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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.]

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

July 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

July 22, 2014

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

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

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

July 18, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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World premiere of new smart fortwo and forfour

July 16, 2014

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

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

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

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

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2014 Yaris Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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Continental supplying first turbocharger with aluminum housing

July 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 14, 2014

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The ETHOS 2.8L demo truck. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 11, 2014

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

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

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

July 10, 2014

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Ingenium engine. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 09, 2014

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5th generation Corsa Click to enlarge.

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

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

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EPA selects ANSYS for simulation software to develop advanced test engine

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

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

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

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

July 08, 2014

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

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

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

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Lexus NX compact utility arrives in North America

July 07, 2014

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2015 Lexus NX 300h. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

July 04, 2014

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The new Volkswagen Passat. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

July 03, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 01, 2014

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

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

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Ford introduces new Focus ST with diesel and EcoBoost options

June 30, 2014

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

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

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

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Ram introduces Doblò-based 2015 Ram ProMaster City van

June 27, 2014

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2015 Ram ProMaster City. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

June 26, 2014

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

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

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

June 25, 2014

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2015 Edge. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

June 24, 2014

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

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

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

June 23, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 20, 2014

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2015 Sonata Eco. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 04, 2014

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

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

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

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

June 03, 2014

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

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

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

June 02, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 30, 2014

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

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

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DENSO develops a new low-cost fuel injection system for small motorcycles

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Main components of the DIET-FI system. Click to enlarge.

Global automotive supplier DENSO Corporation has developed a new electronic fuel injection system for small motorcycles called DIET-FI (DENSO Intelligent Economical Technology-Fuel Injection). DIET-FI is the first fuel injection system that doesn’t use a throttle position sensor or engine temperature sensor. Rather, it uses newly developed control technologies that ensure the same fuel economy and environmental performance as conventional fuel injection systems, thus cutting costs.

In the two-wheeler segment, fuel injection systems are usually only used in motorcycles; however, in recent years there has been a growing need to apply these systems to smaller motorized bikes up to the size of 150cc that are used in emerging markets, such as China.

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Japanese automobile industry establishes joint Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE)

May 20, 2014

Eight Japanese automakers and one automobile research institute—Suzuki Motor; Daihatsu Motor; Toyota Motor; Nissan Motor; Fuji Heavy Industries; Honda R&D; Mazda Moto; Mitsubishi Motors; and Japan Automobile Research Institute (JARI)—have jointly established the Research Association of Automotive Internal Combustion Engines (AICE). AICE’s president is Keiji Otsu, Managing Officer, Honda R&D.

The participating automakers will work together to identify and to present research needs that address issues and challenges facing the automakers in the area of more fuel efficient combustion technologies for internal combustion engines and technologies which achieve cleaner tailpipe emissions.

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A further look at elements of Audi’s new generation 3.0L TDI diesel

May 16, 2014

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The new generation TDI delivers more power and better fuel efficiency. Click to enlarge.

Audi presented the latest generation of its 3.0 TDI diesel engine at the 35th International Vienna Motor Symposium. (Earlier post.) The new 3.0-liter engine is designed to be utilized in both MQB (transverse) and MLB (longitudinal) architectures within the larger Volkswagen Group. (This could open up an interesting application in an MQB-based mid-size Volkswagen-brand SUV.)

The exhaust-turbocharged V6 will come in two versions: 160 kW (218 hp) and 200 kW (272 hp). It features a 90‑degree cylinder bank angle and a displacement of 2,967 cc. Peak torque is as much as 600 N·m (442.5 lb-ft) depending on the model. Although the new 3.0 TDI is more powerful than its predecessor, it is—again depending on the model—as much as 13% more fuel efficient.

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SwRI forms Advanced Combustion Catalyst and Aftertreatment Technologies consortium

May 14, 2014

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has formed the Advanced Combustion Catalyst and Aftertreatment Technologies (AC2AT) consortium. The four-year joint-industry consortium, scheduled to kick off 27 June 2014, will be open to engine and vehicle manufacturers and affiliated businesses in the automotive industry, including catalyst formulators, substrate and component manufacturers, and emission control system integrators.

The focus of the program will be to develop the tools and technologies necessary for the synergistic application of catalysts to advanced engine technologies. Annual membership will be $95,000. SwRI will pursue patents for technology developed by the AC2AT program, and participants will receive a royalty-free license to use AC2AT-developed technology.

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Motiv Engines introduces 2nd-generation split-cycle concept; MkII Clarke-Brayton heavy-duty engine being designed for LNG

May 08, 2014

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Section of the MkII Clarke-Brayton split-cycle engine. Note the three different cylinder sizes. Air moves sequentially from induction (top cylinder) to combustion (middle cylinder) to expansion (bottom cylinder). Click to enlarge.

Motiv Engines, LLC introduced the second-generation of its engine concept dubbed the MkII Clarke-Brayton Engine, which it intends to develop into a heavy-duty on-highway engine fueled by liquid natural gas (LNG). The prototype is fueled by diesel, a first step in proving the technology before developing a new LNG fuel system.

The MkII Clarke-Brayton Engine is a boxer-configuration split-cycle engine implementing what Motiv calls the Clarke-Brayton cycle. The thermodynamics of the engine are virtually identical to the company’s previous CCI (Compact Compression Ignition) design, as described in a 2013 SAE paper, but are implemented in a much more conventional way.

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Bosch offering range of complete powertrains for two-wheelers; Asia and smartphones

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Bosch regards the two-wheeler segment as one of the growth markets of the future and expects worldwide sales of motorcycles to reach around 150 million units in 2020, more than the equivalent figure for cars. Asia is a driver of growth. Source: Bosch. Click to enlarge.

Bosch is entering the global market for two-wheeler powertrains with its own range of complete systems. The company has developed an electronically controlled fuel injection system that can be adapted to any vehicle—allowing Bosch to offer solutions ranging from the cheapest single-cylinder two-wheeler in Asia to the high-performance bikes prevalent in Europe and North America.

Bosch regards the two-wheeler segment as one of the growth markets of the future and expects worldwide sales of motorcycles to reach around 150 million units in 2020, more than the equivalent figure for cars. Just as it is for cars, Asia is a driver of growth in the two-wheeler segment. Up to now, Bosch’s presence in the two-wheeler segment has revolved chiefly around automotive components modified for use in high-performance motorcycles.

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Audi presents latest generation 3.0 TDI diesel at Vienna Motor Symposium; up to 13% more fuel efficient

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New generation of the 3.0L Audi V6 TDI with 160 kW (218 hp) and 200 kW (272 hp). Click to enlarge.

Audi presented the latest generation of its 3.0 TDI diesel engine at the 35th International Vienna Motor Symposium.

The exhaust-turbocharged V6 will come in two versions: 160 kW (218 hp) and 200 kW (272 hp). It features a 90‑degree cylinder bank angle and a displacement of 2,967 cc. Peak torque is as much as 600 N·m (442.5 lb-ft) depending on the model. Although the new 3.0 TDI is significantly more powerful than its predecessor, it is—again depending on the model—as much as 13% more fuel efficient.

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Chrysler to introduce PHEV models in 2016 and 2017 to meet ZEV requirements; new FCA gasoline engine family coming in 2015

May 06, 2014

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) Chrysler Brand will launch two plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) over the next several years, said Al Gardner, President and CEO of the Chrysler Brand, during the FCA Investor Day presentations at Auburn Hills, Mi.

One will be a PHEV version of the new Chrysler Town & Country minivan to be introduced in 2016; the second will be a PHEV version of a new full-size crossover vehicle to be introduced in 2017. Neither is the result of immediate wide-spread customer demand, noted Bob Lee, VP and Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion Systems Engineering for Chrysler Group LLC, later in the day:

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Caterpillar investigating 6-stroke engine cycle as low-emission solution

May 05, 2014

Caterpillar engineers have been exploring a novel 6-stroke compression ignition engine cycle in search of a low-emission system that retains fuel efficiency. In a paper presented at the SAE 2014 World Congress, they reported on their investigations of the 6-stroke cycle for near-stoichiometric and lean operation.

The primary difference between the conventional 4-stroke and Caterpillar 6-stroke cycle is the addition of a second compression and combustion stroke immediately following the primary combustion event. The fourth stroke omits the conventional exhaust event in order to recompress the combustion gases. This approach differs from the traditional 6-stroke approach in which water is injected into the cylinder after recompression to extract additional expansion work from the hot combustion products, the team noted.

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A pathway to gasoline compressed ignition using naphtha fuels; higher efficiency, lower cost

May 02, 2014

A new study by Dr. Gautam Kalghatgi and his colleagues at Saudi Aramco provides further support a pathway for significant improvements in the efficiency of a gasoline engine (i.e., spark ignited, SI) by running it in compression ignition mode with naphtha fuels. (Earlier post.) This latest work, presented at SAE 2014 World Congress, shows that moving to higher compression ratios (CR) and lower fuel cetane numbers (DCN) from an SI base engine offers a better trade-off than increasing DCN with a lower CR. In other words, using only cetane to improve CI fuel consumption is less beneficial than relying on a low cetane fuel and higher compression ratio.

Past work done by Kalghatgi and his team, as well as by Prof. Bengt Johansson at Lund University and others, has demonstrated that using low-octane gasoline in diesel engines has the potential to achieve very high efficiency while reducing the cost of diesel engines by lowering injection pressures and requiring less expensive exhaust aftertreatment. Broadly, this approach is termed Gasoline Compression Ignition (GCI).

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UK APC selects four powertrain projects for $51M in funding; contributing to next-gen Ford EcoBoost

April 30, 2014

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable recently announced the first four automotive technology projects to be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) (earlier post) with grants totaling £30.3 million (US$51 million); the projects that will help develop next-generation engines (including the Ford EcoBoost) and see Formula 1 technology applied in buses and excavators.

The jointly funded government and industry APC will invest around £1 billion (US$1.7 billion) over the next 10 years to develop, commercialize and manufacture greener and more efficient technologies for engines of vehicles of the future. The four projects are the winners of an up to £75 million competition that the Technology Strategy Board launched in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Automotive Council in December 2013.

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Westport and Weichai launch WP12 engine and begin development of WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0 technology

April 28, 2014

Westport Innovations Inc. has launched the final customer validation units of the next-generation Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI 2.0, earlier post) on the Weichai Westport WP12 engine platform. The Weichai Westport WP 12 HPDI is China’s first engine featuring Westport HPDI technology, delivering the power and performance of the base diesel engine, while replacing up to 95% of diesel fuel with cleaner burning, less expensive natural gas. Using Westport HPDI, the WP12 engine is expected to meet China V emission standards (roughly equivalent to Euro V) without a complex after-treatment system.

Weichai Westport plans to release 30 trucks for customer validation through 2014 with factory production expected to start in 2015. Weichai and Westport have also agreed to develop the 10-liter Weichai Westport WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0. Weichai Westport will provide funding for the development with Westport supplying key components and engineering support.

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Honda progressing with high-efficiency low-emission Homogeneous Lean Charge Spark Ignition (HLSI) combustion work

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Honda’s engine technology roadmap and the key role of HLSI, as presented at the 2013 Aachen Colloquium by Toshihiro Mibe, Managing Officer, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Automobile R&D Center. Click to enlarge.

Honda is developing a Homogeneous Lean Charge Spark Ignition (HLSI) combustion engine as one of the key elements in its technology roadmap for a higher thermal efficiency gasoline engine. Honda reported on its basic approach in a 2013 SAE paper; Takashi Kondo of Honda R&D then presented results to date at the recent SAE 2014 High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium.

Lean burn engines using a stratified air-fuel configuration with a comparatively rich mixture in the vicinity of the spark plugs can deliver stable combustion of an overall lean mixture. Lean burn engines can deliver a higher theoretical thermal efficiency, and their higher air/fuel (A/F) ration leads to low pumping losses. However, because a comparatively rich mixture is burned during the first half of combustion, engine-out NOx emissions are not reduced sufficiently, and the emissions reduction provided by the three-way catalyst (TWC) is insufficient, Kondo noted.

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MIT study: higher octane standard fuel in US could lower fleet fuel consumption & GHG an extra 4.5-6% by 2040

April 24, 2014

Offering a higher-octane gasoline to the consumer market in the US as the standard grade could deliver an incremental 4.5% to 6% reduction in fleet fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, on top of a projected 26.8% reduction by then in the baseline case (i.e., without higher octane fuel, but with other projected vehicle and powertrain technology improvements), according to a new analysis by a team at MIT. For their paper, the team proposed a 98 RON gasoline—currently the US premium grade—as the new standard fuel. In other words, they proposed making the current premium fuel the new standard grade.

The analysis by Eric Chow, John Heywood and Raymond Speth, presented as a paper at the recent SAE 2014 World Congress, seeks to quantify the reductions in consumption and GHG if new vehicles designed to use the higher-octane fuel were deployed. Raising octane reduces engine knock constraints, enabling the design of new spark-ignition engines with higher compression ratios and boost levels. This leads to improved engine efficiencies and the sought reductions. (Earlier post.)

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

April 23, 2014

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

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

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

April 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

April 21, 2014

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

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

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

April 20, 2014

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2015 Lexus NX 300h. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

April 17, 2014

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2015 Outback. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 16, 2014

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2015 Sonata 2.0T Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

April 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

April 14, 2014

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2015 Jetta. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

April 11, 2014

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Golf Sportwagen. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

April 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 09, 2014

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

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

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

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

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2015 Focus four-door sedan. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

April 08, 2014

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

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

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

April 07, 2014

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

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

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

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

April 04, 2014

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

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

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

April 02, 2014

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

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

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

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

March 28, 2014

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

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

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

March 27, 2014

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

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

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

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Kenworth and Peterbilt introduce more fuel-efficient Class 8 trucks

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Kenworth T680 Advantage. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

March 25, 2014

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

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

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

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

March 22, 2014

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

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

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

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

March 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

March 19, 2014

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

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

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

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

March 18, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 10, 2014

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ISXG12 G paired with UltraShift PLUS. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

March 05, 2014

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New AYGO. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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HAZUMI. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 04, 2014

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2015 Jeep Renegade. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

March 03, 2014

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

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

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

March 02, 2014

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

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

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

February 26, 2014

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Compact EGR valve. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

February 25, 2014

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

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

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

February 24, 2014

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2015 Ford Focus. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

February 20, 2014

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

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

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

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

February 19, 2014

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2015 Expedition. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

February 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 14, 2014

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

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

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

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

February 12, 2014

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Tata 5L engine with GEMdi. Click to enlarge.

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

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

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

February 11, 2014

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

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

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