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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.]

Dearman-led consortium awarded $3.1M to develop waste-heat-recovery system using liquid air engine

April 23, 2014

A consortium led by the Dearman Engine Company has been awarded £1.86 million (US$3.12 million) in the latest round of IDP10 funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board to support the development of a heat-recovery system for urban commercial vehicles. The tenth competition under the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform’s integrated delivery program (IDP), IDP10 is targeting the building of an integrated low-carbon-vehicle innovation chain, from the science base, through collaborative R&D to fleet-level demonstration.

The Dearman project is to deliver a production-feasible waste-heat recovery system for urban commercial vehicles, which offers life-cycle CO2 savings of up to 40%; fuel savings of 25%, with the potential of up to almost 50%; and potential payback in less than three years. The project uses the Dearman Engine, a highly-efficient liquid nitrogen or air (LiN) engine (earlier post) that harvests low-grade heat sources and, in this configuration, is most effective in urban duty cycles, working with the internal combustion engine (ICE) as a hybrid powertrain.

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Toyota Central R&D developing free-piston engine linear generator; envisioning multi-FPEG units for electric drive vehicles

April 22, 2014

Toyota’s FPEG features a hollow step-shaped piston, combustion chamber and gas spring chamber. Click to enlarge.

A team at Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc. is developing a prototype 10 kW Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG) featuring a thin and compact build, high efficiency and high fuel flexibility. Toyota envisions that a pair of such units (20 kW) would enable B/C-segment electric drive vehicles to cruise at 120 km/h (75 mph). The team presented two papers on the state of their work at the recent SAE 2014 World Congress in Detroit.

The FPEG consists of a two-stroke combustion chamber, a linear generator and a gas spring chamber. The piston is moved by the combustion gas, while magnets attached to the piston move within a linear coil, thereby converting kinetic energy to electrical energy. The main structural feature of the Toyota FPEG is a hollow circular step-shaped piston, which Toyota calls “W-shape”. The smaller-diameter side of the piston constitutes a combustion chamber, and the larger-diameter side constitutes a gas spring chamber.

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Oak Ridge researchers pursuing in-cylinder reforming for control of advanced combustion

April 21, 2014

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pursuing investigations into the use of a non-catalytic in-cylinder reforming process—i.e., the conversion of liquid hydrocarbon fuel to a hydrogen- and CO-rich syngas—potentially for controlling combustion phasing in homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) and other forms of advanced combustion.

When fuel is injected during negative valve overlap (NVO) in O2-deficient conditions, a portion of the fuel is reformed to products containing H2 and CO. In a paper presented at the recent SAE 2014 World Congress, the ORNL team and colleague from Sandia National Laboratories reported on the chemistry of an NVO in-cylinder reforming process as experimentally determined from a single-cylinder engine. The Oak Ridge team plans to pursue the in-cylinder reforming technique in a multi-cylinder configuration in which one of the engine cylinders would act as the reformer, “essentially breathing in reverse compared to the other cylinders (breathing in from the exhaust manifold and exhausting into the intake system).”

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Lexus introduces new NX compact crossover and hybrid; first twin scroll turbocharger in lineup

April 20, 2014

2015 Lexus NX 300h. Click to enlarge.

Lexus introduced the NX compact crossover and hybrid at the 2014 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition. (Earlier post.) The all-new NX is Lexus’ first entry into the luxury compact crossover segment.

The Lexus NX compact crossover offers the brand’s first gasoline turbo engine in the NX 200t. The 2.0L NX 200t turbo will balance fuel economy with responsive acceleration and agility and will be available in the US market along with the NX 300h hybrid. The availability of NX model range, including the NX 200 with a naturally aspirated engine, will vary by market.

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Subaru introduces 5th-gen AWD Outback with up to 10% improvement in fuel economy

April 17, 2014

2015 Outback. Click to enlarge.

Subaru of America, Inc. introduced the 5th-generation 2015 Outback. The 2015 all-wheel drive Outback offers the roomiest interior, most capable chassis and highest fuel-efficiency in the model’s 20-year history.

New for 2015, all Outback models come standard with the Lineartronic CVT (continuously variable transmission), which features paddle-shift control switches and is instrumental in the Outback’s significantly improved fuel economy. Manufacturer-estimated ratings of 25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined (9.4, 7.1 and 8.4 l/100 lm, respectively) for the Outback 2.5i model are up from 24/30/26 (9.8, 7.8 and 9.0 l/100 km, respectively) in the 2014 model—a 7.7% improvement in the combined figure.

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Promising Delphi 1st-gen Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition engine meeting ultra fuel efficient program targets

Researchers at Delphi Powertrain, in collaboration with colleagues at Hyundai Motor, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Wisconsin Engine Research Consultants (WERC), have developed a first-generation multi-cylinder Gasoline Direct Injection Compression Ignition (GDCI) engine, based on several years of extensive simulations and single-cylinder engine tests. (Earlier post, earlier post.)

In a presentation at the SAE 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium and then in a paper given at SAE 2014 World Congress, Mark Sellnau, Engineering Manager, Delphi Advanced Powertrain, reported that Brake Specific Fuel Consumption for the 1.8L GDCI engine was significantly better than advanced production spark-ignited gasoline engines, and comparable to very efficient hybrid vehicle engines at their best efficiency conditions (214 g/kWh). Compared to new diesel engines, the Delphi team found that BSFC for GDCI at light loads was comparable or better, and at high loads was about 5% higher.

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New 7th-generation Hyundai Sonata updates design, tweaks powertrain

April 16, 2014

2015 Sonata 2.0T Click to enlarge.

Hyundai introduced its seventh-generation 2015 Sonata mid-size sedan at the New York International Auto Show. The new generation offers a more refined look through a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced noise, vibration and harshness and advanced safety and convenience features.

Hyundai continues its all four-cylinder Theta engine lineup for the 2015 Sonata. (Information on the 2015 Sonata Hybrid will come later this year.) A revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder engine powers SE, Limited and Sport models. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 185 horsepower (138 kW) and 178 lb-ft (241 N·m) of torque.

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Achates: LD opposed-piston, 2-stroke diesel can meet 2025 final CAFE, Tier 3 standards for full-size pickup; 30% better FE than Cummins ATLAS

April 15, 2014

Brake specific fuel consumption map for the LD Achates opposed-piston engine. The map is extremely flat, with the engine’s high efficiency extending to low loads. Source: Achates Power. Click to enlarge.

Achates Power, Inc., the developer of a family of two-stroke compression-ignition opposed-piston engines (earlier post), has performed an in-depth study on the performance and emissions of light-duty version of its engine packaged for a full-size pickup truck.

The results of the exercise, reported by Fabien Redon, Achates VP of Technology Development at the recent SAE 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium and the SAE 2014 World Congress, show that the Achates Power two-stroke opposed piston engine could meet and exceed—with no hybridization—the final 2025 light-truck CAFE fuel economy regulation for a full-size 5,500 lb pick-up truck and has the potential to achieve the engine-out emissions targets to meet the fully phased in LEV III/ Tier 3 emissions with the appropriate aftertreatment. Furthermore, the study shows the potential for a 30% improvement in fuel economy over the equivalent performance Cummins ATLAS Tier 2 Bin 2 engine (earlier post) as well as a significant improvement in NOx and PM (42-74%, depending upon drive cycle and pollutant).

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2015 VW Jetta to debut at New York Show; new EA288 diesel version already LEV3/Tier 3 compliant

April 14, 2014

2015 Jetta. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen is presenting the world premiere of the redesigned 2015 Jetta sedan at the 2014 New York International Auto Show. In addition to its three four-cylinder gasoline engines (2.0-liter naturally aspirated and 1.8T and 2.0T TSI Gen 3 turbocharged EA888 engines) and the a 1.4-liter turbocharged full hybrid version, the new Jetta offers the new EA288 2.0-liter diesel (earlier post).

The 2.0-liter 150-horsepower (112 kW) EA288 TDI Clean Diesel engine offered in the 2015 Jetta already conforms to the upcoming LEV3/Tier 3 emissions standard (earlier post) in the USA. Compared to the previous engine, the efficiency of this new generation TDI was improved by another 8%. The Jetta TDI Clean Diesel with a manual transmission delivers a manufacturer-estimated 32 city/45 highway mpg (7.35/5.23 l/100 km); its combined fuel economy is projected to be around 37 mpg (6.36 l/100 km).

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Volkswagen to unveil Golf Sportwagen concept at New York show; previewing replacement for Jetta Sportwagen

April 11, 2014

Golf Sportwagen. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen of America, Inc. will debut a concept version of the latest SportWagen model featuring a 4MOTION all-wheel drive system and the new EA288 TDI Clean Diesel engine (earlier post) at the New York Auto Show. The concept previews the new Golf SportWagen that will go on sale in early 2015.

Based on the new MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture, the Golf SportWagen will continue the trend introduced by the seventh generation Golf whereby it is lighter, bigger, roomier, more fuel efficient and more powerful than the outgoing SportWagen model. The new SportWagen will be offered with two powertrains:

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Toyota introducing new series of gasoline engines with gain of at least 10% fuel efficiency; up to 38% maximum thermal efficiency

April 10, 2014

New 1.3L Atkinson cycle engine can reach a thermal efficiency of 38%. Click to enlarge.

Toyota Motor Corporation has developed a new series of fuel-efficient gasoline engines that achieve improved thermal efficiency. The new engines leverage combustion and loss-reduction technologies Toyota has refined in its dedicated hybrid engines (such as use of the Atkinson cycle) as well as in its conventional engines, and will deliver fuel efficiency improvements of at least 10% over current vehicles (based on the JC08 cycle).

In developing the new engines, Toyota focused on four key areas: rapid combustion; a higher compression ratio; reduced pumping losses (e.g., through using the Atkinson cycle and large-volume cooled EGR); and low friction.

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ExxonMobil, Corning and Toyota develop onboard membrane system to separate gasoline into octane fractions to optimize engine efficiency and performance

ExxonMobil, Corning and Toyota have collaborated to develop an Onboard Separation System (OBS) to optimize gasoline engine efficiency and performance. OBS is a membrane-based process that separates gasoline into higher and lower octane fractions—essentially creating a dual fuel system from a single base fuel—allowing optimal use of fuel components based on engine requirements. The system, say the researchers, offers the potential to exploit most of the benefits of operating on premium high octane fuel while using less expensive regular grade more effectively.

In a paper on the OBS presented at the SAE 2014 World Congress, the researchers suggested that potential applications include downsizing to increase fuel economy by ∼10% while maintaining performance, and or using OBS with turbocharging to improve performance and knock resistance.

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SwRI D-EGR gasoline demo vehicle delivers diesel efficiency at lower cost; potential for LEV III/Tier 3 emissions

April 09, 2014

Specific BSFC improvements from the D-EGR engine relative to baseline engine. Overall, the engine offered a 13.1% improvement in city fuel economy (24.5 to 27.7 mpg) and a 9.2% improvement on the highway (43.6 to 47.6 mpg). Chadwell et al., 2014-01-1190. Click to enlarge.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) announced preliminary test results of its Dedicated-Exhaust Gas Recirculation (D-EGR) demonstration vehicle (earlier post) at the SAE 2014 World Congress in Detroit. D-EGR is a SwRI-developed gasoline engine concept that uses in-cylinder fuel reforming to produce CO and H2 (with Research Octane Numbers of 106 and 130, respectively) and high levels of recirculated gas (EGR) to achieve very high levels of thermal efficiency.

The D-EGR demonstrator is a converted 2012 Buick Regal with a 2.0-liter gasoline direct injection engine. In their paper, the SwRI researchers reported that the conversion to D-EGR improved engine efficiency and fuel consumption at least 10% across the performance map, with some operating conditions seeing substantially higher improvements. The D-EGR engine offers efficiency similar to diesel engine (~40% BTE) but at half the cost; it also demonstrates the potential for meeting the very stringent LEV III/Tier 3 emissions.

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Ford unveils new 2015 Focus four-door sedan; 1.0L EcoBoost with start/stop comes to US model

2015 Focus four-door sedan. Click to enlarge.

Ford unveiled the new Ford Focus four-door sedan prior to its debut at the 2014 New York International Auto Show next week. The debut of the new Focus four-door sedan and the Focus Electric in New York follows the Geneva Motor Show debut in March of the Focus three- and five-door hatchback and wagon. (Earlier post.) A new version of the performance Focus ST will be shown later this year.

The redesigned Ford Focus offers a bolder exterior design, an improved interior, a range of advanced driver assistance technologies and the additional powertrain option of Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a new six-speed manual transmission and standard Auto Start-Stop feature in the US-spec Focus. US EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available.

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DOE releases five-year strategic plan, 2014-2018; supporting “all of the above” energy strategy

April 08, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) released its five-year 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The plan is organized into 12 strategic objectives aimed at three distinct goals: Science and Energy; Nuclear Security; and Management and Performance. These objectives represent broad cross-cutting and collaborative efforts across DOE headquarters, site offices, and national laboratories.

The overarching goal for Science and Energy is: “Advance foundational science, innovate energy technologies, and inform data driven policies that enhance US economic growth and job creation, energy security, and environmental quality, with emphasis on implementation of the President’s Climate Action Plan to mitigate the risks of and enhance resilience against climate change.” Under that, the plan sketches out 3 strategic goals:

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ERTRAC publishes roadmap on energy carriers and powertrains; role for power-to-gas

April 07, 2014

Main technology trends and the vision share of engines in Europe. [ERTRAC / EUCAR] Click to enlarge.

The European Road Transport Research Advisory Council (ERTRAC) has published a new roadmap assessing energy carriers and powertrains in the context of the European target to achieve a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions from transport by 2050. ERTRAC is the European Technology Platform (ETP) for Road Transport recognized and supported by the European Commission. ERTRAC has more than 50 members, representing all the actors of the Road Transport System: transport industry, European associations, EU Member States, local authorities, European Commission services, etc.

The analysis concludes that while the goal is challenging, it is also realizable; however the overall high-level goals need to be segmented into precise targets for the different industries and stakeholders. For the topic of future road mobility these are the development of alternative and decarbonized fuels and energy carriers; and higher powertrain efficiency leading to cleaner mobility and reduction in resource demand.

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FEV and Neander Motors AG showcasing double-crankshaft turbo-diesel outboard marine engine at SAE World Congress

April 04, 2014

FEV North America, Inc. a leading developer of advanced powertrain and vehicle system technologies, will showcase a turbo-diesel outboard marine engine developed in cooperation with Neander Motors AG at the upcoming SAE World Congress 8-10 April at COBO Center in Detroit.

Neander, based in Kiel, Germany, is a developer of high performance diesel engines and air compressors for a range of projected applications. The central aspect of Neander technology is a counter-rotating double crankshaft; the pistons act on the two opposing crankshafts via two connecting rods. The double crankshaft offers a number of benefits, according to Neander, including:

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Scania introduces new 100% biodiesel version of 16-liter V8; Euro 6 with EGR and SCR

April 02, 2014

Scania 16-liter V8 580 hp Euro 6 engine with EGR and SCR is available in a 100% biodiesel version. Click to enlarge.

Scania is adding another alternative to its engine lineup with a 100% biodiesel (EN 14214) configuration of a 16-liter, 580 hp (433 kW) V8 engine in the R-series. Today, Scania notes, biodiesel is probably the most uncomplicated solution from a user perspective for reducing the effects on the environment from heavy trucks.

Scania now has five different engines for biodiesel operation in its range, with a power span of 320-580 hp (238 kW to 433 kW). In October 2013, Scania introduced its five-cylinder, 9-liter biodiesel engine in 320 hp (238 kW) and 360 hp (268 kW) versions. These were followed by the 13-liter, inline six engine in 450 hp (336 kW) and 490 hp (365 kW) versions with SCR and EGR aftertreatment systems.

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Walmart showcases WAVE tractor-trailer at MATS; micro-turbine range extended electric vehicle with 45.5 kWh Li-ion pack

March 28, 2014

Walmart showcased its Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Ky. WAVE is a tractor-trailer combination that features leading edge aerodynamics; an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain; electrified auxiliary components; and control systems.

The project aims to demonstrate a wide range of advanced technologies and designs Walmart is considering in an effort to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet and lower the company’s carbon footprint. Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel-neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels.

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JEC updates well-to-wheels study on automotive fuels and powertrains; electro-mobility, natural gas and biofuels

March 27, 2014

WTW energy expended and GHG emissions for conventional fuels ICE and hybrid vehicles shows the potential for improvement of conventional fuels and ICE based vehicles. Source: EUR 26236 EN - 2014 Click to enlarge.

Europe’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and its partners in the JEC Consortium—JRC, EUCAR (the European Council for Automotive R&D) and CONCAWE (the oil companies European association for environment, health and safety in refining and distribution)—have published a new version of the Well-to-Wheels Analysis of Future Automotive Fuels and Powertrains in the European Context. (Earlier post.)

The updated version includes a longer-term outlook by expanding the time horizon from 2010 and beyond to 2020 and beyond. It adds an assessment of electrically chargeable vehicle configurations, such as plug-in hybrid, range extended, battery and fuel-cell electric vehicles. It also introduces an update of natural gas pathways, taking into account the addition of a European shale gas pathway. Furthermore, biofuel pathways, including an entirely new approach to NOx emissions from farming, were thoroughly revised.

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Kenworth and Peterbilt introduce more fuel-efficient Class 8 trucks

Kenworth T680 Advantage. Click to enlarge.

At the Mid-America Trucking show, PACCAR companies Kenworth and Peterbilt introduced more fuel efficient version of their heavy-duty models: the Kenworth T680 Advantage and the Peterbilt Model 579 with EPIQ package. Kenworth says that the T680 Advantage can deliver up to a 5% fuel efficiency enhancement over a standard T680. Peterbilt says that the Model 579 with EPIQ package can improve fuel efficiency compared to a standard Model 579 by up to 10%.

Both trucks rely on a combination of the PACCAR MX-13 engine with an Eaton Fuller Advantage Automated Transmission. This pairing features precise communication between the engine and transmission, as well as proprietary control logic to further enhance fuel economy.

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Engine testing shows environmental and performance benefits of hydrotreated vegetable oil as renewable diesel fuel

March 25, 2014

Comparison of power loss and fuel consumption among BD, HVO and iso-HVO. Source: Kim et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers in South Korea from SK Innovation and Chungbuk National University compared the engine and emissions performance of 16 different blends of petro-diesel, biodiesel (BD), hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO, i.e., drop-in renewable diesel); and iso-HVO (isomerized-hydrotreated vegetable oil) on an engine dynamometer and chassis dynamometer with a 1.5-liter diesel engine and passenger car.

The results, reported in a paper in the journal Fuel, show that iso-HVO has much better engine performance than BD and slightly better than HVO, but slightly worse than petro-diesel. On the emissions side, iso-HVO and HVO blended diesel emit less THC and CO than BD, even though iso-HVO blended diesel emits similar level of NOx and PM to blended BD. All three kinds biofuels at 50% blend ratios showed a decrease of particle concentrations at all size ranges compared to petro-diesel.

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A closer look at the basics of Volkswagen Group’s important new 2.0L diesel MDB engine

March 22, 2014

The EA288 2.0-liter diesel, prominently showing the closely attached exhaust aftertreatment system. Click to enlarge.

The Volkswagen Group’s new 2.0-liter TDI diesel (EA288) will eventually replace all the 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engines fitted in Audi and Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel models, and as such, is a strategically important engine. (Earlier post.) The Group was responsible for 79% of all light-duty passenger diesel sales in the US in 2013; worldwide, every fourth car sold by the Group is a diesel, said Dr. Johannes Arning, of Volkswagen’s Powertrain Product Management group.

The new 2.0L TDI is a turbocharged, common-rail, direct-injection four-cylinder engine based on the Volkswagen Group’s modular diesel toolkit (MDB, Modularen Diesel Baukasten). (Earlier post.) Volkswagen also has a modular gasoline engine toolkit, the MOB (Modularen Ottomotor Baukasten), which includes the new EA211 series. Both MDB and MOB play critical roles in the Volkswagen Group’s larger MQB modular toolkit, which is in turn one of the four main modular toolkits (modularen Baukästen) of the Group: the MQB (transverse); the MLB (longitudinal); the MSB (standard drive); and the NSF (New Small Family).

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Study finds lubricating oil the dominant source of primary organic aerosol from both diesel and gasoline vehicles

March 20, 2014

Comparison plot showing mass fractions (Fm) of chemically characterized components of lubricating oils and POA. Credit: ACS, Worton et al. Click to enlarge.

Findings from a study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that lubricating oil is the dominant source of primary organic aerosol (POA) from both gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Unburned diesel fuel makes an additional smaller contribution, with an additional smaller contribution from unburned gasoline. A paper on the work is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Motor vehicles are major sources of organic carbon emissions, with implications for human health and air quality, especially in urban areas. The emitted organic carbon is in the form of both primary particulate matter (PM) and gas phase organic compounds of a wide range of volatilities that can be oxidized in the atmosphere to form secondary organic aerosol (SOA). (Earlier post.) The majority of fine PM from vehicles is carbonaceous in the form of either black (BC) or organic carbon, the latter of which is directly emitted as primary organic aerosol (POA).

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GM introducing new generation of modular 3- and 4-cylinder Ecotec engines; 11 variants from 1.0L to 1.5L

March 19, 2014

New Ecotec 1.0L I-3, 1.4L I-4, 1.5L I-4 engines. Click to enlarge.

GM is introducing a new generation of Ecotec small-displacement engines (1.0 to 1.5 liters) featuring a modular architecture that broadens its adaptability to global markets and reduces manufacturing complexity while offering customers efficiency, refinement and durability.

GM developed the new engines for the company’s global vehicle portfolio; the engines will power many of the company’s highest-volume small cars and compact crossovers, including the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze specifically tailored for China, which launches in 2014 as a 2015 model. The new engine family, including naturally aspirated and turbocharged variants, will make its way into five GM brands and 27 models by the 2017 model year, said Steve Kiefer, GM vice president, Global Powertrain Engineering.

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New VW EA288 diesel to debut in 2H 2014 in the MY 2015 Golf, Jetta, Passat and Beetle; MDB comes to the US (updated with diagrams)

March 18, 2014

Main modules of development of the EA288 diesel. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen of America announced that the new 2.0-liter EA288 diesel engine will power the 2015 Golf, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Passat, and Jetta, all of which are set to arrive in dealer showrooms in the second half of 2014. The EA288 is based on the Volkswagen MDB, its modular diesel engine toolkit (Modularen Diesel Baukasten) (earlier post).

The new EA288 engine will eventually replace all the 2.0-liter diesels currently fitted in Audi and Volkswagen TDI Clean Diesel models. This turbocharged, common-rail, direct-injection four-cylinder engine makes 150 hp (112 kW)—an increase of 10 hp over the current engine—and 236 lb-ft (320 N·m) of torque. This powerplant shares only the bore spacing with the previous diesel engine that had the same designation.

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EU approves Mercedes-Benz ECO Thermo engine cover as fuel-saving Eco-innovation

Phantom graphics of the Mercedes-Benz S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID showing ECO Thermo engine cover. Click to enlarge.

The European Commission has approved the new ECO Thermo Cover engine compartment encapsulation in the Mercedes-Benz S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID (earlier post) as a manufacturer’s Eco-innovation. Insulating buildings saves energy; Mercedes engineers have adopted a similar idea in the car.

With insulating partitions in the engine compartment and a radiator shutter that is closed when the car is at a standstill, the heat inside the Mercedes-Benz S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID remains in the engine compartment, even if the vehicle is stopped for some time. When the engine is started again, the higher temperatures reduce friction in the engine, minimize cold-start losses, and cut CO2 emissions. Tests performed at Mercedes-Benz indicate an average fuel saving of up to 1.5 liters per full 70-liter tank (i.e., around 2.1%) over the course of a year.

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Eaton and Cummins Westport launch first automated transmission/natural gas engine package for N.A. Market; expanding SmartAdvantage diesel packages

March 10, 2014

ISXG12 G paired with UltraShift PLUS. Click to enlarge.

Eaton and Cummins Westport, a joint-venture company of Cummins Inc. and Westport Innovations (NASDAQ: WPRT/TSX: WPT), are introducing an integrated powertrain package for the Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine that will provide customers with the first automated transmission to be paired with a spark-ignited natural gas engine in the North American market. The powertrain will combine an Eaton UltraShift PLUS automated transmission with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine.

Eaton and Cummins also announced that their popular SmartAdvantage Powertrain package is being expanded to include applications for the ISX12 diesel engine and ISX15 SmartAdvantage applications up to 110,000 lb gross vehicle weight (GVW). The product initially integrated an Eaton Fuller Advantage Series Automated Transmission with the Cummins ISX15 engine.

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Toyota revamps 1.0L 3-cylinder engine for new AYGO; up to 60 mpg in ECO version

March 05, 2014

New AYGO. Click to enlarge.

Toyota’s new AYGO, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, is equipped with an improved version of Toyota’s award-winning 3-cylinder, 1.0-liter VVT-i gasoline engine. Still one of the lightest engines in its class, the unit incorporates numerous revisions that enhance performance and help deliver class-leading fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions.

Gasoline engines are chosen by 85% of A-segment customers in Europe. “We wanted to improve performance, as well as economy. In the A-segment, running costs are paramount—customers don’t want to spend a fortune on fuel bills. But at the same time, we didn’t want to resort to costly technology to reduce consumption, as this would have driven the vehicle price up too much. So our challenge was to come up with relatively simple yet clever ways to achieve our targets,” said David Terai, Chief Engineer of new AYGO.

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Maxwell Technologies introduces ultracapacitor-based engine start module for medium-duty diesel trucks

ESM 31-900_Left Angle_NoBG
New medium-duty ESM. The third terminal connects to the starter solenoid. Click to enlarge.

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. is expanding its ultracapacitor-based Engine Start Module (ESM) product line (earlier post) to provide the same benefits to class 3 through 6 medium-duty trucks that it has been offering previously to class 7 and 8 heavy-duty diesel trucks.

Maxwell’s ESM ULTRA 31/900 assumes the starting responsibility for the truck and effectively eliminates cranking problems that come from weak or discharged batteries. Consistent with Maxwell’s current award-winning ESM product, the ESM ULTRA 31/900 delivers the quick-burst power trucks need to crank their engines in extreme cold, down to -40°F.

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Mazda introduces HAZUMI concept along with new 1.5-liter SKYACTIV-D diesel

HAZUMI. Click to enlarge.

Mazda unveiled the HAZUMI next-generation subcompact at the Geneva Motor Show. Mazda is focusing on four key areas with its new generation models: KODO—Soul of Motion design language; SKYACTIV technology; Mazda Proactive Safety; and a new car connectivity system called Mazda Connect. (The name Mazda Connect is used in Japan, US, Canada and Mexico. The system is referred to as MZD Connect in other markets.) The MAZDA HAZUMI brings together all four of these elements and foreshadows Mazda upcoming next-generation subcompact car.

The MAZDA HAZUMI marks the world premiere of the SKYACTIV-D 1.5. This compact and lightweight clean diesel engine is designed for combustion efficiency, just like the larger displacement SKYACTIV-D 2.2. (Earlier post.) It offers ample torque and dynamic performance which is linear right up to the top of the revolution range, and below 90 g/km CO2 with the Mazda HAZUMI. It will also fulfill stringent Euro 6 requirements without aftertreatment systems such as a NOx trap or selective catalytic reduction.

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Ford 2015 F-Series Super Duty lineup features 2nd-gen 6.7L Power Stroke V8 diesel; also on MY 2016 F-650/F-750 medium-duty trucks

Ford’s MY 2015 F-Series Super Duty heavy-duty pickup trucks feature engine and chassis upgrades that together deliver best-in-class horsepower, torque and towing capacity. Ford’s second-generation 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel now offers 440 horsepower (328 kW), up from 400 horsepower (298 kW), and 860 lb-ft (1,166 N·m) of torque, up from 800 lb-ft (1,085 N·m), across all Super Duty models from F-250 to F-450.

The new engine will also be featured on the MY 2016 F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks, available in spring 2015. The current F-650/F-750 models offer the Cummins ISB 6.7L turbo diesel in addition to Ford’s 6.8L V-10 gasoline engine. “The 6.7-liter Power Stroke was already a stout engine. The improvements we’ve made essentially give Super Duty customers an engine designed for our larger F-650 and F-750 trucks, said Robert Fascetti, Ford vice president powertrain engineering.

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Jeep introduces new Renegade small SUV; segment-first 9-speed transmission

March 04, 2014

2015 Jeep Renegade. Click to enlarge.

Jeep unveiled the new 2015 Jeep Renegade small SUV at the Geneva Motor Show. Designed for global markets, the Renegade offers 16 powertrain combinations globally and the segment’s first nine-speed automatic transmission.

Leveraging 4x4 technology from the new Jeep Cherokee, the Renegade offers a full-time 4x4 system (Jeep Active Drive) and a full-time 4x4 system with 20:1 crawl ratio (Jeep Active Drive Low) The Renegade is also the first small SUV to feature a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit (PTU) (earlier post) to provide Jeep Renegade 4x4 models with enhanced fuel economy. The system instantly engages when 4x4 traction is needed.

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Westport and Delphi sign joint development agreement to commercialize natural gas injector technology for heavy-duty applications

March 03, 2014

Westport Innovations Inc. and Delphi Automotive have signed a joint development agreement under which the two will combine their intellectual property and engineering strengths to co-develop and manufacture high-pressure natural gas fuel injectors designed for multiple heavy-duty engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The first in a family of injectors to be developed will be one of the core components of Westport’s recently announced HPDI 2.0 fuel system. (Earlier post.)

Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel in a diesel (compression ignition) cycle along with a small amount of diesel fuel as an ignition source. Core to the approach is a patented injector with a dual-concentric needle design. This allows small quantities of diesel fuel and large quantities of natural gas to be delivered at high pressure to the combustion chamber.

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Lexus RC F makes its European debut at Geneva; V8 with Otto-Atkinson cycle

March 02, 2014

Lexus will stage the European premiere of the new RC F—which made its global debut at the North American International Auto Show in January—at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. The RC F features an all-new 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 engine that, for the first time in a Lexus performance engine, uses the Atkinson cycle at cruising speeds for enhanced fuel economy and then switches to the Otto cycle at higher rpm to develop impressive performance levels.

The notion of combining the Atkinson cycle at part loads with the Otto cycle at full loads stretches back more than 30 years to a 1982 paper by a team of researchers from Tel-Aviv University and the Israel Institute of Technology.

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KSPG awarded $342M in contracts for new compact EGR valve

February 26, 2014

Compact EGR valve. Click to enlarge.

Pierburg GmbH, a member of the KSPG Group, has been awarded contracts worth a lifetime total of €250 million (US$342 million) for a newly developed compact exhaust-gas recirculation valve. (Earlier post.) Ordered by European and North American automakers, the valve will be installed in engines designed to comply with the Euro 6 emission norm.

The valve recently became a standard feature from a German premium carmaker. The other valves ordered will be installed in 2014 and 2015 when certain new engines go into production at the European and US plants of further manufacturers. With its comparatively compact footprint, the valve takes into account the continuous shrinkage of engine space on present car ranges.

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SwRI develops D-EGR demonstrator highlighting fuel-efficient, cost-effective engine; 10% and above fuel economy improvements

February 25, 2014

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has built a demonstrator vehicle, based on a 2012 Buick Regal GS, incorporating the latest D-EGR (dedicated EGR) technology (earlier post), an outgrowth of SwRI’s HEDGE (High Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Engine) consortium projects (earlier post). The vehicle is currently delivering about a ~13% improvement on the FTP and 10% on the HwFET cycles, according to Dr. Terry Alger, SwRI Assistant Director, Engine & Vehicle R&D, Engine, Emissions & Vehicle Research.

Staff at the non-profit research organization presented it with little fanfare to the SwRI board of directors and advisory trustees along with 7 other research projects at the 66th annual meeting on Monday. The demonstrator will be present at the upcoming SAE 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium in Detroit in April; SwRI engineers are presenting a paper (2014-01-1190) at the SAE 2014 World Congress on the development of the demonstrator’s engine.

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Ford reveals redesigned 2015 Ford Focus with 1.0L EcoBoost engine option

February 24, 2014

2015 Ford Focus. Click to enlarge.

Ford revealed the redesigned 2015 Ford Focus at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry. The new Focus will make its auto show debut at Geneva next week. In addition to a number of styling and technological advances, the new Focus will offer 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a six-speed transmission—surpassing the fuel efficiency of the previous model. (Earlier post.)

The smallest engine in the company’s growing EcoBoost family will increase the choice for Ford customers in the United States, as Fiesta is already available with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

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Renault introduces 1.6-liter Twin Turbo diesel engine; leveraging F1 learnings

February 20, 2014

Energy dCi 160 Twin Turbo will be applied in D- and E- segment models. Click to enlarge.

Leveraging work done for its F1 engine program (earlier post), Renault has introduced the Energy dCi 160 Twin Turbo, its first 1.6-liter diesel engine with twin-turbocharging. The 1,598cc block delivers 160 hp (119 kW) and 380 N·m (280 lb-ft) of torque, putting it into the realm of 2-liter engines in terms of performance; fuel consumption and CO2 emissions savings are approximately 25%.

The use of Twin Turbo technology enables a blend of low-end torque and high power at higher revs. The system comprises two sequential turbo-compressors:

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Ford unveils 2015 Expedition full-size utility; 3.5L V6 EcoBoost displaces 5.4L V8

February 19, 2014

2015 Expedition. Click to enlarge.

Ford unveiled the 2015 Expedition—Ford’s largest utility vehicle—in Dallas ahead of the 2014 DFW Auto Show. Texas is Ford’s largest market by sales volume, and home to the top two cities for Expedition sales: Dallas and Houston. The 2015 Ford Expedition will feature the 3.5-liter, direct-injected twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost engine popular in the Ford F-Series as the only engine offered in the vehicle in North America.

The new EcoBoost engine significantly changes the driving characteristics of Expedition, Ford says. Compared with the outgoing 5.4-liter V8, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost gives drivers not just better fuel economy, but more power and torque on demand at very low engine speeds.

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Peugeot showing new 108, new engines, new HYbrid Air implementation at Geneva Show

February 17, 2014

Peugeot will unveil two all-new models—the 108, successor to the popular 107; and the 308 SW—and two new engine technologies—the 1.2-liter PureTech e-THP three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines and new BlueHDi diesel emissions technology, to appear on several versions of PEUGEOT 308, 308 SW and 508—at the forthcoming Geneva Motor Show.

The company will also showcase a 2008 HYbrid Air crossover—an implementation of Peugeot’s HYbrid Air hybrid system (earlier post) in a 2008 Crossover. HYbrid Air is a full-hybrid solution combining compressed air and hydraulic power, with no battery required for energy storage. Hybrid Air combines a PureTech gasoline engine, a compressed air energy storage unit, a hydraulic pump/motor unit and an automatic transmission with an epicyclic gear train.

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Opel introducing ADAM with new 1.0L, 3-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual at Geneva

The new 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo from Opel. Click to enlarge.

At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March, Opel will introduce an ADAM will an all-new, three-cylinder turbo gasoline mated with a 6-speed manual transmission that is also from a new generation. (Earlier post.) Opel introduced the ADAM small car last year.

ADAM is the first car in the Opel range to receive this new, all-aluminum 1.0 ECOTEC Direct Injection Turbo gasoline engine that has been developed at the manufacturer’s International Technical Development Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany. The engine will come in two configurations, respectively giving 66 kW/90 hp and 85 kW/115 hp. Both deliver strong, low-end torque of 166 N·m (1222 lb-ft) from 1,800 rpm.

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BMW introducing 2 Series Active Tourer at Geneva; new 3- and 4-cylinder engines, front-wheel drive

February 14, 2014

The new compact 2 Series Active Tourer. Click to enlarge.

The new compact BMW 2 Series Active Tourer will celebrate its world premiere at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. The 2 Series Active Tourer follows the Coupe as the second member of the new BMW 2 Series line-up and features new 3- and 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel turbocharged engines, front-wheel drive (BMW’s first), EfficientDynamics technology and ConnectedDrive.

The new engines are mounted transversely and feature a compact design along with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, at the same time as complying with the EU6 emissions standard. Fuel consumption (provisional) for the 2 Series Active Tourer will range from 6.0–4.1 liters per 100 km (39–57.4 mpg US) on the European combined cycle, with CO2 emissions ranging from 139–109 g/km.

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Tata and Westport introduce new 5L engine with GEMDi dual-fuel technology, new 3.8L SI gas engine

February 12, 2014

Tata 5L engine with GEMdi. Click to enlarge.

Westport Innovations Inc. unveiled its newest proprietary dual-fuel technology: Westport gas enhanced methane diesel (Westport GEMDi), applied to Tata Motors’ new 5-liter dual-fuel methane-diesel engine. Westport GEMDi technology enables engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to offer a fully integrated, high performance engine optimized for dual fuel operation.

Westport co-developed GEMDi technology with Tata Motors on the next-generation 5L engine, targeting medium-duty trucks and buses in India. This technology provides fuel flexibility, beneficial in regions where natural gas infrastructure is emerging, such as India, and is designed to meet Euro IV and V emissions standards.

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Fiat updates 500L range for 2014 with new 120 hp diesel and gasoline engines, LPG version

February 11, 2014

Fiat is updating its 500L range for 2014 with two new turbocharged 120 hp (88 kW) engine options—the 1.6 MultiJet II turbodiesel and the 1.4 T-Jet gasoline—and a dual fuel LPG/gasoline variant of the 1.4 T-Jet.

120 HP 1.6 MultiJet II. The adoption of a small variable geometry turbocharger developed by Honeywell enables high torque delivery at low rpm— 320 N·m (236 lb-ft) at 1,750 rpm—and maximum running flexibility. A third-generation Common Rail injection system uses new injectors to manage up to eight injections per cycle. This enables actuating increasingly advanced strategies focused on optimizing the combustion— such as the Injection Rate Shaping (IRS) system which involves two consecutive injections so close together in time as to generate a continuous and modulated fuel supply into the cylinders.

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Brunel engineers optimizing CAI combustion in 2-stroke camless gasoline DI engine

February 10, 2014

Operating range of 2-stroke CAI fueled with gasoline, E10 and E85. Zhang et al. (2013a) Click to enlarge.

Researchers at Brunel University in the UK, led by Professor Hua Zhao, Head of Mechanical Engineering and Director, Centre for Advanced Powertrain and Fuels (CAPF), are investigating optimizing the performance of controlled autoignition (CAI) combustion in a four-valve camless gasoline direct injection engine running in a two-stroke cycle. Most recently, this has entailed an exploration of boosting strategies, as described in a new paper published in the International Journal of Engine Research, as well as an exploration of the effects of ethanol blends.

Controlled autoignition (e.g., homogeneous charge compression ignition, HCCI) combustion processes offer the promise of simultaneously reducing fuel consumption and NOx emissions. Accordingly, the processes have been extensively researched over the last decade and adopted on prototype gasoline engines (e.g., GM’s ongoing work, earlier post).

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Mercedes brings lean-burn, stratified BlueDirect to CLA-Class for 7% boost in fuel economy; new all-wheel A-Class diesels

February 07, 2014

BlueDIRECT 2.0L, 4-cylinder direct injection engine operates in stratified lean-burn or homogeneous modes. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz announced that seven new versions of the Mercedes-Benz A-, B- and CLA-Class now offer enhanced fuel savings compared with their respective predecessors. Additionally, the A 200 CDI 4MATIC and A 220 CDI 4MATIC represent the first all-wheel-drive diesel models forming part of the new generation of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz.

The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine of the new CLA 250 is a member of the BlueDIRECT family of gasoline engines, and was first applied in combination with exhaust-gas turbocharging and external high-pressure exhaust gas recirculation in the E 250 Coupé introduced last year (earlier post). (It is also being applied in the new C Class, as highlighted at the North American International Auto Show.) The engine—which operates in lean-burn stratified or homogeneous mode, depending on the operating state—contributes to the CLA 250’s combined cycle fuel consumption of 5.4 l/100 km (43.6 mpg US)—7% less compared to its predecessor.

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Nissan reveals Frontier Diesel Runner with 2.8L Cummins turbo diesel; leveraging ATLAS engine program

February 06, 2014

Nissan Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins. Click to enlarge.

At the Chicago Auto Show, Nissan debuted a concept diesel-powered mid-size pickup: the Frontier Diesel Runner Powered by Cummins. Based on a Frontier Desert Runner 4x2 model, was created to gauge the market reaction to a Nissan mid-size pickup with a diesel engine and plot a potential future direction for the Frontier.

The Frontier Diesel Runner arrives six months after the announcement of a partnership with Cummins Inc. to provide a 5.0-liter turbo diesel V8 in the next-generation Titan full-size pickup, which will arrive in calendar year 2015. (Earlier post.)

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2014 Toyota Verso offering new 1.6L diesel from BMW, first stop/start system

The new 1.6 D-4D for the Verso. Click to enlarge.

Toyota first introduced the Verso in 2002, and in 2013, launched the current Verso MPV, developed exclusively for the European market. Verso has sold more than 700,000 units cumulatively.

The 2014 Verso now features an expanded powertrain line-up of 4 diesel and 2 gasoline engines which introduces a new 1.6 D-4D (Direct injection – 4-stroke Diesel) engine—sourced from the BMW Group and mated to a Toyota 6-speed gearbox—to the range for the first time.

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Opel Astra with 1.6 CDTI diesel drops fuel consumption as low as 64 mpg US

With the 81 kW/110 hp turbo diesel version, the Opel Astra Sports Tourer consumes only 3.7 l/100 km (63.6 mpg US) with 97 g/km CO2 in the NEDC combined cycle. Click to enlarge.

Opel will present the new Astra 1.6 CDTI at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show in March. To be available in the high-volume Astra hatchback, Astra notchback and Astra Sports Tourer models, the 1.6 CDTI diesel engine made its debut last year in the Zafira Tourer. (Earlier post.)

The new diesel delivers 100 kW/136 hp and 320 N·m (236 lb-ft) maximum torque (as in the Zafira), with fuel consumption of 3.9 liters diesel per 100 km (60 mpg US) in the NEDC test procedure (New European Driving Cycle)—up to up to 8% less than the 1.7-liter engine it is replacing. An 81 kW/110 hp version of the new turbo diesel is even cleaner and more economical: 3.7 l/100 km (63.6 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 97 g/km. The 81 kW unit delivers 300 N·m (221 lb-ft) maximum torque (7% more than the 1.7-liter predecessor with the same hp).

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BMW premieres new 2.0-liter diesel on new X3; up to 7.1% lower fuel consumption than predecessor

BMW has unveiled its second-generation X3 mid-size Sport Activity Vehicle (SAV), first launched in 2010. The new BMW X3 is available from launch, depending on market, with a choice of four diesel and three gasoline engines, with outputs ranging from 110 kW/150 hp to 230 kW/313 hp. Among the X3 engine range, a new 2.0-liter diesel unit producing 140 kW/190 hp is making its world premier in the X3 xDrive 20d.

The new generation of all-aluminium 2.0-liter diesel engines uses common rail direct injection with solenoid valve injectors and works with increased injection pressure of 2,000 bar. This pushes the output of the X3 xDrive20d from 135 kW/184 hp up to 140 kW/190 hp, with the maximum torque available also rising from 380 to 400 N·m (280–295 lb-ft).

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel earns 28 mpg highway; best in segment

February 04, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Click to enlarge.

The 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel-powered 2014 Ram 1500 pickup (earlier post) has earned a 28-mpg (8.4 l/100 km) rating from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—the best highway-cycle test result achieved yet by a full-size, half-ton pickup. It also exceeds the EPA highway rating for the top-ranked small pickup. The combined city/highway rating is 23 mpg (10.2 l/100 km.)

On the gasoline side, the 2013 Ram 1500 equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine earned 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km) highway, a rating that stands for model-year 2014. The Ram 1500 now owns the half-ton pickup segment’s top two spots in the EPA’s 2014 highway fuel-economy rankings.

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Study finds butanol-gasoline blends effective to control soot from CI engines under Low Temperature Combustion

January 31, 2014

(Left) Thermal efficiency and (right) soot from different gasoline-butanol blends at different EGR rates. Yang et al. Click to enlarge.

A study by a team at Tianjin University found that the addition of n-butanol to gasoline for use in a compression ignition engine (CI) under Low Temperature Combustion (LTC) conditions has a significant effect on soot reduction. The peak soot value of a 30% butanol blend (B30) was 85% lower than that of pure gasoline; the EGR rate that corresponds to the peak value of soot is also decreased with the higher n-butanol fraction. Their study is published in the journal Fuel.

Partially Premixed Combustion involving the injection of gasoline fuel into CI engines is being explored by other researchers as a means to reducing simultaneously NOxand soot emissions. High octane fuels such as gasoline are preferred for high-efficiency and clean combustion at high engine loads, the Tianjin researchers note.

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Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team unveils 2014 challenger and PU106A Hybrid Power Unit; new fuel and lubricants

January 28, 2014

The PU106A Hybrid Power Unit. Click to enlarge.

The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS (Petroliam Nasional Berhad) Formula One Team unveiled the F1 W05, its 2014 challenger, at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain. Designed from the ground up as an integrated project between the Mercedes-Benz teams based at Brackley and Brixworth, this new car—the first all-new Silver Arrow to hit the track since 1954—comes in a year when Mercedes-Benz celebrates 120 years of motorsport and the 80th anniversary of the Silver Arrows.

The F1 W05 will deliver more than one-third more performance from every unit of fuel consumed. At the core of the racer is the new PU106A Hybrid Power Unit designed to meet the new philosophy and resulting requirements of Formula One. A maximum race fuel allowance of 100 kg per race, coupled with a maximum fuel flow rate of 100 kg/hour, focused development efforts on delivering performance with a set of new technologies that achieve the efficiency gain of more than 30%.

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New generation VW Polo features more fuel-efficient engines and advanced driver assistance; Polo TDI BlueMotion with 73.5 mpg

The new Volkswagen Polo. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen is introducing its next generation of the supermini (B segment) Polo, featuring a range of new EU6 engines that are up to 21% more fuel-efficient and new driver assistance technologies. All versions are available with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode.

The new Polo TDI BlueMotion takes the efficiency lead with combined fuel consumption of 3.2 l/100 km (73.5 mpgUS), or 82 g/km CO2. The Polo TSI BlueMotion, available starting this autumn, also marks the first time that a Volkswagen with a gasoline engine is being marketed as an independent BlueMotion model. The Polo TSI BlueMotion, equipped with a 1-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engine, delivers 4.1 l/100 km (57.4 mpgUS) and 94 g/km CO2.

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Report argues advanced HD natural gas vehicles foundational for California to hit air and climate goals; near zero-emission potential

Five technology paths for very-low-NOx and GHG emissions from heavy-duty natural gas engines. Click to enlarge.

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA), a consulting firm specializing in market development for low emission and alternative fuel vehicle technologies, infrastructure, and fuels for both on- and off-road applications, released a report examining the critical role that ultra-low-emission heavy-duty (HD) natural gas engines can play in helping California achieve its air quality, climate protection and petroleum-displacement goals.

The “Pathways to Near-Zero-Emission Natural Gas Heavy Duty Vehicles” report, authored by GNA on behalf of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), showcases the technologies currently under development that could deliver near-zero-emission heavy-duty natural gas engines by the end of this decade.

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California Energy Commission to award up to $10.8M in incentives for new natural gas vehicles

The California Energy Commission is soliciting (PON-13-610) applications for a total of $10.8 million in funding for natural gas vehicle incentives to reduce the purchase price of new on-road natural gas vehicles. The incentives are available on a first-come, first-served basis and at varying levels depending on the gross vehicle weight.

The solicitation is open to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). For purposes of the solicitation, an OEM is defined as an entity that manufactures and assembles vehicle chassis or engines, and sells under its name or badge complete light-, medium-, or heavy-duty vehicles or school buses. An OEM may reserve incentives directly for eligible vehicles that are sold through its dealers and distributors. Incentives are available through this solicitation only for vehicles meeting all of the following requirements:

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Nissan 1.5L, 3-cylinder 400 hp engine to complement electric Le Mans ZEOD RC powerplant

January 27, 2014

The 400 hp DIG-T R race engine. Click to enlarge.

Nissan unveiled a 400 hp (298 kW) 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine weighing only 40 kg (88 lbs) as the companion internal combustion engine for its electric ZEOD RC which will debut at Le Mans this year. (Earlier post.) At the unveiling of the ZEOD RC in June 2013, Nissan said that it would test out variants of new electric drive train technologies as part of its intended future return to LM P1 competition.

The Nissan ZEOD RC will become the first entry at Le Mans to complete a lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe under nothing but electric power in June. A single lap of each stint (a fuel stint lasts approximately one hour) will be electric powered, then the new Nissan DIG-T R 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbo engine will take over.

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Schaeffler demo vehicle hits 2020 CAFE targets without electrification; 15% cut in fuel consumption; 48V hybrid system for 2025

Schaeffler Efficient Future Mobility North America demo vehicle in Detroit. Click to enlarge.

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Schaeffler highlighted its range of fuel-efficiency technologies and systems in the form of its current demonstration vehicle: Efficient Future Mobility North America. Based on the current version of a popular mid-size SUV, the demonstration vehicle achieves the limit values specified by the CAFE standard for 2020 with no additional electrification of the powertrain.

The use and optimization of a range of Schaeffler technologies allowed the vehicle’s fuel consumption to be reduced by 15%. These values were initially simulated using Schaeffler calculation programs and verified by Schaeffler’s experts in North America using measurements and test cycles, and then certified by an independent testing institute.

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BMW introducing a 7 Series diesel model in US

January 24, 2014

BMW 7 Series Long Wheel Base. Click to enlarge.

BMW will introduce the diesel-engined BMW 740Ld xDrive Sedan in the US. The new model will feature BMW’s 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo diesel engine in the long-wheelbase 7 Series body and will include xDrive, BMW’s intelligent all-wheel drive system. The 2014 BMW 740Ld xDrive Sedan will have a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $83,425, including $925 destination and handling. It will make its US auto show debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2014 and arrive in US showrooms in Spring 2014.

The 3.0-liter inline-6 BMW Advanced Diesel engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology makes 255 hp (190 kW) at 4,000 rpm and 413 lb-ft (560 N·m) of torque from 1,500 – 3,000 rpm. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The BMW 740Ld xDrive will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

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Scania adds 13-liter biodiesel engines to its Euro 6 range

January 23, 2014

Torque and power curves for the 490 hp biodiesel engine. Click to enlarge.

Scania is introducing two Euro 6-certified, 13-liter truck engines that can run on any diesel blend, right up to 100% biodiesel (EN 14214). The versions certified for biodiesel operation are the modular, six-cylinder, 13-liter 450 and 490 hp engines with SCR and EGR aftertreatment systems. In October 2013, Scania had introduced its robust five-cylinder, 9-liter biodiesel engine in two different output versions, 320 hp and 360 hp.

The basic model of the 450 hp (336 kW) engine offers 2,350 N·m (1,733 lb-ft) of torque from 1,000 r/min, while the 490 (365 kW) produces 2,550 N·m (1,881 lb-ft) from 1,000 r/min up to 1,300 r/min. Output declines a maximum of 8% when the engines are run on 100% biodiesel fuel (due to the lower energy content in biodiesel).

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DOE to award $49.4M for advanced vehicle technologies research; meeting Tier 3 emissions

January 22, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $49.4 million to projects to to accelerate research and development of new vehicle technologies. The new program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0000991) (earlier post), was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at the Washington Auto Show.

The funding opportunity will contains a total of 13 areas of interest in the general areas of advanced light-weighting; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; advanced powertrains (including the ability to meet proposed EPA Tier 3 tailpipe emissions standards); and fuels and lubricants. These areas of interest apply to light, medium and heavy duty on-road vehicles.

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Renault Energy’s Sport F1 hybrid Power Unit; competing with intelligent energy management, not just power

Exploded view of the parts of the power unit: 1.6l turbocharged V6 engine; battery; turbocharger; MGU-K; and MGU-H. Click to enlarge.

Renault’s Energy F1-2014 hybrid Power Unit (earlier post), designed and developed for the FIA Formula One World Championship this year, is ready for the track; the 2014 season kicks off in Australia on 16 March. New FIA regulations are driving energy efficiency levels higher this year, with two types of energy propelling the cars. The internal combustion engine will produce power through consumption of traditional carbon-based fuel, while electrical energy will be harvested from both exhaust and braking by two discrete motor generator units. Teams and drivers will balance the use of the two types of energy throughout the race.

This year, the power unit is divided into six separate elements: Engine (ICE); Motor generator unit-kinetic (MGU-K); Motor generator unit-heat (MGU-H); Energy store (ES); Turbocharger (TC); and Control electronics (CE). The combination of the 1.6-liter turbocharged direct injection V6 engine (maximum speed of 15,000 rpm) with the two motor generator units and battery energy store delivers combined maximum power output of 760 bhp (567 kW), on a par with the previous V8 generation.

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Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine Consortium targeting direct-injection diesel, natural gas development

January 20, 2014

The newly formed Scuderi Split-Cycle (SSC) Engine Consortium is having its first meeting at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas on 23 January. The SSC consortium currently comprises the Scuderi Group, SwRI, Hino Motors (earlier post) and two suppliers, according to Stephen Scuderi, vice president of the Group.

The SSC Consortium—a two-year project—has two initial goals, said Scuderi. The first is to build a 150 to 250 kW split-cycle diesel research engine with air-hybrid capability (earlier post); the second is the development of a stationary research generator fuel by natural gas with compressed air energy storage capability (earlier post) for stationary applications.

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KSPG showcases numerous system and components for fuel efficiency at NAIAS; new steel pistons

The new steel pistons are due to go into series production with an OEM this year and can consume of to 4% less fuel. Produced with a single cast, the piston has integral cooling galleries. Click to enlarge.

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, tier one supplier KSPG is showcasing systems for cars, light and medium-duty commercial vehicles and components for efficient fuel and emission reduction for both gasoline and diesel vehicles. KSPG AG is the parent and flagship company of the Automotive sector of the Rheinmetall Group, Germany.

For the new, high-performance generation of diesels, KSPG is exhibiting components for the exhaust gas system, steel pistons, and ultramodern high-duty plain bearings. Also being displayed are oil, coolant and vacuum pumps addressing growing cooling requirements and stiffer challenges posed by today’s generations of engines.

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Study finds engines emit exhaust nanoparticles even when not fueled during engine braking

January 19, 2014

Exhaust particle size distributions measured by ELPI (color map) and particle concentration measured by CPC (white line) during individual engine braking conditions (speed change from 32 km/h to 0 km/h). The starting point of engine braking is marked by a vertical green line, and the end point is marked by a vertical red line. The exhaust sample was taken from the exhaust manifold. Credit: ACS, Rönkkö et al. Click to enlarge.

A new study finds that as much as 20–30% of the number of vehicle engine exhaust particles larger than 3 nm may be formed during engine braking conditions—i.e., during decelerations and downhill driving while the engine is not fueled. However, the authors note, these particles have not been taken into account in emission regulations and in the assessment of associated health risks.

The study by researchers in Finland and Greece, published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, suggests that both the characteristics of these particles and the mechanism by which they form seem to differ significantly from those of soot and nucleation particles. The study also indicates that the particles were non-volatile, formed before the catalyst, and originating from engine oil. Results thus indicate that the emissions of engine braking particles can be reduced using exhaust particle filtration systems.

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DOE issues $10M incubator FOA for batteries, power electronics, engines, materials, fuels and lubricants

January 18, 2014

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) issued an Incubator Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOAs) for a total of approximately $10 million. (DE-FOA-0000988)

EERE is focused on achieving well‐defined mid‐to‐long term clean energy goals for the US, and in that context has established multi‐year plans and roadmaps, with a concomitant focus of the majority of its resources on a limited number of “highest probability of success” pathways/approaches to ensure that the program initiatives are supported at a critical mass (both in terms of dollars and time) for maximum impact. While this roadmap‐based approach can be a strength, it can also create challenges in recognizing and exploring unanticipated, game changing pathways/approaches which may ultimately be superior to the pathways/approaches on the existing roadmaps.

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Oak Ridge Lab study finds E30 blend and EGR can deliver significant efficiency improvements in optimized SI engines

January 17, 2014

Estimated gasoline equivalent MPG of each fuel and combustion strategy in a midsize sedan at a 65 mph steady cruise condition, referenced to chassis dyno data of the production GM Ecotec SI engine and vehicle. CDC = conventional diesel combustion. Credit: ACS, Splitter and Szybist (2014a). Click to enlarge.

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) report that an E30 (30% ethanol) mid-level ethanol blend shows promise as a means for significant improvement in vehicle efficiency in optimized spark-ignited (SI) engines. Results of the study by Derek Splitter and Jim Szybist suggest that it could be possible to implement a 40% downsize + downspeed configuration (1.2 L engine) into a representative midsize sedan using this combination of optimized engine and mid-level alcohol blend.

As an example, for a midsize sedan at a 65 mph (105 km/h) cruise, estimated fuel efficiency of 43.9 mpg (5.4 l/100 km) with engine-out CO2 of 102 g/km could be achieved with similar reserve power to a 2.0 L engine fueled with regular gasoline (38.6 mpg/6.1 l/100km, engine out CO2 of 135 g/km). The data suggest that, with midlevel alcohol–gasoline blends, engine and vehicle optimization can offset the reduced fuel energy content of alcohol–gasoline blends and likely reduce vehicle fuel consumption and tailpipe CO2 emissions.

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Dearman liquid air engine moving into performance mapping, in-vehicle trials; diesel hybrid potential

The Dearman liquid air engine—an innovative heat engine that uses liquid air (or liquid nitrogen) as a “fuel” and emits cold air as exhaust (earlier post)—completed its shakedown testing milestone at the end of 2013 at Imperial College, London, and is moving into a three-month program of tests and performance mapping.

The developer, Dearman Engine Company (DEC), confirms that the engine remains on track for integration and installation on a vehicle by MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association) in the first half of this year. The project—in partnership with MIRA, Air Products and Loughborough University and jointly funded by the consortium partners and the UK Government (IDP8)—will demonstrate and test the Dearman Engine on a refrigerated truck providing zero-emission cooling and power during 2014, before moving to full on-road field trials.

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Audi using supplementary port fuel injection to address particulates from gasoline direct injection

January 14, 2014

Elements of the dual injection system. Red is for the high-pressure direct injection system, blue for the low pressure MPI system. Credit: Audi. Click to enlarge.

The 2.0-liter EA888 Gen3 engine featured in Audi’s all-road shooting brake plug-in hybrid concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show this week (earlier post) features—as does its production ilk—a dual injection system that combines direct injection with indirect injection into the intake manifold. In part-load operation, the indirect injection supplements direct gasoline injection to improve fuel economy and to reduce the output of particulates from the engine. (Earlier post.)

Audi says the approach is sufficient to meet Euro 6 particle limits without the use of a particulate filter. (Earlier post.) The EU has set a standard for 6 × 1012 number/km limits between 2014 and 2017, tightening to 6 × 1011 number/km. (Earlier post.)

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New Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan features standard nine speed transmission, expected 35 mpg highway

2015 Chrysler 200. Click to enlarge.

Chrysler introduced the revamped new 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan at the Detroit Auto Show. The mid-size sedan segment is one of the largest segments in North America, with more than 2 million sales annually. The 200 is the industry’s first mid-size sedan with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission, which enables expected highway fuel economy ratings of 35 mpgUS (6.7 l/100 km) when coupled with the 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine.

The standard Tigershark engine delivers 184 horsepower (137 kW) and 173 lb-ft (235 N·m) of torque, equating to horsepower improvements of 6% and torque improvements of 10% compared with the outgoing four-cylinder engine, with an overall fuel economy improvement of 13%. In addition to the standard 2.4-liter MultiAir2 Tigershark I-4 engine, a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine is available, which delivers 295 horsepower (220 kW) and 262 lb-ft (355 N·m) of torque.

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Honda introduces all-new 2015 Fit at Detroit; more fuel efficient, with new 1.5L VTEC

January 13, 2014

2015 Fit. Click to enlarge.

Honda unveiled the all-new 2015 Fit at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Set to go on sale in the US this spring, the new subcompact Fit is completely redesigned, featuring a sportier style. Retaining a similar exterior footprint to the current model, the new Fit is slightly shorter (-1.6 in.) and wider (+0.3 in.) with a longer wheelbase (+1.2 in.), resulting in improved handling and maneuverability. The new Fit also delivers a significant increase in passenger volume (+4.9 cu ft) and rear legroom (+4.8 in.) compared to the previous model.

The 2015 Fit marks the US debut of an all-new direct-injected 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine. Generating 130 horsepower (97 kW) at 6500 rpm and 114 lb-ft (155 N·m) of torque at 4600 rpm, engine output is increased by 13 horsepower and 8 lb-ft compared to the outgoing engine, while reducing weight and improving efficiency.

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Ford unveils next-gen F-150; up to 700 lbs lighter, new 2.7L EcoBoost with stop-start

2015 F-150. Click to enlarge.

Ford introduced the all-new Ford F-150 at its press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The “reinvention” of this critical vehicle for Ford features an improved fully boxed ladder frame that incorporates more high-strength steel than ever, making it stronger and lighter.

Aluminum alloys are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance and also saving weight. Overall, up to 700 pounds (318 kg) of weight have been saved. As one of the four engine options, the new F-150 also offers a new 2.7L EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop.

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GMC unveils the midsize 2015 Canyon pickup; diesel coming in 2016

2015 GMC Canyon All Terrain SLE Extended Cab Short Bed Click to enlarge.

GMC revealed the new 2015 Canyon midsize pickup on the eve of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Based on a proven global architecture, the new Canyon will initially offer two engines, with a Duramax 2.8L turbodiesel engine coming in the 2016 model year.

The standard 2.5L I-4 is estimated at 193 horsepower (146 kW) and 184 lb-ft of torque (253 N·m), with approximately 90% of the peak torque available from 2,000 rpm to 6,200 rpm. The 3.6L V-6 engine is estimated at 302 horsepower (224 kW) and 270 lb-ft of torque (366 N·m). SAE certification of the power ratings is pending. Both engines feature direct injection and variable valve timing.

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Audi wheeling out all-road shooting brake plug-in hybrid concept at Detroit show; the first e-tron quattro

January 12, 2014

Shooting brake concept. Click to enlarge.

Audi will unveil an all-road shooting brake plug-in hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The two-door car is a crossover; its hybrid drive demonstrates a new form of quattro drive—the e-tron quattro.

The Audi allroad shooting brake represents the first time that Audi has combined the all-road and e-tron form languages. The compact crossover plug-in hybrid has a low fuel consumption figure of 1.9 liters of fuel per 100 km (123.8 mpgUS), equivalent to 45 g CO2 per km (72.42 g/mile) based on the relevant ECE standard. Its total driving range is up to 820 km (510 miles).

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Volkswagen to intro Passat BlueMotion Concept at Detroit show; 4-cylinder with cylinder deactivation; 42 mpg highway

January 09, 2014

Passat BlueMotion Concept. Click to enlarge.

Volkswagen of America will introduce the Passat BlueMotion Concept at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week. Based on the current Passat that was developed specifically for North America, the BlueMotion label defines the version that has the best efficiency in the model lineup. In this case, the Passat BlueMotion Concept has a manufacturer-estimated highway fuel economy of 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km), best-in-class among non-hybrid, gasoline-engined mid-size sedans.

The Passat BlueMotion Concept features an all-new version of the Volkswagen 1.4-liter EA211 TSI engine with direct injection and turbocharging. (Earlier post.) Additionally, this Passat also offers Active Cylinder Management (ACT) technology, previously seen on the European Volkswagen Polo and Golf models.

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Researchers identify new nitrated PAH compounds from combustion that are hundreds of times more mutagenic than parent PAHs

January 06, 2014

A team led by researchers at Oregon State University has discovered novel nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (NPAH) compounds produced by combustion sources or formed in the atmosphere that are hundreds of times more mutagenic than their parent PAHs, which are known carcinogens. The findings were published in the ACS journal Environmental Science and Technology.

These new compounds were not previously known to exist, and raise additional concerns about the health impacts of heavily-polluted urban air or dietary exposure. It has not yet been determined in what level the new compounds might be present, and no health standards now exist for them.

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Audi to unveil Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept plug-in hybrid at CES; 700 hp and 94 mpg

January 02, 2014

Audi Sport quattro laserlight concept. Click to enlarge.

Audi will present the Audi Sport quattro laserlight plug-in hybrid concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from 6 to 10 January in Las Vegas. The coupe represents a new evolutionary stage of the Sport quattro concept (earlier post).

The e-tron powertrain delivers 515 kW (700 hp) of system power with 2.5 l/100 km (94.09 US mpg) fuel economy, equivalent to CO2 emissions of 59 g/km (94.95 g/mile); higher performance laser headlights; and new user control and display interfaces and lighting technology. The plug-in hybrid system torque is 800 N·m (590 lb-ft). Power flows via a modified eight-speed tiptronic to the quattro drivetrain, which features a sport differential at the rear axle. The combustion engine is a four-liter V8 with biturbo charging; it produces 412 kW (560 hp) of power and 700 N·m (516 lb-ft) of torque. The cylinder on demand (COD) system, which deactivates four cylinders under part load and a start-stop system contribute to the engine’s efficiency.

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NASA Glenn develops automated flywheel pulse-and-glide system; improving fuel economy up to 40-100%

December 27, 2013

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed an automated pulse-and-glide technique using a flywheel energy storage system for on-road vehicles; the technology, which NASA Glenn says can improve fuel economy over existing internal combustion or battery hybrid systems by 40-100%, is available for licensing.

Drivers can use a manual “pulse-and-glide” (PnG) driving technique—accelerating and decelerating an automobile in cycles of approximately 10-30 seconds—as a way to improve fuel economy. A 2009 SAE paper by a team from Virginia Tech and Argonne National Laboratory found that a simulated PnG driving strategy in a Ford Focus delivered 33-77% fuel economy improvement depending on different speed ranges and acceleration times. The fuel economy results of a 2004 Toyota Prius from simulation and testing showed 24-90% fuel economy improvement with PnG drive cycles compared to steady speed results.

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Ford researchers report detailed study of the effect of different ethanol blend levels on emissions from FFVs

December 23, 2013

FTP cycle-weighted tailpipe emissions of N2O, NOx, and the sum of NMOG and NOx. The minimum in NOx and NMOG emissions for midlevel ethanol blends points to future opportunities for emission reductions from FFVs. Credit: ACS, Hubbard et al. Click to enlarge.

A team at Ford Motor Company’s Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn conducted a detailed study of the effect of ethanol blend level in emissions, using a 2006 model Mercury Grand Marquis flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) operating on E0, E10, E20, E30, E40, E55, and E80 on a chassis dynamometer. The study thus included the current predominant market fuel (E10); a range of possible future midlevel ethanol blends (E20−E40); and the new range for high-level ethanol blends (E55, E80).

The number of blends they studied is about twice that of previous studies, and delivers a more detailed picture of the effect of ethanol blend level on emissions. Further, they reported data for engine-out emissions and tailpipe emissions; operating temperatures (engine-out and catalyst); and ethanol concentrations used in the engine control strategy. Comparing these data allows for differentiation between fuel chemistry and engine calibration effects—the two general mechanisms by which increased ethanol content in fuel affects the emissions.

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DOE to issue FY14 Vehicle Technologies program-wide funding opportunity announcement

December 20, 2013

The Department Of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of its Vehicle Technology Office (VTO), a program-wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000991) for fiscal year 2014 on or about January 2014. The advance notice (DE-FOA-0001053) is to alert interested parties of the coming FOA.

The areas of interest outlined in the notice of intent (NOI) fall into two broad categories: technologies to advance plug-in electric vehicles; and technologies to improve fuel efficiency, including dual-fuel, fuel properties (e.g., high octane fuels), and advanced powertrain work.

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New Mercedes-Benz C-Class drops weight, adds new engines, diesel hybrid, w/ plug-in to come; up to 20% cut in fuel consumption

December 16, 2013

The new C-Class. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz has launched its new C-Class, featuring a lightweight design concept with weight savings of up to 100 kg (220 lbs); excellent aerodynamics; and new, economical engines along with a hybrid model. The C-Class is the top-selling model series from Mercedes-Benz; sales of the preceding model, which was launched in 2007, total more than 2.4 million.

Ordering for the C-Class sedan have begun in Europe, with the model range initially comprising the C180, the C200; and the diesel C220 BlueTEC. All are equipped with the ECO start/stop function and comply with the Euro 6 emissions standard. They also cut fuel consumption by up to 20% compared with the preceding model. The US market launches with two C-Class models: C300 4MATIC and C400 4MATIC.

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EIA: light duty vehicle energy consumption to drop 25% by 2040; increased oil production, vehicle efficiency reduce US oil and liquid imports

Energy consumption by light-duty vehicles in the United States, AEO2013 and AEO2014, 1995-2040 (quadrillion Btu). LDV energy consumption declines in AEO2014 Reference case from 16.0 quadrillion Btu in 2012 to 12.1 quadrillion Btu in 2040, compared with 13.0 quadrillion Btu in 2040 in the AEO2013 Reference case. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.

Reflecting slow growth in travel and accelerated vehicle efficiency improvements, US light-duty vehicle (LDV, cars and light trucks) energy use will decline sharply between 2012 and 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case released today.

AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated Census projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in LDVs average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year over the same period in AEO2013. The rising fuel economy of LDVs more than offsets the modest growth in VMT, resulting in a 25% decline in LDV energy consumption decline between 2012 and 2040 in the AEO2014 Reference case.

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EPA trends report sees record levels of average new vehicle fuel economy and CO2 emissions for MY 2012; role of new gasoline vehicle technologies

December 13, 2013

Manufacturer-specific technology adoption over time for key technologies. EPA projects advanced transmissions (6+ speeds and CVTs), gasoline direct injection (GDI) systems, and turbocharged engines will be installed on at least 15% of all MY 2013 vehicles. Click to enlarge.

Average new vehicle CO2 emissions rate and fuel economy in the US achieved record levels in MY 2012, and have improved in 7 of the last 8 years, according to the newly released Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 - 2013 (the annual “Trends” report) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The majority of the emissions and fuel savings from current vehicles, EPA noted, is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies.

The final model year (MY) 2012 adjusted, real world CO2 emissions rate is 376 g/mi—a 22 g/mi decrease (-5.5%) relative to MY 2011. MY 2012 adjusted fuel economy is 23.6 mpg (9.97 l/100 km), which is 1.2 mpg higher (+5.4%) than MY 2011. Both values represent all-time records since the database began in MY 1975, and the authors of the report believe that these represent historical records as well. The 1.2 mpg fuel economy improvement from MY 2011 to MY 2012 is the second largest annual improvement in the last 30 years.

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Ford to make start-stop technology available on 70% of its N. America lineup by 2017

Auto Start-Stop technology will be available on 70% of Ford’s North American vehicle lineup by 2017, the company said. Ford Auto Start-Stop can increase fuel efficiency by up to 10% in city driving.

A major part of the company’s Blueprint for Sustainability, the expansion of Auto Start-Stop comes as the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine (earlier post) is set to go on sale in the 2014 Ford Fiesta. Rated at 45 mpg EPA highway (5.2 l/100 km), the new Fiesta is the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid or diesel on the market. Ford is also researching dynamic cruise control, a technology that predicts road conditions to optimize fuel economy.

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New Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 racer integrates two hybrid systems, kinetic and thermal

December 12, 2013

Audi R18 e-tron quattro 2014. Click to enlarge.

Audi has released initial details on its new 2014-generation Audi R18 e-tron quattro LMP1 Le Mans prototype racer. Although the new diesel hybrid sports car appears like a continuous further development of the World Championship winning car and Le Mans winner of the past two years, due to the new LMP1 regulations that will come into effect in 2014, Audi Sport redeveloped every component.

In the new Technical Regulations, a large number of principal definitions, which concern the powertrain, body dimensions, safety and aerodynamics, were re-determined. With the new R18, Audi Sport has opted for a similar concept as in the past—albeit with new detailed solutions and an additional hybrid system. Powertrain elements include:

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Westport unveils next-generation High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI 2.0) natural gas system for HD trucks

December 10, 2013

Westport Innovations Inc. unveiled its next generation of high pressure direct injection natural gas technology platform, Westport HPDI 2.0. Westport is now working with seven OEM applications with engine sizes ranging from trucks to trains at various stages of development with the goal of vertically integrated Westport HPDI 2.0 OEM product lines. Westport anticipates first availability of customer products in late 2014 and 2015.

Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel in a Diesel (compression ignition) cycle along with a small amount of diesel fuel as an ignition source. Core to the approach is a patented injector with a dual-concentric needle design. This allows small quantities of diesel fuel and large quantities of natural gas to be delivered at high pressure to the combustion chamber. (Earlier post.)

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U Wisc.-Ford team develops more realistic multi-component surrogate diesel models for modeling of low temperature combustion

December 07, 2013

A team from the Engine Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ford Motor, and Ford Forschungszentrum Aachen have developed new multi-component surrogate models for three different diesel fuels, and then examined their fidelity in capturing the characteristics of a diesel engine operated under various conditions, including conventional and low-temperature combustion (LTC) modes.

Fuel and EGR effects were also explored in the two different combustion modes using the developed surrogate models. In a paper published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, they reported that the results showed that the combustion trends in conventional combustion are less affected by fuel or EGR changes, while LTC conditions exhibit a much higher sensitivity, thus demanding more realistic fuel models precisely to describe advanced combustion modes.

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New Ford Mustang receives its own 2.3L EcoBoost variant

December 05, 2013

Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.

Ford revealed its new 2015 version of the Mustang (with great fanfare simultaneously in six cities on four continents and CEO Alan Mulally on ABC’s Good Morning America) with a choice of three powertrains: a upgraded 5.0L V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine developed specifically for Mustang.

Among the features of the new EcoBoost engine are an optimized intake manifold and turbocharger housing to provide better breathing and higher output. The new 2.3L EcoBoost offers a projected 305-plus hp (227 kW) and 300-plus lb-ft (407 N·m) of torque. (The upgraded V8, at more than twice the displacement, offers around 420 hp and 390 lb-ft.)

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CRC ACES Phase 2 report finds emissions from modern heavy-duty diesels well below required levels

December 04, 2013

2010 engines emissions reduction relative to 2010, 2007, and 2004 US emission standards. Source: CRC. Click to enlarge.

A rigorous emissions testing of modern heavy-duty diesel engines in the US has demonstrated a greater than 94% reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2 - an important contributor to ozone smog), and substantial reductions in all other pollutants, even when compared to engines first marketed to meet 2007 standards, according to a study released today by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC).

For a number of the most important pollutants, levels were substantially lower than required by regulations. The study, the Phase 2 Report of the comprehensive Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) (earlier post), found that emissions of NO2 and other nitrogen oxides—which can have direct health effects and contribute to the formation of smog—were approximately 61% below the 2010 EPA standard and 99% lower than in 2004 engines. These reductions came while emissions of fine particles were also 92% lower than the 2010 standard 99% lower than 2004 emissions.

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Honda develops VTEC Turbo direct injection gasoline engine family, including 1.0L 3-cylinder unit

November 19, 2013

1.0 L 3-cylinder direct injection gasoline turbo engine. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it has newly developed the VTEC Turbo, a direct injection gasoline turbo engine family most suitable for small-to-medium-sized vehicles. The VTEC TURBO is a new addition to Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology suite.

Featuring the application of Honda’s VTEC variable valve control technology along with direct injection turbocharging with highly-fluidized combustion and a thorough reduction in engine friction, this engine achieves class-leading output and environmental performance, while downsizing engine displacement, Honda said. The new VTEC Turbo lineup currently has three members: 2.0L, 1.4L and 1.0L engines:

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The new MINI makes its debut; new architecture, new fuel-efficient engines, including 3-cylinder diesel

November 18, 2013

New MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S. Click to enlarge.

The BMW Group’s new MINI made its worldwide debut at MINI’s UK production plant in Oxford. The new MINI features an all-new vehicle architecture, an evolutionary design and a range of new fuel-efficient engines. The new MINI will make its auto show premiere in Los Angeles this week.

The biggest efficiency advance comes in the MINI Cooper with automatic transmission: the new model accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h 2.6 seconds faster, while average fuel consumption is 27% lower. The lowest fuel consumption and CO2 levels comes in the MINI Cooper D with a 3-cylinder diesel: 3.5 – 3.6 liters/100 km (67.2 to 65.3 mpgUS) and 92 – 95 g CO2/km (EU test cycle figures, dependent on tire format selected).

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Researchers propose new injector for shaping spray structure for different operating modes of gasoline direct injection engine

Cross section of the proposed injector showing the major components. Devassy et al. Click to enlarge.

A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras has proposed a new injector which can shape the spray structure to suit the requirements of the different operating conditions of a gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine. (Lead author B Mandumpala Devassy is now at AVL in Austria.) A paper on their work is published in the International Journal of Engine Research.

The injector can operate in three different modes: central-hole injection for stratified mode; injection from six circumferential holes for lean homogeneous mode (six-hole injection); and injection from both the central and circumferential holes for rich homogeneous mode (6+1-hole injection). The injector switches between these modes by operating two different needles with separate solenoids.

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New 4-cylinder 2.3L EcoBoost on Lincoln MKC small SUV; future EcoBoost prospects

Lincoln MKC is the first to get the new 2.3L EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.

The all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility, unveiled last week, offers an all-new engine—a 2.3-liter EcoBoost gasoline turbocharged direct injection (GTDI) four-cylinder unit. Ford says the engine can deliver up to 15% better fuel economy than comparable six-cylinder engines.

Featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger and a three-port integrated exhaust manifold (IEM), the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder offers projected best-in-class horsepower per liter and best-in-class torque per liter, generating 275 hp (205 kW) at 5,500 rpm and 300 lb-ft (407 N·m) of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data.

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Researchers explore ethanol-diesel dual-fuel combustion for reduction in engine-out emissions

November 14, 2013

Effect of ethanol energy fraction and PFI position on CO, NOx, HC, and opacity emissions. Credit: ACS, Padala et al. Click to enlarge.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales (Australia) have demonstrated the potential for ethanol use in diesel engines with dual-fuel combustion, in which ethanol is injected into the intake manifold and diesel is directly injected into the engine cylinder. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.

The goal of such an approach is effectively to address some of the drawbacks of conventional diesel combustion, such as higher in-cylinder soot formation associated with locally rich mixtures and high flame temperatures and engine-out emissions of NOx.

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Wärtsilä introduces new low pressure 2-stroke dual-fuel engine technology; economic and environmental benefits

November 13, 2013

Wärtsilä has successfully conducted full scale testing on gas of its low-speed 2-stroke dual-fuel engine and is now introducing a full new range of engines based on its established and well-proven low pressure technology. The first engine utilizing this technology, the Wärtsilä RT-flex50DF, will be available for delivery in the third quarter of 2014.

Other engines from the company’s new Generation X series will follow and will be available for delivery during 2015 and 2016. The entire portfolio of Wärtsilä 2-stroke engines will be available as low pressure dual-fuel (DF) versions. The economic and environmental benefits of this technology are significant, Wärtsilä notes.

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Audi offering three engines with cylinder deactivation technology; fuel savings up to 20%

November 12, 2013

Cylinder on demand V8. Click to enlarge.

Audi has three gasoline engines equipped with its cylinder-on-demand (COD) technology (cylinder deactivation): the 1.4 TFSI COD, the 4.0 TFSI COD and now also the 12-cylinder W12 COD in the new Audi A8 L. (Earlier post.) COD can deliver reductions in fuel consumption of up to 20%, Audi says.

The Audi COD technology is versatile, equally suitable for use in the four-cylinder direct-injection unit, as well as the V8 TFSI and the 12-cylinder naturally aspirated unit. In all engines, it deactivates half of the cylinders at low to intermediate loads and engine speeds in the upper gears until the driver once again accelerates strongly. Efficiency in the active cylinders increases because the operating points are displaced toward higher loads.

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UK launches £75M fund for more energy efficient engines and cars; £1.5M for autonomous pods

November 10, 2013

The UK government has launched a £75-million (US$120-million) fund to speed the development of low carbon technologies for engines. Selected projects are to be the pilot projects of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) announced in July. (Earlier post.) The APC will channel £1-billion (US$1.6 billion) investment from government and industry to fund the development of new technologies over the next 10 years.

To apply for a share of the £75 million APC fund, bidders must form a group which includes at least one vehicle manufacturer, an SME and at least one supply chain company. The competition, which will support a range of powertrain technologies, will open on 2 December 2013, with projects expected to begin from April 2014.

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Omnitek selects DD 12.7L Series 60 and Cat C15 engine models for diesel-to-gas conversion project at Port of Seattle

November 04, 2013

Omnitek Engineering Corporation has selected the 12.7 L Detroit Diesel Series 60 and the Caterpillar C15 engine models for the beginning of the second phase of a Puget Sound Clean Air Agency pilot project, which includes the development of diesel-to-natural gas engine conversion kits for these engine models and obtaining Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval.

Omnitek’s diesel-to-natural gas engine conversion system was selected as the best technology under the competitive grant process for the agency’s “Piloting Engine Upgrade Technologies in the Freight Mobility Sector” project. (Earlier post.)

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Pinnacle’s opposed-piston scooter engine can meet NOx target with lean operation and ignition delay; little fuel economy hit

November 01, 2013

In a paper presented at the recent Small Engine Technology Conference organized by JSAE and SAE International, Michael (Tony) Willcox from Pinnacle Engines reported that the 110cc version of the 4-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post) can use lean operation and ignition delay to meet Euro 4 NOx emission targets without aftertreatment and with only a negligible impact (< 1.5%) on the fuel consumption benefits of the engine (about 25-27% better than a comparable conventional engine in the relevant drivecycle).

Further, Pinnacle noted, recently developed hardware designed for additional lean limit extension is under test. The new hardware is anticipated to leave margin with Euro 5/6 NOx regulations using an oxidation-only catalyst for aftertreatment.

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