sonata Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show. The company also introduced a new turbocharged version of the Sonata, the 2.0T. The Sonata Hybrid is Hyundai’s first hybrid in the US market.
The Hyundai-developed Hybrid Blue Drive architecture in the Sonata Hybrid is a proprietary full parallel hybrid drive system combining the 2.4-liter Theta II engine (169 hp/126 kW at 6,000 rpm and 156 lb-ft/212 N·m of torque at 4,500 rpm); a 6-speed automatic transmission; a 30 kW (151 lb-ft/205 N·m) electric motor; and a lithium-polymer battery pack. Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive has an all-electric mode and a parallel drive mode.
This means the wheels are turned by power coming directly from the gasoline engine, or the electric motor, or both together, as conditions demand. This parallel hybrid drive architecture will serve as the foundation for future hybrid drive vehicles to be developed by Hyundai.
Unlike traditional [power-split] hybrids that trade off highway fuel economy for higher city ratings, the Sonata Hybrid delivers best-in-class highway fuel economy, while still delivering about a 40 percent improvement in city fuel economy compared to a Sonata equipped with the Theta II GDI engine. We think this is a better balanced approach for the majority of car buyers.
—John Krafcik, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor America
Power-split hybrid systems with a planetary-geared Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) use electric motors that have to power the planetary gear set. The full parallel drive system in the Sonata Hybrid uses the power from the electric motor more efficiently, Hyundai says, to directly control the vehicle, allowing it to be operated at much higher speeds than the competition in EV-only mode. This technology is also a key enabler of Sonata Hybrid’s highway fuel economy.
|The Sonata Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
The Sonata Hybrid will offer projected highway fuel economy of 39 mpg US (6.0 L/100km) and city fuel economy of 37 mpg (6.4 L/100km). The Sonata Hybrid can deliver electric drive operation at steady-state speeds of up to 62 mph (100 km/h). Gasoline engine engagement depends on state of charge, acceleration and vehicle speed. Its two propulsion units develop a total output of 209 hp (156 kW) at 6,000 rpm, exceeding all mid-size competitors, and 195 lb-ft (264 N·m) of torque.
The weight-efficient architecture of the new Sonata platform, combined with the lightweight lithium polymer battery pack, make the Sonata Hybrid the lightest vehicle in the segment, at just 3,457 pounds, 263 pounds lighter than the Fusion Hybrid. Combined with Sonata’s best-in-class horsepower rating, Sonata Hybrid has a significant advantage in power-to-weight ratio, a key enabler of both performance and efficiency, Hyundai notes.
|Comparison of Mid-size Hybrid Sedans|
|2011 Sonata||2011 Camry||2010 Altima||2010 Fusion||2010 Lexus HS250h|
|Engine power [hp]||169||147||158||156||147|
|Engine torque [lb-ft]||156||138||162||136||138|
|E-Motor power [hp]||40.2||40||40||106||40|
|E-motor torque [lb-ft]||151.2||199||199||166||138|
|System net power [hp]||209||187||198||191||187|
|Hybrid system||Parallel||Power split||Power split||Power split||Power split|
|Electric operation limit [mph]||62||42||42||47||42|
|Fuel econ. [mpg US cty/hwy]||37/39 (est.)||33/34||35/33||41/36||35/34|
|Curb weight [lbs]||3,457||3,680||3,470||3,720||3,682|
|Wt. to power ratio [lbs/hp]||16.54||19.68||17.52||19.48||19.69|
|Pass vol. [cu. ft.]||104||101||101||101||90|
Engine. In the Hyundai Hybrid Blue Drive system, the Theta II with multi-port fuel injection (MPI) operates on an Atkinson Cycle. To further improve fuel economy, all of the Theta II major driveline and cooling system components have been optimized to reduce friction, while the crankcase has been filled with low friction oil.
Hybrid Power Control (HPC) management software automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a halt, cutting emissions to zero. When pressure is reapplied to the accelerator pedal, the Hybrid Starter Generator (HSG) automatically restarts the engine. This control strategy assures that maximum efficiency is achieved during gentle acceleration and greater power is immediately available during full acceleration. During deceleration, braking regeneration comes into play. Sonata Hybrid also features “smart brake” technology in which braking input over-rides accelerator pedal input.
The high-tech, all-aluminum, 16-valve engine also features Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) on both camshafts and newly developed engine components to reduce friction. This optimized Theta II engine achieves 10% better fuel consumption over a conventional Theta II engine.
Transmission. Hyundai Hybrid Blue Drive uses the company’s proprietary 6-speed automatic transmission rather than a conventional hybrid’s CVT. Hyundai’s strategy involves an adaptation of the modular 6-speed transmission, replacing the torque converter with an electric motor and high-efficiency oil pump. This technique uses a traditional step-shift 6-speed transmission rather than a CVT to provide a more traditional shift feel that is preferred by customers and sometimes artificially replicated in CVT applications. This saves on cost, making the Hyundai Hybrid Blue Drive system a better value. It is a more robust and elegantly simple solution to a complicated engineering challenge, Hyundai says.
The top three gear ratios in the transmission have been extended to ensure the engine runs at lower RPMs, the electric motor-assisted steering system reduces demands on the engine, and low resistance tires further optimize fuel economy.
Li-poly battery pack. Sonata’s hybrid system stores its electrical charge in a 34 kW lithium polymer rechargeable battery (5.3Ah/270V) from LG Chem. The Sonata Hybrid’s battery pack weighs just 95.9 pounds versus the Camry Hybrid’s 123.9 pounds. The compact battery pack resides in the forward portion of the trunk to maximize cargo space.
Compared with nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium polymer batteries deliver the same power with 20-30% less weight, 40% less volume and 10% greater efficiency over the nickel-metal hydride batteries found in today’s hybrids. Lithium polymer batteries offer 1.7 times more energy density than nickel-metal hydride batteries, allowing Hyundai engineers to devote less space and weight to the battery pack. Lithium polymer batteries hold their charge 1.25 times longer. Lithium polymer batteries also are more resistant to changes in temperature, which improves cycle life. Additionally, lithium polymer’s self-discharge rate is less than a third of a nickel-metal hydride battery.
Lithium-polymer has significant advantages over other lithium-ion approaches, including higher energy density and lower manufacturing costs, Hyundai says. Lithium polymer is more resistant to physical damage and can handle more charge-discharge cycles before storage capacity begins to degrade. Lithium polymer technology also offers significant advantages in thermal robustness and safety.
Another key engineering challenge for Hyundai Hybrid Blue Drive has been assuring maintenance-free battery operation over the vehicle’s life—at least 10 years, and 150,000 miles—in all weather conditions. Hyundai’s thermal imaging testing shows how much cooler a lithium polymer battery is compared to today’s nickel-metal hydride battery or a conventional lithium-ion battery.
Umicore to Invest €60M for Expansion of Li-ion NMC Cathode Material Development and Production
Umicore plans to invest a total of approximately €60 million (US$81 million) to increase its capacities and capabilities for the production of new generation cathode materials for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
Umicore’s current Cellcore cathode product range includes materials ranging from lithium cobaltite (Cellcore KDS) to nickel cobalt aluminium (Cellcore QX) and nickel manganese cobalt (NMCs and sold as Cellcore MX). Umicore’s investments will focus on the further development and production of NMC-type cathode materials and will result in Umicore’s yearly production capacity for NMCs increasing more than threefold by 2013.
NMC materials in general offer a capacity of about 170 mAh g-1 when cycling to 4.3 V vs. lithium, but have the ability to increase their capacity to levels approaching 250 mAh g-1 at higher potential. Achieving these higher capacities currently results in a decrease in the life of the battery, however. (Earlier post.)
The investments will involve an increase in production capacity at Umicore’s existing operations in Cheonan (South Korea) and Jiangmen (China) and the construction of a greenfield production site and technical center in Japan.
Demand for lithium ion batteries is set to surge in the coming years. We see strong signals that nickel manganese cobalt compounds will be a major cathode chemistry for key applications such as notebook PCs and batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. The announced investments will further cement Umicore’s position as a leading global cathode materials producer and will further strengthen our global customer offering.
The establishment of a bridgehead in Japan will improve Umicore’s ability to serve its Japanese customers and this local presence will also support the development of Umicore’s closed-loop business for the recycling of rechargeable batteries, particularly those used in the automotive sector.
—Umicore CEO Marc Grynberg
The investment in Japan will enable Umicore to develop a vital production presence in Japan. The new operation will be situated in Kansai area (Western Japan), and will focus initially on the development and production of NMC materials. The investment will also incorporate a new application laboratory for the testing and validation of materials for customers. The laboratory will be capable of full cell production for testing purposes. The new facility is expected to begin qualifying with customers and ramping up production in 2011.
The investment in South Korea involves the expansion of the existing plant in Cheonan and will enable the operation to increase its production capacity for NMC compounds. The new facility will begin qualification and production ramp-up during 2011 and will support the increasing customer demand for NMC type cathode materials for notebook PC batteries as well as emerging automotive battery applications.
In order to support the development of the operations in South Korea and Japan a capacity increase has been foreseen for precursor materials in the Jiangmen Umicore Chancsun (JUC) joint venture in China.
EPA and NHTSA to Sign Final Joint Rule on GHG and Fuel Economy 1 April
In a speech at Andrews Air Force Base today, President Obama said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Deport of Transportation (DOT) will sign the joint final rule establishing greenhouse gas emission standards and corporate average fuel economy standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2012-2016 tomorrow.
Announced last May, the rule is a product of a deal between the Obama Administration, the State of California, and automakers to bring regulatory certainty to the automotive market while increasing fuel efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, and ensuring consumer choice and savings.
This measure is expected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil over the life of the program.
Obama Administration Opens Up Oil and Gas Development and Exploration in Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Arctic
The Obama Administration will expand oil and gas development and exploration on the US Outer Continental Shelf, while protecting fisheries, tourism, and places off US coasts that it says are not appropriate for development.
The Administration’s strategy calls for expanded development and production throughout the Gulf of Mexico, including resource-rich areas of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico that are currently under Congressional moratorium and closed to development; increasing oil and gas exploration in frontier areas, such as the Arctic Ocean and the Mid and South Atlantic Ocean; and protecting ocean areas that are too special to drill, such as Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
In an appearance at Andrews Air Force Base with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, President Obama outlined more details of his Administration’s efforts to strengthen our energy security, including the announcement of the opening up of offshore development and production of oil and gas, noting that:
I want to emphasize that this announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies on homegrown fuels and clean energy. And the only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long term. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.
The strategy will guide the current 2007-2012 offshore oil and gas leasing program, which was written by the previous administration but found by the courts last year to be legally flawed, as well as the new 2012-2017 program that this administration will propose.
The plan we are proposing calls for 4 more lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by 2012 and, in the years beyond, would open up two-thirds of the oil and gas resources in the Eastern Gulf while protecting Florida’s coast and critical military training areas. Our efforts to strategically open new areas in the Eastern Gulf would represent the largest expansion of our nation’s available offshore oil and gas supplies in three decades.
|Energy Security Announcements|
|Other Administration efforts to enhance US energy security presented by President Obama at Andrews included:|
The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service estimates that the Gulf of Mexico contains 36-41.5 billion barrels of undiscovered, economically recoverable oil and 161-207 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, economically recoverable natural gas resources.
Additionally, by 2012, Interior plans to hold two lease sales—one 50 miles off the coast of Virginia and one in the Cook Inlet in Alaska—provided there is interest from industry; that development can be done in an environmentally responsible manner; and that development does not compromise critical military training in the Atlantic.
Interior will also expand oil and gas exploration in frontier areas, such as the Arctic Ocean and areas in the Atlantic Ocean, to gather the information necessary to develop resources appropriately. Because the potential oil and gas resources and the benefits and risks of developing OCS frontier areas are not sufficiently known, the Administration plan calls for seismic exploration in the Mid and South Atlantic OCS to support conventional and renewable energy planning.
The Administration strategy supports exploratory drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic Ocean, which could begin as early as this summer, to develop critical information. Secretary Salazar has also asked the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to assess what information is known and what is not known about resources, risks, and environmental sensitivities in Arctic areas.
In addition, Interior will gather scientific information, conduct environmental scoping, and hold public meetings to determine which other OCS areas may be appropriate for leasing under the 2012-2017 program. The proposed scoping will consider the Gulf of Mexico, much of the Atlantic OCS and include the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off Alaska. No further lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas will be held under the 2007-2012 program.
According to MMS estimates, 39-63 billion barrels of economically recoverable oil and 168-294 trillion cubic feet of natural gas are economically recoverable from the eight planning areas under consideration for leasing under the 2012-2017 program. That represents as much as 80% of the undiscovered economically recoverable oil and gas on the US outer continental shelf.
In addition to expanding oil and gas development and exploration on the OCS, the Administration’s plan calls for the protection of special areas like Bristol Bay, in Alaska. President Obama is withdrawing Bristol Bay from consideration for oil and gas development through 2017. In addition, the Administration’s strategy does not propose potential exploration or development in areas near California, Oregon, and Washington or in the North Atlantic.
American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard called the announcement of the Interior Department’s Five-Year Plan by President Obama and Secretary Salazar “a positive development.”
US DOE to Invest Nearly $18M in Advanced Biofuels User Facility
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will build an advanced biofuels process development facility aimed at speeding the commercialization of advanced biofuels by allowing researchers and the private sector to test and integrate innovative technologies.
The facility—funded with nearly $18 million from the Recovery Act—will be a publicly available facility where researchers can integrate process steps and test innovative technology pathways, such as those being developed at DOE’s Office of Science Bioenergy Research Centers.
This facility will be the only one of its kind available for public use.
The Advanced Biofuels Process Development Unit (PDU) will leverage the efforts of the Department’s National Laboratories and the private sector to help move new technologies into the marketplace. The PDU will provide universities, national laboratories, and industry partners the opportunity to scale up promising processes discovered in their laboratories. Planned capabilities include unique pretreatment of biomass, enzyme production, fermentation for the production of multiple biofuels, and product purification in quantities sufficient for engine testing at partner institutions.
The PDU is scheduled to be fully operational by early 2011, and multiple possible sites for the facility are now being considered in the San Francisco East Bay region.
The Department’s Biomass Program has awarded nearly $718 million in Recovery Act funds to accelerate the commercialization of advanced biofuels and foster the growth of a sustainable US bioindustry.
Ford Begins Production of New Powershift 6-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission for 2011 Fiesta
Ford has begun production of the new PowerShift dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission (earlier post) for the 2011 Ford Fiesta. Ford is committed to six-speed transmissions, with availability across 85% of its nameplates for 2010. By 2013, these six-speed transmissions will be offered in 100% of Ford vehicles.
The dual dry-clutch PowerShift automatic transmission is based on efficient manual transmission technology, eliminating the additional weight and complexity of a torque converter, planetary gears and the fluid pumps employed in traditional automatics. Electronically controlled, twin internal clutches shift gears quickly and smoothly, providing a seamless flow of torque.
The PowerShift automatic is produced for Ford by GETRAG Americas, a joint venture between the GETRAG Group and GETRAG FORD Transmissions. The transmission is built at a new facility in Irapuato, Mexico. The assembly plant was designed and constructed specifically for Ford transmission needs in North America and will also supply PowerShift units for the new Ford Focus.
The Fiesta is the second new Ford vehicle to deliver better fuel economy using an automatic transmission rather than a manual. The new six-speed automatic in the 2011 Mustang Coupe betters the highway fuel economy of the standard six-speed manual by 2 mpg.
Traditionally, manual transmissions have delivered higher fuel economy. Ford’s latest automatic transmission advancements have reversed the older scenario, using advanced technology to provide customers with improved efficiency and the convenience of an automatic transmission.
Cyclone Power Technologies Delivers Biomass-to-Power System to Robotic Technology
Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. has successfully completed its biomass-to-power engine system for Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) under its Statement of Work, and has delivered the renewable power system to the University of Maryland to be coupled with RTI’s autonomous robotic platform in a series hybrid power system. (Earlier post.)
Cyclone’s prototype biomass-to-power generator is a self-contained, compact system that utilizes its waste heat engine (WHE) to produce power from plant-based biomass combustion. RTI is currently developing the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR), under a Phase II SBIR project sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
At the heart of the current biomass-to-power system for the proof-of-concept EATR is the patent pending WHE, a six-cylinder Rankine cycle external heat engine capable of generating up to 18 hp of mechanical power. An attached combustion chamber produces up to 600 °F of steam to run the WHE at peak performance. An alternator then converts mechanical energy from the engine into as much as 10 kW of usable electricity to power electronics or recharge batteries. A more powerful version of the WHE is expected to be used in future field prototypes of the EATR.
The EATR’s ultimate mission includes long range military reconnaissance without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.
We are very pleased with the performance of Cyclone’s biomass-to-power system, and now look forward to adding it to our intelligent robotic platform in completion of our Phase II contract award from DARPA.
—Dr. Robert Finklestein, President of RTI
The robotic system being developed by RTI with Cyclone’s portable biomass-to-power plant has numerous potential commercial applications outside military purposes, such as in border patrol, agriculture, forestry, natural disaster clean-up and recovery, and power generation in industrial or large-scale farming and logging settings.
China to Reach 50% Urbanization in 5 years
People’s Daily. China’s urbanization rate will reach or exceed 50% within 5 to 6 years, according to the China government. China’s urban population had reached 622 million by the end of 2009, with the urbanization rate standing at nearly 47%.
China’s rapid urbanization will continue for 15 to 20 years.
At present, China’s urbanization rate is close to the average urbanization rate of middle-income countries. China’s urbanization rate grew by almost 1 percent annually over the past five years. Currently, an urban system combining big cities, small and medium-sized cities and towns has taken shape in China.
...Officials from the MOHURD [Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development] pointed out that today and for a long time to come, China’s urbanization will be at a crucial stage during which China will face both opportunities and challenges. After the international financial crisis ends, China needs to rethink its urbanization mode which is based on an export-oriented economy. It must further increase its urbanization rate by relying on domestic demand and actively taking advantage of exports, officials said.
Air Products’ Hydrogen Pipeline in Canada Inks Three Supply Agreements
Air Products, the leading global hydrogen provider, and its subsidiary Air Products Canada Ltd. signed three customer supply contracts for hydrogen from its Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline in Alberta, Canada. Air Products will supply hydrogen by pipeline to Shell Canada Energy; Sherritt International Corporation; and Williams Energy (Canada) Inc.
|Route of Heartland Hydrogen Pipeline. Click to enlarge.|
Shell Canada Energy’s Scotford Upgrader, close to its refinery near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, uses hydrogen to upgrade high viscosity extra heavy crude oil (bitumen) into a wide range of synthetic crude oils. The Scotford Upgrader was the first facility of this type to be built in the Alberta Industrial Heartland region.
Sherritt International Corporation is a diversified natural resource company. The hydrogen will be used to precipitate nickel and cobalt from solution to produce high-purity metal products.
Williams Energy (Canada), Inc. will use Air Products’ hydrogen to treat certain olefinic synthetic gas liquids at its Redwater Fractionation facility. These liquids are extracted from off-gas produced by oil-sands upgraders and are valuable to the petrochemical industry. Williams Energy (Canada), Inc. is Canada’s only oil-sands off-gas processor.
Air Products had announced in December 2009 regulatory approval from the Alberta Energy Resource Conservation Board for the approximately 30-mile pipeline to provide hydrogen from its two operating production facilities in Strathcona County near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The pipeline will serve refiners, upgraders, chemical processors and other industries in the Alberta Industrial Heartland region and is scheduled to be commercial this year.
Hydrogen is needed in this region to support the continued operation and development of multiple industries in the area. It is a major feedstock for bitumen upgrading and refining, and is key to enabling the production of cleaner burning transportation fuels.—Steve Losby, general manager–Canada at Air Products
Besides this newly announced pipeline in the Alberta Industrial Heartland, Air Products also has a hydrogen pipeline in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, and operates the largest hydrogen pipeline network in the United States Gulf Coast, as well as pipeline systems in California in the US and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Ford Introduces 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid; Projected 41 mpg City
|The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Ford’s Lincoln brand revealed its first hybrid—the new mid-size 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid—during the press preview to the New York International Auto Show. Lincoln’s premium hybrid is expected to deliver at least 41 mpg US (5.7 L/100km) in the city when it goes on sale this fall.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid system, based on the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, and earlier applied in the Fusion and Milan hybrid sedans. (Earlier post.) Ford notes that the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid’s projected fuel economy tops its nearest competitor—the 2010 Lexus HS 250h—by 6 mpg, while providing room for one more passenger and more standard luxury and segment-exclusive safety features.
The new premium midsize sedan hybrid joins the Ford Fusion and Escape Hybrids and Mercury Milan and Mariner Hybrids. Introduction of the new Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also complements Ford’s global electrification plan, which calls for the introduction of five new electrified vehicles by 2013. These include the Transit Connect Electric in late 2010; the Focus Electric in 2011; a next-generation hybrid electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) in 2012; followed by another next-generation hybrid electric vehicle in 2013.
|SmartGauge with EcoGuide. Click to enlarge.|
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The combined gasoline engine and electric motor provide 191 net horsepower (142 kW). The pure electric mode on the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid extends to 47 mph (76 km/h). The 2011 MKZ Hybrid also offers a new implementation of FOrd’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide. The interactive technology provides real-time information to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency, and coaches drivers on how to optimize hybrid performance.
Lincoln takes SmartGauge to the next level of engagement by giving drivers enhanced positive feedback on long-term fuel efficiency and driving performance through the “growth” of virtual small flowers on the system’s right-most screen. Lincoln’s white flowers, inspired by apple blossoms, remain permanently unless long-term fuel economy is reset.
SmartGauge with EcoGuide offers four data screen options; the information available includes the following levels:
- Inform: Fuel level and battery charge status
- Enlighten: Adds electric vehicle mode indicator and tachometer
- Adds engine output power and battery output power
- Empower: Adds power to wheels, engine pull-up threshold and accessory power consumption