[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.]
Toyota revamps Auris powertrain lineup, including hybrid; debut of new 1.2L turbo with Otto/Atkinson technology
May 29, 2015
Toyota’s 2015 Auris range in Europe features significant improvements in five key areas; design; sensory quality; the hybrid model; safety; and, improving the model’s segment coverage by some 40%, powertrains. Toyota had introduced the facelifted Auris at the Geneva show earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
Reflecting changing trends in the C-segment market which call for further reductions in fuel consumption, emissions and cost of ownership without detriment to performance or driving pleasure, Toyota has both extended and extensively revised the Auris full hybrid, gasoline and diesel powertrain line-up. Included in the revised lineup is the new 1.2-liter Turbo with Otto/Atkinson cycle technology. (Earlier post.) Every engine in the range now meets Euro 6 emissions regulations.
Sandia RAPTOR turbulent combustion code selected for next-gen Summit supercomputer readiness project
May 28, 2015
RAPTOR, a turbulent combustion code developed by Sandia National Laboratories mechanical engineer Dr. Joseph Oefelein, was selected as one of 13 partnership projects for the Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR). CAAR is a US Department of Energy program located at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and is focused on optimizing computer codes for the next generation of supercomputers.
Developed at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility, RAPTOR, a general solver optimized for Large Eddy Simulation (LES, a mathematical model for turbulence), is targeted at transportation power and propulsion systems. Optimizing RAPTOR for Summit’s hybrid architecture will enable a new generation of high-fidelity simulations that identically match engine operating conditions and geometries. Such a scale will allow direct comparisons to companion experiments, providing insight into transient combustion processes such as thermal stratification, heat transfer, and turbulent mixing.
DOE announces $26.6M SBIR/STTR FY15 Phase 1 Release 2 awards; fuel cells, batteries, power electronics and efficient combustion engines
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 162 projects to receive about $26.6 million in the 2015 Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Phase I Release 2 Awards. (Earlier post.) Of these, 16 are vehicle-related, encompassing projects developing batteries, power electronics and improved combustion engine technology including on-board reformers, and two are specifically hydrogen fuel cell-related.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) are Federal programs in which agencies with large research and development (R&D) budgets set aside a small fraction of their funding for competitions among small businesses only. Small businesses that win awards in these programs keep the rights to any technology developed and are encouraged to commercialize the technology. While the original charter of the program focused on technological innovation, the current programs have evolved to have a greater focus on commercialization.
Mercedes-Benz investing around $558 million in Berlin plant; global center of competence for CAMTRONIC
May 22, 2015
Mercedes-Benz is investing a total of around €500 million (US$558 million) in its plant in Berlin—the Group’s oldest production facility in operation—which is being developed into a high-tech facility for component production. Some €150 million ($168 million) of that will be applied this year. In the future, Berlin will be a global center of competence for the production of the CAMTRONIC engine management system, giving it a unique position within the production network. The V6-cylinder diesel engine is produced in Berlin.
With the agreement of this transformation plan, the plant is continuing to push forward its development into a high-tech component manufacturing facility, focusing on the expansion of capacity for advanced products. In addition to high-precision transmission parts, camshaft adjusters and fuel systems, these include the CAMTRONIC valve timing system that will be the subject of the majority of the agreed investment.
Solvay participating in Polimotor 2 carbon fiber reinforced polymer engine project
May 19, 2015
Solvay is taking a “leadership role” in the development of the Polimotor 2 all-plastic automotive engine to be tested in a race car next year, demonstrating the company’s advanced specialty polymer technologies in light-weighting through metal replacement. The collaborative project is intended ultimately to set the stage for innovative breakthroughs in future commercial automobiles.
The original Polimotor was developed by Matti Holtzberg in the 1980s. The first version of the Polimotor, based on the Ford 2.3L Mustang engine, used a combination of carbon fiber, Torlon, epoxy, ceramic and metal. The engine block, cylinder head, valve spring retainers, timing gear intake valves and several other parts were made of fiber reinforced composites (FRCs). The reciprocating mass was still metal.
Review of research suggests inconclusive support for fuel consumption benefits of catalyzed EGR
May 18, 2015
Conflicting evidence does not support making a firm conclusion on the fuel consumption benefit of catalysed Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), according to a review of current studies by a team at the University of Bath (UK). In catalyzed EGR, a catalyst alters the chemical composition of the exhaust gas mix before its reintroduction to the engine. As an example, one study found a decrease in fuel consumption of up to 2%, while another found an increase of 1.5%-3.5%.
According to the review, the conversion of HCs, CO, and NO in the exhaust gas by the catalyst can result in up to a 4.5% reduction (in extreme cases) in the calorific value of the charge for catalyzed EGR when compared to equivalent operation with un-catalyzed EGR; this reduction in calorific value has a negative impact on the achievable BSFC. An open access paper on the study (an update of an earlier version published late last year) appears in the International Journal of Engine Research.
Behind Audi’s new “rightsized” efficient EA888 Gen.3B family
May 14, 2015
|Audi’s new “rightsized” 2.0L Gen.3B engine maintains the displacement of the 2.0L Gen.3 and delivers the power of the 1.8L TFSI with the fuel consumption of the 1.4L TFSI. Click to enlarge.|
Audi’s new higher-efficiency series-production 2.0 TFSI turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine introduced at the Vienna Motor Symposium last week is the first of the company’s EA888 Gen.3B family. The engine, featuring a new combustion method based on the Miller cycle, will be used for the first time in the next generation of the A4. (Earlier post.) The Miller cycle uses a higher expansion ratio than compression ratio (i.e., over-expansion) obtained by either early or late closing of the intake valves (EIVC and LIVC, respectively), resulting in a smaller effective compression stroke; combustion and expansion proceed normally.
The new Audi engine combines shorter intake events with a high geometric compression ratio; together with other refinements to the basic engine, the new combustion concept enables a reduction in combined cycle CO2 emissions of up to 10-12 g/km compared to its predecessor.
Ford exploring cylinder deactivation for 1.0L EcoBoost; testing shows up to 6% fuel efficiency improvement
May 12, 2015
Ford, in collaboration with the Schaeffler Group, is investigating different cylinder deactivation approaches on its award-winning 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. On-road tests using a working prototype showed fuel efficiency improvements of up to 6%, according to Dr. Andreas Schamel, director, Ford Global Powertrain, Research & Advanced Engineering in Vienna last week.
For the test, the engineers also developed a new dual mass flywheel. This enabled cylinder deactivation to take place at a wider range of engine loads and speeds, and helped minimize noise, vibration and harshness levels.
Audi power-dense 2.5L TFSI engine with electric biturbo delivers 591 hp from 2,480 cc; 48V subsystem for the turbo
May 09, 2015
At the Wörthersee festival, Audi is showcasing the Audi TT clubsport turbo technology concept equipped with a new 2.5 TFSI gasoline engine with an electric biturbo (earlier post) that delivers 441 kW (591 hp) and 650 N·m (479.4 lb-ft), with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.6 seconds. Peak torque is available from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm. Power is transferred via a manual six-speed transmission.
While production car engines with this level of output are available from a number of mainstream OEMs, the displacement of the Audi engine is about half or less that of the others, resulting in a very power- and torque-dense unit. The five-cylinder, 2,480 cc engine produces 178 kW (239 hp) and 262 N·m (193 lb-ft) per liter of displacement. By comparison:
Volkswagen introduces new generation of EU6 TDI diesels for light-duty vehicles; 2.0 TDI BiTurbo offers avg. 14% reduction in fuel consumption
May 08, 2015
At the Vienna Motor Symposium, Jörn Kahrstedt, Head of Diesel Engine Development for the Volkswagen brand, presented the new EU6 TDI engine family for light-duty vehicles. The newly developed 2.0 TDI 4V engine, based on the modular diesel component system (MDB) (earlier post), makes its debut with the market launch of the new Multivan and Transporter models from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. The new family of engines is tailored to the requirements of commercial vehicles, while also extending the power range.
During development the focus was on a significant reduction in fuel consumption (by 14%, on average) while simultaneously meeting the EU6 emission limits, as well as a traction capacity oriented torque curve with a noticeable increase in driving performance for the customer. The top-of-the-range engine features a newly developed dual-stage turbocharger layout.
Bosch developing series production water injection system for SI engines to reduce fuel consumption and improve performance
Bosch is developing a water injection (WI) system for spark ignition engines in partnership with a pilot customer, said Dr. Rolf Bulander, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, in his talk on powertrain optimization at the Vienna Motor Symposium. The port water injection system comprises a water pump; a water rail; and injectors which have been designed to handle the specific challenges arising as a result of operation with water.
Dr. Bulander said that a WI system can enable up to a 4% improvement in NEDC fuel consumption by cooling the charge to minimize/avoid fuel enrichment; mitigate knocking (premature denotation); and enable an increased compression ratio. A port-injection WI system is low complexity and highly effective, he noted.
Audi introduces new high-efficiency 2.0L TFSI based on Miller cycle; 190 hp, 47 mpg
Audi introduced its new series-production 2.0 TFSI gasoline turbocharged direct injection engine for the first time at the Vienna Motor Symposium this week. The engine, which features a new combustion method, will be used for the first time in the next generation of the A4.
The four-cylinder engine delivers 140 kW (190 hp) and 320 N·m (236.0 lb-ft) from a displacement of 1,984 cc; the high torque is applied in a broad range of 1,450 to 4,400 rpm. The engine also features low fuel consumption levels of less than 5.0 l/100 km (47.0 mpg US) in the NEDC, clearly undercutting both its predecessor and comparable competitors. Enabling the performance of the new 2.0 TFSI is a new combustion method, according to Audi. At its core, its principle is comparable to the Miller cycle.
Cummins Westport introducing new ISB6.7 G mid-range natural gas engine
May 06, 2015
At the opening reception at ACT Expo in Dallas, TX, Cummins Westport Inc. will unveil the ISB6.7 G, a 6.7-liter medium-duty, factory-built dedicated natural gas engine for school bus, shuttle bus, medium-duty truck and vocational applications. (Earlier post.) The new ISB6.7 G is currently in field trials with full production expected to commence in mid-2016.
The ISB6.7 G natural gas engine is based on the Cummins ISB6.7 diesel engine platform, the industry leader in the Cummins medium-duty engine family. The ISB6.7 G will operate exclusively on natural gas (CNG or LNG) utilizing Cummins Westport’s proprietary spark-ignited, stoichiometric combustion with cooled exhaust gas recirculation (SEGR) technology, first introduced with the 8.9-liter ISL G.
Wrightspeed unveils new turbine range extender for medium- and heavy-duty electric powertrains; 30% more efficient than current microturbine generators
May 04, 2015
Wrightspeed Inc., a developer of range-extended electric vehicle powertrains for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post), has unveiled the Fulcrum, a new proprietary turbine generator for use in its Route family of electric powertrains (Route for Class 3-6, Route HD for Class 7-8). The new 80 kW Fulcrum is a radial inflow, axial turbine, intercooled and recuperated. Fulcrum is a single shaft machine, the generator runs at turbine speed (~100,000 rpm). Weighing in at 250 lbs (113.4 kg), the Fulcrum is approximately 1/10th the weight of its piston generator counterparts and it is designed to have a 10,000-hour lifetime.
The Route extended range electric powertrains incorporate a range-extending genset designed to recharge the high-power battery pack (currently from A123 Systems) and Wrightspeed’s own geared traction drive (GTD) (earlier post). Wrightspeed, founded by Ian Wright, one of the original co-founders of Tesla Motors, has used a 65 kW Capstone microturbine in earlier Route powertrains. The 65 kW Capstone unit weighs 300 lbs (136.1 kg), for a power-to-weight ratio of 478 W/kg; by comparison, Wrightspeed’s new Fulcrum microturbine offers a power-to-weight ratio of 750 W/kg. With Fulcrum, on which the company has been working for about 3 years, Wrightspeed now owns 100% of the Intellectual Property of its powertrain products.
Jaguar bringing XE diesel to US in 2016
April 29, 2015
The Jaguar US lineup will expand in 2016 with the addition of the all new, aluminum-intensive Jaguar XE compact sports sedan in 20d (diesel) and 35t models each in Premium, Prestige and R-Sport trim levels and available in RWD or AWD. The Jaguar XE will be offered with a lighter version of the ZF 8-speed automatic used in the rest of the Jaguar range.
The fuel economy leader will be the Jaguar XE 20d, powered by the company’s new Ingenium 2.0 liter diesel (earlier post) delivering 180 hp (134 kW) and 318 lb-ft (431 N·m) of torque. Mated with the eight-speed automatic transmission, the Jaguar XE 20d will be the brand’s most fuel efficient model (EPA figures to be released at later date).
Achates Power testing shows transient capabilities of opposed piston engine
April 27, 2015
Initial test results of the transient control and exhaust temperature management capability of Achates Power’s opposed piston (OP) two-stroke diesel engine show that under a typical transient maneuver—25% to 100% load step at low and constant engine speed—the engine can control both NOx and soot with a minimal torque lag. Test results also showed that the air system control flexibility and robust combustion system that Achates Power developed for the OP engine can be used to achieve high exhaust gas temperatures for a diesel engine at idle-like speeds and load, thereby assisting catalyst light-off.
The results follow a paper published earlier this year detailing steady-state testing results that showed the research 4.9L three-cylinder engine was able to achieve 43% brake thermal efficiency at the best point and almost 42% on average over the modes of the SET (Supplemental Emission Test) cycle. The results from this test confirmed the modeling predictions and pointed to a 48% best BTE and 46.6% average over the cycle for a production design of this engine, the Achates team concluded. With the latest paper Achates Power is exploring other critical attributes necessary to deliver a successful engine to the industry.
U. Mich, Ford team studies effect of ethanol in reducing PM from DISI engines; insights into fueling strategies to reduce soot
April 26, 2015
A team from the University of Michigan and Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering group in Dearborn has studied the effects of ethanol on reducing particulate emissions from a direct injection spark ignition (DISI) engine by comparing neat anhydrous ethanol with a baseline fuel of reference grade gasoline (indolene).
In a paper published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, they reported that ethanol produced over an order of magnitude less soot under all operating conditions compared to indolene; however, ethanol produced measurable soot at cold coolant and early fuel injection timing conditions.
LiquidPiston signs $1M agreement with DARPA to advance development of power-dense X-Mini rotary engine for JP-8
April 24, 2015
LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), the developer of engines based on its High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) (earlier post), has entered into an agreement totaling $991,557 with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance the development of its efficient, power-dense rotary internal combustion engine X-Mini (earlier post) for portable and small-engine applications.
Under this agreement, LiquidPiston’s primary objective is to demonstrate a pathway towards a rotary JP-8 fueled engine that has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by 50% and to increase power density by threefold compared to today’s conventional heavy-fuel piston engines. JP-8, or Jet Propellant 8, is a kerosene-based jet fuel used widely by the US military.
GM provides technical details of the Gen 2 Voltec propulsion system used in the 2016 Volt
April 23, 2015
The second-generation “Voltec” extended range electric powertrain applied in the MY2016 Chevy Volt (earlier post) marks a significant evolution in the electric drive technology platform from its first-generation origins. After proving a initial look at the design and capability of the different components (earlier post) late last year, GM is now providing deeper technical insight into the second-generation platform.
At the SAE 2015 World Congress in Detroit this week, GM engineers are presenting four papers on the technology of the Gen 2 Voltec propulsion system: an overview of the system and the realized improvements in efficiency and performance; a paper on the significantly re-engineered traction power inverter module (TPIM); a paper on the design and performance of the new electric motors used in the propulsion system; and a paper on the selection and design of the optimized gasoline-fueled 1.5-liter range extender engine.
DOE developing Optima initiative: co-optimization of fuels and engines for extreme boost in system fuel efficiency above current policy targets
April 21, 2015
|Optima is targeting a vehicle-fuels system approach to far exceed the improvements in vehicle energy consumption and the greenhouse gas intensity of the energy source. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at several DOE national laboratories are organizing a new initiative—New Fuels and Vehicle Systems Optima (Optima)—targeting the development and market introduction of co-optimized new fuels and light-, medium- and heavy-duty engines which together could achieve very significant performance improvements. Specifically, Optima is targeting a reduction in per-vehicle petroleum consumption by 30% vs. the 2030 base case, which is constrained to using today’s fuels.
This goal reflects contributions from both improved engines (7–14% reduction in fuel consumption) and improved fuels (with substitution of up to 30% low-GHG biofuel blend stocks). Another goal is accelerating the deployment of advanced biofuels to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard Program 2030 goal of 15 billion gallons/year of advanced biofuel—a sharp contrast to the low volumes currently predicted by the International Energy Agency for the US in 2030. At a fleet level, Optima is intended to produce an additional 9–14% fleet GHG reduction by 2040.
Ford investing $2.5B for new engine, transmission plants in Mexico
April 17, 2015
Ford is investing $2.5 billion in new engine and transmission plants in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Guanajuato, respectively. The investment covers three projects: a new engine plant in Chihuahua; expansion of Ford’s I-4 and diesel engine lines in Chihuahua; and a new transmission plant—Ford’s first in Mexico—in Guanajuato.
The investment, which comes during the celebration of Ford’s 90th anniversary in the country, will bring 3,800 direct new jobs plus additional indirect jobs to Mexico. Ford officials announced the investment today during a ceremony with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and other members of the country’s Federal Government.
Libertine FPE builds demo prototype of linear free piston generator
UK-based Libertine FPE has built a demonstration prototype of its linear electrical machine for what it is calling “Digital Piston Motion Control” in free piston engine applications. (Earlier post.) This technology will allow researchers to develop future combustion engines free from the piston motion constraints dictated by the crankshaft. Already validated at proof-of-concept level, Libertine’s new hardware uses production-feasible component designs suitable for automotive hybrid powertrain modules, such as range extenders.
Unlike conventional engine-generator combinations which use a crankshaft and mechanical powertrain to rotate an electrical machine, Libertine’s technology uses a linear electrical machine to generate power directly from the piston’s motion. The linear generator can also be used as a motor to apply a variable force to the piston, and this approach permits each piston’s velocity, motion profile and compression and expansion ratio to be optimally controlled via the ECU to accommodate startup, transient and flex-fuel operation. This flexibility offers significant improvements in combustion efficiency and has the potential to produce a third more power from the same fuel input.
ARPA-E holding Workshop on Powertrain Innovations for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles
April 16, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) will be holding a Workshop on Powertrain Innovations for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, taking place in Denver, CO on 14-15 May 2015.
Even beyond 2030, the majority of vehicles in the US will continue to be engine-powered, either in conventional or hybrid configurations. As a result the light- and heavy-duty vehicle fleet will continue to consume about 30EJ of primary fuel energy, including substantial volumes of imported oil. Currently, each 10% improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency corresponds to a ~3% reduction in primary energy usage in the United States, with concomitant GHG emissions reductions.
Honda’s 2016 Pilot features more power, 9-speed option, new drivetrain capabilities
April 10, 2015
Honda is enhancing its new third-generation MY2016 Pilot mid-size SUV with a new, more powerful direct-injected 3.5-liter engine with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology producing 280 horsepower (210 kW) @6000 rpm and 262 lb-ft (355 N·m) of torque @4700 rpm, and new 6-speed and 9-speed (a Honda first) automatic transmissions. The engine’s peak output and torque are up 30 hp and 9 lb-ft, respectively, over the previous model.
The new Pilot also features a new Intelligent Variable Torque Management (i-VTM4) AWD System and all-new selectable Intelligent Traction Management system with Normal, Mud, Sand, and Snow modes on the AWD model and Normal and Snow on the 2WD model.
DOE investing $200M in next-gen supercomputer for Argonne; on the road to exascale computing
Under the joint Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) initiative, the US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest $200 million to deliver a next-generation supercomputer—Aurora—to the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF). When commissioned in 2018, this supercomputer will be open to all scientific users.
The new system, Aurora, will use Intel’s HPC (high performance computing) scalable system framework to provide a peak performance of 180 PetaFLOP/s. Aurora, in effect a “pre-exascale” system, will be delivered in 2018. Argonne and Intel will also provide an interim system, the 8.5 PetaFLOP Theta, to be delivered in 2016, which will help Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) users transition their applications to the new technology. (Theta will require only 1.7 MW of power.)
Toyota’s second turbocharged gasoline engine now available in Auris in Japan; 36% thermal efficiency
April 06, 2015
Toyota Motor has introduced its second turbocharged engine (following the 2.0-liter in the Lexus NX 200t turbo last year, earlier post) from a series of new engines with improved thermal and fuel efficiency. (Earlier post.) The new 8NR-FTS 1.2-liter direct-injection turbo engine is now available as an option for the partially redesigned Auris, which went on sale in Japan today. Toyota announced the new engine in March at the Geneva Motor Show. (Earlier post.)
The new 1.2-liter engine in the new Auris 120T generates peak torque of 185 N·m (136 lb-ft) at a wide range of rpms between 1,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm; maximum power is 85 kw (112 hp) at 5,200-5,600 rpm. At 19.4 km/L (46 mpg US, 5.15 l/100 km), fuel efficiency exceeds the Japanese government’s 2015 fuel economy standards by at least 10%. The 120T grade is eligible for the Japanese government’s subsidies and tax incentives for eco-cars.
Jaguar introduces Gen 2, aluminum-intensive XF; up to 60 mpg US with diesel Ingenium engine
April 02, 2015
Jaguar has unveiled the second-generation, all-new Jaguar XF at the New York International Auto Show. The coupé-like design uses Jaguar’s aluminum-intensive (75% aluminum) architecture (earlier post) to enable weight savings of up to 190 kg (419 lbs)—making the 163PS diesel model 80 kg (176 lbs) lighter than the nearest competitor—plus an increase in torsional stiffness of up to 28%. The architecture also delivers improvements in packaging and proportions.
The powertrain range will consist of: 163PS (161 hp, 120 kW) and 180PS (178 hp, 132 kW) 2.0-liter diesel manual and automatic; RWD, 240PS (237 hp, 177 kW) 2.0-liter gasoline automatic; RWD, 300PS (296 hp, 221 kW) 3.0-liter diesel automatic; RWD and AWD, 340PS (335 hp, 250 kW) and 380PS (375 hp, 279 kW) 3.0-liter gasoline automatic. With fuel economy as low as 60 mpg US (3.94 l/100 km) (104 g/km CO2) on the European combined cycle from the Ingenium diesel (earlier post), the all-new XF delivers an improvement of almost 20% compared to its predecessor.
Chevrolet introduces 2016 Spark; new 1.4L engine with 16% more power and 40 mpg highway
At the New York International Auto Show, Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2016 Spark—a completely redesigned and more sophisticated execution of the brand’s global minicar. It offers greater efficiency and refinement, along with new, available safety and connectivity features. As one of Chevrolet’s most global vehicles (global Chevrolet Spark sales have surpassed 1 million since it went on sale in 2010), the 2016 Spark will be offered in more than 40 markets around the world.
The new Spark has a sleeker appearance, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase, and an overall height about 1.6 inches (40 mm) lower than the current model. The lower profile reduces aerodynamic drag to help improve efficiency and interior changes maintain the Spark’s headroom. The new Spark is built on an all-new, more robust architecture that serves as the foundation for an improved driving experience. The stronger body structure enabled engineers to tune ride and handling more precisely, for greater feelings of control and refinement, while fostering a quieter ride.
2016 Optima midsize sedan gains new 1.6L engine
Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced the re-designed Optima midsize sedan at the New York International Auto Show. The new Optima maintains its athletic identity but rides on a chassis that is longer, wider and stiffer for improved ride and handling and a more spacious cabin.
The all-new Optima is available with three engine choices, providing a balance between sportiness and fuel efficiency. Two powerplants carry over from the previous generation, the 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder, available on the LX and EX models, and the 2.0-liter GDI turbo engine, available on the SXL and SX Turbo models. All new for the 2016 model is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo engine offered on the LX trim.
U Toronto LCA suggests that with CNG as primary vehicle energy source, EVs best targeted at non-attainment areas
April 01, 2015
A team at the University of Toronto has examined the life cycle air emissions (climate change and human health) impact benefits and life cycle ownership costs of compressed natural gas (CNG) use directly in conventional vehicles (CV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), and natural gas-derived electricity (NG-e) use in plug-in battery electric vehicles (BEV), using a gasoline-fueled conventional vehicle as a reference.
Among their findings, published in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, are that policies should for the foreseeable future focus on the niche adoption of plug-in vehicles in non-attainment regions, as CNG vehicles are likely more cost-effective at providing overall life cycle air emissions impact benefits.
Chevrolet introduces 2016 Malibu; full hybrid option; 8-speed auto
Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2016 Malibu—the ninth generation of the midsize sedan which made its debut in 1964. The completely restyled midsize sedan is engineered to offer more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features, and features the option of a new full-hybrid powertrain, which leverages technology from the Chevrolet Volt. (Earlier post.) The Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg (5.22 l/100 km). When equipped with the standard 1.5L turbo engine option, Malibu is projected to offer 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) highway.
The 2016 Malibu is also longer and lighter, with more interior space and improved fuel efficiency. Its wheelbase has been stretched close to four inches (101 mm), and it is nearly 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the current model.
Tenneco developing new gasoline particulate filter (GPF) technology ahead of Euro 6c emissions regulation
March 31, 2015
Tenneco is leveraging its expertise in diesel particulate filter (DPF) technology to develop gasoline particulate filters for 2017 model year light vehicles. These filters are designed for gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines to reduce particulate emissions in compliance with the Euro 6c emissions regulation (particulate number of no more than 6 x 1011particles/km), which takes effect on 1 September 2017.
GDI engines help improve fuel economy and therefore reduce CO2 emissions; however, they can have higher particulate emissions due to shorter fuel/air mixing times in the cylinder compared to multiport fuel injection engines. Advanced fuel injection strategies are currently used to control gasoline particulate emissions in-cylinder but they are designed for a particular emission test cycle and may be less effective under real driving conditions.
Achates Power awarded $14M military single-cylinder engine project; partnering with Cummins
Achates Power, Inc., the developer of a family of two-stroke compression-ignition opposed-piston engines (earlier post), has been awarded a $14-million project by the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to support research and development work of the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC). The project is the Single Cylinder Advanced Combat Engine Technology Demonstrator, part of the Army’s 30-year strategy to modernize tactical and combat vehicles.
Achates has partnered with Cummins Inc. for the project. Together, their technologies will be used to further refine the opposed-piston engine for lower heat rejection, greater fuel efficiency, increased power density and the ability to operate on various fuels. The end goal is to deliver a product that improves the mobility and performance of combat vehicles.
Total natural gas vehicle sales in US down 6.5% in 2014 due to 34% drop in light-duty sales; medium- and heavy-duty up
March 29, 2015
In 2014, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty natural gas vehicle (NGV) production/sales in the US totaled just over 18,000 vehicles, down 6.5% from 2013, according to NGVAmerica’s 2014 NGV Production/Sales Report. The report is based on the organization’s annual survey of OEMs and approved aftermarket suppliers.
The heavy-duty market segment grew at a healthy pace, up 30% over 2013. The medium-duty market segment also grew steadily, up 24% over 2013. The light-duty segment fell 34% from 2013, mostly related to a drop in orders from the gas and oil exploration and production (E&P) sector.
Daimler Trucks NA SuperTruck achieves 115% freight efficiency improvement over 2009 baseline; 50.2% engine BTE
March 27, 2015
|DTNA’s SuperTruck was unveiled at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show. Click to enlarge.|
Daimler Trucks North America’s (DTNA) SuperTruck program has achieved 115% freight efficiency improvement (gallons of fuel consumed per ton of goods moved per mile traveled)—surpassing the Department of Energy (DOE) program’s goal of 50% improvement and exhibiting the best results of all reporting OEMs. (Earlier post.) DTNA unveiled its SuperTruck at the 2015 Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in the Freightliner Trucks booth.
To measure freight efficiency, DTNA ran vehicle testing on highway routes in Oregon and Texas; one city route in Portland, Ore.; and anti-idle testing in both a cold chamber and hot chamber. These tests resulted in the combined 115% freight efficiency improvement over a 2009 baseline truck. Testing was also conducted at the DTNA Detroit engineering facility to demonstrate engine efficiency by achieving 50.2% engine brake thermal efficiency.
Cummins ATLAS light-duty diesel surpasses fuel economy targets, with criteria emissions lower than Tier 2/Bin 2
March 26, 2015
Cummins Inc. is showcasing the results of a four-year joint program with the US Department of Energy (DOE) at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The Advanced Technology Light Automotive Systems (ATLAS) program (earlier post) was initiated to develop a commercially viable diesel engine for the half-ton pickup truck market that is capable of meeting future Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions regulations and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) and stringent greenhouse gas (GHG) requirements out to the year 2025.
The Cummins team not only surpassed all fuel-economy targets, but also achieved criteria emissions lower than the stringent Tier 2/Bin 2 levels.
New Ford S-MAX first worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter
March 24, 2015
Ford of Europe announced that the a new S-MAX will be the first Ford worldwide to offer Intelligent Speed Limiter, a new technology that scans traffic signs and adjusts the throttle to help drivers stay within legal speed limits and avoid fines.
Intelligent Speed Limiter for the first time combines the two current Ford technologies Adjustable Speed Limiter and Traffic Sign Recognition, which are both already available on models including Focus, all-new Mondeo, and Kuga SUV. Drivers can choose between speed limiting systems in the vehicle menu using the steering wheel controls, and activate them using the speed system controls.
Daimler putting ~€1B into Stuttgart-Untertürkheim to make it the center of competence for efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and fuel cell system production
March 21, 2015
Daimler is investing about €1 billion (US$1.07 billion) in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim and is transforming it into a center of competence for highly efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and the production of fuel cell systems.
From 1 June, Untertürkheim will assume responsibility for a facility in Nabern in the greater Stuttgart area where assembly of the fuel cell system will take place. The Nabern facility will remain the center of competence for the overall development of fuel cell drive systems under the direction of Daimler AG.
Cadillac launches new V-6 family; 3.0L Twin Turbo w/ cylinder deactivation and stop/start for CT6
March 20, 2015
|The new 3.0L Twin Turbo for the 2016 Cadillac CT6 combines turbocharging with cylinder deactivation and stop/start technologies to conserve fuel. Click to enlarge.|
GM’s Cadillac announced a new generation of V-6 engines, led by an exclusive 3.0L Twin Turbo V-6 that will power the upcoming, top-of-the-range CT6 luxury performance sedan, premiering at the New York International Auto Show. (Earlier post.)
The 3.0L Twin Turbo is the only six-cylinder engine to combine turbocharging with cylinder deactivation and stop/start technologies to conserve fuel. Cadillac expects the combination to enhance fuel economy by up to an estimated 6%.
EPA awards $8M in FY2014 clean diesel grants in 21 states, Puerto Rico
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $8 million to communities in 21 states and Puerto Rico to reduce emissions from the nation’s existing fleet of diesel engines through the agency’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) program. The grants will fund projects such as retrofitting older school buses to improve air quality for children riding to school, upgrading marine propulsion and agriculture engines, and replacing long haul truck engines.
The twenty-one projects will receive funding through the EPA’s DERA Fiscal Year 2014 allocation. The selected projects are cost-effective and will impact fleets operating in areas that will benefit from additional steps to protect air quality and public health.
VW of America introducing the Golf SportWagen; increased cargo volume and fuel efficiency; up to 43 mpg highway with diesel
March 09, 2015
Volkswagen of America is hosting a media drive in Austin this week to introduce the newest US member of the seventh-generation Golf family, the Golf SportWagen. Based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture introduced with the latest Golf generation, the SportWagen replaces the Jetta SportWagen in the Volkswagen US line-up. (The Golf SportWagen was also the basis for the hydrogen fuel cell Golf SportWagen HyMotion concept shown at the LA Auto Show last November. Earlier post.)
The Golf SportWagen will be offered with two powertrains: the third-generation EA888 1.8-liter, 170 hp (127 kW) turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine (earlier post) mated to a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission; and the EA288 2.0-liter, 150-hp turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TDI diesel (earlier post), fitted with a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. Volkswagen is taking a more aggressive pricing stance with the diesel, reducing the base price of the TDI S (entry-level) model by almost $2,000 compared to the older SportWagen.
Elio Motors unveils engine prototype for 84 mpg highway 3-wheeler
March 07, 2015
Elio Motors, the start-up developing a $6,800, 84-mpg- (2.8l/100 km) three-wheeled vehicle with a target date of 2016, unveiled its engine prototype: a 0.9-liter, 3-cylinder unit developed by IAV. To provide its customers with high fuel efficiency and still provide the performance consistent with today’s passenger vehicles, the Elio Motors engine must operate efficiently at two different loads—lower loads representative of highway cruising, and more demanding loads associated with the fast starts of city driving.
The original engine concept for the three-wheeler was to take the Geo Metro engine and create a template for the Elio engine; the Metro engine was compact, perceived to be efficient, had the correct power requirements, and is relatively inexpensive to produce. As the team began to dive into some of the details and changes to meet the desired Elio targets, it found that the Geo Metro engine would not meet the fuel efficiency targets to enable the vehicle fuel economy goal of 84 mpg highway.
Sub-micrometer carbon spheres as oil additives reduce engine friction up to 25%
March 06, 2015
Researchers at Purdue University have shown that adding ultra-smooth submicrometer carbon spheres to motor oil can reduce friction and wear typically seen in engines by up to 25%. The researchers also have shown how to potentially mass-produce the spheres, making them hundreds of times faster than previously possible using ultrasound to speed chemical reactions in manufacturing.
In a paper in the ACS journal Advanced Materials & Interfaces, they reported that the new lubricant composition—3% carbon spheres suspended in a reference SAE 5W30 engine oil—exhibited a substantial reduction in friction and wear (10 to 25%) compared to the neat oil, without change in the viscosity. Friction reduction was dependent on the sliding speed and applied load, and maximum reduction was achieved at the highest sliding speed in the boundary lubrication regime.
Toyota introduces facelifted Auris; revamped powertrains including new Otto/Atkinson 1.2L gasoline engine
March 04, 2015
At the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota introduced the facelifted Auris. With the launch of the Auris Hybrid in 2010, Toyota became the first manufacturer to offer a choice of three powertrains (gasoline, gasoline-electric hybrid, and diesel) in the C-segment.
Reflecting both changes in the highly-competitive C-segment market and Toyota customer feedback, the 2015 Auris range features significant improvements in five key areas: Design; Sensory Quality; the Hybrid model; Safety; and, improving the model’s segment coverage by some 40%, Powertrains. As part of the change, an all-new, 1.2 liter direct injection turbocharged engine from Toyota’s new family of efficient engines announced last year (earlier post) joins the existing gasoline line-up.
New 2016 Range Rover Evoque with new Ingenium diesel will deliver up to 56 mpg; Geneva debut
February 23, 2015
Land Rover will stage the world debut of the MY 2016 Range Rover Evoque. Equipped with the EU6-compliant, four-cylinder Ingenium diesel (earlier post), the new Evoque will be the most efficient production Land Rover yet, with fuel consumption as low as 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 109 g/km.
The all-aluminium 2.0-liter Ingenium TD4 engine, 20-30 kg (44-66 lbs) lighter than its predecessor with stiff cylinder blocks and decoupled injectors ensuring low levels of vibration and noise intrusion, is available in two power outputs: 150 PS (148 hp, 110 kW) (eD4 2WD) offering the 4.2 l/100km fuel consumption level, while the 180 PS (178 hp, 132 kW) unit offers 4.8 l/100km (49 mpg US) and CO2 emissions from 125g/km. The 150PS unit is 18% more fuel efficient compared to the Evoque’s previous diesel engines.
Kia unveiling new cee’d GT line with new 1.0L T-GDi and 7-speed DCT at Geneva
February 20, 2015
Kia Motors Europe will unveil a new Kia cee’d GT Line specification at the 85th Salon International de l’Automobile in Geneva on 3 March. In addition to a range of visual upgrades, the new cee’d GT Line features the debut of Kia’s all-new downsized 1.0-liter T-GDi (turbo gasoline direct injection) “Kappa” engine and new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in Europe.
The 1.0-liter T-GDi is a downsized, three-cylinder power unit engineered to improve fuel consumption and emissions while offering strong performance and immediate response. This is the first of Kia’s upcoming range of downsized engines to make its debut in Europe. The 1.0-liter T-GDi engine produces 120 PS (118 hp, 88 kw) and 172 N·m (127 lb-ft) torque, and has been engineered to deliver lower CO2 emissions than the 1.6-liter GDI engine found in other cee’d models, pending final homologation closer to the GT Line’s launch.
Libertine LPE free piston technology targeting power generation, waste-heat recovery and range-extended EV applications; feasibility study with PETRONAS
February 19, 2015
UK startup Libertine LPE has developed a free piston linear power generator technology that it says overcomes the key challenges faced by earlier free piston engine schemes of motion control, emissions and power conversion efficiency. The company, which on 16 Feb won the €20,000 (US$22,800) Climate-KIC cash prize at this year’s Cleantech Innovate, will be presenting its Linear Power Systems technology to investors at CleanEquity Monaco from 5-6 March.
A number of groups have recently or are currently investigating the use of free piston engine power generation applications with a focus on automotive, including work at West Virginia University (WVU), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), and Shanghai Jiaotong University. (Earlier post.) At the SAE 2014 World Congress, a team from Toyota Central R&D Labs presented their own work on 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). (Earlier post.)
VW to launch technically updated Sharan MPV at Geneva; up to 15% more fuel efficient
At this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, Volkswagen will present an extensive technical update of the Sharan MPV, of which more than 800,000 units have been sold since its launch in 1995. The update includes numerous systems to assist the driver and enhance convenience and comfort, some features being unique to this market segment, as well as new gasoline (TSI) and diesel (TDI) engines.
The turbocharged direct injection engines are now up to 15% more fuel-efficient and all now comply fully with the Euro-6 standard. The two new TSI engines produce 110 kW (148 hp, 150 PS) and 162 kW (217 hp, 220 PS); the second, higher-powered engine produces 15 kW (20 hp) more power than its predecessor. Three new TDI engines are available at these power levels: 85 kW (114 hp, 115 PS), 110 kW and 135 kW (181 hp, 184 PS (gain of 7 PS)). All engines, except the smallest diesel model, can be combined with a 6-speed dual clutch gearbox (DSG), which now provides a coasting function (decoupling of the engine during deceleration) for additional fuel-saving. The DSG transmission is standard with the top TSI engine; a an alternative, the 150 PS TDI engine is also available with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
ICCT reviews real-world tractor-trailer fuel economy in US, China and Europe
February 15, 2015
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has published a new paper reviewing and summarizing data on commercial vehicle sales and real-world fuel consumption for heavy-duty tractor-trailers in the three key markets of the US, China and Europe, which together account for more than 70% of HDV sales worldwide.
The review found that in the US, average tractor-trailer fuel consumption rates for the entire fleet are approximately 39 L/100 km (6 mpg). For the newest US models, fuel consumption is typically between 33 and 36 L/100 km (6.5–7 mpg). A fleet-wide analysis done for the European Commission estimates tractor-trailer fuel consumption at roughly 31 L/100 km (7.6 mpg), while tests of individual vehicles done by trucking magazines suggest somewhat higher average rates of consumption at approximately 36 to 38 L/100 km (6.5 to 6.2 mpg). Chassis dynamometer testing performed as part of the regulatory development process in China reveals that tractor-trailers seem to have much higher fuel consumption rates, on average, than in the US and the EU, with laboratory results yielding an average of 44 L/100 km (5.4 mpg).
Honda includes stop-start system in new 2016 Honda Pilot for improved fuel economy, new 9-speed (updated w/ VCM info)
February 13, 2015
Honda gave the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot SUV its global premiere at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The 2016 Pilot, launching at Honda dealerships nationwide this summer, is the third generation of Honda’s three-row midsize SUV to be designed, developed and manufactured in the US.
The 2016 Pilot features a new 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine with new two-stage Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology. For improved fuel efficiency, the 2016 Pilot will also include a stop start feature—Honda’s first non-hybrid application of this technology.
BMW introduces 2 Series Gran Tourer; up to 60 mpg US
February 12, 2015
BMW has introduced the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, a premium compact model. At 4,556 millimeters long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,608 mm high, the 2 Series Gran Tourer accommodates up to seven people while additionally offering a load compartment that extends from 645 to 1,905 liters in the five-seater and from 560 to 1,820 liters in the seven-seater variant.
Five three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be available from market launch of the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, all featuring the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. In addition to the four-cylinder liter gasoline engine in the BMW 220i Gran Tourer and the three-cylinder in the BMW 218i Gran Tourer, three diesel units round off the engine portfolio available at market launch. They include the four-cylinder diesel in the BMW 220d xDrive and BMW 218d Gran Tourer as well as the three-cylinder diesel in the BMW 216d Gran Tourer.
Direct measurement of key molecule will increase accuracy of combustion models
February 08, 2015
Sandia National Laboratories researchers are the first to measure directly hydroperoxyalkyl radicals—a class of reactive molecules denoted as “QOOH”—that are key in the chain of reactions that controls the early stages of combustion. This breakthrough has generated data on QOOH reaction rates and outcomes that will improve the fidelity of models used by engine manufacturers to create cleaner and more efficient cars and trucks. A paper describing the work, performed by David Osborn, Ewa Papajak, John Savee, Craig Taatjes and Judit Zádor at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility, is published in the journal Science.
As the Science Editor notes, the net combustion reaction is simple to describe (oxygen reacts with hydrocarbons to form water and carbon dioxide) but the details are much more complicated. Thousands of chemical reactions are involved in the conversion of a fuel’s chemical energy into mechanical work in an automobile engine. The fleeting molecules that initiate, sustain and then increase combustion are radicals: short-lived molecules that readily react and form new chemical bonds.
Ford Focus RS features optimized 2.3L EcoBoost, Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive
February 04, 2015
Ford revealed another of its promised performance models (earlier post), the all-new Focus RS, a high-performance road car that debuts Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive with Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control. The all-new Focus RS is equipped with a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine producing in excess of 315 horsepower.
Developed by a small team of global Ford Performance engineers, the new Focus RS is the third generation in the line, following models launched in 2002 and 2009. It will be the 30th car to wear the RS badge, following such technology trendsetters as the 1970 Escort RS1600 with 16 valves, 1985 Sierra RS Cosworth with turbocharging and radical aerodynamics and 1992 Escort RS Cosworth with four-wheel drive.
President’s 2016 Budget requests $29.9B for DOE; 9% boost over FY 2015 enacted; $793M (2.7%) for sustainable transportation
February 03, 2015
President Barack Obama’s 2016 Budget requests $29.9 billion for the US Department of Energy (DOE). The FY 2016 DOE Budget Request represents a 9% increase ($2.5 billion) above the FY 2015 enacted level.
42% of the DOE Budget Request ($12.6 billion) is for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), an increase of $1.2 billion over the FY 2015 Enacted level, to maintain a safe, secure, and effective nuclear weapons stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing and manage the research, development, and production activities and associated infrastructure maintenance and modernization needed to meet national nuclear security requirements.
Renault Sport F1 introduces revamped 2015 hybrid power unit
January 28, 2015
|Renault Energy F1-2015 Power Unit. Click to enlarge.|
Renault Sport F1 has unveiled its 2015 power unit for Formula 1 racing, which incorporates a number of changes compared to its 2014 predecessor (earlier post). 2015 is the second year of competitive use for the power units that feature a V6 turbocharged internal combustion engine coupled to energy recovery systems.
In introducing the new unit, Renault Chief Technical Officer Rob White noted that the second year of a new engine “is always difficult. The 2015 power unit project was started six months before the 2014 units took to the track, ie. before we had any significant experience of the technology. Then we also needed to consider the issues arising during the season. It creates a need to be both forward thinking and reactive. Splitting resources between projects is therefore a delicate balancing act, in the short, mid and long term. While certain decisions can be taken upstream, a number of design decisions were taken quite late in the day, in order to benefit from the experience of the 2014 power unit. The result is a power unit that is very different to its predecessor,” he said.
HEI ACES study of lifetime animal exposure to New Technology Diesel Engine exhaust finds no lung cancer
January 27, 2015
The first study to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of lifetime exposure to new technology diesel exhaust (NTDE)—i.e., exhaust from heavy-duty diesel engines meeting EPA 2007 and later emissions requirements—has found no evidence of carcinogenic lung tumors. The Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES), released today by the Health Effects Institute (HEI), also confirmed that the concentrations of particulate matter and toxic air pollutants emitted from NTDE are more than 90% lower than emissions from traditional older diesel engines (TDE). (Earlier post.) HEI is an independent, non-profit research institute funded jointly by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the worldwide motor vehicle industry.
The study exposed laboratory rats 80 hours a week, for up to 30 months, to emissions from a heavy-duty diesel engine meeting 2007 US EPA standards using new filters and other control technology. The study evaluated the long-term effects of multiple concentrations of inhaled NTDE in male and female rats on more than 100 different biologic endpoints, including tumor development, and compared the results with biologic effects seen in earlier studies in rats after exposure to TDE.
China Yuchai LNG engine powers the “Fuel Efficient Heavy-Duty Truck of the Year 2014” in China
January 26, 2015
China Yuchai International announced that a “K-Gold” model C&C truck equipped with the YC6K1340N liquid natural gas (LNG) engine has won the “Fuel Efficient Heavy-Duty Truck of the Year 2014” at China’s largest annual commercial vehicle event.
At 13 liters, the YC6K1340N engine has the largest displacement and highest torque power among comparable natural gas engines in China. Variants in the K13N range span power ratings from 340-440 PS (250-324 kW, 335-434 hp), with 1950 N·m of torque at 1200 ~ 1500 rpm. By utilizing lean-burn technology, it reduces average energy consumption by approximately 25% compared with diesel engines of similar size and power. The model YC6K1340N is the only engine in China that utilizes the JACOBS in-cylinder brake technology, and has LNG braking power up to 17 kW/L.
New Opel diesels for Mokka and Insignia
January 22, 2015
|1.6 CDTI with 100 kW/136 hp for Opel Mokka. Click to enlarge.|
Opel is introducing two new generation four-cylinder Opel diesels for Mokka and Insignia: the 1.6-liter CDTI (also seen in Astra and Meriva) in the Mokka and a 125 kW/170 hp 2.0-liter CDTI in the Insignia. The engines, which already meet the Euro 6 standards that will be compulsory from September, are another important step in the roll-out of Opel’s new powertrain portfolio.
The all-aluminum 1.6-liter CDTI for the Mokka sub-compact SUV will replace the 1.7 CDTI. The new engine gives more power and torque—up 6 hp and 20 N·m, respectively—from a smaller displacement, as well as significantly lower fuel consumption. The 1.6 CDTI in the 100 kW/136 hp version reaches 85 hp per liter—unrivaled in its displacement class, according to Opel—and delivers torque of 320 N·m.
BMW and Total begin field tests of AdBlue pumps in Germany
January 21, 2015
In Germany, BMW and Total have officially begun the field testing of AdBlue pumps installed at three fueling stations in Munich and Berlin. AdBlue, used in Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) NOx aftertreatment systems for modern diesels, is stored in an auxiliary tank in the car. The AdBlue filler neck is found underneath the fuel filler flap or in the engine compartment, depending on the BMW diesel model.
The pump is in lieu of a separate hand-held container of AdBlue, as currently used. Both parties expect to gain new insights into the practice of fueling the auxiliary AdBlue tanks from the field tests—especially from a customer perspective. The experience from the field trial will be used further to develop the AdBlue dispenser technology and to ensure the best user experience, the companies said.
Thomson Reuters analysis finds automotive new propulsion technology patent activities surge 6-fold in 5 years
January 20, 2015
|Automotive patent filings reduced to one document per DWPI family charted by category and the publication year of the earliest family member. Source: Thomson Innovation & Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index. Click to enlarge.|
An analysis of the global automobile industry’s recent patent activity by the Intellectual Property & Science business of Thomson Reuters has found a massive commitment from carmakers and their suppliers to new propulsion technology. Patent data from 2009 through July 2014 show that activity in propulsion technology grew from fewer than 2,000 patents to nearly 12,000: more than any other technology area in the automotive industry. It was also the only area of patents to reflect a year-over-year growth in the five-year span.
For the report, “The State of Innovation in the Automotive Industry”, Thomson Reuters broke patent activity in the automotive industry into five broad categories: Propulsion; Navigation (which included telematics); Handling (which included autonomous driving); Safety & Security (which included driver assistance systems); and Entertainment.
Ford puts the pedal down on performance … but not with electric drive technology right now
January 14, 2015
|The new Ford GT on display in the Ford stand at NAIAS. Click to enlarge.|
In December, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said Ford would focus on five key areas of innovation, one of them being performance. He said that more than 12 new performance vehicles would be introduced through 2020. (Earlier post.) At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this week, Ford delivered first proof of that focus with the reveal of the new Ford GT carbon-fiber supercar, as well as the new F-150 Raptor based on the new aluminum F-150 and the Shelby GT350R Mustang.
The stunning Ford GT—which received the EyesOn Design Award at NAIAS for best production vehicle—serves as a technology showcase for top EcoBoost engine performance, aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction. Beginning production late next year, the GT will the road in select global markets in honor of the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, unlike today’s hybrid drive Le Mans racers, or the new Acura NSX hybrid supercar, also revealed at NAIAS (earlier post), the GT—nor any of the other Ford performance vehicles unveiled at NAIAS—makes no use of electric drive technology.
Honda brings FCV Concept to N. America, promises new EV and PHEV models by 2018
January 13, 2015
Honda staged the North American debut of the Honda FCV fuel cell vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS); the company also announced US availability for the FCV in 2016. (Earlier post.)
Honda also used the venue to announce that it will offer several next-generation, advanced powertrain vehicles, including a new battery-electric model and plug-in hybrid model by 2018. Additionally, Honda said it plans further application of its two- and three-motor hybrid systems in the years to come. Honda also announced plans to introduce new VTEC Turbo engines to be built in Ohio and debut later in 2015.
Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel debuts in new 2016 Nissan Titan XD pickup
January 12, 2015
|2016 Nissan Titan XD Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan’s new 2016 Titan XD full-size pickup, which made its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, was also the platform for the debut of the first vehicle installation of the all-new Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel engine. Nissan and Cummins have worked together on optimizing a calibration and specific hardware for the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel since the partnership began in 2007. (Earlier post.)
The next-generation Nissan TITAN expands Cummins presence in the North American pickup market from heavy-duty trucks to now extending to serve the light-duty segment. The new TITAN XD engine features more than 70% parts commonality with the commercial variant of the Cummins ISV5.0 engine family, which includes vehicles with 30,000-pound gross vehicle weight ratings. The 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel stands alone between the smaller and larger diesel offerings in the pickup market.
ARPA-E issues $125M open solicitation for energy R&D; transportation and stationary applications
January 07, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $125-million open Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA). OPEN 2015 (DOE-FOA-0001261) will support the development of potentially disruptive new technologies in all areas of energy research and development, for both transportation and stationary applications.
OPEN 2015 is the third open funding solicitation issued by the agency. Open solicitations ensure that ARPA-E does not miss opportunities to support potentially transformational projects outside the scope of existing ARPA-E programs. The projects selected under OPEN 2015 will pursue novel approaches to energy innovation and support the development of potentially disruptive new technologies across the full spectrum of energy applications.
New GM/Tula DSF cylinder deactivation technology could boost fuel efficiency in engines by up to 15%
January 05, 2015
|Comparison of DSF fuel economy gains and costs with competing technologies, from Tula’s 2013 SAE paper. Wilcutts et al. Click to enlarge.|
GM is working closely with Tula Technology, a Silicon Valley-based supplier of Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF)—a software-enabled powertrain technology that integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls to create a variable displacement engine. In 2012, GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula; in 2013, Tula engineers presented a paper on their technology at the 2013 SAE World Congress.
Independent testing commissioned by Tula finds that the application of DSF technology can improve fuel efficiency in a multi-cylinder engine (4/6/8 cylinders) by as much as 15% when compared to a vehicle equipped with an engine that does not have cylinder deactivation.
ORNL study finds multi-mode RCCI can offer 15%+ fuel economy improvements across multiple light-duty driving cycles
|Drive cycle fuel economy for PFI, CDC, and multi-mode RCCI operation. Credit: Curran et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has added to the growing body of work exploring the applications and benefits of reactivity-controlled compression ignition (RCCI) by simulating the fuel economy and emissions for a multi-mode RCCI–enabled vehicle operating over a variety of US drive cycles using experimental engine maps for multi-mode RCCI; conventional diesel combustion; and a 2009 port-fuel injected gasoline engine. Their paper is published in the International Journal of Engine Research.
Among their findings were that multi-mode RCCI has the potential to offer greater than 15% fuel economy improvement over a 2009 gasoline PFI baseline over many light-duty driving cycles, despite the lack of complete drive cycle coverage for RCCI mode. Fuel usage over the drive cycles showed that nearly equal amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel would most likely need to be carried on board for RCCI multi-mode operation, which requires two fuels. During RCCI-only operation, fuel usage was found to be between 57 and 69% gasoline.
Ford Racing offering programming handset to performance enthusiasts for EcoBoost aftermarket tuning
December 31, 2014
|Power and torque curves for stock and performance-tuned Focus ST with 2.0L I-4 EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.|
Ford is now offering EcoBoost engines in all of its high-performance nameplates—from Fiesta ST to Mustang—enabling a new kind of aftermarket tuning. Modifying engine performance can be accomplished with hand-held programmers that adjust several engine parameters; adjusting engine control unit programming can result in performance gains of up to 90 lb-ft (122 N·m) of torque in cars such as the Focus ST.
To allow performance enthusiasts to exploit these capabilities, Ford Racing is offering a programming handset (ProCal, $595, along with required new sparkplugs) for Focus ST’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine and Fiesta ST’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost. Plugging the device into the car’s diagnostic link connector port in the driver’s side footwell allows tuners to tap into the many aspects of the car’s performance—anything from throttle response characteristics or idle speed, to turbo wastegate control, to fuel curves and spark timing—while maintaining the Ford-backed limited warranty.
Audi boosting investment over next 5 years by 9% to €24B; 70% to new models and technology
December 27, 2014
From 2015 through 2019, Audi plans to invest €24 billion (US$29 billion)—€2 billion (US$2.4 billion), or 9% more, more than in the previous planning period. 70 percent of the investment will flow into the development of new models and technologies. Audi aims to meet stringent CO2 limits worldwide with a new generation of extremely economical combustion engines and alternative efficiency technologies as well as new features in the areas of connectivity and driver assistance.
Audi also plans to create additional production capacities worldwide in the next five years through large-scale investment. More than half of the planned investment will take place at the German sites in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm.
Breakthrough in predictions of pressure-dependent combustion chemical reactions
December 24, 2014
Researchers at Sandia and Argonne national laboratories have demonstrated, for the first time, a method to successfully predict pressure-dependent chemical reaction rates. It’s an important breakthrough in combustion and atmospheric chemistry that is expected to benefit auto and engine manufacturers, oil and gas utilities and other industries that employ combustion models.
A paper (Jasper et al.) describing the work, performed by researchers at Sandia’s Combustion Research Facility and Argonne’s Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division is published in the journal Science. As well, a Perspective on the problem and the methodology developed by the Sandia and Argonne team appears in the journal, written by Dr. Michael Pilling at the University of Leeds.
Orbital suing Daimler and Bosch for alleged patent infringement on direct injection technology
December 23, 2014
Australia-based specialized engine and vehicle systems company Orbital Corporation has filed court documents in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleging the infringement of Orbital patents on direct injection technology by Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. (Mercedes), Robert Bosch GMGH and Robert Bosch LLC (Bosch). (3:14-cv-00808-REP Orbital Australia Pty Ltd et al. v. Daimler AG et al.)
Specific patents covered by the complaint are United States Patents Nº 6,923,387 (the “387 patent”) ("injector patent"); Nº 5,655,365 (the “365 patent”); and Nº 5,606,951 (the “951 patent”) (“control patents”),under 35 U.S.C.§271.
Renault & partners show research prototypes: 2-cyl. 2-stroke diesel, 48V mild-hybrid diesel, delivery EV
December 13, 2014
|POWERFUL two-cylinder, two-stroke diesel. Click to enlarge.|
At its recent Innovations@Renault event, the France-based automaker presented three research prototypes developed in tandem with its partners as cooperative projects: a mild-hybrid diesel produced as part of the HYDIVU (Hybrid Diesel for LCVs); a two-cylinder, two-stroke diesel from the POWERFUL (POWERtrain for FUture Light-duty vehicles) project (earlier post); and an electric light commercial van developed as part of the du VELUD (Electric Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Logistics) project.
HYDIVU is a 48V mild-hybrid diesel solution to bring down consumption and emissions in LCVs. The objective of this project is to reduce the consumption of LCVs for business customers who travel long distances. Developed on the base of the Renault Master, this prototype is fitted with a powertrain that integrates an electric motor (mild hybridization), Twin-turbo technology and a downspeeding design. The combination of these three technologies results in a in a fuel consumption saving of up to 10% when used over long distances.
New BMW 218i Coupe to offer new 3-cylinder gasoline engine
December 12, 2014
|New BMW 3-cylinder turbo gasoline engine for the 218i. Click to enlarge.|
With the market launch of the new BMW 218i Coupe, BMW will offer a new a three-cylinder gasoline engine from the BMW Group’s latest engine family (earlier post) for the first time in the compact model. With a displacement of 1.5 liters, the newly developed power unit delivers a maximum output of 100 kW/136 hp and a maximum torque of 220 N·m (162 lb-ft) available at 1,250 rpm.
The car’s BMW TwinPower Turbo technology comprises a supercharger that is integrated into the exhaust manifold; a further developed gasoline direct injection system; the latest version of the variable valve control system VALVETRONIC; and Double VANOS variable camshaft control. The new power unit is conventionally positioned lengthwise in the engine compartment under the hood. Its low weight benefits the well-balanced load distribution of almost 50:50 between the front and rear axle.
Volvo Cars well along with 3-cylinder gasoline engine development program; prototype testing underway
December 11, 2014
|Volvo Car’s 3-cylinder gasoline engine. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Cars confirmed its production program to develop a lightweight 3-cylinder Drive-E gasoline engine. The engine, wholly developed in Sweden, will join the company’s 4-cylinder Drive-E engines (earlier post). “The development program for the new 3-cylinder engine is very advanced and we have already begun prototype testing of the unit,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group.
Volvo has a long history of developing its own unique 6-, 5- and 4-cylinder engines and in-house expertise. (Volvo has been developing its own powertrain solutions since the company was founded in 1927.) The move to include a 3-cylinder in Volvo’s engine program is a natural next step in its downsizing strategy, the company said.
Achates Power secures fifth OEM contract for opposed-piston 2-stroke CI engines; 3-cylinder configurations under test
December 09, 2014
Achates Power, Inc., the developer of a family of efficient compression-ignition opposed-piston two-stroke (OP2S) engines (earlier post) has secured another contract with a leading global OEM. With this contract, the company has five concurrent customers the contracts for which encompass five different engine applications: passenger vehicle, light commercial vehicle, heavy commercial vehicle, military and marine/stationary power.
Achates Power’s engine allows OEMs to achieve the most stringent current and future fuel efficiency and emissions standards—including EPA 2010, Euro 6 and Tier 3/LEV 3—without additional cost or complexity. During 2014, Achates Power’s annual revenue has increased by more than 300%. The company has customers located in the US, Japan, Europe, China and India and its current engine programs range from 45 hp to more than 5,000 hp.
DOE issues FY 2015 SBIR/STTR Release 2 funding opportunity, including hydrogen fuel cells, electric drive batteries
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued its FY 2015 Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001227) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Technical topics for this FOA—which span the range of DOE interests from fossil to nuclear to renewable and low-carbon energies—include two hydrogen- and fuel-cell-related topics: fuel cell-battery electric hybrid trucks and in-line quality control devices for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
Also included are electric drive vehicle batteries, power electronics, on-board reformers, and advanced crank and ignition mechanisms for combustion engines.
Westport Innovations acquires alt fuel systems company Prins Autogassystemen for €12.2M
December 03, 2014
Natural gas engine and vehicle company Westport Innovations Inc. has acquired Netherlands based Prins Autogassystemen Holding B.V. for €12.2 million (US$15.1 million) through a combination of €6.6 million (US$8.2 million) in assumed liabilities and €5.6 million (US$6.9 million) in cash.
Founded in 1986, Prins is a leading developer of high quality alternative fuel systems powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane), compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty applications. Prins operations in Europe will be combined under the Westport Applied Technologies business unit.
Start-up Eco-Motive developing dual-fuel “H” engine; parallel, independently fueled piston banks
December 01, 2014
|The H-engine—basically two separate engines housed within the same engine block—comprises two switchable parallel piston banks, independently fueled by gasoline and CNG. Click to enlarge.|
Startup Eco-Motive has developed what it calls the first dual-fuel “H” engine; it recently received a patent (#8807098) on the design. The H-shaped engine comprises parallel left-side and right-side vertical inline piston banks, each having a crankshaft and pistons, a cylinder head, and individual fuel feeds, but sharing a common power transmission system. Each piston bank operates independently of the other but is housed within the same engine block and has separate lubrication systems.
The Eco-Motive H-motor—basically two separate engines housed within the same engine block—can be powered by either gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG), at the driver’s decision. The chosen engine is mechanically or electrically selected via an engine bank selector box using a selector control which selects the fuel type and engages a drive gear on the crankshaft of the selected engine, and transfers power to the transmission. The selector control actuates a transfer system that prevents simultaneous operation of both engines. The vehicle stays in that fuel mode until changed by the driver.
Toyota Motor to consolidate development and production of diesel engines under TICO; manual transmissions under Aisin Seiki; brake systems under Advics
November 29, 2014
Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will consolidate their joint diesel engine development and production under the control of TICO. The purpose of this decision is to strengthen the competitiveness of both companies by bringing the development and production of diesel engines under one roof and enabling more efficient allocation of resources.
Further, Toyota is consolidating development and Japanese production of manual transmissions under Aisin Seiki subsidiary Aisin AI Co., Ltd. and will accelerate the consolidation of brake system engineering, manufacturing and sales under Advics, which was founded in July 2001 by Aisin Seiki, Denso, Sumitomo Electric, and TMC. (TMC, TICO, Aisin Seiki and Denso are part of the Toyota Group.)
MHI completes development of next-generation LNG carrier; apple-shaped tanks and hybrid propulsion
|Sayaringo STaGE. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed development of the “Sayaringo STaGE,” a next-generation LNG (liquefied natural gas) carrier. The Sayaringo STaGE was developed as a successor to the Sayaendo (earlier post), the company’s LNG carrier evolved from carriers with Moss-type spherical tanks that offer a high level of reliability. (Moss-type LNG carriers use independent spherical cargo tanks supported by a cylindrical skirt integrated with the hull and covered with a hemispherical steel cover attached to the main deck.)
While the Sayaendo (sayaendo = peas in a pod in Japanese) features a peapod-shaped continuous cover for the Moss spherical tanks that is integrated with the ship’s hull, in lieu of a conventional hemispherical cover, the new Sayaringo (ringo being the Japanese word for “apple”) STaGE adopts apple-shaped tanks, resulting in nearly a16% increase in LNG carrying capacity without changing the ship’s width. Further, a hybrid propulsion system has boosted fuel efficiency by more than 20% compared to the Sayaendo (and more than 40% vis-à-vis earlier carriers).
BMW reveals 3 Series Plug-in hybrid prototype with 117.5 mpg; next-gen Power eDrive: 2x current capacity, electric AWD
November 27, 2014
|BMW 3 Series Plug-in hybrid prototype. Click to enlarge.|
BMW has unveiled a 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype. Combining a four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine from the new Efficient Dynamics engine family with an electric motor, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype offers performance on a par with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series six-cylinder model, combined with a significant reduction in fuel consumption.
In addition, BMW outlined its work on Power eDrive next-generation electrification platforms—an effort to deliver “highly electrified” plug-in hybrids with higher-powered electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of present versions. Future plug-in hybrid concepts, said BMW, will use the electric motor—the main source of power for everyday driving—to drive the rear wheels, while a second electric motor driving the front wheels will create an all-electric road-coupled all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, an internal combustion engine will also supply power to the front axle.
New Mercedes-Benz compact CLA Shooting Brake; up to 60 mpg
November 26, 2014
Mercedes-Benz is introducing a Shooting Brake version of its CLA compact coupé. The CLA Shooting Brake (length/width/height: 4630/1777/1435 mm) will initially be available with a choice of two diesel and three gasoline engines—all equipped as standard with the ECO start/stop function and Euro 6-compliant—as well as with 4MATIC all-wheel drive. It goes on sale in January 2015, with the first models going to customers towards the end of March 2015.
Two years ago, with the CLS Shooting Brake, Mercedes-Benz created a sports car with five seats and a large tailgate. (Earlier post.) The CLA Shooting Brake takes the elegant Shooting Brake design into a smaller model. The new CLA Shooting Brake is the latest member of Mercedes’ successful compact range, which now includes five models. A total of 375,000 A-, B-, CLA- and GLA-Class vehicles were sold in the first ten months of 2014.
LiquidPiston unveils 70cc rotary gasoline engine prototype embodying HEHC; power dense, low-vibration
November 19, 2014
|LiquidPiston X1 engine features three separate combustion chambers creating 3 power strokes per revolution for high power density. Source: LPI. Click to enlarge.|
LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI) the developer of engines based on its High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) (earlier post), has unveiled the alpha prototype of the X Mini—a power-dense, low-vibration, quiet, 70cc spark-ignited, non-Wankel rotary embodiment of the HEHC. Dr. Alexander Shkolnik, President and Co-Founder of LiquidPiston, is presenting the engine in a paper at the SAE International/JSAE 2014 Small Engine Technology￼Conference today in Pisa, Italy.
The compact engine with a 4-lb (1.8 kg) core has only two primary moving parts—a rotor (the primary work-producing component) and an eccentric shaft—and fits in a 6.6" x 6.2" x 5.4" box. In prototype testing, the spark-ignited X Mini engine has shown high power density, producing 3.5 horsepower (indicated at 10,000 RPM). When mature, the engine is expected to weigh 3 pounds, produce more than 5 hp at up to 15,000 RPM, and be more than 30% smaller and lighter than comparable four-stroke piston engines.
Federal-Mogul expands powertrain materials portfolio for more efficient heavy-duty diesel engines
November 16, 2014
Federal-Mogul Holdings Corporation’s Powertrain Division has expanded its range of high performance materials for valve guides, seats and turbocharger bushings that support the commercial vehicle industry’s drive towards more efficient engines. Providing superior wear resistance at elevated temperatures, the new materials use Federal-Mogul’s well-proven powder metal (PM) technology to add other benefits, such as greater corrosion resistance and mechanical strength, depending upon the application.
Downsized, heavily turbocharged engines with high levels of aftertreatment such as particulate filter systems and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) run hotter than their predecessors, explained Frank Zwein, Federal-Mogul’s global application engineering director, Valve Seats and Guides.
Audi offers two new 3-cylinder engines in refreshed A1: 1.0 TFSI and MDB 1.4 TDI diesel for A1 ultra
November 14, 2014
|Audi A1. Click to enlarge.|
Since their introduction on the market in 2010, the Audi A1 and A1 Sportback have sold more than 500,000 units worldwide. Audi is now refreshing its A1 models, including the offer of six engines—gasoline and diesel—that are new or that have been intensively further developed.
For the first time, Audi is offering completely new three-cylinder engines: the 1.0 TFSI gasoline engine and the 1.4 TDI diesel. The 1.4 TDI follows the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine as the second engine in the Volkswagen Group’s modular diesel engine platform (MDB). (Earlier post.) Power output—ranging from from 66 kW (90 hp) to 141 kW (192 hp)—has been increased in most engines, while fuel economy has been reduced by as much as 10% percent. The seven-speed S tronic is available for all engines, either optional or standard (with the 1.8 TFSI).
DSM wins SPE Automotive Innovation Award for bio-based EcoPaXX integrated crankshaft cover for Volkswagen Group diesels
|EcoPaXX crankshaft cover. Click to enlarge.|
A lightweight multi-functional crankshaft cover in Royal DSM’s EcoPaXX high-performance polyamide 410 was top in the Powertrain category at the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division Innovation Awards Competition and Gala in Detroit. The 70% bio-based EcoPaXX is made principally from topical castor beans and is 100% carbon neutral from cradle to gate. Castor oil is obtained from the Ricinus Communis plant, which grows in tropical regions on relatively poor soil, and does not compete with the food-chain.
The EcoPaXX crankshaft cover is produced by DSM’s automotive component specialist partner KACO in Germany for the latest generation of MDB-4 TDI diesel engines developed by the Volkswagen Group. The engines are fitted to various car models made by VW, Audi, Seat and Škoda. Dr. Lutz Wohlfarth from Volkswagen, and Marcio Lima from KACO were both at the Gala in Detroit to collect the SPE award.
Volkswagen outlines a range of near-term technologies for reducing fuel consumption and emissions; stop-start 2.0, 10-speed DSG
November 11, 2014
Volkswagen presented its latest technologies for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions—which includes the first 10-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG)—in an Innovation Workshop for the media at the Ehra-Lessien test track facility near Wolfsburg.
Volkswagen AG has set the goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable carmaker by the year 2018. Compared to baseline figures for 2010, the Group wants to reduce energy and water consumption, waste generation and emissions (including CO2 emissions) by 25% in all of its business areas. (I.e., VW’s “Strategy 2018”, earlier post.) To achieve this, the Volkswagen brand—the highest volume brand of the Group—is counting on electric mobility (zero-emission and plug-in hybrid models); on continually more fuel-efficient combustion engines and gearboxes; progressive lightweight design; aerodynamics; and efficiency “in every conceivable area”.
Honda beginning sales of Legend with 3-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system in January; V6 with cylinder deactivation
November 10, 2014
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will begin sales of the all-new Legend flagship sedan (its cousin is already on sale in the US as the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) at dealerships across Japan on 22 January 2015. The fifth-generation Legend features the 3-motor Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system also offered in the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (earlier post).
Positioned at the front of the vehicle is a newly developed V6 3.5L direct injection i-VTEC engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with an integrated 35 kW electric motor. The rear-mounted TMU (Twin Motor Unit) contains two 27-kilowatt motors that dynamically distribute electric-motor torque to the rear wheels. Both the front and rear motors capture kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration and braking and convert it to electricity to supply the Intelligent Power Unit’s 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located behind the rear seatback. Teaming up with a high-output lithium-ion battery, the control unit coordinates the operation of the engine and three motors.
New generation smart fortwo and forfour offer new drive systems, suspension
November 04, 2014
|The new generation smart forfour and fortwo. Click to enlarge.|
The new generation smart fortwo and forfour city cars (earlier post), developed in cooperation with Renault, offer a new range of drive systems: three three-cylinder engines rated at 45 kW/60 hp, 52 kW/71 hp and 66 kW/90 hp, coupled with a five-speed manual transmission or the twinamic dual clutch transmission.
The two most powerful engines will be available for the launch on the market in Europe on 22 November, and the basic gasoline engine will follow a few months after the market introduction. The smart forfour now also features the rear-mounted engine design of the fortwo.
CDTi introduces Spinel technology to replace PGMs and rare earths in catalytic converters
|CDTi says that its Spinel technology uses various base metals to create an effective exhaust catalyst. Click to enlarge.|
Clean Diesel Technologies, Inc. announced new proprietary technology—which it calls Spinel—to replace costly platinum group (PGM) and rare earth metals in catalytic converters. The new technology will power multiple catalytic product lines that CDTi believes will be highly disruptive to the traditional platinum-based or rare-earth based device industry. This is CDTi’s first public announcement regarding its Spinel technology, the development of which has been kept confidential until now.
Spinel is the name initially given to naturally-occurring magnesium aluminate (MgAl2O4) and is now used to describe any composition with the same structure. CDTi’s “Spinel” technology utilizes various base metals which when combined together in a common structure achieve unusual and very effective catalytic conversion activity. The technology is applicable in a wide range of engine and vehicle applications, both gasoline and diesel, as well as other potential vertical markets, CDTi says.
Researchers in POWERFUL develop new two-stroke diesel featuring low consumption and low criteria emissions
|Two-stroke diesel in test car. Click to enlarge.|
A European project led by Renault, in collaboration with the Czech Technical University in Prague, IFP Energies Nouvelles, Delphi, Le Moteur Moderne (LMM) and Universitat Politècnica de València have developed an advanced two-cylinder, two-stroke compression ignition (CI) engine integrating LTHC (low temperature homogeneous combustion) as part of the European project POWERFUL (POWERtrain for FUture Light-duty vehicles).
The €25-million (US$31-million) FP7 project, which ended in June, also supported two other engine projects: an advanced four-stroke two-cylinder SI engine concept characterized by low-cost / low emissions; and an advanced four-stroke, three-cylinder CI engine concept able to run also on new tailored fuels and integrating the LTC (low temperature combustion) mode in the CI combustion system.
Daimler opens new MB R&D center in Beijing, presents G-Code hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid all-wheel drive concept
Daimler Greater China opened its new 865-million RMB Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Center in China and extended its local R%D network in Beijing. A new Advanced Design Studio is a centerpiece of the R&D facility and represents the company’s new design hub in Asia. At the official opening, Gorden Wagener, Head of Design Daimler AG, presented the Mercedes-Benz G-Code plug-in hybrid crossover show car.
The G-Code is powered by two individually controlled drive cores: a compact, turbocharged hydrogen-fueled combustion engine which solely drives the front wheels, and an electric motor which drives the rear axle and transmits its power selectively to the two wheels via a dual multi-disc clutch. Disclaimer: Mercedes-Benz emphasized that the G-Code, like the previously introduced Ener-G-Force and GT 6 vehicle studies, “makes absolutely no claim to be implemented within foreseeable periods.”
Mercedes-AMG HPP awarded Dewar Trophy for PU106A Hybrid F1 Power Unit
October 30, 2014
|The Dewar Trophy was presented to Andy Cowell, Managing Director of HPP, along with members of his project team from Brixworth. Click to enlarge.|
The UK’s Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has awarded the prestigious Dewar Trophy, presented for outstanding technical achievement in the automotive industry, to Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) for the design of the PU106A Hybrid Formula One Power Unit. (Earlier post.)
The team at HPP was recognized for its development of the most advantageous powertrain within the new Formula One regulations. The aim for 2014 was to raise the engine efficiency from around 29% for the previous normally aspirated 2.4-liter V8 to better than 40% with the new 1.6-liter V6 Hybrid turbo. The successful design, research and teamwork resulted in the Mercedes-Benz PU106A Hybrid Power Unit, which has not only been the dominant powertrain in this first season under the new Formula One rules, but is also arguably among the most thermally efficient gasoline powertrains ever produced, with a claimed thermal efficiency of greater than 40%.
Mercedes-Benz wins MATERIALICA awards for diesel passenger car steel pistons and CFRP struts
October 25, 2014
Mercedes-Benz received two MATERIALICA Design and Technology Awards at the MATERIALICA 2014 trade fair for materials applications, surface technology and product engineering in Munich. The first was for the new steel pistons for diesel engines (earlier post), the second for high-strength carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) struts.
The MATERIALICA Award 2014 comprised five categories: Material; Surface & Technology; Product; CO2 Efficiency; and Student. The MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award focuses on product and technological developments in all sectors which implement a successful bundling of competencies.
Ford investing $306M more at Dagenham for new generation of 2.0L diesels; LCVs from 2016 and cars from 2018
October 20, 2014
Ford is investing an additional £190 million (US$306 million) at its Dagenham London site to produce a family of all-new advanced 2.0-liter diesel engines (code-named Panther) in a wide range of outputs due to be applied in commercial vehicles starting in 2016 and in cars starting in 2018. (Earlier post.) This investment includes £8.9 million (US$14.3 million) from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund. Ford is creating 318 new jobs connected with this investment.
The announcement confirms the second phase of investment in the new engine program following the original investment of £287 million (US$462.3 million) for phase one with support from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund. The first phase of investment relates to the production of low-carbon 2.0-liter diesel engines for Ford commercial vehicles (CVs) globally. The second phase is for low-carbon, 2.0-liter diesel engines for passenger cars.
California Energy Commission to award up to $2.25M for R&D on advanced ignition systems for Class 3-8 natural gas engines
October 10, 2014
The California Energy Commission has issued a funding notice (PON-14-501) to support the applied research and development of advanced high-energy ignition systems capable of overcoming the challenges of igniting natural gas fuel under high boost pressures with heavy exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) for spark-ignited Class 3-8 engines.
Ignition characteristics of natural gas fuel represent challenges to engine manufacturers working to satisfy tighter emission standards, achieve lower fuel consumption and higher engine performance, and respond to market demand for extended maintenance options. Funded projects must involve the development and demonstration of one or both of the following concepts for new or existing ignition systems:
EPA annual trends report finds new vehicle fuel economy at record 24.1 mpg; new powertrain technologies rapidly gaining share
EPA released the latest edition of its annual report on trends in CO2 emissions, fuel economy and powertrain technology for new personal vehicles in the US. Among the top-level findings was that Model year 2013 vehicles achieved an average of 24.1 mpg (9.76 l/100 km)—a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year and an increase of nearly 5 mpg since 2004. Fuel economy has now increased in eight of the last nine years; average carbon dioxide emissions are also at a record low of 369 g/mile in model year 2013. The majority of the carbon and oil savings from current vehicles is due to new gasoline vehicle technologies, the report observed.
The report, “Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2014”, also found that the light truck market share increased slightly in MY 2013, after several years of volatility; that the vehicle weight trend is flat and vehicle power trend is increasing more slowly; that many new powertrain technologies are rapidly gaining market share; and that consumers have an increasing number of high fuel economy/low CO2 vehicle choices.
2015 VW Jetta TDI: a more refined, powerful and efficient diesel within a nicely redesigned model line
October 07, 2014
|2015 Jetta TDI. Click to enlarge.|
The Jetta is Volkswagen’s current best selling car in the US; total 2014 Jetta sales through September were 115,055 units, or 42.5% of Volkswagen USA total sales. In addition, its diesel version is the top selling passenger car diesel in the market here, with about 29% share, according to figures compiled by Baum & Associates and hybridcars.com.
For 2015, Volkswagen has refined the entire sixth-generation Jetta lineup, endowing the compact with a crisper exterior design which also improves aerodynamics; an updated interior; a number of newly available driver assistance systems; and, significantly for the diesel model, the new 2.0T TDI Clean Diesel EA288 engine (earlier post) with an EPA-rated highway fuel economy rating of 46 mpg with the manual transmission (45 mpg automatic). Volkswagen’s refreshed 2015 Jetta is now in showrooms in the US.
Volvo Cars reveals triple-boosted 4-cylinder, 450 hp Drive-E powertrain concept
|Drive-E Powertrain Concept. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo has developed a concept 2-liter, 4-cylinder, triple-boost Drive-E concept engine that delivers 450 hp (336 kW). The 450 hp High Performance Drive-E Powertrain Concept is based on a set of technologies not usually found in a four-cylinder engine.
The engine utilizes two parallel turbochargers, which are fed by an electrically powered turbo-compressor. The compressed air from this unit, rather than being fed to the cylinders, is instead used to spool up the two parallel turbochargers. Fuel is fed by a dual fuel pump working at 250 bar pressure. With this kind of power density, this triple boost installation and unique fuel system enables a very dynamic drivability without any turbo lag, compared to a mono-turbo.
Major refresh on 2015 Honda CR-V with new Earth Dreams powertrain provides fuel economy gain of up to 12%
October 04, 2014
|2015 Honda CR-V. Click to enlarge.|
Honda has given its 2015 CR-V compact SUV, which launched in US dealerships on 1 October, the most significant mid-model cycle refresh in the 17-year history of the model. The 2015 CR-V offers a new direct-injected Earth Dreams Technology i-VTEC engine and new continuously variable transmission (CVT); a new suite of “Honda Sensing” safety and driver assistance systems (DAS); significantly enhanced exterior and interior styling; as well a long list of new standard and available features and a new premium Touring trim.
The 2015 CR-V features increased EPA fuel economy ratings of 27/34/29 mpg (8.7/6.9/8.1 l/100 km) (city/highway/combined) for front-wheel-drive models and 26/33/28 mpg (9.0/7.1/8.4 l/100 km) for Real Time AWD models, both increasing +4/+3/+3 mpg over 2014 models—i.e., an increase in the combined rating of 11.5% and 12%, respectively, compared to the 2014 models.
Infiniti Q80 Inspiration concept hybrid delivers 550 hp with 42.8 mpg fuel economy
October 02, 2014
Infiniti unveiled the Q80 Inspiration concept car at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, it what it called a signal of its intent to break into the top tier of the premium sedan category; the concept will lead to a future model. The four-door fastback is powered by a hybrid electric powertrain that is expected to deliver 550 hp (410 kW) with fuel consumption of 5.5 L/100 km (42.8 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of about 129 g/km.
The powertrain incorporates a new aluminum-based downsized twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that is part of a new engine family which will be introduced within the next two years. (Infiniti plans to double its powertrain range over the next five years.) The 450 hp (336 kW) V6 gasoline engine will be supported by an electric motor powered by a Li-ion battery pack, capable of adding around 75 kW (100 hp) hybrid power boost when required, and a 9-speed automatic gearbox.