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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.]

BMW reveals 3 Series Plug-in hybrid prototype with 117.5 mpg; next-gen Power eDrive: 2x current capacity, electric AWD

November 27, 2014

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BMW 3 Series Plug-in hybrid prototype. Click to enlarge.

BMW has unveiled a 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype. Combining a four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine from the new Efficient Dynamics engine family with an electric motor, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype offers performance on a par with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series six-cylinder model, combined with a significant reduction in fuel consumption.

In addition, BMW outlined its work on Power eDrive next-generation electrification platforms—an effort to deliver “highly electrified” plug-in hybrids with higher-powered electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of present versions. Future plug-in hybrid concepts, said BMW, will use the electric motor—the main source of power for everyday driving—to drive the rear wheels, while a second electric motor driving the front wheels will create an all-electric road-coupled all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, an internal combustion engine will also supply power to the front axle.

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New Mercedes-Benz compact CLA Shooting Brake; up to 60 mpg

November 26, 2014

Mercedes-Benz is introducing a Shooting Brake version of its CLA compact coupé. The CLA Shooting Brake (length/width/height: 4630/1777/1435 mm) will initially be available with a choice of two diesel and three gasoline engines—all equipped as standard with the ECO start/stop function and Euro 6-compliant—as well as with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. It goes on sale in January 2015, with the first models going to customers towards the end of March 2015.

Two years ago, with the CLS Shooting Brake, Mercedes-Benz created a sports car with five seats and a large tailgate. (Earlier post.) The CLA Shooting Brake takes the elegant Shooting Brake design into a smaller model. The new CLA Shooting Brake is the latest member of Mercedes’ successful compact range, which now includes five models. A total of 375,000 A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-Class vehicles were sold in the first ten months of 2014.

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LiquidPiston unveils 70cc rotary gasoline engine prototype embodying HEHC; power dense, low-vibration

November 19, 2014

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LiquidPiston X1 engine features three separate combustion chambers creating 3 power strokes per revolution for high power density. Source: LPI. Click to enlarge.

LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI) the developer of engines based on its High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) (earlier post), has unveiled the alpha prototype of the X Mini—a power-dense, low-vibration, quiet, 70cc spark-ignited, non-Wankel rotary embodiment of the HEHC. Dr. Alexander Shkolnik, President and Co-Founder of LiquidPiston, is presenting the engine in a paper at the SAE International/JSAE 2014 Small Engine TechnologyConference today in Pisa, Italy.

The compact engine with a 4-lb (1.8 kg) core has only two primary moving parts—a rotor (the primary work-producing component) and an eccentric shaft—and fits in a 6.6" x 6.2" x 5.4" box. In prototype testing, the spark-ignited X Mini engine has shown high power density, producing 3.5 horsepower (indicated at 10,000 RPM). When mature, the engine is expected to weigh 3 pounds, produce more than 5 hp at up to 15,000 RPM, and be more than 30% smaller and lighter than comparable four-stroke piston engines.

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Federal-Mogul expands powertrain materials portfolio for more efficient heavy-duty diesel engines

November 16, 2014

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A heavy-duty exhaust valve guide with thermal deformation and temperature color scaling demonstrates high side load at high temperatures in contact with the exhaust gas. Federal-Mogul is developing powertrain materials to address conditions such as these. Source: Federal-Mogul. Click to enlarge.

Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation’s Powertrain Division has expanded its range of high performance materials for valve guides, seats and turbocharger bushings that support the commercial vehicle industry’s drive towards more efficient engines. Providing superior wear resistance at elevated temperatures, the new materials use Federal-Mogul’s well-proven powder metal (PM) technology to add other benefits, such as greater corrosion resistance and mechanical strength, depending upon the application.

Downsized, heavily turbocharged engines with high levels of aftertreatment such as particulate filter systems and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) run hotter than their predecessors, explained Frank Zwein, Federal-Mogul’s global application engineering director, Valve Seats and Guides.

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Audi offers two new 3-cylinder engines in refreshed A1: 1.0 TFSI and MDB 1.4 TDI diesel for A1 ultra

November 14, 2014

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Audi A1. Click to enlarge.

Since their introduction on the market in 2010, the Audi A1 and A1 Sportback have sold more than 500,000 units worldwide. Audi is now refreshing its A1 models, including the offer of six engines—gasoline and diesel—that are new or that have been intensively further developed.

For the first time, Audi is offering completely new three-cylinder engines: the 1.0 TFSI gasoline engine and the 1.4 TDI diesel. The 1.4 TDI follows the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine as the second engine in the Volkswagen Group’s modular diesel engine platform (MDB). (Earlier post.) Power output—ranging from from 66 kW (90 hp) to 141 kW (192 hp)—has been increased in most engines, while fuel economy has been reduced by as much as 10% percent. The seven-speed S tronic is available for all engines, either optional or standard (with the 1.8 TFSI).

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DSM wins SPE Automotive Innovation Award for bio-based EcoPaXX integrated crankshaft cover for Volkswagen Group diesels

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EcoPaXX crankshaft cover. Click to enlarge.

A lightweight multi-functional crankshaft cover in Royal DSM’s EcoPaXX high-performance polyamide 410 was top in the Powertrain category at the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division Innovation Awards Competition and Gala in Detroit. The 70% bio-based EcoPaXX is made principally from topical castor beans and is 100% carbon neutral from cradle to gate. Castor oil is obtained from the Ricinus Communis plant, which grows in tropical regions on relatively poor soil, and does not compete with the food-chain.

The EcoPaXX crankshaft cover is produced by DSM’s automotive component specialist partner KACO in Germany for the latest generation of MDB-4 TDI diesel engines developed by the Volkswagen Group. The engines are fitted to various car models made by VW, Audi, Seat and Škoda. Dr. Lutz Wohlfarth from Volkswagen, and Marcio Lima from KACO were both at the Gala in Detroit to collect the SPE award.

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Volkswagen outlines a range of near-term technologies for reducing fuel consumption and emissions; stop-start 2.0, 10-speed DSG

November 11, 2014

Volkswagen presented its latest technologies for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions—which includes the first 10-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG)—in an Innovation Workshop for the media at the Ehra-Lessien test track facility near Wolfsburg.

Volkswagen AG has set the goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable carmaker by the year 2018. Compared to baseline figures for 2010, the Group wants to reduce energy and water consumption, waste generation and emissions (including CO2 emissions) by 25% in all of its business areas. (I.e., VW’s “Strategy 2018”, earlier post.) To achieve this, the Volkswagen brand—the highest volume brand of the Group—is counting on electric mobility (zero-emission and plug-in hybrid models); on continually more fuel-efficient combustion engines and gearboxes; progressive lightweight design; aerodynamics; and efficiency “in every conceivable area”.

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Honda beginning sales of Legend with 3-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system in January; V6 with cylinder deactivation

November 10, 2014

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will begin sales of the all-new Legend flagship sedan (its cousin is already on sale in the US as the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) at dealerships across Japan on 22 January 2015. The fifth-generation Legend features the 3-motor Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system also offered in the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (earlier post).

Positioned at the front of the vehicle is a newly developed V6 3.5L direct injection i-VTEC engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with an integrated 35 kW electric motor. The rear-mounted TMU (Twin Motor Unit) contains two 27-kilowatt motors that dynamically distribute electric-motor torque to the rear wheels. Both the front and rear motors capture kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration and braking and convert it to electricity to supply the Intelligent Power Unit’s 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located behind the rear seatback. Teaming up with a high-output lithium-ion battery, the control unit coordinates the operation of the engine and three motors.

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New generation smart fortwo and forfour offer new drive systems, suspension

November 04, 2014

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The new generation smart forfour and fortwo. Click to enlarge.

The new generation smart fortwo and forfour city cars (earlier post), developed in cooperation with Renault, offer a new range of drive systems: three three-cylinder engines rated at 45 kW/60 hp, 52 kW/71 hp and 66 kW/90 hp, coupled with a five-speed manual transmission or the twinamic dual clutch transmission.

The two most powerful engines will be available for the launch on the market in Europe on 22 November, and the basic gasoline engine will follow a few months after the market introduction. The smart forfour now also features the rear-mounted engine design of the fortwo.

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CDTi introduces Spinel technology to replace PGMs and rare earths in catalytic converters

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CDTi says that its Spinel technology uses various base metals to create an effective exhaust catalyst. Click to enlarge.

Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. announced new proprietary technology—which it calls Spinel—to replace costly platinum group (PGM) and rare earth metals in catalytic converters. The new technology will power multiple catalytic product lines that CDTi believes will be highly disruptive to the traditional platinum-based or rare-earth based device industry. This is CDTi’s first public announcement regarding its Spinel technology, the development of which has been kept confidential until now.

Spinel is the name initially given to naturally-occurring magnesium aluminate (MgAl2O4) and is now used to describe any composition with the same structure. CDTi’s “Spinel” technology utilizes various base metals which when combined together in a common structure achieve unusual and very effective catalytic conversion activity. The technology is applicable in a wide range of engine and vehicle applications, both gasoline and diesel, as well as other potential vertical markets, CDTi says.

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Researchers in POWERFUL develop new two-stroke diesel featuring low consumption and low criteria emissions

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Two-stroke diesel in test car. Click to enlarge.

A European project led by Renault, in collaboration with the Czech Technical University in Prague, IFP Energies Nouvelles, Delphi, Le Moteur Moderne (LMM) and Universitat Politècnica de València have developed an advanced two-cylinder, two-stroke compression ignition (CI) engine integrating LTHC (low temperature homogeneous combustion) as part of the European project POWERFUL (POWERtrain for FUture Light-duty vehicles).

The €25-million (US$31-million) FP7 project, which ended in June, also supported two other engine projects: an advanced four-stroke two-cylinder SI engine concept characterized by low-cost / low emissions; and an advanced four-stroke, three-cylinder CI engine concept able to run also on new tailored fuels and integrating the LTC (low temperature combustion) mode in the CI combustion system.

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Daimler opens new MB R&D center in Beijing, presents G-Code hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid all-wheel drive concept

Daimler Greater China opened its new 865-million RMB Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in China and extended its local R%D network in Beijing. A new Advanced Design Studio is a centerpiece of the R&D facility and represents the company’s new design hub in Asia. At the official opening, Gorden Wagener, Head of Design Daimler AG, presented the Mercedes-Benz G-Code plug-in hybrid crossover show car.

The G-Code is powered by two individually controlled drive cores: a compact, turbocharged hydrogen-fueled combustion engine which solely drives the front wheels, and an electric motor which drives the rear axle and transmits its power selectively to the two wheels via a dual multi-disc clutch. Disclaimer: Mercedes-Benz emphasized that the G-Code, like the previously introduced Ener-G-Force and GT 6 vehicle studies, “makes absolutely no claim to be implemented within foreseeable periods.”

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Mercedes-AMG HPP awarded Dewar Trophy for PU106A Hybrid F1 Power Unit

October 30, 2014

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The Dewar Trophy was presented to Andy Cowell, Managing Director of HPP, along with members of his project team from Brixworth. Click to enlarge.

The UK’s Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has awarded the prestigious Dewar Trophy, presented for outstanding technical achievement in the automotive industry, to Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) for the design of the PU106A Hybrid Formula One Power Unit. (Earlier post.)

The team at HPP was recognized for its development of the most advantageous powertrain within the new Formula One regulations. The aim for 2014 was to raise the engine efficiency from around 29% for the previous normally aspirated 2.4-liter V8 to better than 40% with the new 1.6-liter V6 Hybrid turbo. The successful design, research and teamwork resulted in the Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, which has not only been the dominant powertrain in this first season under the new Formula One rules, but is also arguably among the most thermally efficient gasoline powertrains ever produced, with a claimed thermal efficiency of greater than 40%.

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Mercedes-Benz wins MATERIALICA awards for diesel passenger car steel pistons and CFRP struts

October 25, 2014

Mercedes-Benz received two MATERIALICA Design and Technology Awards at the MATERIALICA 2014 trade fair for materials applications, surface technology and product engineering in Munich. The first was for the new steel pistons for diesel engines (earlier post), the second for high-strength carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) struts.

The MATERIALICA Award 2014 comprised five categories: Material; Surface & Technology; Product; CO2 Efficiency; and Student. The MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award focuses on product and technological developments in all sectors which implement a successful bundling of competencies.

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Ford investing $306M more at Dagenham for new generation of 2.0L diesels; LCVs from 2016 and cars from 2018

October 20, 2014

Ford is investing an additional £190 million (US$306 million) at its Dagenham London site to produce a family of all-new advanced 2.0-liter diesel engines (code-named Panther) in a wide range of outputs due to be applied in commercial vehicles starting in 2016 and in cars starting in 2018. (Earlier post.) This investment includes £8.9 million (US$14.3 million) from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. Ford is creating 318 new jobs connected with this investment.

The announcement confirms the second phase of investment in the new engine program following the original investment of £287 million (US$462.3 million) for phase one with support from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The first phase of investment relates to the production of low-carbon 2.0-liter diesel engines for Ford commercial vehicles (CVs) globally. The second phase is for low-carbon, 2.0-liter diesel engines for passenger cars.

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California Energy Commission to award up to $2.25M for R&D on advanced ignition systems for Class 3-8 natural gas engines

October 10, 2014

The California Energy Commission has issued a funding notice (PON-14-501) to support the applied research and development of advanced high-energy ignition systems capable of overcoming the challenges of igniting natural gas fuel under high boost pressures with heavy exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for spark-ignited Class 3-8 engines.

Ignition characteristics of natural gas fuel represent challenges to engine manufacturers working to satisfy tighter emission standards, achieve lower fuel consumption and higher engine performance, and respond to market demand for extended maintenance options. Funded projects must involve the development and demonstration of one or both of the following concepts for new or existing ignition systems:

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EPA annual trends report finds new vehicle fuel economy at record 24.1 mpg; new powertrain technologies rapidly gaining share

EPA released the latest edition of its annual report on trends in CO2 emissions, fuel economy and powertrain technology for new personal vehicles in the US. Among the top-level findings was that Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 mpg (9.76 l/100 km)—a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years; average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 g/mile in model year 2013. The majority of the carbon and oil savings from current vehicles is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies, the report observed.

The report, “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2014”, also found that the light truck market share increased slightly in MY 2013, after several years of volatility; that the vehicle weight trend is flat and vehicle power trend is increasing more slowly; that many new powertrain technologies are rapidly gaining market share; and that consumers have an increasing number of high fuel economy/low CO2 vehicle choices.

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2015 VW Jetta TDI: a more refined, powerful and efficient diesel within a nicely redesigned model line

October 07, 2014

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2015 Jetta TDI. Click to enlarge.

The Jetta is Volkswagen’s current best selling car in the US; total 2014 Jetta sales through September were 115,055 units, or 42.5% of Volkswagen USA total sales. In addition, its diesel version is the top selling passenger car diesel in the market here, with about 29% share, according to figures compiled by Baum & Associates and hybridcars.com.

For 2015, Volkswagen has refined the entire sixth-generation Jetta lineup, endowing the compact with a crisper exterior design which also improves aerodynamics; an updated interior; a number of newly available driver assistance systems; and, significantly for the diesel model, the new 2.0T TDI Clean Diesel EA288 engine (earlier post) with an EPA-rated highway fuel economy rating of 46 mpg with the manual transmission (45 mpg automatic). Volkswagen’s refreshed 2015 Jetta is now in showrooms in the US.

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Volvo Cars reveals triple-boosted 4-cylinder, 450 hp Drive-E powertrain concept

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Drive-E Powertrain Concept. Click to enlarge.

Volvo has developed a concept 2-liter, 4-cylinder, triple-boost Drive-E concept engine that delivers 450 hp (336 kW). The 450 hp High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept is based on a set of technologies not usually found in a four-cylinder engine.

The engine utilizes two parallel turbochargers, which are fed by an electrically powered turbo-compressor. The compressed air from this unit, rather than being fed to the cylinders, is instead used to spool up the two parallel turbochargers. Fuel is fed by a dual fuel pump working at 250 bar pressure. With this kind of power density, this triple boost installation and unique fuel system enables a very dynamic drivability without any turbo lag, compared to a mono-turbo.

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Major refresh on 2015 Honda CR-V with new Earth Dreams powertrain provides fuel economy gain of up to 12%

October 04, 2014

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2015 Honda CR-V. Click to enlarge.

Honda has given its 2015 CR-V compact SUV, which launched in US dealerships on 1 October, the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in the 17-year history of the model. The 2015 CR-V offers a new direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC engine and new continuously variable transmission (CVT); a new suite of “Honda Sensing” safety and driver assistance systems (DAS); significantly enhanced exterior and interior styling; as well a long list of new standard and available features and a new premium Touring trim.

The 2015 CR-V features increased EPA fuel economy ratings of 27/34/29 mpg (8.7/6.9/8.1 l/100 km) (city/highway/combined) for front-wheel-drive models and 26/33/28 mpg (9.0/7.1/8.4 l/100 km) for Real Time AWD models, both increasing +4/+3/+3 mpg over 2014 models—i.e., an increase in the combined rating of 11.5% and 12%, respectively, compared to the 2014 models.

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Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept hybrid delivers 550 hp with 42.8 mpg fuel economy

October 02, 2014

Infiniti unveiled the Q80 Inspiration concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, it what it called a signal of its intent to break into the top tier of the premium sedan category; the concept will lead to a future model. The four-door fastback is powered by a hybrid electric powertrain that is expected to deliver 550 hp (410 kW) with fuel consumption of 5.5 L/100 km (42.8 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of about 129 g/km.

The powertrain incorporates a new aluminum-based downsized twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that is part of a new engine family which will be introduced within the next two years. (Infiniti plans to double its powertrain range over the next five years.) The 450 hp (336 kW) V6 gasoline engine will be supported by an electric motor powered by a Li-ion battery pack, capable of adding around 75 kW (100 hp) hybrid power boost when required, and a 9-speed automatic gearbox.

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Hyundai showcasing new downsized turbo engines and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission; i40 48V Hybrid, i30 CNG

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New engines and transmission. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai Motor is showcasing two new turbocharged gasoline direct injected (T-GDI) engines at the Paris Motor Show 2014. Both engines—1.0-liter and 1.4-liter units which are part of a new generation of engines from the Kappa family—meet growing demand for small capacity, turbocharged engines to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emission without compromising performance.

In addition, Hyundai is premiering at the Paris show its first 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, fitted into the i30 CNG natural gas concept car, which contributes to improved fuel efficiency. Hyundai is also displaying the diesel i40 48V hybrid concept, featuring a lead-carbon battery.

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Westport updates HPDI 2.0 dual fuel system with new Delphi injectors, upgraded LNG storage and supply

October 01, 2014

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1st-generation Westport HPDI Injector and next-generation injector. (CNW Group/Westport Innovations Inc. Click to enlarge.

Westport Innovations Inc. is updating its second-generation Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI 2.0) (earlier post) development program with a new family of high-pressure fuel injectors, co-developed with Delphi Automotive PLC. The new injectors are designed to provide lower cost, smaller size and improved packaging compared to prior generation Westport HPDI injector designs.

The new generation injectors are running in engine tests today and are on display at the Delphi booth at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hanover, Germany.

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Chrysler’s Ram Truck increases EcoDiesel mix to 20% of Ram 1500 production; double expectations

September 30, 2014

Chrysler’s Ram has decided to increase the 3.0-liter V-6 EcoDiesel powertrain mix to 20% of the total Ram 1500 production volume—double the initial expectation. The EcoDiesel delivers 240 hp (179 kW), 420 lb-ft (569 N·m) of torque with up to 9,200 pounds (4,173 lbs) of towing capability and 28 mpg highway (8.4 l/100 km) in the full-size half-ton pickup. (Earlier post.)

When the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel opened for orders earlier this year, Ram Truck received more than 8,000 requests within three days, which quickly filled the initial allocation for the powertrain.

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Honeywell Global Turbo Forecast projects 49M turbocharged vehicle sales, $12B revenue per year by 2019

The automotive turbocharging industry will generate $12 billion in revenue by equipping 49 million vehicles with turbochargers annually by 2019, according to Honeywell Turbo Technologies’ 2014 Global Turbo Forecast. The continued growth of turbocharging technologies will be driven by requirements for manufacturers to meet global environmental emissions regulations and bolstered by strong demand in emerging markets.

Automakers are turning to downsized turbocharged engines to satisfy more stringent global fuel economy and emission regulations and customer demand for better-performing vehicles. Turbochargers can help downsized engines improve fuel economy as much as 20 to 40% in gasoline and diesel engines, respectively, when compared with larger naturally aspirated engines and still provide the same or better engine performance. In addition to improving fuel efficiency, downsized turbocharged engines also reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

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New Ford Mondeo to offer new high-power diesel, 1L EcoBoost, hybrid model, pedestrian detection technology

September 24, 2014

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Mondeo 5-door. Click to enlarge.

Ford Motor Company announced that the all-new Ford Mondeo (which is badged as Fusion in the US) in Europe will offer a new high-power diesel engine in addition to a new 1.0L EcoBoost gasoline engine option and a new hybrid option. The new Mondeo goes on sale as a four-door hybrid, five-door or wagon in dealerships across Europe later this year. The high-powered diesel will be available in early 2015.

Additionally, the new Mondeo will be Ford’s first car globally to offer a new pedestrian detection technology that could help reduce the severity of accidents or help drivers avoid them altogether.

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Westport unveils proprietary enhanced spark-ignited natural gas system; up to 10% improvement in power and torque over diesel

September 23, 2014

Westport Innovations Inc. unveiled the first generation of its new, proprietary enhanced spark-ignited (ESI) natural gas system. The new approach to natural gas combustion technology is designed to provide vehicle and engine original manufacturers (OEMs) with a “downsized” natural gas solution that is cost competitive while providing similar levels of power, torque, and fuel economy to a larger diesel engine.

Using 100% dedicated natural gas as fuel, Westport’s new technology optimizes the combustion and thermal efficiencies of the engine by taking advantages of the positive properties of natural gas. The Westport ESI combustion system is targeted at sub 9L engines for Class 6 and 7 trucks applications and is also adaptable for sub 2L applications for use in automotive and non-automotive applications.

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ORNL team using neutron imaging to study cavitation inside GDI fuel injector

September 22, 2014

Researchers from the Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center (FEERC) at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators from ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) (earlier post) are using neutron imaging to study the formation of damage-causing bubbles in fuel injectors. When gas bubbles form in injectors, they disrupt the spray pattern and ultimately deteriorate the injector material properties.

Under a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project, the team, led by Eric Nafziger, Derek Splitter and Todd Toops from FEERC/ORNL, is attempting to make the first neutron images of cavitation—the physical event that leads to bubble/gas formation—inside the body of a spray-guided gasoline direct-injection (SGDI) unmodified 6-hole injector.

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Study finds US refining sector could produce higher octane E20 and E30 at modest additional cost; enabling more efficient engines

September 18, 2014

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A new study concludes that using ethanol can be a cost-effective approach to increasing the octane rating of the US gasoline pool. Source: ACS, Hirshfeld et al. Click to enlarge.

A number of studies recently have pointed out that increasing the octane rating of the US gasoline pool (currently ∼93 Research Octane Number (RON)) would enable higher engine efficiency for light-duty vehicles through reducing engine knock constraints, thereby enabling the design of new spark-ignition engines with higher compression ratios and boost levels. (Earlier post.) Such a move would also have significant implications for refineries in the US refining sector, whether the higher octane was achieved via more severe refining operations, increased use of ethanol, or both.

A linear programming analysis of US refining sector by a team from MathPro Inc., Ford, GM and Chrysler has found that, by increasing the volume of ethanol, the refining sector could produce hydrocarbon blendstocks for oxygenate blending (BOBs) yielding finished E20 and E30 gasolines with higher octane ratings at modest additional refining cost (ARC): e.g., ∼1¢/gal for 95-RON E20 or 97-RON E30; 3–5¢/gal for 95-RON E10, 98-RON E20, or 100-RON E30; and 96-RON E10, 99-RON E20, or 101-RON E30 gasoline pools at approximately 10¢/gal.

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MAHLE NanoNapier Steel piston ring helps reduce weight and improve quality

MAHLE has developed a piston ring with new technology that offers engine manufacturers improvements in weight, quality and overall value. MAHLE’s new “second” piston ring uses chrome-silicon steel to replace cast iron traditionally used for the second of three rings found on gasoline-powered spark-ignition engines. MAHLE’s thinner, lighter-weight steel-wire design for the second ring is based on the company’s own NanoNapier Steel (NNS) technology for which a patent is pending.

Conventionally, there are two types of piston rings: compression and oil control. A piston assembly includes one or more compression rings that generate a seal between the outer surface of the piston and the wall of the cylinder to prevent high-pressure combustion gases and air from escaping the combustion chamber. Today’s engines have three piston rings: two compression rings: top (or first) and second and the oil control ring. The second ring is known as a Napier ring.

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Two new generation TwinPower Turbo diesels in BMW 518d and 520d; up to 57.4 mpg

September 17, 2014

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New BMW 518d sedan. Click to enlarge.

BMW has introduced two variants of its new generation of 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engines in the 5 Series which boost the output of the new BMW 518d and new BMW 520d by another 5 kW apiece. Average fuel consumption drops to as little as 4.1 l/100 km (57.4 mpg US) (European cycle) and CO2 emissions to 109 g/km; this marks a reduction in consumption and CO2 emissions in the EU test cycle by as much as 0.4 liters per 100 kilometers / 10 grams per kilometer.

For example, the new BMW 520d Sedan—which now produces 140 kW/190 hp—burns 4.7–4.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (50 - 54.7 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 114–124 g/km. If the optional eight-speed Steptronic transmission is specified, these figures improve further to 4.5–4.1 l/100 km (52.3 – 57.4 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 109–119 g/km, depending on the tire format fitted.

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Ford introduces new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX with standard Start-Stop on new EcoBoost and diesel engines

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New Ford C-MAX. Click to enlarge.

Ford of Europe has unveiled the new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX prior to the Paris Motor Show. The models offer significantly improved CO2 figures and for the first time feature as standard Ford’s Auto-Start-Stop technology on EcoBoost gasoline and 2.0-liter TDCi diesel engines. The most improved model is expected to offer a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions.

The new C-MAX family powertrain line-up is being extended to include Ford’s fuel-efficient new 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine with 150 PS (110 kW) and 182 PS (134 kW), and also will be offered with Ford’s new 1.5-liter TDCi diesel engine, delivering 95 PS (70 kW) or 120 PS (88 kW), and a new ECOnetic version that is expected to deliver 99 g/km CO2 in the five-seat C-MAX. The C-MAX family will continue to be offered with 100 PS (74 kW) and 125 PS (92 kW) versions of the multi-award winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine.

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Ford reveals all-new S-MAX; Adaptive Steering Technology

Ford of Europe revealed the all-new S‑MAX seven-seat sports activity vehicle. The new S-MAX will debut Ford Adaptive Steering technology in Europe for optimized response to driver input when it goes on sale in 2015. It will also offer Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and a range of powertrains—including a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine.

S-MAX will also be the first Ford globally to feature Ford Dynamic LED Headlamps with Glare-Free Highbeam that maintain maximum illumination without distracting other road users. Ford’s advanced Pre-Collision Assist technology will assist in mitigating accidents even at motorway speeds.

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New gen 2.0L diesel for BMW 220d Coupe, Active Tourer; coming 3-cylinder diesel

September 16, 2014

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BMW 2 Series Coupe. Click to enlarge.

BMW is introducing a new generation (earlier post) four-cylinder 2.0-liter diesel for its 220d Coupe and 220d Active Tourer. Coupled with the optional 8-speed Steptronic transmission, the BMW 220d Coupe now only hits the 100 km/h mark in a 7 seconds, but also attains a CO2 emission level of less than 100 grams/km. In the Active Tourer, the engine delivers combined fuel consumption of 4.5 - 4.4 l/100 km (52.3 - 53.5 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 119 – 115 g/km).

The 2-liter diesel power unit is a member of the new BMW Group engine family. It features the latest version of BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, achieves a maximum power output of 140 kW/190 hp, while delivering a maximum torque of 400 N·m (295 lb-ft). With the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, the two-door car accomplishes an average fuel consumption of 4.4 to 4.1 liters/100 km (53.5 to 57.4 mpg US) and a CO2 level of 115 to 107 grams per km.

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SwRI launching consortium to develop new dynamic engine bearing test rig

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has announced the formation of a consortium for joint research into new technologies to evaluate engine bearings for internal combustion engines. The objective of the Dynamic Bearing Rig Consortium is to design, to demonstrate and to validate a dynamically loaded bearing test rig that can replicate the variable loads critical to how bearings perform in an operating engine under transient and steady-state conditions.

Various rig tests are used in the bearing industry for comparative material evaluation. While these tests are effective in comparing new materials and coatings against existing designs, they do not successfully replicate the engine operating environment. As such, SwRI notes, they are not useful in correlating fatigue or scuff performance to what is seen in the field.

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Peugeot introducing new Euro-6 versions of 3-cylinder gasoline and 4-cylinder diesel engines

September 15, 2014

Peugeot is introducing new Euro 6-compliant versions of its three-cylinder PureTech gasoline and four-cylinder BlueHDI diesel engines. All are equipped with Stop & Start (S&S) technology. Each engine is also coupled with Peugeot’s third-generation Efficient Automatic Transmission 6 (EAT6) transmission.

The introduction of the new engines has reduced the average weighted CO2 emissions of Peugeot’s European range to 111.2 g/km, as measured at the end of May 2014. That compares with 115.1 g/km at the same point in 2013, putting PSA Peugeot Citroën at the top of the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) ranking.

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Facelifted Mercedes-Benz B-Class with diesel, gasoline, natural gas and electric drives debuting at Paris show

September 12, 2014

Mercedes-Benz has given its B-Class range—more than 350,000 of which have been sold worldwide since market launch in late 2011—a major facelift including exterior and interior enhancements along with redefined design and equipment lines. Sales of the new B-Class commenced on 12 September, with the world première taking place during the Paris Motor Show (4 to 19 October). The revamped models will be making their way to dealerships from 29 November 2014.

Buyers have a wide choice of powertrains: five diesel models with fuel ranging from 3.6 to 5.0 l/100 km (65.3 to 47 mpg US); four gasoline engines at between 5.4 and 6.6 l/100 km (43.6 and 35.6 mpg US); alternative drive systems (B 200 Natural Gas Drive and B-Class Electric Drive); as well as optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The sports tourer also features a Cd value of less than 0.25. Prices in Europe will start from €27,102.25 (around US$35,000) for the B 180.

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UK EPSRC awards almost $10M to two low-carbon vehicle technology projects; energy storage, engines and fuels

September 11, 2014

Two new low-carbon vehicle technology research projects will receive £6 million (US$9.7 million) funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Energy Programme. The two discrete projects—ELEVATE (ELEctrochemical Vehicle Advanced Technology) and Ultra Efficient Engines and Fuels—will involve academics from eight UK universities.

The announcement was made by UK Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, Greg Clark to coincide with the annual Low Carbon Vehicle Event - LCV Cenex 2014 at the Millbrook Proving Ground near Bedford.

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Opel’s new generation 2.0L turbo diesel to debut in Paris

September 10, 2014

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Opel’s new generation, 125 kW/170 hp 2.0 CDTI for Insignia and Zafira Tourer. Click to enlarge.

Opel’s new-generation, 2.0-liter turbo diesel will make its debut in the Insignia and Zafira Tourer at “Mondial de l’Automobile 2014” in Paris (4-19 October. Delivering 125 kW/170 hp and torque of 400 N·m (295 lb-ft), it will replace the current 120 kW/163 hp 2.0 CDTI engine at the top of Opel’s diesel range.

The Euro 6 compliant engine delivers almost 5% more horsepower and 14% more torque while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The engine is also quiet and smooth as a result of Opel’s focus on sound engineering measures to minimize NVH (noise, vibration, harshness).

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Jaguar Land Rover investing $1.6M in two new Centers of Excellence for Engine Combustion Research at Oxford and University College London; gasoline and diesel

Jaguar Land Rover announced the creation of two new Centers of Excellence for Engine Combustion Research at two leading UK universities. The £1-million (US$1.6 million) investment will be shared equally between University College London (UCL) and the University of Oxford to support the development of new research facilities and fund two 5-year study programs.

Each center will focus on specific combustion technologies, both targeting higher engine efficiency. The work at UCL’s Department of Mechanical Engineering will be dedicated to spark ignition in gasoline engines, led by Dr. Pavlos Aleiferis. At the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science, Dr. Martin Davy will lead the project on compression ignition in diesel engines.

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New Ford Focus in Europe delivers fuel economy improvements up to 19% with new 1.5L TDCi; 1.5L EcoBoost, Enhanced Transitional Stability

September 09, 2014

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New Ford Focus. Click to enlarge.

The new Ford Focus for Europe (earlier post) delivers the car’s most fuel-efficient powertrain line-up yet with improvements of up to 19%, and a significant CO2 emission reduction across the entire line-up.

The new Focus will be the first vehicle in Europe to offer Ford’s new 1.5-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine and new Focus also will be available for the first time with Ford’s 1.5-liter TDCi diesel engine. Ford engineers have further optimized power, torque and fuel efficiency from the 2.0-liter TDCi engine; and Focus will continue to be offered with the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine, including a 99 g/km CO2 1.0-liter EcoBoost model.

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Chevy’s Cruze Diesel: a compact diesel contender in the US

September 08, 2014

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The Cruze Diesel is identified by a discreet badge on the trunk. Click to enlarge.

US buyers hunting for a non-premium diesel passenger car (i.e., not a truck or SUV, and not a vehicle from BMW, Audi, Porsche or Mercedes-Benz) have until recently only had Volkswagen-brand cars as an option: Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat. Accordingly, Volkswagen of America (VoA) diesel sales to date in 2014 represent slightly north of 23% of all Volkswagen of America sales. In August, Jetta posted 3,988 diesels sales (26% of Jetta sales, while Passat TDI sales were 2,767 units, representing 30.1% of sales of the vehicle.

However, Chevrolet is trying to challenge that passenger car diesel hegemony with the compact Cruze Diesel, introduced for MY 2014, and now with a facelift for MY 2015. (Earlier post.) Chevrolet is positioning the Cruze, which features a US-modified 2.0L diesel from GM’s European lineup (the engine is manufactured in Kaiserslautern, Germany) to challenge Jetta on the basis of highway fuel economy and power, as well as content. Based on a week with the car (MY2014), the claimed fuel economy superiority may be tough to realize in real-world driving (especially in the face of the new, more fuel-efficient diesel in the 2015 Jetta, earlier post) but overall, the Cruze Diesel is a worthy challenger, and a very good and thrifty drive, especially on the highway.

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Camry in Europe features new 2.0L engine with VVT-iW for both Atkinson and Otto cycles; 13% lower fuel consumption

September 05, 2014

The 2014 Camry in Europe is benefitting from a new, Euro V-compliant, 4-cylinder, 1,998 cc, 16v, DOHC petrol engine mated to a 6-speed Multi-mode automatic transmission which replaces the existing 2.0-liter unit and its 4-speed automatic transmission.

With a high 12.8:1 compression ratio, the new engine generates maximum power of 150 DIN hp/110 kW at 5,600 - 6,500 rpm, and maximum torque of 199 N·m (147 lb-ft) at 4,600 rpm. This accelerates the Camry from 0-100 km/h in 10.4 seconds, and on to a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph). At 7.2 l/100 km (32.7 mpg US), fuel consumption is a substantial 13% less than that of the outgoing engine.

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Researchers propose new class of high-temperature alloy; eutectic high-entropy alloys with both high ductility and high strength

August 29, 2014

High-entropy alloys (HEAs), which represent an emerging effort in materials science and engineering, are multi-principal-element (at least four) alloys that are promising for high-temperature applications due to their high resistance to softening at elevated temperatures and sluggish diffusion kinetics.

However, HEAs so far have either high strength or high ductility; achieving both has been a challenge. Further, the inferior castability and compositional segregation of HEAs have been obstacles for commercialization. Now, researchers in China are proposing a new strategy for designing high-entropy alloys using the eutectic alloy concept to accomplish both attributes. As reported in a paper in Nature’s open access journal Scientific Reports, an eutectic high-entropy alloy (EHEA) showed an “unprecedented” combination of high tensile ductility and high fracture strength at room temperature. The excellent mechanical properties could be kept up to 700 °C.

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Volvo reveals new XC90; limited diesel, gasoline First Edition on sale only online

August 27, 2014

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The new XC90, with “Thor’s hammer” DRL lights. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Cars revealed the XC90, its new 7-seat SUV, at an event in Sweden. Three years in the making and part of an $11-billion investment program, the new XC90 leverages the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) technology, and will offer a range of two-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrains. The two launch engines are the D5 twin turbo diesel and the T6 supercharged and turbocharged gasoline unit. Top of the model range will be the XC90 Twin Engine—a plug-in hybrid delivering around 400 hp (298 kW) with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). (Earlier post.)

Volvo Cars also announced the release of a limited First Edition of its new flagship; the 1,927 individually numbered cars celebrate the year Volvo was founded and will only be available for sale online at www.volvocars.com, beginning 3 Sep.

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Shanghai GM introduces new Chevrolet Cruze; up to 24% more fuel efficient than current generation

August 22, 2014

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The new Chevrolet Cruze. Click to enlarge.

Shanghai GM officially launched the new generation Chevrolet Cruze midsize performance sedan in Shenzhen. Priced between RMB 109,900 and RMB 169,900 (US$17,870 and US$27,626), the new Cruze is offered in China in seven variants with a choice of segment-first 1.4L mid-mounted direct injection turbocharged or 1.5L mid-mounted naturally aspirated gasoline engines. Among its features are an energy-efficient automatic climate control which filters out 90% of PM2.5 in the interior.

The mid-mounted direct injection engine technology and wide range of fuel-saving features such as start/stop technology and ultra-low rolling resistance tires make the new Cruze up to 24% more fuel efficient than the current-generation Cruze. The engines offer peak fuel economy of only 5.9 liters per 100 km. In addition, they are up to 50% quieter than engines in competitive models.

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DOE awards $17M for vehicle technologies; batteries, PEEM, engines, materials, fuel

August 21, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $17.6 million in 14 cooperative agreements with small businesses and institutions of higher education to develop and to deploy efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will help reduce petroleum use in the United States. The awards made under an Incubator Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000988) issued in January. (Earlier post.)

The newly selected projects are in five areas: energy storage; power electronics and electric motors (PEEM); advanced combustion engines; materials technologies, and fuels and lubricant technologies. Awardees are:

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Volvo Trucks introduces new monofuel natural gas version of FE

August 20, 2014

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Volvo FE CNG. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Trucks is expanding its model range in Europe with a new version of the Volvo FE running entirely on natural gas. The Volvo FE CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has been primarily developed for operations involving short driving cycles with repeated starts and stops such as refuse collection and local distribution.

The Volvo FE CNG is powered by an all-new 9-liter Euro 6 engine featuring spark plug technology that produces 320 hp (239 kW) and 1356 N·m (1000 lb-ft) of torque. Spark plug technology is particularly suitable for driving cycles where the truck covers short distances with a lot of start-stop traffic, said Christina Eriksson, Business Manager Alternative Drivelines at Volvo Trucks.

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DOE to award more than $55M to 31 projects for plug-in and efficient vehicle technologies; Delphi receives $10M to further GDCI

August 14, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding more than $55 million to 31 new projects to accelerate research and development of vehicle technologies that will improve fuel efficiency and reduce costs under a program-wide funding opportunity announced in January. (DE-FOA-0000991, earlier post.) These new projects are aimed at meeting the goals and objectives of the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge (19 projects), as well as improvements in other vehicle technologies such as powertrains, fuel, tires and auxiliary systems (12 projects).

The largest single award ($10 million) goes to Delphi Automotive Systems to further the development of its Gasoline Direct-Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) low-temperature combustion technology (earlier post) that provides high thermal efficiency with low NOx and PM emissions. The largest number of awards (9) in a single area of interest goes to developing beyond Li-ion battery technologies.

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Emissions study suggests E10 + renewable hydrocarbons a high bioenergy alternative for conventional cars

Researchers from VTT Technical Research Center of Finland and Neste Oil analyzed the exhaust emissions from three different spark ignition engine technologies—multipoint fuel injection (MPFI); direct-injection spark-ignition (DISI); and flex-fuel (FFV)—using different biofuels—low- and high-concentration ethanol blends; isobutanol; and biohydrocarbons. They report their findings in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Among their conclusions was that the combination of ethanol or isobutanol with renewable hydrocarbon components (i.e., drop-in biohydrocarbons) could offer an option to achieve a high-bioenergy-content gasoline that is compatible with conventional gasoline-fueled cars (i.e., those limited to a 10% ethanol blend) without a significant change in emissions.

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Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations reveals new lightweight E-type

August 12, 2014

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Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations’ new Lightweight E-type. Click to enlarge.

Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations unveiled its new Lightweight E-type—the first recreation to come from Jaguar Heritage, which operates within the Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations division. Only 6 will be built. Car Zero has been completed and, on 14 August, will be revealed at the opening reception to the Pebble Beach Automotive weekend. Jaguar announced in May 2014 that it would recreate six new Lightweights, each built by Jaguar Heritage, part of Jaguar Land Rover’s new Special Operations division.

In recreating the Lightweight, Jaguar Heritage has drawn on Jaguar’s engineering and design resources, including the company’s aluminum body technology. The specification includes an aluminum bodyshell with doors, trunklid, hardtop and hood also in aluminum. The six-cylinder XK engine mirrors the original power units, with an aluminum block, wide-angle aluminum cylinder head and dry sump lubrication.

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Mercedes-Benz to use new steel pistons in V6 diesel of E 350 BlueTEC

August 11, 2014

Mercedes-Benz will replace conventional aluminum pistons with a new generation of steel pistons in the V6 diesel engine of the E 350 BlueTEC in September. Combined with the innovative NANOSLIDE (earlier post) cylinder bore coating technology and the aluminum housing, the advantages of the shift include lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Mercedes-Benz has already announced the coming use of steel pistons in the OM 626 four-cylinder diesel produced by Renault and applied in the C-Class Estate. (Earlier post.)

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Mercedes-Benz showcasing new 7.7L Euro VI natural gas engine for medium-duty commercial vehicles at IAA; replaces two earlier models

August 08, 2014

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Relative (percent) CO2 emissions benefit of the new natural gas variant as compared to the 220 kW diesel engine. Benz et al.. Click to enlarge.

Among its trucks on display at the upcoming IAA in Hanover, Mercedes-Benz will showcase an Econic equipped with its new Euro VI medium-duty natural gas engine (M 936NGT), which is derived from the 7.7-liter Euro VI M 936 inline six-cylinder diesel. This engine will replace the current natural gas engines based on 900 and 400 model series engines, with 6.9 and 12 liters of displacement respectively. These are lean-burn engines and fulfill Euro V EEV emissions specification.

As a mono-fuel engine, the new engine runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) and has an output of 221 kW (301 hp) while delivering maximum torque of 1200 N·m (885 lb-ft)—the same performance as the single-stage turbocharged diesel model. CO2 emissions are up to 22% below those of diesel (during high-load conditions), even with the lower efficiency of an Otto-cycle SI combustion engine relative to diesel. Using biogas further improves the carbon footprint.

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32.5M hours of supercomputer time to aid GM, Ford engine projects with Oak Ridge Lab

August 06, 2014

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Simulation of injector. Graphic from GM, Edwards AMR 2014 presentation. Click to enlarge.

As part of its 2014 ASCR Leadership Computing Challenge (ALCC) awards of processor time (totaling more than 3 billion processor hours), the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has awarded 15 million hours on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) Titan supercomputer to a project led by General Motors, and 17.5 million hours on Titan to a project led by ORNL with Ford and Convergent Science as co-investigators. Titan is current Nº2 on the Top 500 Supercomputer list, and offers 27.1 petaflop (PF) peak processing capacity, with about 300,000 compute cores.

The two projects are part of a larger multi-year DOE-funded project to develop and to apply innovative simulation strategies and tools to maximize benefits of predictive information from high performance computing (HPC) for internal combustion engines. The Principal Investigator on that DOE project is Dean Edwards of ORNL.

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Continental Motors introduces new diesel V-6 aviation engine

August 02, 2014

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The new CD-300 engine made its debut in Oshkosh. Click to enlarge.

Continental Motors introduced the CD-300, its new V-6 diesel engine, at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this week. The CD-300 was flown for the first time in July at Continental’s German development center in Altenburg onboard an Cirrus airframe. The company said that the flying test-bed exhibited rates of climb and cruise performance that exceeded engineer’s expectations.

The CD-300 features common rail technology, direct injection, turbo charging, liquid cooling, and an advanced reduction gear system. Like the smaller CD-100 engine, the CD-300 is based on a Mercedes-Benz automotive core adapted for aviation use. In interviews at AirVenture, Continental Motors president Rhett Ross suggested that the company would begin to deviate from focusing on an exclusive automotive-derived approach.

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Space station droplet combustion experiments reveal cool-burning flames; potential to lead to better engines

July 30, 2014

Isolated droplet combustion experiments performed on the International Space Station (ISS) by a team of international researchers have revealed a new type of cool-burning flames. The long durations of microgravity provided in the ISS enable the measurement of droplet and flame histories over an unprecedented range of conditions, enabling the discovery. The researchers detailed their findings in an open access paper in the journal Microgravity Science and Technology

A better understanding of the cool flames’ chemistry might help improve internal combustion engines in cars, for example by developing homogenous-charge compression ignition, which could potentially lead to engines that burn fuel at cooler temperatures, emitting fewer pollutants such as soot and nitric oxide and NOx, while still being efficient.

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Jaguar: aluminum-intensive XE will feature fuel consumption lower than 4L/100km; structure is 75% aluminum

July 29, 2014

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The aluminum body of the XE. Click to enlarge.

In the second of four technology previews leading up to the introduction of the new Jaguar XE on 8 September, Jaguar outlined its extensive use of aluminum in the new model. Designed around Jaguar’s modular vehicle architecture, the XE is the only car in the class to use an aluminum-intensive monocoque, with lightweight aluminum accounting for 75% of the structure.

The new aluminum-intensive SE will be paired with engines from the new Ingenium family of efficient diesel and gasoline engines (earlier post)—powertrains specifically designed and calibrated to complement reduced-weight vehicles. Jaguar projects that the resulting XE will achieve fuel consumption of less that 4.0 l/100 km (59 mpg US) on the NEDC combined cycle (subject to certification) and CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km.

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Delphi to debut new Tech Truck at IAA CV show; new high-pressure fuel injection system and new HPDI injector for natural gas

July 27, 2014

Delphi Automotive PLC will unveil the second generation of its Technology Truck concept highlighting future technologies at the upcoming IAA Commercial Vehicles show being held 25 Sept - 2 Oct in Hannover, Germany.

Among the technologies Delphi will unveil is the next-generation fuel injection system for commercial vehicles applications. The system, which builds on the performance of its 2700 bar F2 common rail technologies, includes a patented fuel injector and will help vehicle manufacturers meet future legislated emissions and fuel efficiency levels. Also at IAA, Delphi will showcase the new second-generation High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) natural gas injector for heavy-duty engine applications. Delphi co-developed the new HPDI injector with Westport.

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IHS: continued legislative focus on pollutants to drive sensor market for internal combustion engines

July 24, 2014

The global market for sensors used in internal combustion engines (ICE) is on the road of steady growth for the next few years, propelled by increasing utilization in engine management and exhaust aftertreatment, according to a new report from IHS Technology. IHS projects that sensor shipments for ICEs will top 1.34 billion units in 2019, up from about 1.08 billion in 2013. Overall, IHS expects a six-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2013 to 2019 of 3.6%.

The report—“Powertrain Sensor Market Tracker – H1 2014”—is part of the Semiconductors & Components service of IHS Technology. The report examines more than 20 sensors attached to the engine, fuel and exhaust systems of passenger vehicles. The list includes pressure sensors, devices to monitor flow and temperature, ceramic sensors for the gases nitrogen oxide (NOx) and oxygen, in addition to knock sensing, position and speed.

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97% of US buyers opted for 2.5L stop/start base engine on 2014, 2015 Malibu

July 23, 2014

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2014 ECOTEC 2.5L I-4 iVLC DI (LKW) with stop/start. Click to enlarge.

Ninety-seven percent of customers in the US who purchased a 2014 or 2015 Malibu—accounting for about 83,000 vehicles—opted for the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder base engine (LKW) equipped with standard stop/start technology, according to GM. (Earlier post.) This marks the the most aggressive rollout of stop/start technology in the US by an American automaker.

The 2014 Malibu was the first in its segment with a standard engine featuring fuel-saving stop/start technology. Stop/start is featured along other technologies in the Malibu’s new 2.5L intake valve lift control (iVLC), powertrain along with direct injection, variable valve lift control and a new six-speed automatic transmission. All contribute to EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km) in city driving and 36 mpg (6.5 l/100 km) on the highway—14% and 6% improvements, respectively, over earlier models.

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Ford provides some performance specs for its new 2.7L twin-turbo EcoBoost for the MY2015 F-150

July 22, 2014

The MY 2015 Ford F-150 will offer a new high-output, twin-turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 producing 325 hp (242 kW) and 375 lb-ft (508 N·m) of torque. Due to the extensive lightweighting in the new F-150 (earlier post), this will improve the power-to-weight ratio of the 2015 truck by 15% over the 2014 5.0-liter V8-equipped F-150 with similar torque output.

Boosting 2.7-liter EcoBoost fuel efficiency is the debut of standard Auto Start-Stop technology for F-150. The technology is off when towing or in four-wheel-drive mode. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost 4x2 has a maximum payload rating of 2,250 lbs (1,021 kg) and maximum tow rating of 8,500 pounds (3,856 kg), suited for meeting mid-range capability needs.

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Argonne VERIFI researchers applying GSA to investigate combustion engine parameters; seeking cleaner and more efficient engines

July 18, 2014

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory, as part of the new Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative (VERIFI) (earlier post), are using global sensitivity analysis (GSA)—a specific form of uncertainty analysis which breaks down the uncertainty into constitute parts—to investigate a number of parameters in the internal combustion process. By gaining a better understanding of how these parameter uncertainties affect outcomes, the VERIFI researchers, along with colleagues at the University of Connecticut, are seeking to create cleaner and more efficient engines.

The parameters being investigated include the relationships between the diameter of the nozzle in the fuel injector; the dynamics of the fuel spray; the proportion of fuel to air in the combustion chamber; and the exhaust products. In an SAE paper presented at the World Congress this year, the researchers described the results of the first demonstration of GSA for engine simulations.

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Two new Wärtsilä JVs with CSSC: 2-stroke engine business and medium-speed diesel and dual-fuel engines

Wärtsilä and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC)—one of the largest shipbuilders in the world—will form two new joint ventures. The first will take over Wärtsilä’s 2-stroke engine business. Through the agreement, CSSC will own 70% of the business through its affiliate CSSC Investment and Development Co. Ltd, while Wärtsilä will hold a 30% ownership position.

Wärtsilä and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) also signed an agreement to establish a joint venture for manufacturing medium- and large-bore medium speed diesel and dual-fuel engines. The company will in particular target the growing offshore and LNG markets, as well as the market for very large container vessels. The Wärtsilä share of the joint venture is 49% and the size of Wärtsilä’s equity investment is approximately €12 million (US$16 million).

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First high-heat plastic air intake manifold with integrated charge air cooler in production on hybrid sports car

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Plastic air intake manifold with integrated CAC for 3-cylinder 1.5-liter engine.

The world’s first high-heat plastic air intake manifold (AIM) with integrated charge air cooler (CAC) in Stanyl Diablo, Royal DSM’s high-temperature-resistant polyamide 46, recently went into production on a recently introduced hybrid sports car—by its description (although not by confirmation from DSM) the BMW i8 (earlier post). Royal DSM noted that the use marks another major step forward in the use of thermoplastics in automotive high-heat zones.

The injection-molded AIM/CAC manifold operates at 220 °C and withstands pulses of high internal pressure. DSM worked closely together with a leading system supplier to develop the AIM/CAC combination, with DSM providing extensive development and processing support. The part is made in Stanyl Diablo OCD2100, which contains 40% glass fiber reinforcement as well as a specially developed and patented heat stabilizer. This grade has a continuous-use temperature of 220 °C and is able to withstand peak temperatures up to 250 °C.

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Two Audi TDI technology studies with electric biturbo, 48V electrical systems; both technologies to go into series production

July 17, 2014

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V6 TDI bi-turbo with electric compressor. Click to enlarge.

Audi has built two technology studies with the “electric biturbo” technology it is developing (earlier post): the Audi A6 TDI concept is equipped with a new 3.0 TDI monoturbo (i.e., a single turbo with supplementary electric compressor), while the Audi RS 5 TDI concept with a 3.0 TDI biturbo (two in-series turbochargers with supplementary electric compressor).

The electric biturbo system comprises a classic exhaust turbocharger (mono- or bi-turbo) working together with a supplemental, electric-powered compressor arranged in series and powered by a separate 48-volt electrical system. Instead of a turbine wheel, it contains a small electric motor that applies a maximum drive power of 7 kW to accelerate the compressor wheel to maximum speed within 250 milliseconds.

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UK study finds low carbon policy has bolstered UK automotive sector, but trucks neglected and biofuels stalled

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Value of low carbon investments by year and cumulative. Click to enlarge.

A major new report published at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership’s Annual Conference shows the UK automotive sector has been revitalized by consistently applied policy centered on cutting carbon.

Carried out for LowCVP by E4tech and the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School, the study was conducted between March and June 2014. The broad industry survey, supplemented by in-depth interviews with senior executives showed that a consistent and sustained policy approach can produce both green results and growth. The link between consistently applied policy and a win-win in terms of investment and emissions performance was validated by the survey involving more than 120 senior industry and stakeholder respondents.

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World premiere of new smart fortwo and forfour

July 16, 2014

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The new smart fortwo: Body panels in white, tridion safety cell in lava orange (metallic). The new smart forfour: Body in white, tridion safety cell in black. Click to enlarge.

In a world premiere staged in Berlin, Daimler brand smart unveiled the new versions of its iconic smart fortwo and forfour city cars. The new smart fortwo, developed in partnership with Renault (sharing the third-generation Twingo platform) has undergone improvements in virtually all areas and is markedly more comfortable, while the smart rear engine concept is now being offered for the first time in the four-seater smart forfour as well.

Drive power is supplied by three-cylinder engines rated at 45 kW/60 hp, 52 kW/71 hp and 66 kW/90 hp, while power transmission is performed by a five-speed manual transmission or the twinamic automatic dual clutch transmission. A new version of the smart fortwo electric drive (earlier post), based on the new model, will follow.

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Refreshed 2014 Toyota Yaris features revamped 1.0L engine with switching between Atkinson and Otto cycles; new hybrid

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2014 Yaris Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

Toyota’s refreshed 2014 Yaris for Europe offers a choice of four powertrains, including a thoroughly reworked 3-cylinder 1.0 gasoline unit that is the first member of a new family of 14 highly efficient engines to be launched by 2015. With a thermal efficiency of 37%, the engine delivers a combined-cycle fuel consumption of 4.1 l/100 (57.4 mpg US), and CO2 emissions reduced to 95 g/km in conjunction with a stop/start system. (Mass-produced gasoline engines on average have a thermal efficiency of between 30 and 35%, Toyota said.)

The hybrid powertrain has also been revamped, with its CO2 emissions reduced still further to 75 g/km and corresponding combined-cycle consumption lowered to 3.3 l/100 (71.3 mpg US). A 4-cylinder, 1.33-liter gasoline engine and 1.4-liter diesel complete the range.

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Continental supplying first turbocharger with aluminum housing

July 15, 2014

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The water-cooled aluminum turbine housing. Click to enlarge.

Continental’s powertrain developers have launched series production of the first car turbocharger with an aluminum turbine housing. Integration of the unit in the three-cylinder, 1.5L 100 kW gasoline engine for the MINI Hatch (earlier post) has been ongoing since spring 2014.

Water-cooling enables the use of the lightweight material and thus enables a significant weight reduction by nearly 30% while simultaneously providing cost and system benefits.

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New Mercedes C-Class Estate offers new 1.6L diesel, diesel hybrid options; gasoline plug-in hybrid model coming

Mercedes-Benz is adding a new Estate (wagon) model to its C-Class family starting in September 2014. The powertrain range for the Estate, which includes diesel, gasoline and hybrid options, features a new 1.6-liter 4-cylinder diesel (OM 626) produced by Renault. Compared with the predecessor Estate, certain members of the line-up consume in excess of 20% less fuel.

Depending on its configuration, the single-stage turbocharged engine generates 85 or 100 kW (116 or 136 hp) of power from a displacement of 1598 cc and delivers 280 or 300 N·m (207 or 221 lb-ft) of rated torque. Fuel consumption for both variants is rated at 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 mpg US) NEDC.

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Cummins ETHOS 2.8L optimized E-85 engine demonstrates 50-80% reduction in CO2 emissions in medium-duty truck

July 14, 2014

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The ETHOS 2.8L demo truck. Click to enlarge.

Cummins has developed an E-85-specific engine and powertrain that reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 80% compared with a baseline gasoline-powered medium-duty truck. The work was jointly funded by Cummins and partners ($3,790,027) in partnership with the California Energy Commission (CEC) ($2,712,140).

The Cummins ETHOS 2.8L is designed specifically to use E-85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). To take full advantage of the favorable combustion attributes and potential of E-85, the engine operates at diesel-like cylinder pressures and incorporates advanced spark-ignition technology. It delivers the power (up to 250 hp / 186 kW) and peak torque (up to 450 lb-ft / 610 N·m) of gasoline and diesel engines nearly twice its 2.8-liter displacement.

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Volkswagen to produce new CrossBlue-based midsize SUV in Chattanooga; $900M investment

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The new mid-size SUV is based on the CrossBlue concept. Click to enlarge.

The Board of Directors of Volkswagen Group of America has decided to award the production of its new midsize SUV to the Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The Group will be investing a total of approximately US$900 million (€643 million) in the production of the newly developed, seven-passenger SUV, creating 2,000 additional jobs in the US. About US$600 million (€432 million) will be invested in Tennessee.

The midsize SUV, which is based on the MQB-based CrossBlue plug-in hybrid concept vehicle, was developed especially for the North American market. The CrossBlue made its global debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (Earlier post.)

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Alcoa unveils first aluminum alloy fan blade forging for jet engines; $1.1B supply agreement w/ Pratt & Whitney

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Click to enlarge.

Under a new 10-year, $1.1-billion agreement, Alcoa will supply key parts for Pratt & Whitney’s jet engines, including the forging for the first aluminum fan blade for jet engines. The forging was developed for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower engines using an advanced aluminum alloy and a proprietary manufacturing process. Also for the PurePower engines, Alcoa is developing a fan blade forging using its most advanced aluminum-lithium alloy.

Under the $1.1 billion deal, Alcoa will supply components for Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1000G, V2500, GP7000 and several other regional jet and military engines. The unique Geared Turbofan architecture of the PurePower engine allows for aluminum alloys to be used in the Pratt & Whitney designed fan blades, making the engine lighter, as well as more fuel and cost efficient.

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Review: Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD with bi-fuel CNG option

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View of the CNG tank in the bed of a Silverado 2500HD with bi-fuel option. Click to enlarge.

GM’s 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD with the bi-fuel (natural gas) option (earlier post) offers buyers—primarily commercial and fleet buyers—a strong natural-gas option in the ¾-ton pickup market that combines the excellent qualities of the base Silverado 2500HD with the economic (lower cost) and environmental (lower emissions of GHGs and criteria pollutants) benefits of natural gas fuel and packages the two together seamlessly.

As with any vehicle choice, there are trade-offs that need to be balanced against target use. In the case of the 2500HD bi-fuel, the two main trade-offs are a reduction in power and torque in CNG mode compared to gasoline mode, and the loss of a portion of the bed of the truck to the 3,600 psi CNG tank and its box-like enclosure. (It looks like a hefty black tool box mounted across the front of the bed.) Of those two trade-offs, only the second is permanent. The driver can easily switch from CNG to gasoline with the flick of a switch, essentially reverting the 2500HD to its conventional gasoline cousin, with the accompanying boost in power and torque for occasions that might call for it.

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Researchers develop efficient technique to develop new materials with desired coefficient of friction

July 11, 2014

Researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have developed a highly efficient method for developing friction materials with a desired frictional property. Using the new method, it would be possible to find the appropriate crystal preferred orientation for coatings with the desired value of the coefficient of friction.

The method, described in a paper in the journal Tribology Letters, could thus significantly accelerate the development of materials that have a friction coefficient suited to the purpose of use, such as low-friction materials for reducing energy loss and high-friction materials required for high-performance brakes.

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Jaguar shares details about new Ingenium family of efficient gasoline and diesel engines

July 10, 2014

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Ingenium engine. Click to enlarge.

Jaguar Land Rover has revealed some details about its new Ingenium family of efficient diesel and gasoline engines. The powerplants—designed, engineered and manufactured by Jaguar Land Rover—deliver class-leading levels of torque, horsepower and refinement while reducing emissions and fuel consumption.

Design goals for the new engine family included: configurable and flexible to enable seamless installation in a range of new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles; scalable up and down to create smaller or larger displacement variants in the future; able to accommodate a range of powertrain layouts including rear-, all- and four-wheel drive; engineered to support manual and automatic transmissions as well as electrified hybrid drive systems; and easily accepting of new advances in engine technologies as they become available.

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Mercedes-Benz outlines synergies between F1 motorsport and production car engineering

Mercedes-Benz has outlined areas of actual synergies between its F1 motorsport activities with Mercedes AMG Petronas and Mercedes-Benz Cars. While there is definitely a technology transfer between race and road car engineering, said Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical) at Mercedes AMG Petronas, “it’s a more subtle process than bolting bits from one car onto another.

There are examples of direct transfer—such as the Nanoslide technology used to coat cylinder bore surfaces (earlier post)—and then there are examples of indirect transfer, such as F1 serving as a research laboratory for developing new solutions and showing the world what is possible, he noted.

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Opel reveals 5th generation Corsa; new 1.0L, 3-cylinder turbo

July 09, 2014

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5th generation Corsa Click to enlarge.

Opel revealed the new, fifth-generation of the Corsa, which will make its world premiere in October at the Paris Motor Show. The gen 5 Corsa will offer new, refined and efficient 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo engines, smooth-shifting transmissions, a new suspension and optimized steering. The new Corsa will be in production in Zaragoza and Eisenach before the end of the year.

The highlight under the hood of the new so-called “Corsa E” of the fifth generation is the installation of Opel’s newly-developed three-cylinder, 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo, part of the brand’s major powertrain offensive. This is the only 1.0-liter three-cylinder production engine with a balance shaft, which enables it set a new class benchmark for exceptionally low noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics, as well as high driving comfort.

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EPA selects ANSYS for simulation software to develop advanced test engine

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Streamlines showing intake process for an SI engine in a FORTE simulation. Source: ANSYS. Click to enlarge.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected ANSYS simulation solutions to model in-cylinder combustion to develop an advanced test engine that will demonstrate fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technologies. The EPA’s test engine will help establish the feasibility of meeting recently issued fuel standards through improvements to combustion chamber geometries, fuel injection strategies, fuel composition, valve timing and intake conditions.

While physical prototyping and direct tests on real engine hardware can guide engine design, they are very costly and time-intensive. By using ANSYS FORTÉ, the EPA can experiment with engine design in a virtual setting. As a result, its engineers can quickly and inexpensively make multiple design iterations. ANSYS acquired FORTÉ as part of its acquisition of Reaction Design earlier this year. (Earlier post.)

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Volvo XC90 SUV PHEV to offer up to 400 hp and low GHG emissions of around 60 g/km

July 08, 2014

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Powertrain of the Volvo XC90 Twin Engine PHEV. A two-liter, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E gasoline engine powers the front wheels and an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor drives the rear wheels. The battery pack is located in the center of the vehicle. Click to enlarge.

Volvo Cars’ all-new XC90 SUV, to be launched later this year, will offer up to 400 horsepower (298 kW) but with CO2 emissions as low as around 60 g/km (NEDC driving cycle). The new XC90 will offer a range of Drive-E engine options, all of which are 4-cylinder engines. (Earlier post.)

For the all-new XC90 seven-seater, the top of the range “Twin Engine” will be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and carry a T8 badge. Normal driving is conducted in the default hybrid mode. This utilizes a two-litre, four-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged Drive-E gasoline engine that powers the front wheels and an 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

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Lexus NX compact utility arrives in North America

July 07, 2014

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2015 Lexus NX 300h. Click to enlarge.

Lexus has introduced the new Lexus NX compact utility, first unveiled in Beijing (earlier post) to North America. The 2015 Lexus NX debuts in two versions, the NX 200t with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and the NX 300h hybrid with 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle gasoline engine, which brings the brand’s number of hybrid offerings to six—the most among luxury brands.

Among the features of the hybrid is a new transmission with a kick-down function. Further, the hybrid battery pack is split into two separate pods for better weight distribution, with the additional benefit of more efficient use of cabin space. Both NX models offer their own version of pro-active all-weather drive (AWD). The new Lexus NX features numerous other firsts in a Lexus, among them:

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World premiere of new Volkswagen Passat; 8th generation brings plug-in hybrid option

July 04, 2014

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The new Volkswagen Passat. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen unveiled the eight-generation Passat (earlier post) at the Volkswagen Design Centre in Potsdam. The new Passat made its global debut with new engines, less weight and with the latest assistance, Infotainment and convenience systems. The new Passat delivers improved fuel efficiency (up to 20%); diesel and gasoline powertrains; up to 85 kg less weight, and a plug-in hybrid option. At 1.1 million units a year (2013) Passat is the Volkswagen Group’s model series with the highest volume sold world-wide.

The new Passat will be available with 10 direct injection turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines—all new to the model range—covering a power range from 88 kW / 120 PS (118 hp) to 206 kW / 280 PS (276 hp). The engines all meet Euro 6 emission standards and both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions were lowered by up to 20%. All versions are equipped with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode. A dual clutch gearbox (DSG) is available as an option for all engine versions, and it is standard with the top engine.

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Caterpillar and Argonne’s VERIFI undertake cooperative virtual engine design, control project; first VERIFI CRADA

July 03, 2014

Low-temperature combustion regimes show great efficiency and emissions potential, but they present optimization and control challenges that must be addressed before they enter the engine mainstream.

Caterpillar Inc. has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Argonne National Laboratory and its recently formed Virtual Engine Research Institute and Fuels Initiative (VERIFI), where experts are developing new engine combustion models that incorporate accurate descriptions of two-phase flows, chemistry, transport phenomena and device geometries to provide predictive simulations of engine and fuel performance.

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SwRI engineers win SAE award for paper on impact of octane and cooled EGR on engine performance and efficiency

A team of engineers from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has received the prestigious SAE International Harry L. Horning Memorial Award for a 2012 technical paper (2012-01-1149) investigating different octane-rated gasolines and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) levels.

Institute Engineer Dr. Charles Roberts, Assistant Director Dr. Terry Alger and Research Technologist Barrett Mangold, all of SwRI’s Engine, Emissions and Vehicle Research Division, received the award at the SAE World Congress in Detroit in April. Former SwRI employee Jess Gingrich is also a co-recipient.

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Berkeley Lab/U. Hawaii team provides direct experimental evidence for mechanism for PAH formation in combustion; cleaner fuels could result

July 01, 2014

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab) and the University of Hawaii have provided direct experimental evidence for the validity of a proposed mechanism for the first step in the process that transforms gas-phase molecules into solid particles such as soot and other carbon-based compounds.

The finding could help combustion chemists make more-efficient, less-polluting fuels and help materials scientists fine-tune their carbon nanotubes and graphene sheets for faster, smaller electronics. In addition, the results could have implications for the burgeoning field of astrochemistry, potentially establishing the chemical process for how gaseous outflows from stars turn into carbon-based matter in space.

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Ford introduces new Focus ST with diesel and EcoBoost options

June 30, 2014

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The new Ford Focus ST (in the new dark gray paint option) is offering a choice of an EcoBoost or diesel engine. Click to enlarge.

The new Focus ST made its global debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK. The most advanced Focus ST yet offers new chassis control technologies, tuned suspension and steering, and a bespoke tire specification. For the first time, the Focus ST it will be offered with the choice of an EcoBoost gasoline or a new version of Ford’s 2.0L TDCi diesel engine. Ford has sold more than 140,000 Focus ST models in 40 countries worldwide since the car was first launched in 2002.

The diesel Focus ST is the most fuel‑efficient and lowest CO2 Ford performance car yet: the 185 PS (182 hp, 136 kW) 2.0‑liter TDCi achieves 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.1 seconds, with fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km (53.5 mpg US), and 114 g/km CO2.

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Ram introduces Doblò-based 2015 Ram ProMaster City van

June 27, 2014

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2015 Ram ProMaster City. Click to enlarge.

Chrysler’s Ram brand introduced the 2015 Ram ProMaster City commercial van. The Ram ProMaster City is based on the Fiat Doblò, a two-time International Van of the Year winner with more than 1.3 million units sold. The new, smaller van joins the ProMaster and Ram Cargo vans, and is intended to provide incremental growth for Ram’s brand sales volumes.

The front-wheel drive 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be offered in two-seat cargo van and five-seat passenger wagon configurations and is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4. The engine generates 178 hp (133 kW) at 6,400 rpm with peak torque of 174 lb-ft (236 N·m) at 3,900 rpm.

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Ford 1.0L EcoBoost wins 3rd consecutive Int’l Engine Of The Year; VW 1.4L TSI takes 9th straight win; Tesla the Best Green Engine

June 26, 2014

Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine (earlier post) was named 2014 International Engine of the Year for the third consecutive year. Available in Ford Fiesta and the upcoming 2015 Focus, the 1.0L EcoBoost was also named Best Engine Under 1.0-Liter for third year in a row. The Best Green Engine Award this year went to the Tesla Model S electric powertrain.

Volkswagen’s 1.4-liter TSI twincharger also won for the ninth time in succession in the 1.0 to 1.4 liter cubic capacity category, making it the most successful engine in the history of this international competition for engine technology.

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Ford unveils 2015 Edge; new EcoBoosts for N. America, diesels for Europe

June 25, 2014

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2015 Edge. Click to enlarge.

Ford has revealed the all-new 2015 Edge. The newest version of its crossover sport utility vehicle will go on sale in North America early next year with an expanded range of smart technology. Sales in South America, Europe—to include Western Europe—and Asia Pacific will follow. Eventually, Edge will be sold in more than 100 markets worldwide.

Two new EcoBoost engines. The 2015 Edge, now based on the same global platform as the Ford Fusion, will feature three engine options in North America, two of which are new powerplants: a standard twin-scroll 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. A normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine will also be offered. All will be equipped with dual output exhaust and a six-speed automatic transmission. Edge represents the first Ford vehicle to feature standard EcoBoost power.

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Stop/start to be standard with V-6 in Jeep Cherokee and I-4 in 2015 Chrysler 200; up to 3% better fuel economy

June 24, 2014

Chrysler Group is offering fuel-saving Engine Stop-Start (ESS) technology as standard equipment on certain models of the award-winning 2015 Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV and 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan.

Chrysler 200 customers who opt for the 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4, and Jeep Cherokee customers who choose the available 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6, will experience estimated fuel-economy improvements of up to 3%, compared with the conventional vehicle-engine pairings. ESS applications in the Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee will also account for an estimated CO2 emissions-reduction of up to 3%.

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Cummins progressing with lightweight downsized T2B2 diesel for pickup; 40% improvement in fuel economy over gasoline V8

June 23, 2014

Cummins reports that it, along with partners Johnson Matthey and Nissan, is on plan in a 4-year, $30-million ($15 million from the US Department of Energy) research project to deliver a light-duty diesel engine with fuel economy 40% improved over that of baseline gasoline V8 engine for a half-ton pickup truck while also meeting the requirements of US Tier2 Bin2 tailpipe emissions. (Earlier post.)

At the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Annual Merit Review meeting in Washington, DC last week, Michael Ruth from Cummins noted that the DOE program target for the project is a fuel economy (CAFE) target of 26 mpg (9.05 l/100 km), and as such would not meet the GHG requirement of 28 mpg (8.4 l/100 km) for a vehicle of that size. However, he added, the internal goal is “significantly higher,” and is targeting the GHG limit.

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Ford moving to vehicle testing with advanced 2.3L MiGTDI engine research project; Tier 3 SULEV30 target with 25% fuel economy improvement

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The 2.3L MiGTDI engine. Source: Ford. Click to enlarge.

Ford is now three-fourths of the way into a 4-year, $30-million project (supported by $15 million from the US DOE) with Michigan Technological University (MTU) (earlier post) to demonstrate a 25% fuel economy improvement in a mid-sized sedan using a downsized, advanced gasoline turbocharged direct injection (GTDI) engine with no or limited degradation in vehicle level metrics, while demonstrating that the vehicle is capable of meeting Tier 3 Bin 30 (CA LEV III SULEV30) emissions on the FTP-75 cycle. (Earlier post.)

The original project target was Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions, but in August 2013, it was agreed to shift that to the Tier 3 target—essentially the same with combined NOxand NMOG emissions, but more strict with CO and PM.

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Hyundai introduces 2015 Sonata Eco with 1.6L Gamma turbo; 32 mpg combined

June 20, 2014

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2015 Sonata Eco. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai announced the third powertrain available in the 2015 Sonata: the Sonata Eco. The 2015 Sonata Eco is powered by a variant of the 1.6-liter turbocharged Gamma four-cylinder engine (earlier post)—already available in the Veloster—producing an estimated 177 horsepower (132 kW) and 195 lb-ft (264 N·m) of torque. Sonata Eco is the first Hyundai product to utilize a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which no other mid-size sedan offers.

The powertrain helps Sonata Eco deliver an estimated 28 mpg city (8.4 l/100 km) and 38 mpg (6.2 l/100 km) highway. The estimated 32 mpg (7.4 l/100 km) combined rating is segment-leading for a non-hybrid mid-size sedan and more than a 10% improvement over a 2015 Sonata SE powered by the 2.4-liter Theta II engine.

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Toyota implements Atkinson cycle in non-hybrid ESTEC engine; up to 38% thermal efficiency and improved fuel economy

   
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Performance of the new ESTEC engine (1NR-FKE) compared to the current 1NR-FE engine applied in the Yaris. Yamada et al. Click to enlarge.

Engineers at Toyota have developed an approach to applying the Atkinson cycle—used in the engines in Toyota hybrids since 1997—for engines in conventional, non-hybrid vehicles. The Atkinson cycle with a high compression ratio is a common approach that hybrid vehicle engines use to enhance thermal efficiency. However, the drawback of the high compression ratio is a reduction of engine torque; in a hybrid, the motor torque compensates for this reduction in engine torque. Thermal efficiency at low load areas is relatively more important with conventional engines than with hybrid engines and how to overcome these issues is significantly important with conventional engines, the Toyota developers observed.

The result of their work, presented in papers this spring at the SAE 2014 World Congress, the Vienna Motor Symposium, and the JSAE Annual Congress, is the new 1.3-liter ESTEC (Economy with Superior Thermal Efficient Combustion) in-line 4-cylinder Gasoline Engine (1NR-FKE). The ESTEC 1NR-FKE achieves 73 kW of output (3 kW higher than the 1NR-FE used in Toyota A and B segment vehicles such as Yaris, iQ, etc.) with thermal efficiency of up to 38%—equivalent to the engines in hybrids. Further, at low loads, the ESTEC engine improves fuel consumption by 11% in the JC08 mode.

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Dearman Engine signs MOU with Hubbard Products for integration of liquid air engine TRU; report details liquid air benefits

June 04, 2014

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Dearman liquid air engine in a TRU system. Click to enlarge.

The Dearman Engine Company has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hubbard Products Ltd to manage the vehicle integration of the Dearman engine liquid air transport refrigeration system (TRU) (earlier post). Part of the worldwide Zanotti group, Hubbard Products is the UK’s principal designer, manufacturer and supplier of refrigeration systems and units and the leaders in refrigeration for commercial vehicles and refrigerated vans.

The objective of this collaboration is to advance the technical, commercial and industrial development of the Dearman engine transport refrigeration system to a stage where Hubbard can manufacture, integrate and market cooling systems incorporating the Dearman engine in commercial volumes. The announcement of the MOU was concurrent with a release of a report—Liquid Air on the Highway—detailing the environmental benefits of the liquid air engine.

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New VW Golf Sportwagen going on sale in 2015 in US with gasoline and diesel powertrains; improved power and fuel economy

June 03, 2014

Volkswagen’s new Golf SportWagen that goes on sale in the first quarter 2015 in the US is based on the MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, as is the 2015 Golf and Golf GTI. The new SportWagen—a more fuel-efficient replacement for the Jetta Sportwagen—will continue the trend introduced by the seventh-generation Golf: lighter, bigger, roomier, more fuel efficient and more powerful than the outgoing model. Volkswagen is positioning it as a sportier alternative to compact SUVs.

The new SportWagen will be offered with two powertrains, one gasoline, one diesel. The first is a 170 hp (127 kW), 1.8-liter turbocharged direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine, mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmissions. Volkswagen estimates highway fuel economy to have improved by as much as 17% compared to the 2.5-liter Jetta SportWagen.

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ICCT-sponsored study of in-use testing of 3 Tier2-Bin5, CA LEV-II light-duty diesels finds wide variation of emissions against the limits

June 02, 2014

In-use testing of three light duty diesel vehicles—certified to US-EPA Tier2-Bin5 and California LEV-II ULEV emissions limits—found a wide variation in real world emissions performance relative to the regulatory limits.

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) contracted with the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions at West Virginia University to conduct in-use testing of three light-duty diesel vehicles (two 2.0L diesels and one 3.0L diesel) over pre-defined test routes exhibiting diverse driving conditions. The test vehicles were equipped with NOx after-treatment technologies including: one lean-NOx trap (LNT) and two urea-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems.

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Environment Canada/MECA team assesses black carbon emissions in GDI engine exhaust; evaluation of prototype gasoline particulate filter

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BC mass emissions for all four GDI and PFI vehicles over the three different driving patterns. Solid bars represent low ambient temperature measurements whereas open, dashed bars represent standard temperature measurements. Credit: ACS, Chan et al. Click to enlarge.

Although gasoline direct injection engines (GDI) are a favorable technology for reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, recent studies have shown that GDI vehicles could emit more PM than traditional PFI (gasoline port fuel injection) vehicles as well as heavy-duty diesel trucks equipped with diesel particulate filters. This may result in the need for new emissions control strategies—such as a gasoline particulate filter (GPF)—to enable compliance with California LEV III and US EPA Tier 3 particulate emissions standards.

Now, a team from Environment Canada and Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) report on an evaluation of emissions from two pairs of GDI and PFI (gasoline port fuel injection) vehicles over two different drive cycles and at different ambient temperatures to understand how solid particle number and BC mass relationships vary under the influence of different factors. Their paper appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Renault introducing new steel piston in mass-production 1.5L diesel; 2% fuel savings

Hollemaert
Brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) advantages of the steel piston over aluminum on an NEDC cycle. Hollemaert et al. Click to enlarge.

Renault is introducing a new steel piston on a mass-production 1.5-liter diesel engine for a passenger car, according to a paper presented at the recent SIA Powertrain Rouen 2014 conference. Based on extensive testing, Renault engineers concluded that the new pistons will deliver a fuel savings of some 2%.

Renault’s technical center in Rueil-Malmaison, France led the development of the piston, in cooperation with Renault partner’s and supplier. The new piston features an improved design to minimize weight, low-friction coatings, and a low-tension ring package.

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7th-generation Golf GTI on sale in US; lighter and more fuel-efficient

May 30, 2014

Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced the official arrival of the new 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI in US. The MQB-based seventh-generation of the original “hot hatch” (first introduced in the US in 1983) preserves the performance and handling style of its forebears, while being bigger—but lighter—and more powerful—but more fuel efficient—than its immediate Mk 6 predecessor.

The new GTI is also Volkswagen’s introduction of the MQB (modular transverse matrix) vehicle platform to the North American market—a significant step in standardizing, simplifying, and improving the design and creation of products across the entire Volkswagen Group portfolio. The use of the MQB also more easily supports the deployment of alternative powertrain architectures, as seen in the plug-in hybrid Golf GTE. (Earlier post.)

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