March 31, 2011
Hyundai unveils next-gen FCEV sedan concept Blue2 at Seoul Motor Show
South Korea-based Hyundai Motor Company unveiled the Blue2 concept vehicle, the company’s first sedan-style hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), at the Seoul Motor Show. The automaker also introduced its first gasoline-hybrid vehicle, the Sonata Hybrid, to its home market.
|The Blue2 FCEV concept. Click to enlarge.|
The Blue2 (code-named HND-6) is a mid-size FCEV which Hyundai says shows a blueprint for future sedans. Aiming at gaining early leadership of the FCEV market, Blue2 is powered by a fuel cell electric system that delivers a stack power of 90 kW (1.65 kW/L) and fuel economy of 34.9 km/L.
Blue2 is also equipped with low-resistance tires and alloy wheels which are designed to improve aerodynamic performance, while the car’s interior design encompasses a futuristic look by using eco-friendly new materials.
Hyundai’s concept keywords for the exterior design are “Intersected Flow”.
EC makes €24.2M available to the development of electromobility in Europe
|Green e-Motion electromobility projects. Click to enlarge.|
The European Commission will support a cross-European electromobility initiative, Green eMotion, worth €41.8 million (US$68.2 million), in partnership with 42 partners from the industries, utilities, electric car manufacturers, municipalities, universities and technology and research institutions. The project will cover different types of electric vehicles, the development of Smart Grids, innovative Information and Communication Technologies solutions, and urban mobility concepts.
The aim of the initiative is to exchange and develop know-how and experience in selected regions within Europe as well as facilitate the market roll-out of electric vehicles in Europe. The Commission will make €24.2 million (US$34.3 million) available to finance part of the initiative’s activities.
Transport is current 96% dependent on oil for its energy needs. This is totally unsustainable. The Transport 2050 Roadmap [earlier post] aims to break transport’s current oil dependency and allow mobility to grow. We can and we must do both. It can be win-win. But there are major challenges. Transport 2050 calls for a reduction of CO2 from transport of at least 60% by 2050. At the heart of this strategy is a major shift in cities to the electric vehicles away from cars with conventionally fuelled engines.
The level of EU financial support for this e-motion project shows just how serious we are at EU level about achieving these goals. This is a project tackles some of the practical problems and real bottlenecks for cities and companies who want to bring electric vehicles to the market. It is exactly the kind of initiative where European co-operation adds huge value. This is a very promising initiative for the future.—Vice-President Siim Kallas, responsible for transport
The Transport 2050 plan aims to half the number of conventionally-fuelled (non-hybrid) cars in cities by 2030 and phase them out by 2050.
The four year long project Green e motion is part of the European Green Cars Initiative, and will be funded under the Seventh Research and Development Framework Programme in order to:
- compare the twelve ongoing regional and national electromobility initiatives in eight different EU Member States;
- compare the different technology approaches; and
- contribute to the identification of the best solutions for the European market.
An interoperable platform will be created to enable the different actors to interact and to allow for new high-value transportation services and innovative billing systems. It is intended to contribute to the improvement and development of new and existing standards for electromobility. Green eMotion will demonstrate this interoperable electromobility framework in all participating regions and will thus provide the basis for its replication across Europe.
The partners in the Green eMotion initiative are the industrial companies Alstom, Better Place, Bosch, IBM, SAP and Siemens, the utilities, Dansk Energi, EDF, Endesa, Enel, ESB, Eurelectric, Iberdrola, RWE and PPC, the automobile manufacturers BMW, Daimler, Micro-Vett, Renault and Nissan, the municipalities Dublin, Cork, Copenhagen, Bornholm, Malmö, Malaga, Rome, Barcelona and Berlin, the universities and research institutions Cartif Cidaut, DTU, ECN, ERSE, Imperial, IREC, LABEIN, and TCD and the technology institutions DTI, FKA and TÜV Nord.
EIA reports 5.8% year-to-year decline in US GHG emissions in 2009; 4.3% drop in transportation sector although vehicle miles travelled increased
|VMT rose slightly in 2009 while emissions from gasoline and diesel fuel declined, a result EIA attributes as a likely result of more efficient vehicles and increased consumption of biofuels. Click to enlarge.|
Total US greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 6,576 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2009, a decrease of 5.8% from the 2008 level, according to Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009, a report released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Since 1990, US GHG emissions have grown at an average annual rate of 0.4%. The results for 2009 represent the largest%age decline in total US GHG emissions since 1990, the starting year for EIA’s data on total GHG emissions. EIA Administrator Richard Newell attributed the decline to the economic downturn, combined with an ongoing trend toward a less energy-intensive economy and a decrease in the carbon-intensity of the energy supply.
Total estimated US GHG emissions in 2009 consisted of 5,446.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (82.8% of total emissions); 730.9 MMTCO2e of methane (11.1% of total emissions); 219.6 MMTCO2e of nitrous oxide (3.3% of total emissions); and 178.2 MMTCO2e of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) (2.7% of total emissions).
Emissions of energy-related carbon dioxide decreased by 7.1% in 2009, having risen at an average annual rate of 0.8% per year from 1990 to 2008. Among the factors that influenced the emissions decrease was a decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.6%. The energy intensity of the US economy, measured as energy consumed per dollar of GDP (Energy/GDP), fell by 2.2% in 2009.
Year-to-year declines in energy intensity are relatively common, EIA noted. There was also a decline in the carbon dioxide intensity of US energy supply (CO2 per unit of energy) in 2009, caused primarily by a drop in the price of natural gas relative to coal that led to more natural gas consumed for the generation of electricity. Also contributing was an increase in renewable energy consumption, led by wind and hydropower.
Methane emissions increased by 0.9%, while nitrous oxide emissions fell by 1.7% in 2009. Based on partial data constituting about 77% of the category, combined emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6 increased by 4.9%.
Transportation. The electric power sector accounts for 40% of all energy-related CO2 emissions. The transportation sector is the second-largest source, at 34% of the total. Those emissions are principally from the combustion of motor gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the US transportation sector in 2009 were an estimated 1,854.5 million metric tons—81 million metric tons lower than in 2008 (-4.3%) but still 267 million metric tons higher than in 1990 (+16.8%). The transportation sector has led all US end-use sectors in emissions of carbon dioxide since 1999.
Petroleum combustion is by far the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector. Increases in the consumption of ethanol fuel in recent years have mitigated the growth in transportation sector emissions. (Reported emissions from energy inputs to ethanol production plants are accounted for in the industrial sector.)
Emissions from gasoline and diesel fuel combustion in the transportation sector generally have paralleled total vehicle miles traveled since 1990. In 2009, however, vehicles miles traveled rose slightly while combined emissions from gasoline and diesel fuel declined—likely as a result of more efficient vehicles and increased consumption of biofuels, EIA said.
The transportation sector has dominated the growth in US carbon dioxide emissions since 1990, accounting for 69% of the total increase in US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.
Chevrolet Mi-ray Roadster concept features hybrid “Mid-Electric” propulsion system
Chevrolet introduced the Mi-ray concept at the 2011 Seoul Motor Show. The Mi-ray, developed at the GM Advanced Design Studio in Seoul, combines hybrid propulsion technology and advanced styling.
|The Mi-Ray concept. Click to enlarge.|
The Mi-ray features a concept “mid-electric” propulsion system, located primarily behind and beneath the driver. The Mi-ray is propelled by two front-mounted 15 kW electric motors for quick acceleration and zero emissions in urban driving. The motors are powered by a 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery that is charged through regenerative braking energy. The Mi-ray has the capability of being switched from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive.
For performance driving, the Mi-ray’s 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine combines with the electric motors, providing torque control to both the left and right wheels as needed. The engine, mounted behind the cockpit, drives the rear wheels while integrating electrification technology.
A dual-clutch transmission (DCT) enables a reduction in the powertrain’s size by eliminating the torque converter. The shift pattern has been tuned for improved top speed in performance mode. A start-stop system works in conjunction with the DCT.
Made of carbon fiber and CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced plastic), Mi-ray’s wedged body side is divided by an angled character line, with ambient lighting underneath. Le Mans racer-style scissor doors open up and out of the way.
The Mi-ray features aluminum-carbon fiber composite 20-inch wheels in front and 21-inch wheels in the rear.
A123Systems targeting stop-start/micro-hybrid market with 12V Li-ion Nanophosphate Engine Start Battery
|Nanophosphate Engine Start Battery (12V): Click to enlarge.|
A123 Systems is targeting the emerging stop-start/microhybrid market with a 12V Li-ion battery solution based on its automotive class lithium ion AMP20 20 Ah prismatic pouch cells. The system comes equipped with battery management electronics for cell balancing and protection.
Compared to lead-acid AGM batteries used in such applications, the Li-ion batteries offer better charge acceptance, ultimately resulting in lower alternator loads on the engine and better fuel economy; lighter weight (about 60% less than comparable lead-acid batteries); and longer life, according to Jeff Kessen, A123’s VP of Automotive Marketing and Communication.
In addition to the two posts on the 12V package, the battery has a communication connector to the vehicle controller.
Our approach is a little bit different than the Gaia package that Porsche is using [earlier post]. In that application, they are constrained on the cold side...so for a mainline car manufacturer, that’s not really an option. Our package is still in the 60 Ah to 80 Ah range, depending on the specific design, because we have to have to cold starts. We are really going for direct replacement, not asking [OE’s] to compromise on the performance.—Jeff Kessen
A123 has had a version of the system in a demanding bus application for almost three years, and is tracking to about 6 years of life, Kessen says. By contrast, AGM batteries in that type of application are lasting 18 months to two years. The additional lifetime of 2.5 to 3x will help offset the higher cost of the Li-ion solution, Kessen says.
The Amp20 cells were designed for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle applications, and offers a power density of more than 2,400 W/kg and 4,500. Nominal voltage is 3.3V.
A123 Systems currently has production agreements with two automotive OEs. The first, a more conventional SLI application rather than a microhybrid, was what initially pulled A123 into the 12V space, Kessen said. Since then, the company has entered a production contract with a major yet-to-be-named OE on a stop-start system. A123 Systems says that it is also in development with four other vehicle manufacturers.
BAE Systems to integrate Caterpillar CX Series transmissions into HybriDrive Parallel System for Heavy-duty Trucks
BAE Systems and Caterpillar Inc. have signed a joint development agreement to collaborate on a parallel hybrid propulsion system for heavy-duty trucks. Under the agreement, BAE Systems will integrate Caterpillar CX Series Transmissions into its HybriDrive parallel propulsion system, recently launched at the National Truck Equipment Association Work Truck Show. (Earlier post.)
Through this alliance, our transmission will become an integral part of BAE Systems’ new HybriDrive parallel system. Our driveline expertise, including planetary automatic transmission expertise, combined with BAE Systems’ proven hybrid technology, will result in a seamlessly integrated product that meets performance and efficiency demands of vehicles that operate in diverse duty cycles—Jeff Pohl, Hauling & OEM Drivetrains Product Manager for Caterpillar
|BAE Systems HybriDrive Parallel System for Heavy Duty Trucks. Click to enlarge.|
HybriDrive series and parallel systems both use simplified and proven components and controls to deliver their capabilities. While the series system does not use a transmission, the HybriDrive parallel system is based on a single electric machine, integrated between the engine and the transmission. The system can be installed with minimal impact to the vehicle, and enhances propulsion through an optimized blending of internal combustion engine power and electric power. The system’s energy management and control capabilities ensure all energy flow—such as propulsion and recuperation—occurs in the most efficient fashion, resulting in lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions.
The HybriDrive parallel systems’ power and torque ratings range from 95 - 145 (71 - 108 kW) and 300 - 400 lb-ft (407 - 542 N·m). The system is designed to support large-bore heavy-duty power plants ranging from 350 hp to 600 hp (261 to 447 kW), with associated torque ratings of 750 to 2,150 lb-ft (1,017 to 2,915 N·m).
The HybriDrive parallel system, in final stages of development, will see it first road trials this spring and is expected to be deployed in markets around the world in 2012.
Pinnacle Engines introduces new opposed-piston engine with a promise of 30-50% better fuel economy
|Illustration of a three-cylinder configuration of the Pinnacle opposed-piston engine. Click to enlarge.|
Startup Pinnacle Engines unveiled plans to commercialize a new, more efficient combustion engine by 2013. The company says the new engine design enables significant reductions in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions without increasing vehicle cost. Pinnacle has raised $13.5 million in venture funding from NEA, Bessemer Venture Partners and Infield Capital.
The Pinnacle engine is based on a four-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture. Pinnacle says the engine achieves 30-50% better fuel economy in various drive cycle comparisons without the large cost penalty that can be associated with significant fuel economy improvement. The performance of the Pinnacle Engines design has been independently verified by FEV, Inc., a Pinnacle Engines development partner.
Engines that can deliver significant efficiencies within 5 - 10 years are critical as the global demand for vehicles places a strain on both natural resources and the environment. We believe Pinnacle Engines is in a unique position to have a major impact in that timeframe, by delivering exceptional efficiency gains at the lowest possible cost.—Rohini Chakravarthy, Pinnacle Board member and a Partner at NEA
The core of Pinnacle’s technology resides in its engine architecture and the new “Cleeves Cycle”. (James Montague (Monty) Cleeves is the Founder, President, and CTO of Pinnacle.) The Cleeves Cycle operates on the Otto cycle (constant volume combustion) or Diesel cycle (constant pressure combustion) depending on operating conditions. Additional efficiency improvements will be realized through incorporation of variable valve timing, direct injection, turbocharging, and Pinnacle’s own low-cost variable compression ratio mechanism.
The result, says Pinnacle, is a more fuel efficient and scalable engine design, and one that is compatible with most fuels including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, propane and their biofuel replacements.
The company is in the process of commercializing its technology through a joint development and licensing agreement with an Asian vehicle OEM. Production is slated to commence in Q1 2013. Further developments, including plans for expansion into the global automotive market, will be revealed later this year.
CEC report sets out North American plan for change and investment to achieve sustainable freight transportation
|Principal North American trade corridors. Click to enlarge.|
Cross-border cooperation to improve environmental performance of the North American freight system is urgently needed not just to enhance environmental sustainability, but to safeguard regional economic competitiveness, according to a new report from the Secretariat of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC).
The report, Destination Sustainability: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Freight Transportation in North America, looks at the continental freight transportation network, a key component of the transportation sector, which is the second-largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in North America, after electricity generation. The report, which focuses on road and rail transport, finds that while emissions from light-duty vehicles are expected to drop by 12% by 2030, freight truck emissions are projected to increase by 20%.
The report also considers the efficiency (and inefficiencies) in the current system, as well as considering the aggressive investments that other trade blocs are making in new infrastructure and lower-carbon transportation—investments that may be outpacing efforts in North America.
The Secretariat of the CEC—a trinational commission established as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—examines environmental matters arising as part of continental trade and makes occasional recommendations to the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States through the CEC Council of cabinet-level (or equivalent) environmental authorities.
This report is something of a roadmap to both sustainability and prosperity. It turns out that, in the freight transportation sector, the best policies and investments for reducing freight-related greenhouse gas emissions are also some of the most effective measures for driving improvements to efficiency and competitiveness.—CEC Advisory Group Chair Bruce Agnew
Reducing the environmental impact of freight transportation in the face of increasing trade and economic growth in North America requires much more than continued progress on fuel economy and transport technology. This report calls on our three governments to adopt a vision of an integrated, intelligent freight transportation system for North America. Without such a vision, and the transformational investments that go with it, GHG emissions from freight transportation will continue to increase and the NAFTA countries will risk losing their competitive edge. But, the report identifies clear opportunities, especially in light of infrastructure-related stimulus investment, to get this right.—CEC Executive Director Evan Lloyd
Prepared under the guidance of an Advisory Group including stakeholders from industry, academia, the environmental sector and government, Destination Sustainability focuses on North-South (and equally, South-North) freight transportation between Canada, Mexico and the United States. The principal environmental goal examined was to find ways to reduce CO2 emissions, which account for 95% or more of all freight transportation–related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
It is estimated that the North American economy will grow by 70–130% between the years 2005 and 2030. Throughout this period, the transportation sector is expected to maintain its position as a dominant end-user of energy. To avoid a corresponding increase in freight-related GHG emissions, we will need not only continued progress in developing fuel economy, technologies, and alternative fuels, but also the vision and will to create an integrated, intelligent, freight transportation system in North America. Ensuring that the freight system is environmentally sustainable in the future also requires implementing a broad set of cooperative policies and actions to optimize demand, invest in infrastructure, set a price for carbon, ensure an optimal modal mix (e.g., truck/rail/marine), and manage our borders in the most secure and efficient manner possible.—“Destination Sustainability”
The report identifies seven challenges to achieving more–environmentally sustainable freight transportation in North America:
- Lack of internalization of external costs of freight transportation
- Inadequate coordination among North American transportation agencies
- Lack of integrated land-use and freight transportation planning
- Extensive delays in truck freight movement across borders
- Time needed for turnover of inefficient “legacy” truck fleet
- Inadequate funding of transportation infrastructure
- Lack of essential transportation data
The study also identifies eleven action areas in which progress at a North American scale is required. Only two of these are directly related to fuel content and transportation technologies:
- Pricing carbon
- Reducing border delays and enhancing security
- Integrating transportation and land-use planning
- Shifting to more-efficient transportation modes
- Shifting to lower-carbon fuels
- Increasing the efficiency of transportation technologies
- Funding transportation infrastructure and pricing its use
- Greening supply chains and implementing best practices
- Acquiring data and developing performance metrics
- Reducing demand for inefficient freight transportation
- Improving freight transportation governance and stakeholder networking
The report also makes six recommendations to help Canada, Mexico, and the United States to foster a more efficient, competitive, secure, and environmentally sustainable freight transportation system in North America:
Coordination and Networking. The NAFTA partners should consider forming a ministerial-level North American Transportation Forum that will work in cooperation with an industry, expert and stakeholder group to foster an integrated, intelligent freight transportation system, a more seamless and efficient set of linkages that bring the three countries—functionally if not literally—closer together.
Carbon Pricing and System Efficiency Strategies. Canada, Mexico and the United States should consider putting a price on carbon to give everyone a clear signal that they should be investing in efficiency and in low-carbon fuel alternatives.
Investments to Improve the Efficiency of the Freight Transportation System. The three countries should re-invest in the transportation system itself – in road, rail and waterway infrastructure that is, in many places, congested and deteriorating. The countries should provide meaningful incentives for advanced fuel-saving technologies and the adoption of intelligent transportation systems.
Supply Chain Management. Transportation agencies, and businesses operating nationally and across international borders, could reduce costs and GHG emissions by managing the transportation system more efficiently. For example, emissions go down (and profits up) if fewer long-haul trucks return empty or travel over routes that are better served by more carbon-efficient rail.
Training Eco-drivers. Each jurisdiction can improve the training and equipping of drivers to optimize their environmental and economic performance by driving in ways that conserve energy.
Gathering and Sharing Data. Transportation, environmental and statistical agencies in all three countries should work through the North American Transportation Statistics Interchange (NATS-Interchange) to enhance the quality and comparability of freight data, including the measurement of environmental impacts, to better manage freight transportation as a continent-wide system.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation was established by the United States, Canada and Mexico in 1994 as part of the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation, a side agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The CEC’s mission is to facilitate collaboration among the parties and the public to ensure that North American free trade is conducted in a way that protects and preserves the environment for future generations.
CEC Advisory Group Chair Bruce Agnew is the executive director of the Cascadia Trade Corridor, which promotes a balanced, seamless, and expanded transportation system between Washington, Oregon and British Columbia through public-private partnerships and innovative financing.
BMW Group and Vattenfall Europe begin second phase of MINI E fleet test in Berlin
BMW Group and Vattenfall Europe have begun a second phase of the Mini E test fleet in Berlin, with the transfer of 70 MINI E electric vehicles to private customers (30 units) and fleet users (40 units).
The aim of the project, funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), is to optimize the charging strategy to the use of wind energy for the MINI E to achieve the best possible. 20 MINI E users will be able to use the prototype of a route planner for smartphones, which can display charging stations along a selected route.
Also, the final reports of the consortium partners of the firs MINI E Berlin project were presented to the Federal Environment Ministry official. This included two six-month successive phases of use (beginning in June 2009), and represented nearly 500,000 kilometers of driving. The MINI E were charged mainly at night, using certified green electricity from Vattenfall. Three out of four Berlin MINI E users advocated an exclusive use of renewable energy sources for electric vehicles in the future.
The MINI E Fleet trials began in 2009 in the USA (New York, Los Angeles and in the state of New Jersey), UK (Oxford / London) and Germany (Munich and Berlin). This fleet tests subsequently expanded into France (Paris), Japan (Tokyo) and China (Beijing and Shenzhen). In cooperation with the Federal Environment Ministry, BMW AG in China, together with the Society for International Cooperation (GIC) Ltd. and Chinese partners are examining ways to support the use of renewable energy sources for electric vehicles. A memorandum of understanding was signed recently in Berlin.
Kia unveils Naimo electric concept at Seoul
|The Naimo electric concept. Click to enlarge.|
Kia staged the world premiere of the Naimo electric concept car at the Seoul Motor Show. Taking its name from the Korean word “Ne-mo”, meaning “square shape”, the Naimo electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV) is the third electric vehicle design to be unveiled by Kia Motors Corporation in a year.
Power comes from a PMSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) electric motor with a maximum output of 80 kW (107 hp) and maximum torque of 280 N·m (207 lb-ft), enabling Naimo to reach a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph). A twin-pack 27 kWh battery is located under the trunk floor and uses LiPoly (Lithium Ion Polymer) technology.
Equipped with this battery, Naimo provides a driving range of 200 km (124 miles) on a single charge. To enhance range, the showcar is fitted with special low-drag 20-inch diameter alloy wheels.
Under a quick recharging cycle (50 kW) the Naimo’s battery can be recharged to 80% of its capacity within 25 minutes. Under the normal cycle (3.3 kW), 100% power is attained after five and a half hours.
Kia’s design team also made use of innovative technology features to give the car a premium feel and to ensure the car’s exterior remained uncluttered. For example, Naimo has no traditional wiper blade on the windscreen—instead it employs a high-intensity air jet at the base of the windscreen that performs an air wiper function. Conventional door mirrors have also been replaced with miniature cameras installed in the A-pillars.
The concept car has no B-pillars and features rear-hinged rear doors to maximize easy access to the cabin, and a three-way split opening trunk, allows versatile access to the load bay for varying luggage sizes.
Naimo will join Kia’s test fleet of hybrid, electric and fuel-cell vehicles being driven in widely varying conditions to develop future production models with zero or significantly reduced emissions.
Also appearing on Kia’s Seoul Motor Show stand will be the Venga and POP electric concepts unveiled by Kia last year at major international motor shows in Europe: the Venga at Geneva and the POP at Paris.
The Venga EV concept car was the same size as Kia’s regular B-segment MPV and features an electric powertrain placed within the existing engine bay and a twin-pack 24 kWh battery located under the trunk floor.