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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

ICCT: incremental technology can cut vehicle CO2 by half and increase fuel economy >60% through 2030 with ~5% increase in price

March 22, 2017

With the EPA re-opening its Mid-Term Review of GHG standards for 2022-2025 for light-duty vehicles (earlier post), and with NHTSA yet to weigh in on its Mid-Term evaluation of fuel economy standards for the same period, a team from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a report analyzing emerging vehicle efficiency technologies; their ability to achieve lower emission levels; and their costs in the 2025–2030 timeframe.

Starting from a baseline 26 mpg (9.04 l/100 km) in 2016, the The ICCT team assessed increased consumer label fuel economy (as opposed to the regulatory test fuel economy) to 35 mpg (6.71 l/100 km) in 2025 and to 42–46 mpg (5.6-5.11 l/100 km) (under three scenarios) by 2030. These fuel economy levels are achieved based on a sustained 4%–6% annual reduction of fuel use per mile with incremental technology additions that do not compromise vehicle size or utility at an incremental cost of $800–$1,300 from 2025 to 2030. The resulting trajectory would reduce CO2 emissions by half and increase fuel economy by more than 60% from 2016 through 2030. Based on a detailed analysis of the efficiency technologies used to achieve these lower CO2 emission levels, the ICCT study concludes that vehicle prices would increase by about 5% by 2030.

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Audi unveils Q8 sport concept with 48V mild hybrid system (mHEV); drive system coming to “many” Audi models

March 07, 2017

At the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, Audi is presenting the Audi Q8 sport concept, a new performance-oriented take on the Q8 concept study introduced at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. Equipped with a 3.0 TFSI six-cylinder engine featuring a 48V mild hybrid system (mHEV) and an electric compressor, the SUV delivers a total 350 kW (476 hp) output and 700 N·m (516.3 lb-ft) of torque, and sprints from 0 - 100 km/h (0 ‑ 62.1 mph) in 4.7 seconds. Top speed is 275 km/h (170.9 mph). Its range of more than 1,200 kilometers (745.6 miles) ensures it is also suitable for long journeys.

Compared with a model equipped with a regular TFSI six-cylinder engine without the mHEV system, the Q8 sport concept with its 20 kW greater performance consumes around one liter less fuel per 100 km —corresponding to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 25 g/km (40.2 g/mi).

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Volvo Cars to introduce 3-cylinder FWD PHEV in 2018, BEVs & 48V mild hybrid in 2019; Modular Electrification Platform

February 09, 2017

Volvo Cars will introduce a front-wheel drive (FWD), 3-cylinder engine variant of its Twin Engine plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system in 2018, followed by its first production battery-electric vehicles and a new 48V mild hybrid system in 2019, according to Mats Anderson, Senior Director of Electric Propulsion Systems. Anderson was speaking at the SAE 2017 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego.

Currently in its line-up, Volvo offers the T8 Twin Engine all-wheel drive (AWD) system, currently on the XC 90 T8 Drive-E Twin Engine (earlier post). The 4-cylinder engine T8 AWD is intended to match the performance of 6- and 8-cylinder engined competitors, said Anderson. The new Twin Engine FWD platform will use a 3-cylinder engine, with the system matching the performance of 4- and 6-cylinder engined competitors.

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Torotrak shifting strategic focus in response to electrification trend; focus on KERS, away from V-Charge

January 31, 2017

UK-based Torotrak, a developer and supplier of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology for vehicles, is refocusing its strategy based on its understanding of how the priorities for many players in the European passenger car market—Torotrak’s customers—have profoundly changed in recent months.

The Torotrak Group has three main product lines: Flybrid flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery (KERS); Torotrak variable drive transmissions for use in powertrains and auxiliary devices; and V-Charge, a supercharging product containing Torotrak variable drive technology. Torotrak has been in commercial discussions with passenger car Tier 1s and OEMs as they seek to understand the full capability of V-Charge—Torotrak’s variable-drive mechanical supercharger that can enable ambitious engine downsizing (earlier post).

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Continental producing 48V hybrid drives at Nuremberg plant; in use in Renault diesels by end of year

December 16, 2016

Continental’s new 48V hybrid drives are making their first appearance in series production vehicles. (Earlier post.) Manufactured at Continental’s Nuremberg plant, these first series-production 48V hybrid drives will be applied in “Hybrid Assist” diesel variants of both the new Renault Scénic and Grand Scénic models from the end of this year.

Just three years after the start of the project, the Nuremberg location developed a modular manufacturing concept that it uses to manufacture efficiently and in line with the cost structures of the volume market. To do so, the supplier invested around €15 million (US$15.7 million) in new production equipment. Using the currently installed equipment, up to 200,000 vehicles can be furnished with 48-volt drives.

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Honeywell Transportation Systems Forecast: turbocharged vehicles to account for 48% of annual global sales by 2021; electric boosting emerges

December 09, 2016

Honeywell’s Transportation Systems Forecast projects that turbocharged vehicles will acount for 48% of annual global sales by 2021, up 9 percentage points from 2016. This annual sales estimate, combining both passenger and commercial vehicles, would add more than 232 million turbocharged vehicles globally between 2017 and 2021—an increase of 35% from today.

This year’s forecast recognizes an industry trend for slightly bigger engine sizes in Europe and China as automakers adapt powertrain strategies to tackle updated emissions regulations developed for real-world driving conditions. In these regions, a typical powertrain is a three- or four-cylinder engine with a displacement size between 1.2 liters and 1.7 liters. By rightsizing engines with available technologies, automakers are able to continue applying the benefits of smaller turbocharged engines while fine-tuning powertrain systems to further optimize fuel economy, emissions and performance.

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Some Volkswagen strategists see battery-electric, diesel cost lines crossing by 2023-2025; TRANSFORM 2025+

November 22, 2016

The increasing stringency of global emissions standards, both current and projected, is driving up the cost for internal combustion engines to meet those standards, although numerous technology pathways exist. (Earlier post.)

In a conversation with Green Car Congress at AutoMobility LA last week, Dr. Matthias Erb, Executive Vice President of the NA Engineering and Planning Center, Volkswagen Group of America, said that, as a result of those pressures, some strategists in the Volkswagen Group project that the cost lines between battery-electric vehicles and diesel will cross within the coming decade.

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ICCT: 2025 target average of 70 g/km CO2 for new cars in EU feasible and economical; more so with electric drive

A 2025 CO2 target of an average 70 g/km for new cars in the EU could be met with very little electrification and with an average payback period of less than 4 years, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, transitioning soon to electric drive could lower manufacturers’ compliance costs by as much as €500 (US$532) per vehicle in 2025.

Under current European Union regulations, average new car CO2 emissions must decrease from the present 120 grams per kilometer (g/km) to 95 g/km by 2021. Although no further reductions are presently mandated, new targets for 2025 and 2030 are under discussion in Brussels. In 2013 the European Parliament recommended an “indicative range” of 68–78 g/km for 2025, while holding out the possibility that even lower targets should be considered if justified.

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ICCT-led analysis of turbocharged, downsized engine tech finds lower costs and greater benefits than 2012 EPA/NHTSA analysis; 48V, e-boost, Miller

October 31, 2016

A new white paper published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), in collaboration with Eaton, Ricardo, JCI, BorgWarner, Honeywell, and the ITB Group, analyzes current turbocharged, downsized gasoline engine technology developments and trends.

The assessment, which relies on data from publicly available sources and data and information from the participating automotive suppliers, provides an update to the technology assessments performed by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to inform the 2017–2025 fuel economy and GHG rule.

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Mercedes-Benz powering ahead with €3B strategic engine initiative; increasing electrification, 48V; diesel and gasoline; cylinder deactivation

October 30, 2016

Following the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine in spring 2016 in the E 220d (earlier post), 2017 will see the addition of four more members to the all-new family of engines: six-cylinder in-line engines in both diesel (OM 656) and gasoline (M 256) versions; a new four-cylinder gasoline engine (M 264); and a new biturbo V8 (M 176) with cylinder deactivation. Mercedes-Benz is investing a total of around €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) in its strategic engine initiative.

The scaling of state-of-the-art technologies and electrification options from 12 V to 48 V to high-voltage plug-in applications makes it possible to configure the appropriate powertrain for every vehicle. There will be world premieres for new advanced technologies, such as the Integrated Starter-Alternator (ISG); the 48 V electrical system; and the electric auxiliary compressor (eZV).

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Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE begins construction of second Li-ion factory; batteries for 1st EQ model, 48V systems

October 24, 2016

Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE has begun construction of a second Li-ion battery factory at its site in Kamenz. With an investment of about €500 million (US$545 million), the site in Kamenz will be one of the biggest and most modern battery factories in Europe.

The new production facility is planned to start operations in the middle of 2018. The area of about 20 hectares is located in immediate proximity of the existing battery factory in Kamenz, about 50 kilometers from Dresden. With the construction of the second facility, the production and logistics area will be quadrupled to about 80,000 square meters. The workforce will double by the end of this decade.

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Continental puts first 48V hybrid assist system into production with Renault diesels

October 21, 2016

From the end of 2016, diesel variants of the Renault Scénic and Grand Scénic models will be equipped with Continental’s 48-volt hybrid drive—the first application of the 48V “Hybrid Assist” in production vehicles.

The first production solution combines an efficient, water-cooled induction motor with an integrated inverter. The electric motor transmits power via a belt drive directly to the crankshaft of the combustion engine—an arrangement referred to as “P0 topology.” Further production ramp-ups are soon to be set in motion on the basis of a modular system for 48-volt drives.

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BMW plans hydrogen fuel cell offering “early in next decade”

October 13, 2016

Speaking on the future of powertrains at the Aachen Colloquium, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management at BMW AG, Development, said that BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs.

Fröhlich noted that at least until 2025 costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. However, he added, “by the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers.

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Testing confirms Torotrak V-Charge variable drive mechanical supercharger enables more ambitious downsizing; 1.0L demo at Aachen

October 10, 2016

Independent on-engine test results have verified the simulation predictions that a Torotrak V-Charge variable drive mechanical supercharger enables more ambitious levels of engine downsizing. Compared to a current 1.5L GTDI engine producing 240 N·m torque, a 1.0L GTDI engine of the same Ford EcoBoost family outperformed the 1.5L version when fitted with a V-Charge unit.

The tests were carried out by the University of Bath Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC), using a Ford 1.0L EcoBoost engine, in a part-government funded program. The 1.0L engine with V-Charge delivered 250 N·m (184 lb-ft) torque, corresponding to a BMEP (Brake Mean Effective Pressure) of 31 bar.

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CPT showcases full range of 48V systems at Aachen

Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) is showcasing its range of 48V systems at the Aachen Colloquium this week: its Cobra electric compressor, SpeedStart belt-integrated starter-generator, SpeedTorq drivetrain motor-generator, and TIGERS exhaust energy recovery system.

Two of the technologies feature in the ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) demonstrator vehicle (in which program CPT was a consortium partner), which makes its first appearance in Germany following its debut at the recent Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event in the UK. (Earlier post.)

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Schaeffler presents high-performance 48V concept mild hybrid vehicle at Aachen

As part of the 25th Aachen Colloquium this week in Germany, Schaeffler is unveiling the “Schaeffler High Performance 48 Volt” concept vehicle. The 48V mild hybrid, based on an Audi TT, features an electric rear axle equipped with a 20 kW motor complementing the internal combustion engine which drives the front axle (P4 architecture). In the demonstrator vehicle, the engine is connected to a 48V belt-driven starter generator.

The Schaeffler electric axle produces a starting torque of up to 2,000 N·m. This provides purely electric driving up to 35 km/h (21.75 mph) as well as active sailing at speeds of more than 70 km/h (43.5 mph).

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Valeo introduces new 48V e4Sport hybrid system; all-wheel drive

October 04, 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Valeo introduced another 48V hybrid system, the 48V e4Sport. The new system, which can be applied across all vehicle segments, to both gasoline and diesel engine models, recovers a maximum amount of braking energy and stores it in a 48V battery for various uses, such as increasing engine torque, via the starter-generator, or maximizing engine power during acceleration and boost phases, using the electric supercharger.

The system also supports driving in all-electric mode and, when on low-grip surfaces, improving performance by connecting the rear axle to the 48V eRAD electric rear axle drive, effectively transforming the vehicle into a four-wheel drive.

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Final testing confirms ADEPT 48V diesel hybrid reduces fuel consumption 10-12% at low incremental cost

September 13, 2016

The three-year ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) project (earlier post) in the UK set the target of developing and validating a range of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V “intelligent electrification” utilizing an advanced lead carbon battery. These have been applied to a Ford Focus project demonstrator which, for the first time, will be made available for public ride and drive evaluation by delegates at the Low Carbon Vehicle event (LCV2016), at Millbrook, UK.

Final testing has confirmed ADEPT’s key achievement of 10-12% reduction in fuel consumption (NEDC)—equivalent to sub-80g/km of CO2 emissions. According to the latest updated analysis of the potential cost of production implementation of ADEPT—conducted independently by Ricardo—the system would represent an incremental cost of in the region of €60 per gram/km of CO2 reduction. This is a result that makes the ADEPT powertrain architecture very competitive with other fuel economy solutions such as full hybridization, where costs of implementation can be significantly higher.

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Audi developing electromechanical rotary dampers; potential for energy recuperation from suspension; 48V

August 10, 2016

Audi is developing a prototype electromechanical rotary dampening system called “eROT,” in which electromechanical rotary dampers replace the hydraulic dampers used today for an even more comfortable ride. The eROT system also offers the potential for energy recuperation from the suspension.

Every pothole, bump, and curve in the road induces kinetic energy during compression and rebound of the car’s suspension, observes Dr.-Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “Today’s dampers absorb this energy, which is lost in the form of heat. With the new electromechanical damper system in the 48-volt electrical system, we put this energy to use. It also presents us and our customers with entirely new possibilities for adjusting the suspension.

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Advanced ADEPT 48V affordable mild hybrid on path to meet future ultra-low vehicle emissions

June 29, 2016

Following almost three years of testing, development and validation of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V electrification applied to a Ford Focus project demonstrator, the ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) (earlier post) consortium partners have announced that the project is on course to meet the stringent air quality and ultra-low emission requirements expected of near-term next-generation vehicles.

The ADEPT project is led by Ricardo in a research partnership including the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC); Controlled Power Technologies (CPT); Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies UK Ltd; Ford Motor Company and the University of Nottingham. The final results will be presented at the UK’s LCV2016 event on 14-15 September.

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Daimler investing >€7B in next 2 years in green tech; fuel cell plug-in, BEV architecture; 48V

June 13, 2016

At its TecDay event in Stuttgart, Daimler said it will invest more than €7 billion (US$7.9 billion) in green technologies in the next two years alone. Shortly, smart will be the only automaker worldwide to offer its entire model range both powered by internal combustion engines or operating on battery power. Mercedes-Benz will put the first fuel-cell-powered vehicle with plug-in technology into series production: the GLC F-CELL. In addition, the company is developing a dedicated vehicle architecture for battery-electric motor cars.

Following the company’s recent introduction of the new OM 654 diesel family (earlier post), Daimler will introduce a new family of gasoline engines in 2017, which will again set efficiency standards and will be the first ever to be equipped with a particulate filter (earlier post). The 48-volt on-board power supply will be introduced at the same time and starter-generators will become part of the standard specification. The 48V system will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology.

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Project FEVER to develop 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle technology; SRM-based e-axle

May 09, 2016

Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification based on state-of-the-art switched-reluctance machines (SRMs), has partnered with Ricardo, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Provector to develop a 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle system and demonstrate it in a B-segment city car.

The Forty-Eight Volt Electrified Rear-axle (FEVER) project will apply CPT’s SpeedTorq technology to an ultra-lightweight rear axle module to significantly improve the fuel economy of the target car. The objective of the two-year project is to achieve a CO2 reduction of up to 15% over the regulatory cycle while offering significant savings (around $1,400) in manufacturing cost compared to a full HEV.

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Study: Combination of active and passive engine-off coasting delivers optimal fuel savings with 48V hybrid systems

April 13, 2016

A study by Germany-based automotive supplier HELLA found that the combination of active and passive engine-off coasting and recuperation using a 48V mild hybrid system shows the best potential to reduce CO2 emissions for all car segments, with the highest potential in the larger car segments, for both NEDC and WLTP (especially true for real world driving).

On the other hand, passive engine-off coasting alone showed no CO2 reduction potential for NEDC and some in WLTP according to the paper presented at the 2016 SAE World Congress.

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Delphi unveils new 48V mild hybrid system; working with two OEMs toward production within 18 months

Delphi Automotive PLC unveiled a 48-volt mild-hybrid vehicle solution; the company confirmed it is working with two global automakers and could see production within 18 months.

Showcased in a Honda Civic 1.6-liter diesel vehicle at the company’s annual investor update in London, Delphi’s 48-volt, mild hybrid technology uses the 48-volt electrification to minimize the demand on the engine, improving performance while lowering CO2 emissions by more than 10%.

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FEV showcasing 48V technology at 2016 SAE World Congress

April 08, 2016

FEV will showcase some of its 48-Volt technology capabilities at the 2016 SAE World Congress next week in Detroit. FEV says it believes that 48V technology will be the next evolution in in-vehicle power.

The proliferation of components and systems that require electrical power in today’s vehicle are pushing the standard 12-Volt battery to its limits. Under idle conditions and especially under low-temperature conditions, current 12V electrical systems can account for the entire power output of a conventional alternator, FEV notes.

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