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

Mercedes-Benz introduces its mid-size pickup truck: the X-Class leans on diesel

July 19, 2017

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its new pickup truck—the first from a premium manufacturer—the X-Class. There are three design and equipment variants to choose from as well as four- or six-cylinder engines, rear-wheel drive and engageable or permanent all-wheel drive, a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The market launch in Europe is scheduled for November 2017. At the beginning of 2018 South Africa, Australia and New Zealand will follow, and at the beginning of 2019 Argentina and Brazil.

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Federal-Mogul Powertrain introducing IROX 2 polymer bearings for crankshafts; effective for hybrid and start/stop applications

Federal-Mogul Powertrain is extending its crankshaft bearing portfolio with a new high performance polymeric coating, IROX 2, that will debut at the 2017 IAA show in Frankfurt, Germany later this year. The newly developed product provides enhanced seizure performance with steel crankshafts. IROX 2 joins Federal-Mogul’s family of IROX technologies which reduce friction and improve the wear resistance and fatigue limit of the bearings used in today’s highly evolved downsized engines.

The new polymer-coated high-performance bearings can be applied to both light and heavy-duty engines, and are particularly effective in hybrid and start/stop applications that place additional demands on bearings through frequent re-starting. Sample bearings with the IROX 2 coating are already with customers for evaluation and series production will commence later this year.

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Daimler launches diesel plan; expands recall to >3M units, accelerating next-gen diesel launch

July 18, 2017

The Daimler Board of Management has approved a comprehensive plan for diesel engines consisting of a substantial expansion of the current service action for vehicles in customers’ hands as well as a rapid market launch of the completely new OM 654 diesel engine family (earlier post).

Since March, Mercedes-Benz has offered its customers of compact-class cars an improvement in NOx emissions for one engine version. Approximately 45% of those cars have since been updated. A voluntary service action is also being carried out for V-Class customers—so far with approximately 75% of the vehicles in Germany. To improve the emissions of additional model series, Daimler has now decided to extend the service action to include more than three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

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ifo Institute study projects ban on combustion engines in 2030 would affect 600K jobs in German manufacturing

In Germany, legislation banning permits for new cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines as of 2030 is currently under consideration. A new study by the ifo Institute projects that such a ban could lead to significant losses in terms of jobs and added value in Germany. More than 600,000 jobs, or 10%, of jobs in German in manufacturing would currently be directly or indirectly affected by a ban. In the automotive industry alone a ban would endanger 436,000 jobs, while up to 130,000 jobs at small and medium-sized companies would be at risk.

Such a ban would also impact a total of 13% (amounting to around €48 billion) of gross value added. The study was commissioned by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

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Volvo D13 turbo compound engine delivers up to 6.5% improvement in fuel efficiency

July 17, 2017

Volvo Trucks North America’s new VNL series delivers up to 7.5% improved fuel efficiency when spec’d with Volvo’s available D13 Turbo Compound engine (D13TC). (Earlier post.) Designed for customers with long-haul, steady-speed operations, the 13-liter Volvo D13TC utilizes turbo compounding technology that recovers energy typically wasted through the exhaust, converting it into useable mechanical energy that is transferred back to the engine.

By employing a secondary exhaust turbine downstream of the main turbocharger, the normally lost energy is routed to the flywheel, recovering as much as 50 hp and helping to improve fuel economy by up to 6.5% when compared with previous GHG14 D13 engine models.

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Study finds PM from biodiesel blends may be 50-80% less toxic per unit PM mass than from petroleum diesel

July 15, 2017

In a study published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels, a team from the University of Vermont reports that particulate matter from the combustion of biodiesel blends may be 50–80% less toxic per unit PM mass emitted than PM from petroleum diesel, depending on feedstock.

There is growing consensus that PM toxicity is linked to the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on PM and the subsequent oxidative stress induced in cells. However, the relative toxicity of biodiesel emissions compared to petroleum diesel remains unclear. In the study, the team examined the relationships between biodiesel fuel blend, exhaust particle oxidative potential (OP), and PM composition.

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Study finds modern diesel cars emit fewer carbonaceous particulates than gasoline cars

July 14, 2017

A new study by an international team led by researchers from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland has found that modern diesel passenger cars equipped with diesel particulate filters (DPFs) emit fewer carbonaceous particulates than gasoline-powered vehicles. The open-access study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Carbonaceous PM is made up of black carbon, primary organic aerosol (POA) and—especially—secondary organic aerosol (SOA), which is known to contain harmful reactive oxygen species and can damage lung tissue. The researchers first quantified carbonaceous PM from Euro 5 gasoline and DPF-equipped diesel cars, then constrained the measurements using source apportionment investigations to provide a comprehensive assessment of the current state and future trends in gasoline and diesel vehicular pollution.

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ICCT working paper highlights benefits of current and emerging light-duty diesel technology; “promising pathway for compliance”

July 11, 2017

The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), one of the organizations at the root of uncovering the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal (earlier post), has published a new analysis of developments and trends in advanced diesel engine technology.

The ICCT team—John German and Aaron Isenstadt—concluded that diesels have and will retain two significant advantages over gasoline engines: significantly better fuel economy and cargo hauling and towing ability. Those attributes make diesels a strong option for customers who put a high priority on towing or fuel economy and manufacturers that want to market high fuel economy, they conclude. “Diesels offer a promising pathway for compliance and another option in manufacturers’ toolboxes.

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Volkswagen Group developing lean-burn combustion for monovalent natural gas engine as part of $27M EU GasOn research project

July 10, 2017

Volkswagen Group Research and its partners in the EU-funded GasOn research project are developing an innovative monovalent natural gas engine. Based on a 2.0-liter diesel engine, the unit permits very high compression. Extremely lean combustion (λ~2) leads to low consumption and initially to very low engine-out emissions.

Initial test results reported to the consortium for the period through October 2016 suggested a lean mixture with λ = 1.8 and a compression ratio of 14 seemed possible.

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US charges Audi manager with conspiracy to cheat US emissions tests; sacrificing NOx control for a sound system

The US has charged a former Audi manager via criminal complaint for his role in a conspiracy to defraud US regulators and customers by implementing defeat device software in thousands of Audi diesel vehicles to cheat US emissions tests.

Giovanni Pamio, 60, an Italian citizen, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the US, wire fraud, and violation of the Clean Air Act. Pamio was formerly head of Thermodynamics within Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department in Neckarsulm, Germany. According to the complaint, from in or about 2006 until in or about November 2015, Pamio led a team of engineers responsible for designing emissions control systems to meet emissions standards, including for nitrogen oxides (NOx), for diesel vehicles in the US. The complaint cited a cooperating witness (CW1)—an Audi employee who works in Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department—as well as contemporaneous documentation in the Statement of Probable Cause.

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ICCT analysis finds 2025 European automotive CO2 standards can be met even if diesel share drops to 15%

July 07, 2017

Diesel has played a major role in the European Union’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions from the automotive fleet; the market share of fuel-efficient new diesel cars in the European Union has remained above 50% since 2010. However, in the wake of emission control scandals, increasing concern over NOx-baed air-quality problems in city centers and emerging anti-diesel policy measures, the diesel market share is expected to fall significantly.

This projected shift in market share has raised some concerns over the cost of attainting CO2 emission targets. However, a new analysis by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) suggests that the EU could achieve a hypothetical 70 g/km (as measured according to the New European Driving Cycle – NEDC) passenger vehicle CO2 target in 2025 with both lower net cost and reduced NOx emissions, even with a significantly reduced diesel share.

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France launches new climate plan; Euro 7 lead; targeting ending the sale of vehicles emitting GHGs by 2040

Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister responsible for environment and energy, presented the country’s new climate plan at a press conference at the Ministry. Prepared at the request of the President and the Prime Minister, the climate action plan is divided into six main themes: render the Paris Agreement irreversible; improve the daily life of the French; end the use of fossil energy and engage in carbon neutrality; make France the Nº 1 green economy; encourage the potential of ecosystems and agriculture; and intensify international mobilization on climate diplomacy.

Among the many actions outlined in the plan is the targeting of ending the sale of cars emitting greenhouse gases (“gaz à effet de serre”) by 2040. (The plan at this current level of detail does not specify whether or not that is tailpipe emissions or full lifecycle emissions, factoring in upstream for electric vehicles.) France also intends to initiate an ambitious (“ambitieuse”) Euro 7 standard at the European level.

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Hagens Berman files class-action fuel economy and emissions lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler and Cummins over SCR defect in RAM 2500 and 3500 diesels

July 05, 2017

Class-action law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro has filed a new class-action lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Cummins charging that the automaker knowingly sold more than 135,000 RAM 2500 and 3500 trucks over the past four model years equipped with a Cummins diesel engine with a defect in the selective catalytic converter (SCR) system used for NOx control. The defect leads to lower fuel economy, non EPA-compliant emissions levels, and costly and frequent vehicle repairs, the complaint charges.

According to the lawsuit, RAM owners report that efforts to fix the faulty emissions system significantly affect engine performance and mileage, with miles per gallon dropping as much as 25%. When the SCR system breaks down, the filter gets clogged, requiring more fuel to be injected to burn it off, according to the complaint. This reduces the truck's fuel economy, according to the complaint.

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IEA: improving efficiency of road-freight transport critical to reduce oil-demand growth; three areas of focus

July 03, 2017

Improving the efficiency of road-freight transport is critical to reducing the growth in oil demand, carbon emissions and air pollution over the next decades, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest report, The Future of Trucks: Implications for energy and the environment.

Although trucks are a major contributor to the growth in transport-fuel consumption and emissions, the sector receives far less attention and policy focus than passenger vehicles, the IEA noted. Only four countries have energy-efficiency standards for heavy trucks, compared with some 40 countries with passenger-vehicle standards. Yet the growth in oil demand from trucks has outpaced all other sectors—including passenger cars, aviation, industry and petrochemical feedstocks—since 2000 and contributed 40% to global oil demand growth, a similar contribution as cars.

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Lux Research: question is when--not if--a diesel ban will happen

Based on its analysis of government responses to the Volkswagen diesel scandal as well as to the ongoing publication of research highlighting the adverse effects of NOx and particulate matter on public health, Lux Research has concluded that the question is when—not if—a diesel ban will happen.

Lux Research compiled a non-exhaustive list of major global cities that have either called for a ban or are introducing restrictions to limit the number of diesel vehicles—a step we believes will eventually move towards a ban. The market research organization ranked each city on the likelihood of an eventual ban on diesel vehicles:

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International Truck ships first on-highway vehicles with A26 engine; up to 9% fuel economy improvement

July 01, 2017

International Truck has started customer shipments of its first International LT Series and International RH Series vehicles with the company’s 12.4-liter engine. The company’s internal testing shows these products are delivering up to nine percent in fuel economy improvement over the comparable models built only a year ago.

Driven by a commitment to deliver customer uptime in the Class 8 market, the A26 was developed through an initiative called Project Alpha.

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Renault Trucks leading FALCON project to cut heavy-duty tractor-trailer fuel consumption 13%

June 30, 2017

Renault Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, is leading the FALCON (Flexible & Aerodynamic Truck for Low CONsumption) consortium project to develop a complete heavy-duty tractor-trailer combination to consume 13% less fuel than a standard coupling towed by a Renault Trucks T.

The project team is focusing on optimized aerodynamics of the truck and trailer combination; connected low rolling resistance tires; and predictive energy-saving driving aid and fuel management functions, together with an improved powertrain using a new-generation Rankine heat recovery system and optimized lubricant formulations.

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London launches $111M program to upgrade around 5000 older buses to Euro VI emissions standard

June 29, 2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched a £86.1-million (US$111 million) program to retrofit around 5,000 older buses with a new exhaust system that will upgrade the vehicles to Euro VI emissions standards. By September 2020 the entire bus fleet will be at least Euro VI standard, with the emissions from the retrofitte buses cut by up to 95%.

Transport for London (TfL) will work with bus operators and five chosen suppliers to install the new bespoke exhaust systems which will reduce nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Diesel Particulate filters will also be installed alongside this Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) equipment to reduce air pollution.

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LiquidPiston receives $3M Rapid Innovation Fund award from US Army for 2kW hybrid-electric genset

June 28, 2017

LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), a developer of advanced multi-fuel-capable rotary combustion engine technology, has been awarded a $3-million Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF) award from the US Army to develop an innovative ultra-portable 2kW diesel Compact Artillery Power System (CAPS). The RIF process is extremely selective, with only five percent of whitepapers ultimately being selected for the award.

CAPS is a compact, lightweight, quiet, low-vibration and efficient hybrid-electric diesel generator set capable of supplying up to 2kW of electric power while running on Jet Propellant 8 (JP8) or diesel fuel. The CAPS Genset prototype objectives include less than 30 pounds (13.6 kg) (dry weight), 1.5 ft3 (bounding volume), and less than 60db at 7 meters. This is a 75% reduction in generator weight compared to the MEP-501A, the current 2kW JP8 generator in use today, which weighs 124 pounds (56.3 kg).

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2018 VW Tiguan and new 2.0 TSI B-cycle engine gives VW a strong offering in compact SUV segment

June 27, 2017

Volkswagen of America is in the process of rolling out its all-new long wheelbase 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan (earlier post). As with the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas full-size SUV (earlier post), the new Tiguan is based on Volkswagen’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture.

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan—the second-generation of the vehicle—is powered by the latest version of the EA888 four-cylinder engine, the 2.0L TSI EA888 Gen3 B-Cycle (Budack-cycle, earlier post), coupled with an 8-speed automatic. This is the only engine/transmission combination available in the Tiguan in the US. 4Motion with Active Control all-wheel drive system is optional. The core element of the new engine is a new combustion process combining short intake events with a high compression ratio.

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Parker Aerospace offering lubrication, combustion, & thermal management systems to cut aircraft engine weight, fuel consumption, and emissions

June 24, 2017

Parker Aerospace, a business segment of Parker Hannifin Corporation is introducing technologies designed to enhance the efficiency of aerospace engines in the areas of lubrication, combustion, and thermal management systems.

Engine lubrication innovations include the first-time use of composite materials for engine lubrication reservoirs, deploying oil demister technology to reduce emissions, and the development of sophisticated test rigs to optimize engine lubrication systems. Among the Parker Aerospace innovations in engine combustion are ecology tanks, enhanced combustor and fuel atomization nozzle design, and flexible lines for fuel manifolds. Parker Aerospace is also developing highly efficient, low-profile thermal management equipment to save envelope and weight on the engine.

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Volvo Technology Award for wave piston design

June 23, 2017

The Volvo Group’s new truck engines are more fuel efficient as a result of their new piston design which adds waves to the piston crown to improve the use of oxygen. (Earlier post.) The engineers (John Gibble, Frank Löfskog, Michael Balthasar, and Jan Eismark) behind the innovation have now received the Volvo Technology Award 2017. The new wave design has now been patented.

In the case of a standard piston, the injector is located at the top of the cylinder and the fuel is sprayed toward the sides of the cylinder through a number of orifices in the injector. The combination of heat and pressure causes the fuel to ignite before it reaches the cylinder wall.

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Toyota’s new conventional and hybrid powertrains for 2018 Camry deliver significant boost in efficiency

June 22, 2017

The 2018 Toyota Camry, the new eighth-generation of the most popular mid-size sedan in the world and the best-selling car in America for the past 15 years, will be going on sale in the US in late summer. Toyota unveiled the 2018 Camry at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. (Earlier post.)

The new Camry is based on the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) (earlier post), manifested with the use of the GA-K platform. Along with the new platform, an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine, new Direct Shift-8AT eight-speed automatic transmission and a new double wishbone rear suspension design are all representative technologies that have evolved through TNGA.

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EIA: growing octane needs widen price difference between regular and premium in US

The difference between US average retail prices for premium and regular gasoline reached $0.50/gallon in late 2016 and it has remained near that level so far in 2017. This price difference, or spread, has been generally increasing since 2000. Many factors on both the supply and demand sides are influencing this trend, according to a new brief prepared by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

In the US, retail gasoline is usually classified by its octane rating: regular gasoline with a typical octane rating of 87 and premium gasoline with a typical octane rating of 91 to 93. On the demand side, the premium gasoline share of total motor gasoline sales has steadily increased in recent years, reaching a high of nearly 12% in August 2016—the highest share since 2004.

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Baker Institute expert urges focus on larger light-duty trucks and SUVs to reduce gasoline use, emissions

June 20, 2017

Larger trucks and SUVs with powerful, high-displacement engines are the low-hanging fruit for any policymaker seeking the most efficient path to reducing gasoline use and the associated emissions, according to an issue brief by an expert in the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

The brief’s author, Gabriel Collins, the Baker Botts Fellow in Energy and Environmental Regulatory Affairs, suggests that capital investments focused on the larger vehicles Americans favor can most rapidly save the largest quantities of fuel and avoid more emissions at less cost.

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2018 Ford F-150 gains new efficient V6s, 10-speed, diesel

June 19, 2017

The 2018 Ford F-150 introduces an even smaller, more efficient 3.3-liter V6 that adds dual port and direct-injection technology to deliver more power and torque than the previous 3.5-liter V6, plus improved projected EPA-estimated gas mileage. Aiding in light-weighting, the standard 3.3-liter V6 in the 2018 F-150 is projected to offer a 5% power-to-weight ratio improvement versus the steel-bodied 2014 F-150 equipped with 3.7-liter V6—with better anticipated fuel efficiency and performance.

With advanced dual port and direct-injection technology, the new second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine delivers a 25 lb-ft increase in torque, and at lower engine speeds compared to a traditional V8. Like the second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost that debuted last model year, the 2.7-liter will be paired to a segment-exclusive 10-speed automatic transmission for 2018.

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Volkswagen unveils the new Gen 6 Polo; standard start/stop and regeneration; 1.0 TGI natural gas engine

June 17, 2017

Volkswagen unveiled the new sixth-generation Polo at an event in Berlin. With more than 14 million units sold to date, the Polo is one of the world’s most successful compact cars. The sixth generation has a fully new sportier exterior design, and is bigger than its predecessor in every dimension.

In many parts of Europe the new Polo is due to launch before the year is out, with a number of Euro 6 engines being used phase by phase. The range of power output options at the start of sales will extend from 48 kW / 65 PS to 110 kW / 150 PS. For the first time, the Polo will be available with a natural gas engine—the newly developed 1.0 TGI with an output of 66 kW / 90 PS.

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Cummins to begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019; alternative fuels and power, digitalization

June 15, 2017

During a teleconference yesterday, Cummins Inc. executives outlined plans to provide a range of power technologies spanning diesel and natural gas engines to fully electric and hybrid powertrains. Cummins will begin electrified powertrain delivery in 2019, including full battery-electric and plug-in hybrid systems. Cummins said those are just the first steps as it signals its intention to be the leading provider of electrified powertrains in its commercial and industrial markets.

Longer term, Cummins’ Research and Technology Department continues to investigate the viability of alternatives such as biofuels, synthetic fuels and hydrogen. Cummins has also invested in exploratory projects focused on Proton Exchange Membrane and Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technologiesboth with increasing potential to offer superior power density over the traditional internal combustion engine.

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European EAGLE project to develop gasoline engine with 50% peak efficiency; Renault to manufacture prototype

European researchers have launched a new project to obtain a gasoline engine at least 20% more efficient than current engines and adapted for future electrified powertrains. The EAGLE (Efficient Additivated Gasoline Lean Engine) European research project is led by the French research organization IFP Energies nouvelles, with the participation of eight partners from Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The EAGLE project will combine and evaluate different advanced technologies to achieve its aim of developing an innovative engine able to deliver peak brake thermal efficiency of 50% while reducing particulate and NOx emissions and while using a conventional engine architecture. It will also reach real driving Euro 6 values with no conformity factor.

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Greaves and Pinnacle partner to launch opposed-piston gasoline/CNG lean burn engine for 3-wheelers

June 14, 2017

Greaves Cotton Limited, one of the leading engineering companies in India with core competencies in diesel and gasoline engines, farm equipment and gensets, and Pinnacle Engines, the developer of a high compression ratio, four-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post), announced a technology partnership for the launch of a novel opposed-piston gasoline/CNG lean burn BSVI-compliant engine for 3-wheelers in India. This will make India one of the lead markets to adopt this technology.

The Pinnacle engine architecture features low heat loss and low surface-area-to-volume in the combustion chamber, resulting in less energy loss, contributing to greater fuel efficiency. The Variable Compression Ratio (VCR) allows for reduced pumping work (PMEP) from de-throttling (increased air flow), reducing heat loss and knock resistance.

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ARB study compares in-use NOx emissions from diesel, hydraulic hybrid diesel and LNG refuse trucks

June 12, 2017

A team from the California Air Resources Board (ARB), in partnership with the City of Sacramento, has characterized the in-use emissions from model year (MY) 2010 or newer diesel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydraulic hybrid diesel engines during real-world refuse truck operation. A paper on their study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The team used a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) to quantify the emissions from five trucks: two diesels equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR), two LNG’s equipped with three-way catalyst (TWC) and one hydraulic hybrid diesel equipped with SCR. The engines were certified to the MY 2010 (0.2 g NOx/bhp-hr) or interim MY 2010 (0.5 g NOx/bhp-hr) standard over typical refuse operation.

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Scania introduces new generation of more fuel-efficient V8s; addressing needs of heavier, longer trucks

Scania is introducing a new generation of Euro 6 V8 engines that represents Scania’s response to the growing trend in the transport industry towards heavier, longer trucks. The engines, which are available at 520, 580 and 650 horsepower, can reduce fuel consumption by 7 to 10 percent for customers with vehicles that have higher combined truck and trailer weights, higher average speeds, or both.

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Ricardo study provides insights into lean, clean and RDE-compliant gasoline engine technologies

June 08, 2017

Gasoline engines can operate lean to improve fuel economy, potentially reducing CO2 emissions significantly. Further, advances in combustion development for gasoline have led to the potential for reduced engine-out NOx emissions for homogeneous lean operation compared to stratified lean operation. However, NOx emissions control at the tailpipe remains a major issue, as reducing NOx emissions is a significant challenge in an excess-oxygen environment. The conventional three-way catalyst (TWC) is thus not an option for lean gasoline exhaust conditions.

At the SIA Powertrain international conference and exhibition at Versailles this week, Ricardo engineers reported on a detailed simulation study to determine the applicability of different engine operating modes (stoichiometric, lean homogeneous and lean stratified) in meeting Euro 6d Real Driving Emissions (RDE) limits for gasoline engines using lean operation zones in C-segment applications.

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Audi’s new 3.0L diesel; ready for 48V mild hybrid system

June 05, 2017

Audi engineers have intensively further developed the new 3.0 TDI diesel engine for the European market. In the new Audi A5 and Q5 models, the V6 diesel outputs 210 kW (286 hp) as well as 620 N·m (457lb-ft) of torque (this engine version is not yet for sale. Since it still lacks an overall type approval, it is not subject to Directive 1999/94/EC), the latter from 1,500 to 3,000 revolutions per minute.

The six-cylinder engine has a displacement of 2,967 cm3 (bore x stroke 83.0 x 91.4 millimeters (3.3 x 3.6 in)). As with all V engines from Audi, its two banks lie at a 90-degree angle from one another. Inside the cylinder crankcase, made of high-strength cast iron with vermicular graphite, a balancer shaft rotates in order to reduce engine vibrations and to improve acoustics. The ignition pressure reaches the 200 bar mark over wide areas of the characteristic map.

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UCLA, ARB, WVU measure on-road particle numbers for heavy-duty diesel and CNG trucks in California

June 03, 2017

In a new study, a team from UCLA, with colleagues from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) and West Virginia University, measured total particle number emission factors (PNEFs) from six newly certified heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) powered by diesel and CNG totaling over 6,800 miles of on-road operation in California. They calculated distance-, fuel- and work-based PNEFs for each vehicle. A paper describing their findings is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

They found that distance-based PNEFs of the vehicles equipped with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in the study had decreased by 355–3,200 times compared to a previous retrofit DPF dynamometer study. Fuel-based PNEFs were consistent with previous studies measuring plume exhaust in the ambient air. On-road PNEFs showed route and technology dependence.

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New composite reduces rare earth element usage in three-way catalytic converters

June 02, 2017

The high-performance, three-way catalytic (TWC) converter is one of the workhorses of emissions reduction for gasoline engines. The TWC reduces NOx to nitrogen and oxygen; oxidizes CO to CO2, and oxidizes unburnt hydrocarbons to carbon CO2 and water. However, TWCs require the use of the rare-earth element Cerium (Ce), which is increasing in price and can suffer from supply problems.

Now, researchers at Kumamoto University in Japan, led by Professor Masato Machida, have developed a new composite material—a CeO2-grafted MnFeOy (CeO2/MnFeOy) as a substitute for the conventional CeO2 material in three-way catalysts. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

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Audi’s mild-hybrid systems: 12V for 4-cylinders, 48V for 6- and 8-cylinders

Audi will begin introducing new mild-hybrid drive vehicles (MHEVs) this year. The next generation of luxury sedans, the Audi A8, will have 48V MHEV systems regardless of engine type.

Audi offers the MHEV drives in two variants. For the four-cylinder engines they are based on the familiar 12-volt electrical system. The six-cylinder and eight-cylinder engines, as well as the W12 cylinder units, will receive a new 48-volt system generally serving as the main vehicle electric system. In particular, this technology offers many ways for making driving more efficient, sportier and more comfortable in the future.

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Loughborough team develops novel system to enhance SCR operation to reduce NOx further

May 31, 2017

Researchers at Loughborough University in the UK have developed a novel system that enhances SCR operation to further reduce NOx emissions and improve diesel engine efficiency.

The Ammonia Creation and Conversion Technology (ACCT) created by academics from the University’s School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering effectively increases the capacity of existing on-engine aftertreatment systems.

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First liquid nitrogen hybrid bus completes trials; HORIBA MIRA and Dearman

May 30, 2017

A hybrid bus that runs on both diesel and liquid nitrogen has completed a series of trials to bring it one step closer to the road. The hybrid bus—CE Power—is the first to be powered by liquid nitrogen and has been built by engineers at HORIBA MIRA as part of an Innovate UK consortium.

The bus utilizes alternative propulsion to address urban air pollution challenges and features a high-efficiency, zero-emission Dearman Engine (earlier post), powered by liquid nitrogen, alongside a conventional diesel engine. The hybrid system enables the bus to reduce noxious tail-pipe emissions, improving local air quality.

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KAUST team develops computational model for simulating soot production in gasoline direct injection engines

Researchers at KAUST have developed a computational model capable of simulating soot production inside gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines.

Although today’s passenger vehicle engines are cleaner and more fuel efficient, GDI exhaust can still contain significant numbers of nanoscopic soot particles that are small enough to penetrate the lungs and bloodstream. This new computer model could help car makers improve their engines to cut soot formation.

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Study links PM2.5 pollution to heart damage

May 26, 2017

Research presented at the annual CMR (cardiovascular magnetic resonance) imaging conference of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) links PM2.5 pollution to heart damage. Among the sources of urban PM2.5 are diesel and gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines (earlier post).

There is strong evidence that particulate matter (PM) from road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and death, said lead author Dr. Nay Aung, a cardiologist and Wellcome Trust research fellow, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, UK. “This appears to be driven by an inflammatory response—inhalation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) causes localized inflammation of the lungs followed by a more systemic inflammation affecting the whole body.

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Swiss team concludes that particulate filters should be mandatory for GDI engines

May 24, 2017

Based on a three-year study of toxic and environmentally relevant pollutants from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines, Swiss researchers have concluded that some GDI engines emit just as many soot particles as unfiltered diesel cars did in the past. Further, the GDI particles carry numerous carcinogenic substances. Based on this current data, they recommend that particulate filters be mandatory for GDI engines.

In the spring 2014, the GasOMeP project (Gasoline Vehicle Emission Control for Organic, Metallic and Particulate Non-Legislative Pollutants) got underway. The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Bern University of Applied Sciences, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, several industrial partners and Empa were all involved. The project was funded by the ETH Domain’s Competence Center for Energy and Mobility (CCEM) and coordinated by Empa chemist Norbert Heeb, who has made a name for himself in the last 25 years by analyzing diesel emissions and studying filter systems.

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US sues Fiat Chrysler over diesel emissions

May 23, 2017

The Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the US Department of Justice (DOJ-ENRD) has filed a lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler for using software defeat devices in nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had issued a notice of violation (NOV) to FCA over the alleged violations of the Clean Air Act in January 2017. (Earlier post.) The undisclosed engine management software results in increased NOx emissions from the vehicles, EPA said. Since then, FCA US has been working with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the emissions control technology.

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan powered by 2.0L EA888 Gen3B engine

The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan arrives in US dealerships this summer powered by the most advanced version yet of Volkswagen’s EA888 four-cylinder engine, the Gen3B. The updated version of the four-cylinder, turbocharged and direct-injection engine uses a modified Miller cycle to offer an improved combination of power, efficiency and responsiveness. Audi engineers described the development of the Gen3B at the Vienna Motor Symposium in 2015. (Earlier post.) The Audi version of the EA888 Gen3B made its debut in the new A4.

First introduced in the 2009 CC, the EA888 continued Volkswagen’s move toward smaller, turbocharged engines that offer the fuel economy benefits of downsizing with the power of a larger-displacement unit. Though EPA estimates are not yet available, compared with the 1.8-liter EA888 Gen 3 engine that is fitted in the current Passat, Jetta, Beetle, and Golf family models, the new 2.0-liter EA888 Generation 3B is expected to offer improved fuel efficiency along with a 20% boost in maximum torque to 221 lb-ft (300 N·m).

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Researchers show mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles trigger respiratory “flare-ups”

Researchers at Imperial College London, working with colleagues from King’s College London and University of British Columbia, have demonstrated a mechanism by which diesel exhaust particles directly affect the lungs to initiate symptoms such as a tightening of the airways and cough. These triggered respiratory reflexes can potentially worsen underlying conditions, such as asthma.

Previous research has shown a strong association between urban air pollution and respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath, but the underlying mechanism has been unclear. In the study, published as an open-access paper in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the team showed that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the exhaust particles directly stimulate nerves in the lungs, causing a reflex response in the airways.

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DOE: gasoline direct injection engine technology showing very rapid adoption; 48.5% market share after 9 years

Gasoline direct injection (GDI) technology has seen very rapid adoption in the US since its first significant use, according to data gathered by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Only nine years after its first significant use in the market, GDI penetration has climbed to 48.5% market share. (First significant use generally represents a production threshold of about 1%.)

Many auto manufacturers have used the combined benefits of GDI and turbocharging for increasing power output from downsized engines. This is evident in the rapid rise of turbo-charged engines in over the past five years, after 11 prior years of desultory growth.

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California ARB opens solicitations for $17M for On-Road Advanced Technology Demonstrations Projects; Class 7, 8 trucks

May 20, 2017

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is seeking solicitations for up to $17 million in grants for the On-Road Advanced Technology Demonstrations Projects approved by the Board as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 Funding Plan for Low Carbon Transportation and Fuels Investments and the Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).

Projects funded under this solicitation will demonstrate pre-commercial Intelligent Transportation Systems and Connected Trucks; Advanced Engines and Powertrains; and Zero-Emission Short and Regional Haul Trucks.

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Ricardo designing two versions of lightweight and thermally-efficient Latitude engine on JLR Ingenium engine base

May 19, 2017

In the UK, the Latitude project is researching advanced boosting technology, integrated with an engine combustion system, incorporating leading edge fuel injection equipment and controls, for application in future Jaguar Land Rover products. Allied to an innovative thermally optimized and lightweight design of engine structure, the project aims to deliver more than 10% fuel economy and CO2 emissions improvement, compared with current production vehicles.

Ricardo is taking overall responsibility for the structural design of two versions of the Latitude engine, based upon Jaguar Land Rover’s Ingenium family: a ‘High Performance’ unit, and a ‘Lower Power’ version aimed at providing an even greater level of fuel efficiency.

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European Commission opens infringement procedure against Italy over insufficient action on Fiat Chrysler emission control strategies

May 18, 2017

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Italy for failure to fulfil its obligations under EU vehicle type-approval legislation with regards to Fiat Chrysler (FCA) automobiles. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice asking Italy to respond to concerns about insufficient action taken regarding the emission control strategies employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group (FCA).

Under current EU law, national authorities are responsible for checking that a car type meets all EU standards before individual cars can be sold on the Single Market. When a car manufacturer breaches the legal requirements, national authorities must take corrective action (such as ordering a recall) and apply effective, dissuasive and proportionate penalties laid out in national legislation.

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European PaREGEn project targeting improved gasoline direct-injection fuel-efficiency and reduced particle emissions

European partners last October launched the 36-month, €12.1-million (US$13.5-million) Particle Reduced, Efficient Gasoline Engines (PaREGEn) project. Supported with €9.95 million (US$11.1 million) of EC funding, the PaREGEn project seeks to demonstrate, at up to TRL 7, a new generation of gasoline direct-injection engined mid- to premium-sized passenger vehicles achieving a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions through the optimal combination of advanced engine and robust aftertreatment technologies.

The vehicles will also comply with upcoming Euro 6 RDE limits with particle number emissions measured to a ⌀ 10 nm threshold. Ricardo is coordinating the research initiative as part of a 16-partner consortium, representing all sectors of the European automotive industry.

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FEV study finds optimizing engine for renewable diesel use reduces fuel consumption and emissions

May 17, 2017

A recent study conducted by engineering company FEV, commissioned by Neste Corporation, a leading global producer of renewable diesel, shows that modifying and optimizing engine control parameters to work optimally with pure HVO-type (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) renewable diesel—such as Neste MY Renewable Diesel—offers as-yet untapped potential to reduce fuel consumption, CO2 and other regulated emissions.

Neste Renewable Diesel has already been shown to be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% on a full lifecycle basis compared to conventional fossil diesel. The FEV study showed that depending on the test cycle, optimizing engine control parameters for pure Neste MY Renewable Diesel can result in:

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Study finds fleet switch from PFI to GDI engines will result in net reduction in global warming

May 12, 2017

A new study quantifying emissions from a fleet of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and port fuel injection (PFI) engines finds that the measured decrease in CO2 emissions from GDIs is much greater than the potential climate forcing associated with higher black carbon emissions from GDI engines. Thus, the researchers concluded, switching from PFI to GDI vehicles will likely lead to a reduction in net global warming.

The study, by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Georgia, Aerodyne Research, California Air Resources Board (ARB), Ohio State University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Volkswagen Group to invest approximately €10B in powertrain technologies over the next five years; targeting Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2022

May 10, 2017

The Volkswagen Group has invested some €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) in alternative drive technologies over the past five years and will triple this amount in the course of the next five years, said Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, at the Group’s Annual General Meeting in Hanover.

The future is electric. We intend to be the Nº 1 in e-mobility by 2025,” said Müller at the meeting. At the same time, the Volkswagen Group is continuing to develop diesel and gasoline engines, targeting making them a further 10 to 15 percent more efficient and cleaner by 2020. “Diesel,” said Müller, “will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.” In total, the Volkswagen Group will be investing around €10 billion (US$10.9 billion) in these technologies by 2022.

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DOE awards $3.9M to 13 projects using high performance computing in manufacturing; Ford, LanzaTech

May 09, 2017

The US Department of Energy is awarding nearly $3.9 million for 13 projects designed to stimulate the use of high performance supercomputing in US manufacturing. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Manufacturing Office’s High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) program enables innovation in US manufacturing through the adoption of high performance computing (HPC) to advance applied science and technology relevant to manufacturing. (Earlier post.)

The 13 new project partnerships include application of world-class computing resources and expertise of the national laboratories including Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL), National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). Among the awardees were Ford Motor Company and LanzaTech.

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IAV develops new close-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment system for improved emissions reduction

May 08, 2017

IAV has developed a particularly closed-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment (EAT) system. The design allows the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and particular filter/selective catalytic reduction (DPF/SCR) units to reach optimum working temperature more quickly which, even when driving in the low-load range, significantly cuts emissions.

Under the EU6 standard, diesel engines are still allowed to emit up to 80 mg NOx/km milligrams of nitrogen oxides per kilometer—not only under the legal framework in the cycle but also in respect of increasingly tighter RDE requirements. Future diesel powertrains will need to be capable of meeting limit values that are even tighter than EU6.

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Delphi to spin off powertrain segment as new independent company

May 03, 2017

Delphi Automotive PLC intends to execute a tax-free spin-off of its Powertrain Systems segment into a new, independent publicly traded company (“Powertrain”). Immediately following the transaction, which is expected to be completed by March 2018, Delphi shareholders will own shares of both companies: Delphi Automotive with its Electrical/Electronic Architecture and Electronics & Safety businesses and Powertrain.

The convergence of technologies underpinning industry megatrends is driving greater demand for advanced electronics and increased computing power to meet consumer preferences for more safety, efficiency, and connectivity. At the same time, regulations for emissions and fuel economy are becoming increasingly stringent globally, requiring advanced engine management and electrification systems to enhance vehicle performance and meet customer demand. Kevin Clark, president and CEO of Delphi Automotive, said that the change will create two independent companies, each with a distinct product focus, a proven business model, and the flexibility to pursue accelerated investments in advanced technologies.

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Cummins Westport announces MY 2018 natural gas engine line-up; near zero NOx

May 01, 2017

Cummins Westport (CWI) announced its model year 2018 dedicated natural gas engines for regional haul truck / tractor, vocational and transit, school bus, and refuse applications at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, California. The new lineup comes with a change in names, following Cummins tradition of using B, L, and X series letters, followed by engine displacement. The letter “N” denotes engines that are fueled by natural gas.

The new B6.7N, L9N, and ISX12N engines feature Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) Optional Low NOx certification, On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), Closed Crankcase Ventilation (CCV) systems, and performance and reliability improvements. (Earlier post.) The new ISX12N features a redesigned fuel system with fewer parts and improved performance.

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Schaeffler highlights latest version of UniAir electrohydraulic valve control at Vienna

April 28, 2017

At the Vienna Motor Symposium, Schaeffler is highlighting the latest generation of its UniAir fully-variable electrohydraulic valve control system, first introduced in volume production in 2009. The latest generation of UniAir also now allows vehicles in the upper-class automobile market to operate more economically and with lower emissions.

UniAir controls the engine valves based on cycles and offers an extended range of strategic options for matching engine operation to specific situations and requirements. This technology makes it possible to achieve significant reductions in fuel consumption and emissions, as well as a significant improvement in torque curves. By using UniAir, customized operating strategies for modern combustion processes, such as the Miller and Atkinson cycles, can also be realized in accordance with customer requirements.

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Volkswagen introduces new Coasting 2.0 micro hybrid system and new natural gas engine at Vienna Motor Symposium

April 27, 2017

At the 38th Vienna Motor Symposium Volkswagen is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient “Coasting - Engine off” micro hybrid system—which shuts off the engine completely—as well as a new, compact three-cylinder natural gas engine for the Polo.

Volkswagen is also highlighting its spectrum of efficiency and electrification solutions all the way to further optimized battery-powered propulsion as in the new e-Golf and the coming new MEB-based electric vehicles exemplified by its series of I.D. concepts.

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ASTM releases new high-octane fuel standard D8067-17 to support development of more efficient engines

April 26, 2017

ASTM International recently announced the release of a new high-octane fuel standard that is expected to impact the development of gasoline products compatible with vehicles that feature high-performance fuel-efficient engines. Formation and approval of the standard was led by Dr. Robert L. McCormick, an the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) transportation research engineer.

The new standard—“Specification for 100 Research Octane Number Test Fuel for Automotive Spark-Ignition Engines” (D8067-17)—covers the requirements of a high octane number fuel suitable for spark-ignition engines to be utilized in ground vehicles that will require 100 research octane number (RON) minimum rated fuel.

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Continental Powertrain: dual focus on electrification and efficient ICE; boosting electric drive spending by €300M by 2021

Continental’s Powertrain division is strategically focused on two parallel efforts. The first is the full value creation from the growing demand for the most efficient combustion engine technologies that also deliver the lowest emissions. The second is to benefit from the prospective growth in environmentally friendly, electrified and fully electric drive systems.

Continental will spend an additional €300 million (US$327 million) on its business with electric drives alone by 2021. This step, as well as additional plans, are part of the new global “Powertrain Strategy 2020+”.

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Continental showcases “Super Clean Electrified” connected, optimized 48V mild hybrid diesel; post-Eu6d

April 25, 2017

At the 38th International Vienna Motor Symposium this week, Continental is showcasing a 48-volt hybrid diesel vehicle which meets very stringent RDE (real driving emissions) limits on CO2 and NOx. The Continental Super-Clean Electrified Diesel combines electrification-based engine optimization and an electrically heated catalyst integrated in the exhaust aftertreatment system to achieve a 60% reduction in real-world NONOxx emissions and a simultaneous 2% reduction in CO2 emissions measured against the baseline Euro 6b vehicle.

The first 48-volt diesel hybrid has already gone into production in Europe, and a second production launch is already in the pipeline for 2017.

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Sugar-derived levulinic esters and cyclic ether show superior anti-knock quality to Euro95 reference gasoline

April 24, 2017

A team from The Netherlands and the US reports that the sugar-derived levulinic esters methyl levulinate (ML) and ethyl levulinate (EL) and the sugar-derived cyclic ether (furfuryl ethyl ether (FEE) demonstrate superior anti-knock quality (in 10% blends) to a reference Euro95 gasoline.

The sugar-derived ethyl tetrahydrofurfuryl ether (ETE), another cyclic ether, conversely, performed markedly worse than the reference fuel on both setups. ETE this may be a more appropriate fuel additive for compression ignition engines, the authors suggest in an open-access paper published in the journal Fuel.

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Clemson research developing integrated modeling and control systems to reduce particulates from GDI engines

April 21, 2017

Simona Onori, an assistant professor at Clemson University, has received a $500,000 Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation to advance her work to develop integrated modeling and control for aftertreatment systems to reduce fine-particle emissions from gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines.

GDI engines now account for about 60% of the US market, and their use worldwide is forecast to grow. GDI engines have better fuel economy and lower carbon-dioxide emissions than more conventional port fuel injection engines; however, the technology results in higher fine-particle emissions. The research Onori and her team are doing focuses on gasoline particulate filters (GPF). While the dynamics of diesel engine particulate filters (DPF) are well understood, particulates produced in GDI engines have substantially different characteristics.

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New Mercedes-Benz S-Class to offer upgraded PHEV, new 48V mild hybrid models; advances in autonomy

April 19, 2017

Mercedes-Benz chose Auto Shanghai 2017 as the venue for the world première of the new S-Class. Among the highlights is new efficient engine range and a series of new technologies for electrification of the powertrain. Several new engines are planned for the new S-Class: in-line six cylinder diesel and gasoline engines as well as a new V-8 biturbo gasoline engine.

In addition, Mercedes-Benz plans a plug-in hybrid with an electric range of about 50 kilometers (31 miles). Technologies such as the 48-volt Integrated Starter Alternator and the electric booster compressor celebrate their world première in the lineup as well. The market launch of the new S-Class starts in the European markets in July.

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California ARB petitions US EPA for “Tier 5” stricter locomotive emissions standards

April 14, 2017

In an effort to accelerate the movement to zero- or near-zero emission locomotives, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has petitioned the US EPA take action to adopt more stringent emission standards for locomotives. These new standards are to include standards for newly manufactured locomotives (which ARB refers to as “Tier 5”), and a new standard for Tier 4 locomotives upon remanufacture.

ARB is also requesting new remanufacturing standards equal to or more stringent than current Tier 4 emission levels for Tier 2 and 3 locomotive engines. ARB Chair Mary Nichols said the moves are needed to clean up the air in “high-risk” communities in and around the nation’s railyards.

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SwRI’s single-cylinder engines available for combustion research; light-, medium- and heavy-duty applications

April 05, 2017

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has designed and manufactured two advanced single-cylinder engines for combustion research and development.

The engines, one for light- and medium-duty applications and one for heavy-duty applications, can accommodate either multi-cylinder or single-cylinder heads through a custom cylinder barrel and head support shelf. They are designed for low-cost operation and include several unique patent-pending innovations, including mechanisms that adjust compression ratios and crankshaft offsets without the need for disassembling the engine.

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GM, Ford R&D execs stress importance of improved, advanced fuels for future engine efficiency gains, GHG goals

April 03, 2017

In separate presentations at the 2017 SAE High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium in Detroit, R&D executives from GM and Ford each stressed the importance of improved, advanced fuels—among other technology developments—for their future engine efficiency gains and for long-term CO2 emissions goals.

David Brooks, Director for General Motors Global Propulsion Systems R&D located in Pontiac, gave a more medium-term perspective, emphasizing a pragmatic approach toward reducing CO2 with an eye to 2025. Meeting regulatory targets while keeping vehicles affordable will require the synergistic integration of fuels and engine technologies, he noted.

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Ford investing $1.2B in 3 Michigan plants; focus on trucks, SUVs, big data & mobility services

March 28, 2017

Ford Motor Company is investing $1.2 billion in three Michigan manufacturing facilities to strengthen its leadership in trucks and SUVs and support the company’s expansion to an auto and mobility company.

Ford is investing $850 million in Michigan Assembly Plant to retool the plant to build the all-new Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco. Employees at Michigan Assembly Plant will begin building Ranger at the end of 2018 and Bronco in 2020.

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California ARB moves forward with climate and air quality actions

March 24, 2017

On the first day of a two-day board meeting—the second day of which (Friday 24 March) will consider the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review—the California Air Resources Board (ARB) took a number of climate and air quality actions. CARB approved the State Strategy for the State Implementation Plan (State SIP Strategy), which describes CARB’s commitment for further reducing vehicle emissions needed to meet federal air quality standards over the next 15 years. The Board also approved the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s comprehensive air quality plan.

CARB also adopted a new plan to curb destructive “super pollutants” including black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane. The plan, California’s Short-lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, maps out the route to more rapid greenhouse gas reductions by clamping down on these super pollutants.

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Buick to introduce extended-range electric vehicle in China this year; also new generation 1.0T/1.3T Ecotecs and 9-speed

March 23, 2017

Buick will adopt GM’s proven extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology, a new-generation of 1.0T/1.3T Ecotec engines and a nine-speed transmission in new or refreshed models launched in China this year. In the coming two years, Buick will also introduce plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China—the brand’s largest market.

The EREV combines GM’s patented EVT electronic controlled intelligent variable transmission, double high-performance, permanent-magnet electric motors drive unit, a hybrid-exclusive direct injection engine, as well as an industry-leading liquid-cooled and high-performance ternary lithium battery pack.

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

March 22, 2017

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

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

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Hybrid Kinetic H600 microturbine range-extended electric vehicle concept runs 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds

March 20, 2017

At the Geneva Auto Show, the China-based Hybrid Kinetic group unveiled the H600 microturbine range-extended electric vehicle sedan concept, produced together with its vehicle design and engineering partner, Pininfarina. The 60 kW microturbine range extender delivers 40% efficiency, low emissions, and a 10000-hour maintenance interval.

The 30 kWh battery pack has a long life span (50,000 charging/discharging cycles) as well as high energy density (300 Wh/kg); it can sustain a very high charging rate (50C). The fast charging capability allows the H600 to recover up to 30% of kinetic energy. The H600 features all-wheel torque vectoring, and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.9 seconds; the electric motors deliver combined maximum power of more than 600 kW. Range is more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).

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CDP Technologies offering new gaseous fuels aftermarket cylinder head package for GM 6.0L engines

March 17, 2017

CDP Technologies, the OEM sales division of Crazy Diamond Performance Inc., will offer a new aftermarket gaseous fuels-prepped cylinder head package for GM 6.0L engines. The new CDP cylinder head will be available for the popular GM engines that have been, or are slated to be, converted to a gaseous alternative fuel engine.

One of the components in Crazy Diamond Performance’s upcoming CDP TorqueDrive (TD) engine, CDP’s new cylinder head has been engineered to incorporate higher airflow, strength and durability than the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) unit. The CDP gaseous prep cylinder head includes ultra-high strength stainless steel valves, proprietary hardened valve seats and revised seals.

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New MAN Diesel & Turbo ME-GIE two-stroke engine can use VOCs as fuel

March 11, 2017

The world’s first ME-GIE ethane-combusting two-stroke engine has been delivered from MAN Diesel & Turbo licensee Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (MES) in Japan. The Mitsui-MAN B&W 7G50ME-C9.5-GIE is the first engine in a series of three.

Further research has led to new possibilities for this engine leading to new prospects for multi-fuel combustion including the combustion of waste gas. The benefits of the diesel-type combustion are now fully exploited in the ability of the two-stroke engine to run on almost any gas quality without efficiency reductions, and in the complete combustion maintained by a relatively high gas injection pressure.

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New MQB-based Volkswagen Arteon fastback debuts in Geneva; 1.5L TSI Evo with cylinder deactivation

March 08, 2017

Volkswagen introduced the new Arteon five-door fastback at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Based on the Sport Coupe Concept GTE plug-in hybrid shown in 2015 at the Geneva show (earlier post), the new Arteon will sit above the Passat in the Volkswagen line-up, and will replace the CC.

The newly developed MQB-based fastback model initially offers a choice of three gasoline and three diesel engines. The base gasoline engine, the 1.5 TSI Evo, is a new design and offers features such as Active Cylinder Management (ACT) to increase its efficiency. (Volkswagen introduced a version of this Millerized 1.5L EA211 at the Vienna Motor Symposium in 2016, earlier post.)

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Study finds black carbon pollution directly affects bacteria; altering effectiveness of antibiotics, increasing the potential for infection

March 03, 2017

Researchers from the University of Leicester (UK) have shown for the first time that black carbon, a major component of air pollution, directly affects bacteria that cause respiratory infections—Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus—thereby increasing the potential for infection and changing the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. S. pneumoniae is the leading bacterial cause of pneumonia, and S. aureus is a significant cause of respiratory and skin and tissue disease.

The interdisciplinary study, published in the journal Environmental Microbiology, has important implications for the treatment of infectious diseases, which are known to be increased in areas with high levels of air pollution. The study looked into how air pollution—specifically black carbon—affects the bacteria living in the respiratory tract—the nose, throat and lungs. Black carbon, a major component of particulate matter, is produced through the burning of fossil fuels such as diesel, biofuels, and biomass.

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New KOSi method for ultra-deep desulfurization of fuels to ~ 2ppm S

February 28, 2017

Scientists led by a team at Caltech and BP, and in collaboration with researchers at UCLA, ETH Zürich, and China’s Nanjing University, have developed a new method for potentially removing nearly all sulfur compounds (down to ~2 ppm) from gas and diesel fuel. The method uses Earth-abundant materials (potassium (K), oxygen (O), and silicon (Si)—hence its name, “KOSi”) and operates under mild conditions.

Sulfur compounds in fuels such as gasoline and diesel create air pollution when the fuel is burned. To address that challenge, large-scale hydrodesulfurization (HDS) at refineries remove the majority of sulfur from fuel down to a government-mandated level. The new technique, however, has the potential to reduce sulfur down to a fraction of that amount, which would further reduce air pollution and extend the lifetime of vehicles’ catalytic converters, which control tailpipe emissions. A paper on their work is published in the journal Nature Energy.

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Next-Gen Ford Fiesta St with new 200 PS 3-cylinder, 1.5L Ecoboost with 3 drive modes; cylinder deactivation

February 24, 2017

Ford Performance unveiled the next generation Ford Fiesta ST, powered by an all-new three-cylinder, 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. Shown for the first time ahead of its global public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the next generation Fiesta ST will deliver 200 PS, 290 N·m of torque, and anticipated 0-100 km/h (0‑62 mph) acceleration in 6.7 seconds.

The third generation of Fiesta ST will be the first Ford Performance model ever powered by a three-cylinder engine, and will be the first Fiesta ST to feature selectable Drive Modes—enabling engine, steering and stability controls to be configured to Normal, Sport and Track settings.

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European truck manufacturers call for action to prevent aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions controls

February 23, 2017

In the wake of a report by the German television station ZDF identifying widespread aftermarket manipulation of NOx emissions control technologies on trucks, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) is calling for government action to preclude such manipulation.

The ZDF report, based on research ZDF commissioned at the University of Heidelberg, found that some 20% of trucks operating in eastern Europe have effectively circumvented NOx reduction technology, causing around 14,000 tonnes more NOx to be emitted per year than would be the case if all trucks that say they use AdBlue were doing so. The additional 14,000 tonnes of NOx would make it twice the size of the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, noted environmental NGO T&E.

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Study links PM2.5 pollution with millions of preterm births globally

February 19, 2017

A new study, led by a team from The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of York, has found that in 2010, about 2.7 million preterm births globally—or 18% of all pre-term births—were associated with outdoor exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5).The open-access study is published in the journal Environment International.

There are many known risk factors for preterm birth—from the mother’s age, to illness, to poverty and other social factors. Recent research has suggested that exposure to air pollution could also be a risk factor. The researchers combined national, population-weighted, annual average ambient PM2.5 concentration, preterm birth rate and number of livebirths to calculate the number of PM2.5-associated preterm births in 2010 for 183 countries.

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DLR, AEB developing new injection heads enabling use of ethanol as rocket fuel

February 16, 2017

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the Brazilian aerospace agency Agência Espacial Brasileira (AEB) have successfully completed the first burn tests for two newly designed injection heads enabling the development of a new rocket that is fueled with oxygen and alcohol.

The final injection head will eventually be the core of the new L75 liquid propellant rocket engine (LPRE), intended to propel a Brazilian small launch vehicle in the future. The engine delivers 75 kN thrust, fueled with liquid oxygen and ethanol, with a burn time of up to 400 seconds. (For comparison, Space X’s Falcon 9’s second stage—used to place large payloads into orbit—is powered by a single Merlin engine with 934 kN thrust. Falcon 9’s first stage delivers 7,607 kN at sea level.) The burn test series for the upper stage engine was completed within the framework of a German-Brazilian partnership established in 2011.

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Chevrolet 2017 Cruze Diesel EPA-rated at 52 mpg highway, 37 mpg combined; Tier 3 Bin 125

February 13, 2017

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan (earlier post) fitted with the six-speed manual transmission offers an EPA-estimated highway mileage of 52 mpg (4.52 liters/100 km)—the highest highway fuel economy of any non-hybrid/non-EV in the US. The six-speed manual model returns an EPA-estimated city mileage of 30 mpg (7.83 l/100 km), resulting in 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) combined. Cruze Diesel with the nine-speed automatic achieves an EPA-estimated highway economy of up to 47 mpg and 31 city mpg, which results in 37 mpg combined.

The 2017 Cruze Diesel Sedan, due to go on sale this spring, features a new B20-capable Ecotec 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine—already proven in Europe and other global markets—offering an SAE-certified 137 horsepower (102 kW) and 240 lb-ft of torque (325 N·m). Cruze Diesel passed all stringent US environmental standards and validation, including Tier 3 Bin 125 emissions standards.

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Dearman doubling size of tech center for engine powered by liquid nitrogen

February 10, 2017

Dearman, the clean cold technology company, will double the size of its technology center ahead of further trials of its engine powered by liquid nitrogen. The Dearman Engine is zero emission, emitting no NOx or particulate matter (PM), and delivering significant carbon dioxide savings compared to diesel. (Earlier post.)

The first application of the technology is a zero-emission alternative to diesel powered transport refrigeration units (TRUs). (Earlier post.) The Dearman transport refrigeration system is currently undergoing advanced road trials with Sainsbury’s, and further international trials are set to begin later this year.

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Bosch establishing new electromobility operating unit in Powertrain Solutions; start at beginning of 2018

February 08, 2017

Bosch is forming an operating unit specifically for electromobility. The unit will be part of the new Powertrain Solutions division. From the start of 2018, Powertrain Solutions will include the company’s electromobility activities as well as the existing Gasoline Systems and Diesel Systems divisions. Thus, in the future, Bosch will supply existing and new customers with all powertrain technologies from a single source.

In addition to the 20 million new hybrids and electric vehicles that Bosch esimates will be produced in 2025, there will be some 85 million new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Thus, as well as expanding electromobility, Bosch will work intensively on further improving combustion-engine technology.

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Study suggests GTL-naphtha-gasoline-ethanol blends can function as well as gasoline with lower emissions

February 05, 2017

Results of a study by a team from the University of Birmingham (UK) and Shell Global Solutions suggest that blends of gasoline with gas-to-liquids (GTL) naphtha can perform comparable combustion and full power output to conventional gasoline, with less than 2% difference in normalized ISFC (indicated specific fuel consumption) and gaseous emissions similar to, if not lower than that of conventional gasoline. A paper on their study is published in the journal Fuel.

The GTL Fischer-Tropsch process produces GTL diesel (the cleaner combustion and emissions qualities of which have been well studied), GTL naphtha, GTL kerosene, GTL normal Paraffin and GTL base oils. GTL naphtha mainly contains C4 to C11 hydrocarbons with a high proportions of straight chain paraffins. Although it has a consistent quality and near-zero sulfur and heavy metals, GTL naphtha has a low octane rating, making it unsuitable for blending in gasoline. (GTL naphtha currently is used as an alternative high-quality feedstock for plastics.) However, that low octane rating can be addressed by using ethanol as an octane booster.

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Study: splash blended ethanol fuels with higher ethanol percentage enable higher thermal efficiency in SI engine

February 03, 2017

A team from the University of Birmingham (UK) and Shell Global Solutions has investigated the effect of RON, octane sensitivity and charge cooling in splash-blended ethanol fuels with different volume percentages of ethanol on a single-cylinder direct-injection spark ignition (DISI) research engine.

In a paper published in the journal Fuel, the researchers report that at the knock-limited engine loads, splash-blended ethanol fuels with a higher ethanol percentage enabled higher engine thermal efficiency through allowing more advanced combustion phasing and less fuel enrichment for limiting the exhaust gas temperature under the upper limit of 850 °C, which was due to the synergic effects of higher RON and octane sensitivity, as well as better charge cooling.

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New CE-CERT report finds Cummins Wesport ISL G near-zero gas engine performs with lower NOx than EPA certification standard over range of cycles

February 02, 2017

A report released by the University of California Riverside’s College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT), found that the new 8.9L Cummins Westport ISL G near-zero (NZ) natural gas engine (earlier post) meets and exceeds the certification standards during a full range of duty cycles. This finding is in stark contrast to previously released CE-CERT data and a recently released report by the California Air Resources Board that found heavy-duty diesel trucks emitted higher levels of NOx than their certification standards in the same duty cycles.

With the near-zero emission factors demonstrated for natural gas vehicles, it is expected that these vehicles could play an important role in providing much needed emissions reductions required for the South Coast Air Basin and California to reach federal air quality attainment standards.

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Bosch reaches $327.5M settlement agreement for 2.0L and 3.0L VW diesels in US

February 01, 2017

Bosch has entered into a settlement agreement with private claimants in the US in order to settle the most substantial part of the civil law proceedings pending in connection with Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles that were sold in the US.

The agreement would settle the claims of consumers and dealers of used vehicles against Robert Bosch GmbH, its affiliates, employees, and directors concerning Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles with 2.0L engines for model years 2009 through 2015 and Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel vehicles with 3.0L engines for model years 2009 through 2016. For this purpose, Bosch will pay a total amount of US$327.5 million (approx. €304 million). By entering into the settlement, Bosch neither acknowledges the facts as alleged by the plaintiffs nor does Bosch accept any liability.

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Volkswagen reaches settlement agreements with private plaintiffs and US Federal Trade Commission on 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles in US

Volkswagen AG and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (together, Volkswagen) has reached proposed agreements to resolve outstanding civil claims regarding approximately 78,000 affected 3.0L TDI V6 diesel engine vehicles in the United States.

Volkswagen submitted two agreements to the Court for approval: (1) a proposed class settlement with private plaintiffs represented by a Court-appointed Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC) on behalf of a nationwide class of current and certain former owners and lessees of eligible 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles; and (2) a proposed Consent Order submitted by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

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McLaren Automotive launches collaborative strategic project on next-gen powertrains; part-funded by UK government

January 31, 2017

McLaren Automotive has launched a strategic project to design and develop technology for the next generation of powertrains. Working with a number of partners including BMW Group and Ricardo, the project intends to develop new combustion technology that will deliver a higher output per capacity than currently possible. It also aims to further facilitate CO2 reductions while simultaneously increasing engine output. The technology is destined for application in future McLaren engines.

The project, supported and part-funded by UK Government through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), is intended to deliver improvements in thermal system efficiency using a modular combustion system, lightweight castings and composite materials. The project will also improve the UK’s development and production capabilities of low-CO2 internal combustion engine technology. The project will be led by McLaren Automotive but involves a total of six partners.

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

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

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

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Saudi Aramco R&D proposes SuperButol as new low-cost high-octane blend component

January 27, 2017

A team from Saudi Aramco Research and Development Center has developed a novel low-cost, high-octane gasoline blend component it calls SuperButol. SuperButol is made from low-value mixed butenes using a new process the team has named Butenes to Butanol (BTB); it has slightly lower blending RON compared to MTBE but has lower blending vapor pressure and higher energy content compared to ethanol.

It also has an insignificant effect on key gasoline specifications, including potential and actual gum; oxidation stability; intake valve deposits; port fuel injector fouling; haze formation; and water extractability performance. The team suggests that SuperButol is thus a viable and affordable gasoline component, which can help to meet future demands for high-octane gasoline. In addition, the process helps to optimize refinery operations by valorizing low-value products. The team describes SuperButol in a paper in the journal Fuel.

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Faurecia Emissions Control reorients strategy, becomes Faurecia Clean Mobility

January 26, 2017

To align with industry megatrends and boost its long term growth, Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies has reoriented its strategy and become Faurecia Clean Mobility. Faurecia Clean Mobility is one of three Faurecia business groups, the other two being Automotive Seating and Interior Systems.

Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies developed exhaust systems and components, including mufflers, manifolds, catalytic converters, emissions control systems and complete exhaust systems. Faurecia defined three key areas for innovation within this segment:

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KPMG Survey: execs say connected car generates 10x revenue than a conventional vehicle; market share based on units “outdated”; BEVs #1 trend

January 24, 2017

Advancements such as connectivity, big data, autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence are driving new economic models for automakers, and most see tremendous revenue potential and consumer value in leveraging driver and vehicle data to offer mobility services, according to the 2017 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Study.

The KPMG research, which polled nearly 1,000 executives with the world’s leading automotive companies, found that 76% say one connected car generates more revenue streams than 10 conventional cars. In fact, expectations for data-driven revenue are so great that 71% say measuring OEM market share based on units sold is outdated.

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POSTECH, Hyundai team develops new more thermally robust catalyst for NOx reduction with diesel engines

January 23, 2017

A team from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in S. Korea, with colleagues from Hyundai Motors’s R&D group and the University of St. Andrews in the UK has developed a new, more thermally robust catalyst for NOx aftertreatment systems for diesel engines. A paper on their work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

The catalyst—divalent copper ions fully exchanged into high-silica LTA zeolites(Cu-LTA)—demonstrated excellent maintenance of activity for NOx reduction with NH3 under vehicle-simulated conditions even after hydrothermal aging at 900 °C, a critical temperature that the current commercial Cu-SSZ-13 catalyst cannot overcome owing to thermal deactivation.

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CARB releases Midterm Review of ZEV regulation, LEV III GHG and PM standards; calls for post-2025 standards

January 19, 2017

When the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted the Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in 2012 (earlier post), the agency committed to conduct a comprehensive midterm review of three elements of the program: the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) regulation; the 1 mg/mi particulate matter (PM) standard; and the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards for 2022 and later model years. ARB has now released the Midterm Review of Advanced Clean Cars Program—an extensive evaluation of the California passenger vehicle market and technology.

The Review finds that the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards currently in place for model years 2022-2025 are readily feasible at or below the costs estimated back in 2012. The report also finds that ZEV technology has seen significant development that, in many cases, is beyond what was envisioned just four years ago. The report indicates that existing programs in California will add at least 1 million zero-emission vehicles on its roads and highways by 2025.

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GM expands B20 biodiesel lineup with new cars, crossovers and trucks

January 18, 2017

General Motors is expanding its portfolio of B20-capable vehicles to include cars and crossovers, and will field the industry’s most expansive lineup of diesel-powered vehicles in 2017, John Schwegman, director of commercial product and medium duty for GM Fleet, announced at the National Biodiesel Conference.

Chevrolet offers the industry’s broadest lineup of B20-capable diesel propulsion for fleet, commercial and retail customers, including: Express full-size vans; Silverado HD full-size pickups; the Colorado mid-size pickup; the Low Cab Forward commercial truck; the 2017 Cruze compact car and the 2018 Equinox compact crossover.

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DOE Co-Optima initiative publishes report reviewing first 12 months; progress on fuels and engines

January 16, 2017

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Co-Optima initiative—a broad, joint effort to co-optimize the development of efficient engines and low greenhouse-gas fuels for on-road vehicles with the goal of reducing petroleum consumption by 30% by 2030 beyond what is already targeted (earlier post)—has published a year-in-review report for FY 2016—the initiative’s first 12 months.

Co-Optima’s premise is that current fuels constrain engine design—and thus engine efficiency. The researchers suggest that there are engine architectures that can provide higher thermodynamic efficiencies than available from modern internal combustion engines; however, new fuels are required to maximize efficiency and operability across a wide speed/load range. The report details the technical progress in a selection of projects across the initiative’s two main thrusts: spark ignition (SI) and advanced compression ignition (ACI).

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U of Birmingham scientists launch project to tackle global clean cold challenge

Scientists from the University of Birmingham launched a major research project to investigate how “clean cold” could help to achieve almost all of the United Nations’ (UN) global Sustainable Development Goals. The 17 Global Goals include abolishing poverty and hunger; providing good healthcare and education; raising peoples’ quality of life; and cleaning up the environment, while promoting economic growth.

Clean cooling technologies, which can support environmentally sustainable cold chains, include Dearman’s zero-emission transport refrigeration system (earlier post); solar-driven cooling for pack-houses; and even small transportable ammonia-water absorption refrigeration which can be used to transport medicine.

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