[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.]
SMDI design study produces twist beam concept that reduces mass ~30% relative to baseline assembly
December 06, 2013
|Twist beam assembly mass comparison. Click to enlarge.|
Results of a new design study for a lightweight steel proof-of-concept twist beam (used in suspensions) by the Steel Market Development Institute’s (SMDI) Automotive Applications Council indicate that the preferred U-Beam Design based on 22MnB5 tubular construction with DP780 and SPFH540 sheet achieves a 30.0% mass reduction relative to the baseline assembly, at a 12–15% premium in manufacturing cost at production volumes of 30,000 to 250,000 vehicles per year, respectively.
An S-Beam Design based on 22MnB5 sheet, DP780 tube and HSLA550 materials was predicted to have a 14.9% mass reduction relative to the baseline assembly. The objective of the study was to develop a twist beam design achieving a 15–25% mass reduction with equivalent structural and elasto-kinematic performance relative to the baseline design at a ≤ 10% cost premium.
New Ford Mustang receives its own 2.3L EcoBoost variant
December 05, 2013
|Mustang 2.3L EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.|
Ford revealed its new 2015 version of the Mustang (with great fanfare simultaneously in six cities on four continents and CEO Alan Mulally on ABC’s Good Morning America) with a choice of three powertrains: a upgraded 5.0L V8, a 3.7-liter V6 and an all-new 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine developed specifically for Mustang.
Among the features of the new EcoBoost engine are an optimized intake manifold and turbocharger housing to provide better breathing and higher output. The new 2.3L EcoBoost offers a projected 305-plus hp (227 kW) and 300-plus lb-ft (407 N·m) of torque. (The upgraded V8, at more than twice the displacement, offers around 420 hp and 390 lb-ft.)
Study suggests fuel cell hybrid with supercapacitors for energy storage the most fuel efficient
December 02, 2013
An evaluation of different fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV) powertrain designs—such as fuel cell/supercapacitor (FC/SC), fuel cell/battery (FC/B), and a combination of supercapacitors and batteries (FC/SC/B)—and different control strategies by researchers in Belgium concluded that the FC/SC HEV has slightly higher fuel economy than the FC/B HEV and FC/B/SC HEV powertrains.
This, the researchers suggested in a paper presented at the recent EVS 27 conference in Barcelona, was due to the use of the efficient supercapacitors for the majority of the transient-power requirements (the SC can be charged or discharged at a high current, at which the battery cannot function). The fuel economy of the supercapacitor fuel cell hybrid, they noted, is higher despite the vehicle being heavier and more expensive.
Ford researchers present physics-based model of mass-induced fuel consumption for better insight into lightweighting benefits
November 25, 2013
A pair of researchers from Ford Motor Company’s Systems Analytics and Environmental Sciences Department in Dearborn have developed a novel physics-based model of mass-induced fuel (MIF) consumption which can be used in vehicle life cycle assessments to provide better insight—i.e., from a more firm scientific foundation—on the potential benefits of lightweighting.
To illustrate the method, they used their model to estimate the MIF values for 2013 model year internal combustion engined using the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) fuel economy certification data. They found MIF values in the range of 0.2−0.5 L/(100 km 100 kg). As described in a paper on their work in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the results showed that lightweighting has the most benefit when applied to vehicles with high fuel consumption and high power.
Mazda showcases CNG and hybrid Axela models in Tokyo; Mazda’s approach to environmental performance
November 22, 2013
At the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is showcasing the recently-released Mazda Axela (known as Mazda3 overseas) with a variety of engine types at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, including a CNG concept and hybrid variants. (Earlier post.)
The Axela accounts for more than 30% of global sales; the latest Axela is the third generation. The new Axela range also introduces a hybrid vehicle, and marks the first time for a single model launched on the Japanese market to include gasoline, diesel, and hybrid power plants in its powertrain lineup.
Audi of America officially introduces the new A3 family; plug-in hybrid version coming in 2015
November 20, 2013
|The A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Audi of America officially announced plans today for the arrival in the US of the new A3 family of premium compact cars, with three body styles, five new engines and seven variants including its plug-in hybrid model. Audi first revealed the A3 Sportback e-tron at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
This new A3 lineup begins with the A3 sedan, which goes on sale in the spring of 2014. The A3 sedan plays a pivotal role in the soon to be expanding Audi A3 family and will be priced from a base MSRP of $29,900. It will be joined later in the fall of 2014 by the Audi A3 Cabriolet; A3 TDI clean diesel sedan; the high-performance S3 sedan; and in early 2015, the A3 Sportback e-tron gasoline electric plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
New 4-cylinder 2.3L EcoBoost on Lincoln MKC small SUV; future EcoBoost prospects
November 18, 2013
|Lincoln MKC is the first to get the new 2.3L EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.|
The all-new 2015 Lincoln MKC small premium utility, unveiled last week, offers an all-new engine—a 2.3-liter EcoBoost gasoline turbocharged direct injection (GTDI) four-cylinder unit. Ford says the engine can deliver up to 15% better fuel economy than comparable six-cylinder engines.
Featuring a twin-scroll turbocharger and a three-port integrated exhaust manifold (IEM), the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder offers projected best-in-class horsepower per liter and best-in-class torque per liter, generating 275 hp (205 kW) at 5,500 rpm and 300 lb-ft (407 N·m) of torque at 3,000 rpm, according to preliminary test data.
Study finds rates of LDV fuel consumption in US peaked in 2004; indications of peak motorization
November 16, 2013
In a follow-up study to his earlier analysis of trends of light-duty vehicle registration and distance driven in the US (earlier post), Dr. Michael Sivak of The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) finds that fuel consumption rates—per person, per driver, and per household—are declining, as are ownership and driving. The bottom line, he concludes in this third report, is that “We drive fewer light-duty vehicles, we drive each of them less, and we consume less fuel.”
Sivak examined the period from 1984 through 2011. Based on the present data, his best estimates of the current annual fuel-consumption rates are: 398 gallons (1,507 liters) per person, 585 gallons (2,214 liters) per licensed driver, 1,033 gallons (3,910 liters) per household, and 530 gallons (2,006 liters) per registered vehicle. These rates are down 16% to 17% from their peaks in 2004, except that the rate per vehicle is down 13% (from its peak in 2003).
NASA, Boeing finish tests of 757 vertical tail with active flow control technology
November 15, 2013
|The full-sized test tail modified and equipped with sweeping jet actuators. (Image credit: NASA Ames Research Center) Click to enlarge.|
NASA’s Ames Research Center and NASA’s Langley Research Center, in partnership with The Boeing Co., have completed wind tunnel testing of a full-scale Boeing 757 vertical tail model equipped with active flow control (AFC) technology. The project is one of eight large-scale integrated technology demonstrations that are part of NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project. (Earlier post.)
Active flow control involves the manipulation of a flow field—through the addition of energy—to improve the aerodynamic performance of an aircraft structure. Active flow control can enable the design of simpler, smaller and more aerodynamically efficient structures that help reduce aircraft weight, drag, and fuel consumption.
Audi offering three engines with cylinder deactivation technology; fuel savings up to 20%
November 12, 2013
|Cylinder on demand V8. Click to enlarge.|
Audi has three gasoline engines equipped with its cylinder-on-demand (COD) technology (cylinder deactivation): the 1.4 TFSI COD, the 4.0 TFSI COD and now also the 12-cylinder W12 COD in the new Audi A8 L. (Earlier post.) COD can deliver reductions in fuel consumption of up to 20%, Audi says.
The Audi COD technology is versatile, equally suitable for use in the four-cylinder direct-injection unit, as well as the V8 TFSI and the 12-cylinder naturally aspirated unit. In all engines, it deactivates half of the cylinders at low to intermediate loads and engine speeds in the upper gears until the driver once again accelerates strongly. Efficiency in the active cylinders increases because the operating points are displaced toward higher loads.
UK launches £75M fund for more energy efficient engines and cars; £1.5M for autonomous pods
November 10, 2013
The UK government has launched a £75-million (US$120-million) fund to speed the development of low carbon technologies for engines. Selected projects are to be the pilot projects of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) announced in July. (Earlier post.) The APC will channel £1-billion (US$1.6 billion) investment from government and industry to fund the development of new technologies over the next 10 years.
To apply for a share of the £75 million APC fund, bidders must form a group which includes at least one vehicle manufacturer, an SME and at least one supply chain company. The competition, which will support a range of powertrain technologies, will open on 2 December 2013, with projects expected to begin from April 2014.
Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting endorses harmonized global approach to improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHGs
November 09, 2013
Leading global manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines gathering at the annual Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting endorsed a harmonized global approach as an effective pathway to further improve energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from commercial vehicles. The manufacturers have been pursuing policy cooperation for a number of years. (Earlier post.)
Meeting in Chicago, the chief executives of commercial vehicle and engine manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and the United States discussed fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, diesel fuel specifications, and topics related to heavy-duty engine and vehicle regulation and certification.
GFEI report suggests $2T savings from fuel economy improvements in ICE vehicles through 2025 can help fund long-term transition to plug-ins
November 08, 2013
Fuel economy improvements from conventional internal combustion engine cars can save an estimated $2 trillion in fuel costs through 2025—and more in years after—according to a new working paper published by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) prepared by Dr. Lew Fulton, Co-Director, NextSTEPS Program at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California at Davis.
The GFEI, a partnership of international agencies and top energy policy experts, suggests that these cost savings could in part be used to help offset the costs of developing a global market for electric vehicles over this time frame, since the savings are estimated to be at least four times bigger than these costs.
Brookings analysts recommend against repeating cash for clunkers program in future recession
November 03, 2013
According to a new paper and policy brief by Brookings, the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) or “cash for clunkers” program, launched during the height of the recession with the intention of stimulating the economy and reducing emissions, actually resulted in only a small and short-lived impact on GDP; a higher implied cost per job created than alternative fiscal stimulus programs; and a higher cost per ton of CO2 reduced than what would be achieved through a policy such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade.
However, the cost of CO2 reduced was comparable or lower than that achieved through less cost-effective policies such as the tax subsidy for electric vehicles, the analysis concluded. In terms of distributional effects, compared to households that purchased a new or used vehicle in 2009 without a voucher, CARS program participants had a higher before-tax income, were older, more likely to be white, more likely to own a home, and more likely to have a high-school and a college degree.
Pinnacle’s opposed-piston scooter engine can meet NOx target with lean operation and ignition delay; little fuel economy hit
November 01, 2013
In a paper presented at the recent Small Engine Technology Conference organized by JSAE and SAE International, Michael (Tony) Willcox from Pinnacle Engines reported that the 110cc version of the 4-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post) can use lean operation and ignition delay to meet Euro 4 NOx emission targets without aftertreatment and with only a negligible impact (< 1.5%) on the fuel consumption benefits of the engine (about 25-27% better than a comparable conventional engine in the relevant drivecycle).
Further, Pinnacle noted, recently developed hardware designed for additional lean limit extension is under test. The new hardware is anticipated to leave margin with Euro 5/6 NOx regulations using an oxidation-only catalyst for aftertreatment.
Fairbanks Morse Engine and Achates Power team up on opposed-piston engines
October 31, 2013
|Fairbanks Morse Model 38 opposed-piston engine. Click to enlarge.|
The leading manufacturer of opposed-piston engines, Fairbanks Morse Engine (FME), an EnPro Industries company, has signed a joint development and licensing agreement with Achates Power, Inc., the developer of a family of two-stroke compression-ignition opposed-piston engines (earlier post), to reduce emissions and fuel consumption of Fairbanks Morse proprietary diesel and dual-fuel opposed-piston engines.
The Fairbanks Morse Model 38 opposed-piston engine was designed and developed for a wide array of electrical power generation and heavy industrial applications. OP engines are propelling ships, driving locomotives, powering natural gas compressors, running chillers and pump drives, and producing electricity in a variety of marine and stationary applications.
EEA: All major car manufacturers in Europe met 2012 CO2 targets; 9 already meet 2015 targets
|Distance to 2012 target by individual manufacturer. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.|
Based on emission levels recorded in vehicle tests, car registration data analyzed by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in the report “CO2 emissions performance of car manufacturers in 2012” shows that in 2012 all major car manufacturers met their targets for their fleet. Nine of the larger manufacturers (Audi AG, BMW AG, Automobiles Citroën, Fiat group, Ford-Werke, Adam Opel, Automobiles Peugeot, Seat, Toyota Motor Europe, and Volvo Car) were already compliant with 2015 targets in 2012.
Carbon emissions of the average car sold in the EU fell 2.6% between 2011 and 2012, cutting the EU average to 132.2 grams of CO2 per kilometer—close to the 130 g target for the average new car sold in 2015.
UPS begins operational rollout of ORION advanced route optimization software
October 30, 2013
|ORION infographic. Click to enlarge.|
UPS has launched its ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) advanced route optimization software. The rollout of ORION is intended to optimize 10,000 delivery routes by the end of the year, reduce miles driven and reinforce UPS’ sustainability efforts. US deployment to nearly all 55,000 routes is planned to be completed in 2017 and global deployments are planned for the future.
ORION contains more than 250 million address data points. The software combines customers’ shipping requirements with customized map data the company has compiled to provide UPS drivers with optimized routing instructions that meet service-level requirements, while reducing miles driven.
1.0L EcoBoost Fiesta receives EPA rating of 45 mpg highway
October 29, 2013
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rated Ford’s 2014 1.0L EcoBoost-powered Fiesta sub-compact, arriving at dealers later this year, at 45 mpg (5.2 l/100 km) highway. (Earlier post.) The fuel economy rating outperforms some competitors’ diesels and hybrids on the highway driving cycle. As an example, the 2014 Honda Insight achieves 44 mpg highway, while the 2014 Volkswagen Golf diesel with a manual transmission delivers 42 mpg highway.
This also makes the Fiesta the only car in its class that produces more than 120 horsepower (89 kW) and achieves 45 mpg on the highway. Officially SAE-certified at 125 lb-ft (169 N·m) of torque, the 1.0-liter engine features an overboost function that allows it to make more than 145 lb-ft (197 N·m) for up to 15 seconds.
Volvo Drive-E engines delivering NEDC fuel consumption in S60 sedan as low as 62 mpg US for diesel, 40 mpg for gasoline
October 25, 2013
|The new Drive-E diesel engine. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo is introducing the first engines—two gasoline and 1 diesel—in its new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family (earlier post) and has received official European NEDC certification on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions when applied in the S60 sedan.
Leading with the lowest fuel consumption is the Volvo S60 D4 diesel with 181 hp (135 kW) and manual gearbox, delivering class-leading CO2 emissions at 99 g/km, which translates into fuel consumption of 3.8 l/100 km (62 mpgUS). A Volvo V60 D4 with up to 17-inch tires also breaks the 100-gram barrier according to the NEDC certification with CO2 emissions at 99 g/km.
BMW introduces the 2 Series; power up, fuel consumption down by up to 21% over 1 Series, depending upon model
|New BMW 2 Series Coupe. Click to enlarge.|
BMW has introduced an entirely new model series in the form of the BMW 2 Series Coupe. Offering both gasoline and diesel engines at launch (depending upon market), output is up by as much as 10 kW over the new car’s 1 Series predecessor, yet average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle has dropped by up to 21%, depending on the model.
One four-cylinder gasoline engine and one four-cylinder diesel unit are available from launch, putting 135 kW/184 hp at the disposal of the BMW 220i Coupe and BMW 220d Coupe. (The US will see the gasoline model as the 228i.) Also joining them, with a six-cylinder in-line engine developing 240 kW/326 hp, is the BMW M235i Coupe. Subsequently, BMW will introduce two more four-cylinder diesel models in the form of the BMW 218d Coupe (105 kW/143 hp) and BMW 225d Coupe (160 kW/218 hp).
UCR CE-CERT testing of hybrid construction equipment finds reduction in fuel consumption, but increase in NOx emissions
October 22, 2013
A study of hybrid excavators and dozers in use in public and private fleets found that while the use of hybrid equipment could decrease fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 28%, depending upon the type of work being done, NOx emissions could increase by up to 21%.
In the study, researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) completed activity characterization; sequence of operations/test cycle development; and in-use emissions testing on three hybrid Komatsu HB215-LC-1 excavators and three hybrid Caterpillar D7E dozers.
Fiat introducing new 2-cylinder 0.9L Turbo TwinAir in 2014 MiTo mini
|0.9 TwinAir. Click to enlarge.|
Fiat is introducing a new two-cylinder 0.9 Turbo TwinAir 105 HP engine for the 2014 Alfa Romeo MiTo sport mini. The gasoline engine delivers 105 hp (72 kW) at 5500 rpm and maximum torque of 145 N·m (107 lb-ft) at 2000 rpm/min, with combined cycle fuel consumption of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpgUS ), equivalent to 99 g CO2/km. (The 0.9 Turbo TwinAir is also offered in the Fiat 500 L.)
This is the lowest consumption of any of the gasoline or diesel MiTo engines, while power delivery and torque are the second-highest of the MiTo gasoline range. Top speed for the MiTo with the 0.9-liter engine is 184 km/h (114 mph) and it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 11.4 seconds. Specific power is almost 120 hp/liter, a value on a par with sportier engines.
Ford study suggests GDI engines can meet coming California and US PM emissions standards over 150k miles; more work to be done
October 16, 2013
|PM mass emissions rates for the FTP and US06 drive cycles as function of vehicle mileage. Credit: ACS, Maricq et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team from Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering group in Dearborn examined how emissions of particulate matter (PM) from two gasoline direct injection engines—a very small set and not representative of the wide variety of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines currently in production or under future development, they noted—changed over time.
As reported in a paper in ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, the results showed that GDI technology has the potential to meet the upcoming California LEV III and US EPA Tier 3 PM mass standard of 3 mg/mi (phasing in over MY2017−2021) over a 150,000-mile vehicle lifetime, but that further work must be done to address achieving the more stringent 1 mg/mi target (LEV III in 2025).
Volvo Trucks announces XE11 fuel efficiency package for 11L North American engines; up to 3% improvement in fuel efficiency
October 15, 2013
Volvo Trucks expanded its XE (exceptional efficiency, earlier post) powertrain package lineup with the introduction of XE11 for its 11-liter Volvo D11 engine. Available on Volvo VNM and VNL models and rated up to 80,000 lbs. GCWR, XE11 is suited for less-than-truckload, distribution, bulk haul and other regional applications. The powertrain package improves fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
Volvo first introduced XE packages for its 13-liter D13 and 16-liter D16 engines. To date, more than 24% of all Volvo-powered trucks ordered in 2013 also feature XE powertrain packages. The XE11 package includes the following components:
Opel presents new 1.0 SIDI Turbo engine at Aachen Colloquium; below 100 gCO2/km and ~59 mpg in the Adam
October 08, 2013
|New 1.0-liter SIDI turbo with 85 kW/115 hp. Click to enlarge.|
Opel presented details of its new three-cylinder 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection engine (earlier post) at the 22nd Aachen Colloquium in Germany. The engine will debut in the Opel Adam next year, together with an all-new, six-speed manual gearbox.
The 1.0 SIDI Turbo generates 30% more torque than Opel’s current 1.6-liter, naturally-aspirated engine, as well as the same 85 kW/115 hp maximum power output. Peak torque of 166 N·m (122 lb-ft) is available across a wide plateau from 1,800 rpm to 4,700 rpm, while maximum power is delivered at 5,200 rpm. The 1.0 SIDI Turbo also delivers a 20% improvement in fuel economy compared to the 1.6-liter engine. In the Opel Adam, it will give CO2 emissions of well under 100 g/km, as well as combined cycle fuel consumption approaching 4.0 l/100 km (59 mpgUS).
Fiat 500L Living diesels average about 70.6 mpg on Turin to Paris run
October 07, 2013
|Fiat 500L running in the Bosch Diesel Challenge. Click to enlarge.|
A small fleet of Fiat 500L Living models, equipped with the 1.6 MultiJet II 105 HP diesel with Start&Stop, covered the 800-kilometer (497-mile) route from Turin to Paris on an average of 27 liters (7.1 gallons US) of fuel, corresponding to approximately 30 km/l (70.6 mpgUS, 3.33 l/100km). The drive was part of a Bosch Diesel Challenge; the 500L features a Bosch common rail system.
Similar average results were registered by the teams who travelled back from Paris to Turin, again without stopping for fuel. A professional driver drove the same distance on only 20.9 liters (5.5 gallons US) of fuel, equal to more than 38 kilometers per liter (89 mpgUS, 2.6 l/100km).
New manufacturing technologies deliver lighter and stiffer 2014 Corvette
|Aluminum resistance spot welding in Bowling Green. (Photo by Joe Imel for Chevrolet) Click to enlarge.|
General Motors’ $131-million investment in technology at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, such as the first production use of a GM-patented process allowing aluminum to be spot welded to aluminum (earlier post), is producing the strongest and most precisely built Corvette in its six-decade history.
The new technologies enable more accurate and efficiently produced subassemblies, such as the frame and the components attached to it. Enhanced, laser-based three-dimensional inspection systems verify overall assembly tolerances targeted to be 25% tighter than the previous-generation Corvette.
Study finds recent achieved CAFE performance outpacing levels projected to be achieved by NHTSA
October 03, 2013
|Average monthly and model year fleet-wide achieved CAFE performance levels (light purple) versus NHTSA projected achieved CAFE levels (blue) for model years 2008 through 2016. Schoettle and Sivak 2013. Click to enlarge.|
Achieved Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) fuel economy performance has exceeded the anticipated levels for 2012 and 2013 model years—the two years that the current standard has been in effect—according to a new analysis by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).
Additionally, they found, achieved CAFE performance has consistently increased annually from model year 2008 through model year 2013. If the current trends in annual improvements continue, future CAFE performance is expected to continue meeting or exceeding the projected performance levels (and desired greenhouse gas reductions) contained in the latest CAFE standards.
Coming MINIs to feature new 3- and 4- cylinder engine line-up; adjustable dampers
September 30, 2013
|The 100 kW/134 bhp 1.5-liter MINI TwinPower Turbo in-line gasoline engine. Click to enlarge.|
Future MINI models will use a new line-up of both three and four-cylinder engines. In addition, MINI will introduce electrically adjustable dampers for the first time.
A common feature of the new drive units is the MINI TwinPower turbo technology, which optimizes both performance and efficiency. In the case of the gasoline engines, this technology package includes turbocharging, direct fuel injection, variable camshaft control on the intake and outlet sides (dual VANOS) and, in the more powerful versions, fully variable valve control according to the model of the BMW Group’s patented VALVETRONIC system.
ACEEE recommends steps for enhanced data gathering and analysis essential to developing next phase of heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and GHG regs
September 27, 2013
A newly released working paper from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) outlines the organization’s recommendations to policymakers for developing the next phase of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the United States expected in 2015.
The focus of the paper is less on the range of technologies that might be applied to deliver the requisite reductions (ACEEE also published a short fact sheet briefly touching on technology approaches) and more on enhanced and improved data gathering, analysis and dissemination that will be required to inform the development of the next phase of the standards.
New valveless electro-hydraulic steering system for off-road equipment shows significant fuel savings and productivity benefits
September 25, 2013
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new valveless hydraulic steering system for heaving construction equipment that improves efficiency and reduces fuel consumption. The new approach eliminates valves now needed to direct the flow of hydraulic fluid in steering systems and uses advanced algorithms and models to control hydraulic pumps precisely. New designs might also incorporate textured “micro-structured” surfaces inside pumps to improve performance.
Testing the new “electro-hydraulic power steering system” on a front loader has shown a 15% fuel savings and 23% increased machine productivity, for a total fuel efficiency increase of 43% during steering maneuvers. The findings are detailed in a research paper being presented during the SAE 2013 Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress (1-3 October). The paper was authored by doctoral student Naseem Daher and Monika Ivantysynova, Maha Fluid Power Systems Professor in Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, and director of Purdue’s Maha Fluid Power Research Center.
Chrysler Group files S-1 for IPO; snapshot of R&D priorities; exploring a light-duty hydraulic hybrid
September 24, 2013
Chrysler Group LLC has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to a proposed initial public offering of common shares. Details of the offering—i.e., number of shares and price range—are yet to be determined.
However, the document not only provides a detailed look at the finances of the company, it also provides a quick recap of recent technology developments and some insight into the company’s immediate research priorities. Chrysler writes that its has “made the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles a priority to meet retail consumer preferences, comply with future regulations and as part of our commitment to sustainability.”
ORNL study finds aluminum-intensive vehicles can deliver up to 29% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to typical steel-bodied vehicle
September 20, 2013
|Lifecycle energy findings. Source: Sujit Das, ORNL. Click to enlarge.|
A lifecycle study of aluminum-intensive vehicles by Sujit Das at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) found that an aluminum-intensive vehicle can achieve up to a 32% reduction in total lifecycle energy consumption, and up to a 29% reduction in CO2 emissions, compared to a typical vehicle on the road today which uses traditional and high-strength steel in the body construction.
The study, underwritten by The Aluminum Association, performed a full cradle-to-grave analysis (primary metal production; autoparts manufacturing and assembly; use; semi-fabrication material production; transportation; and end-of-life metals recycling) on three modeled vehicle types: a baseline steel vehicle; a lightweight steel vehicle (LWSV); and an aluminum intensive vehicle (AIV).
Nissan project in Beijing demonstrates Dynamic Route Guidance reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
September 13, 2013
Results from Nissan’s New Traffic Information System Model Project in Beijing (earlier post) have demonstrated that Dynamic Route Guidance System (DRGS) can help alleviate traffic congestion and reduce fuel consumption. A simulation based on the project results suggested that when 10% of all traffic in Beijing used DRGS, due to reduced traffic congestion, travel speed throughout the city would increase by approximately 10% and both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions would decrease by approximately 10%.
DRDS distributes real-time traffic information from the traffic information center to onboard devices via telematics; the onboard devices show drivers the fastest route on the display. This large-scale project, involving 12,000 vehicles, is the first to demonstrate and measure traffic dispersion effects in a real setting.
Tenneco/Gentherm showcasing prototype of thermoelectric generator for waste heat recovery; targeting 5% fuel economy improvement
September 11, 2013
|TEG component (cartridge) and TEG architecture concept. Source: Crane (2013).Click to enlarge.|
Tenneco and Gentherm (formerly BSST/Amerigon) are part of a US Department of Energy (DOE) consortium actively developing a thermoelectric generator (TEG) for capturing waste exhaust heat in vehicles and converting it to electrical energy to be used to power electrical systems within the vehicle. The first rapid prototype of their Thermoelectric Generator (TEG) for light vehicle applications is on display at Tenneco’s booth at the 2013 Frankfurt IAA Motor Show.
Partnering with Tenneco and Gentherm are BMW and Ford, as well as CalTech and NREL. Gentherm is supplying modular, cylindrical-shaped thermoelectric cartridges that convert waste heat from the exhaust into electricity. Tenneco then integrates the cartridges inside a thermoelectric generator (TEG) that includes a unique heat exchanger.
Continental presents new “48 Volt Eco Drive” system; orders received and production begins in 2016
September 10, 2013
|Components of the 48 Volt Eco Drive system and the demonstrator. Click to enlarge.|
Continental presented its new “48 Volt Eco Drive” system at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The new system supplements the traditional 12V electrical network with a 48V electrical system and components, bridging the gap between low-end hybridization based on present-day 12V start/stop systems and more sophisticated high-voltage hybrid solutions.
Installed in a demonstrator vehicle, the 48 Volt Eco Drive system offers NEDC fuel savings of around 13%. First orders have been received, and production will begin in 2016, according to José Avila, Head of the Powertrain Division and Member of the Continental Executive Board.
ICCT report assesses domestic fuel efficiency performance of US airlines for 2010; Alaska Airlines on top, Allegiant on the bottom
|Relative fuel efficiency for the domestic operations of the 15 largest US airlines in 2010 across each carrier’s entire network (higher score means greater efficiency). Zeinali et al. Click to enlarge.|
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC, released a report assessing and comparing the fuel efficiency of airlines serving the US domestic market in 2010. The study is the first to quantify that performance gap using publicly available data and accounting for differences in business operations across airlines.
The analysis compares the efficiency of all airlines independent of size, network structure, or type of service using fuel-consumption data reported annually by the airlines to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics. It employs a new methodology, developed by a team of researchers (Zou et al.) at FAA’s National Center of Excellence for Aviation Operations Research (NEXTOR) at the University of California, Berkeley, to evaluate an airline’s fuel efficiency relative to both the mobility (straight-line passenger miles between origin and destination) and access (airports served and/or flight frequency) it provides.
Jaguar announces new advanced aluminium monocoque architecture; C-X17 concept
September 09, 2013
|The C-X17 concept is the first revealed implementation of the new iQ[Al] architecture. Click to enlarge.|
Along with the unveiling of its C-X17 concept car on the eve of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar announced a new advanced aluminium monocoque architecture. The C-X17 concept sports crossover is a study to demonstrate the capabilities of this new architecture.
Codenamed iQ[Al], the architecture will form the basis for a new range of future Jaguars, the company said; the first product will be a mid-size premium C/D segment sedan on sale in 2015. This will be the first aluminium monocoque product in the segment. Using the new architecture, Jaguar expects to deliver vehicles with class-leading performance, including top speeds of more than 300 km/h (186 mph), and emissions lower than 100g of CO2 per km.
3.0L I-4 EcoDiesel to make North American debut in 2014 Ram ProMaster van
|Fred Diaz, President and CEO - Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, introduces the 2014 Ram ProMaster at the Chicago Auto Show. Click to enlarge.|
The Chrysler Group’s 2014 Ram ProMaster van, developed from the Fiat Ducato, will mark the the North American introduction of the 174 hp (130 kW) 3.0-liter inline 4-cylinder EcoDiesel engine that generates peak torque of 295 lb-ft (400 N·m) as early as 1,400 rpm. The engine is paired with the new M40 electronically controlled six-speed automated manual transmission—exclusive to the EcoDiesel.
Designed by Fiat, which employs the engine in numerous applications including Class 2, 3 and 4 commercial vehicles, the 16-valve, dual-overhead cam I-4 has been adapted for the North American market with a wide range of modifications that enable regulatory compliance, while also enhancing performance. The 2014 Ram ProMaster also offers a 280 hp 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 gasoline engine option.
Georgia Tech study suggests unlinking EVs from CAFE and coordinating with power sector for low-cost benefits
September 08, 2013
A team from Georgia Tech suggests, based on their modeling of electric vehicle (EV) adoption scenarios in each of six regions of the Eastern Interconnection (containing 70% of the US population), that coordinating EV adoption with the adoption of controlled EV charging, unlinking EVs from consideration in the CAFE fuel economy regulations; and implementing renewable electricity standards would deliver low-cost reductions in emissions and gasoline usage. (For the study, they define EVs as including both battery-electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) vehicles.
Only in the case of high EV market share and a high renewable electricity standard (RES) do EVs make a material contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, they found. However, managed EV adoption can reduce the cost of achieving GHG reductions through a RES, they concluded in their paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
GKN Driveline on-demand all-wheel drive system contributes to improved fuel consumption in 2014 Range Rover Evoque
September 05, 2013
|2014 Range Rover Evoque. Click to enlarge.|
In August, Land Rover introduced the 2014 Range Rover Evoque, equipped with several new technologies which, combined, can lower fuel consumption by up to 11.4% and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 9.5%. In addition to the new 9-speed transmission (earlier post), the new Evoque offers as an option an Active Driveline—an on-demand four-wheel drive system which operates in front-wheel drive only during steady-state driving at speeds above 22 mph (35 km/h).
A GKN Driveline all-wheel drive system is basis for the the Active Driveline disconnect all-wheel drive system.
ADEPT project to apply gasoline engine HyBoost system to diesel; 48V architecture; full hybrid fuel economy at much lower cost
September 04, 2013
The developers of the successful gasoline-engine HyBoost project (earlier post)—Ricardo, Ford Motor Company, Control Power Technologies (CPT) and the European Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (EALABC)—will be joined by Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies UK Ltd and University of Nottingham to apply the intelligent electrification concept for the first time to a diesel vehicle (a Ford Focus).
The Ricardo-led Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain (ADEPT) project will apply 48V “intelligent electrification” concepts, mild hybridization and waste heat recovery in a Ford Focus diesel demonstrator. The project aims to deliver full hybrid equivalent fuel economy and performance with less than 70 g/km CO2 emissions as measured over the European Drive Cycle, but at a significantly lower cost.
VW introducing 1.8L EA888 Gen 3 engine in 2014 Jetta, Passat and Beetle; driving impressions
August 29, 2013
Volkswagen of America is introducing the Group’s third-generation EA888 1.8-liter TSI four-cylinder engine in the 2014 Jetta and Passat, followed by the 2014 Beetle. The 1.8-liter unit produces 170 hp (127 kW) and 184 lb-ft (250 N·m) of torque as early as 1,500 rpm. The horsepower is the same as the outgoing 5-cylinder 2.5-liter engine, but it delivers 7 lb-ft more torque at 2,750 fewer revs (see chart at right).
Mated to an automatic or a manual transmission, the new EA888 offers up to a 17% decrease in fuel consumption while providing even better acceleration. In a presentation at Volkswagen of America’s 2014 line drive in St. Helena, California, Hubertus Lemke, Head of Technical Project Management for Volkswagen AG, described the advances in the new third-generation engines. (The 2.0-liter version of this engine has already made its debut in the 2013 Beetle and Jetta GLI, delivering a 10 hp improvement.)
ZF and start-up Levant Power partnering on first fully active, regenerative suspension for automobiles
August 28, 2013
|The first fully active and regenerative suspension is based on a pioneering electrohydraulic functional unit fitted to the exterior of the damper. Photo: ZF. Click to enlarge.|
ZF Friedrichshafen AG has entered into a partnership with Levant Power Corp. to build the first fully active suspension system with energy recovery function. GenShock technology is a fully active system for passenger cars which combines dynamics, safety and comfort characteristics with minimum energy consumption.
Levant Power Corp., founded in 2009 out of MIT (earlier post), is an emerging technology company headquartered working to develop the first fully active, regenerative suspension for the automotive, trucking, mass transit, and defense industries. The company holds several patents focused primarily on vehicle dynamics, and is the originator of GenShock and Activalve technology.
Using ozone injection to control HCCI combustion
HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) has been extensively studied in recent years due to its potential to maintain strong efficiency similar to compression ignition (CI) engines but also to produce very low emissions of NOx and particulate matter. Control of HCCI autoignition and combustion phasing is challenging, however. Unlike CI and spark ignition (SI) engines, HCCI cannot be easily controlled by external means (e.g., injectors or spark plugs), because the process is mainly governed by chemical kinetics.
Accordingly, many strategies have been studied to control combustion. Now, researchers in France have added to that body of work by showing that ozone seeding in the intake of an HCCI engine can control HCCI combustion.
Audi banking on Gen 2 3.0L TDI diesel for US sales; calls for a “fair shot” for diesel (update w/ rally results)
August 23, 2013
|Audi's Gen 2 3.0L TDI. Click to enlarge.|
Audi of America introduced four new TDI clean diesel models for the US market this year—the Audi A8, A7, A6, Q5—along with an updated Q7 TDI, all equipped with a second-generation 3.0L V6 TDI diesel engine. (Earlier post.) This week in Washington, the company held a series of media drives (“TDI Efficiency Rally”) for the Q5, A6 and A7 diesel models to highlight their efficiency and performance, and also offered up its—as well as several other experts’—perspectives on the potential for diesel in the US market.
“If we are going to reward efficiency, and that’s the goal,” said Joe Jacuzzi, Chief Communications Officer, Audi of America in opening remarks, “then diesel really needs a fair shot. Not only is it more powerful and contains up to 30% better efficiency than traditional gasoline, etc. The fact of the matter is [it requires] very little infrastructure change and secondly, its a very simple driving behavior change. You move from one pump to the other.”
PowerDriver simulations predict thermoelectric exhaust waste heat recovery output of 300W, -2.5% in fuel consumption; prototyping begins
August 22, 2013
The European Union-funded PowerDriver project—a two-year, €3-million (US$4-million) research project initiated in February 2012 to turn exhaust gas waste heat into electricity using thermoelectric generator (TGEN) technology—has completed simulation work on on a potential automotive application. Results suggest TGEN output of 300W and equivalent fuel saving over the NEDC drive cycle of 2.5%
The PowerDriver project is a collaborative research initiative involving Jaguar Land Rover Ltd and Rolls-Royce PLC together with supply chain and research and development partners and universities. Jaguar Land Rover Ltd is interested in technology capable of being applied to gasoline engine passenger cars while Rolls-Royce PLC is interested in marine applications related to diesel engines.
New more powerful Golf R is up to 18% more fuel efficient
August 20, 2013
|New Volkswagen Golf R. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has introduced the new Golf R, the flagship of the model series. Powered by a newly designed 296-horsepower (221 kW) TSI engine which is 30 hp stronger than the engine in the previous model, the new Golf R is up to 18% more fuel efficient than its predecessor when equipped with the optional DSG transmission.
With a manual transmission, the Golf R accelerates to 62 mph in 5.3 seconds, an improvement of 0.4 sec over the previous Golf R. With the DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission, the time is 4.9 seconds. The Golf R’s top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h). Fuel consumption of the Golf R was reduced from 8.5 l/100 km (28 mpgUS) in the previous model to 7.1 l/100 km (33 mpgUS).
Viable exhaust-driven on-board ethanol reforming for improvements in fuel economy and emissions
|Schematic diagram of the successful “shoebox” reformer design and a picture of the core, after insertion of the catalyst. Credit: ACS, Sall et al. Click to enlarge.|
A team at Monsanto and colleagues at AVL Powertrain have successfully designed and demonstrated an onboard low-temperature ethanol reformer that can be driven by exhaust heat. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
The low-temperature ethanol-reforming pathway, catalyzed by copper-nickel powder catalysts, transforms ethanol into a mixture of H2, CO, and CH4 at temperatures between 300 and 350 °C. Blending 25-50% of this low-temperature ethanol reformate with ethanol or E85 fuels enables dilute engine operation, resulting in substantial improvements in fuel economy and emissions.
Volvo Car to introduce first three Drive-E engines this fall
August 16, 2013
The first three engines from the Volvo Car Group’s new two-liter, four-cylinder Drive-E powertrain family will launch this fall. The diesel version features i-Art (intelligent-Accuracy Refinement Technology) injection technology (earlier post), and the most powerful gasoline version comes with a combination of a supercharger and a turbocharger.
The whole Drive-E engine range, which, during the development phase, was called Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) (earlier post), basically consists of two four-cylinder engine architectures, one common rail diesel and one direct-injected gasoline. They replace eight engine architectures on three platforms. Drive-E diesels will range from 120 to 230 hp (89 to 172 kW). Gasoline versions will start at 140 hp (104 kW) and go all the way up to 300-plus hp (224-plus kW).
Ford relabels 2013 C-MAX Hybrid to 43 mpg, upgrades 2014 C-MAX Hybrid to boost fuel economy; pitfalls of the EPA “general label” rule
August 15, 2013
|After re-labeling the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid with lower fuel economy, Ford is upgrading the 2014 C-MAX to increase fuel economy. 2014 mpg is not yet announced. Click to enlarge.|
Ford has opted voluntarily to relabel the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid with revised fuel economy labels following EPA testing of the 2013 C-Max Hybrid. EPA had received consumer complaints that the vehicle did not achieve its label values of 47 mpgUS for city, highway, and combined driving (5.0 l/100km).
The new fuel economy estimates, as determined by the EPA, for the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid are 45 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined (5.23, 5.88 and 5.47 l/100km, respectively).
New Opel Insignia to debut with three new engine options; diesel as low as 99 gCO2/km
|The new 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine with 88 kW/120 hp or 103 kW/140 hp enables CO2 emissions as low as 99 g/km. Click to enlarge.|
The new Opel Insignia, which makes its public debut at the 65th Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) next month, will offer two new turbo gasoline direct injection units and a new turbo diesel enabling 99 g/km CO2 in its powertrain lineup.
In four and five-door models with a six-speed manual gearbox and Start/Stop, both output variants of the diesel (88 kW/120 hp and 103 kW/140 hp) consume just 3.7 liters of fuel per 100 km (63.6 mpgUS) over the combined cycle (according to Regulation [EC] No 715/2007), while the Sports Tourer achieves 3.9 l/100 km (60.3 mpgUS). As a result, the Opel Insignia 2.0 CDTI is the most fuel efficient diesel car in its class which earns it the German A+ energy efficiency label.
Mercedes-Benz previews new GLA compact SUV; fuel economy as high as 54.7 mpg in diesel version
|2015 GLA-Class. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz previewed the new 2015 GLA-Class compact SUV prior to its global debut at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt next month. The GLA, which will go on sale in 2014, is Mercedes-Benz’ first entry into the fast-growing compact SUV segment. It is also the first Mercedes-Benz SUV to be optionally available with the new-generation permanent all-wheel drive system 4MATIC, with fully variable torque distribution. (Earlier post.) ECO stop/start is standard.
Initially the power range of the 1.6 and 2.0-liter gasoline engines will extend from 115 kW (156 hp) in the GLA 200 to 155 kW (211 hp) in the GLA 250. The GLA will also offer two 2.2-liter diesel variants. The GLA 200 CDI develops 100 kW (136 hp) and maximum torque of 300 N·m (221 lb-ft), with fuel consumption of 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 mpgUS) and 114 g CO2 per kilometer (provisional figure). The GLA 220 CDI develops 125 kW (170 hp) and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft).
Ford introduces more fuel-efficient Focus 1.0L EcoBoost; 99 gCO2/km
August 12, 2013
|Ford Focus 1.0-liter EcoBoost 100 PS version delivers 4.3 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. The 125 PS model returns 5.0l/100 km with CO2 emissions of 114 g/km. Click to enlarge.|
The Focus 1.0-liter EcoBoost will achieve fuel efficiency of 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 mpgUS). Equipped with a specially calibrated 100 PS (99 hp, 74 kW) version of the 1.0L gasoline direct injection engine, the new Focus 1.0-liter EcoBoost also will feature Ford ECOnetic Technology including Auto-Start-Stop, Smart Regenerative Charging, Active Grille Shutter and Ford EcoMode that supports a more economical and environmentally friendly driving style. The car goes on sale in Europe early next year.
Bosch eClutch enables stop-and-go driving with manual transmission without driver engaging clutch
|This electronically controlled eClutch closes the gap between automatic and manual transmissions. In addition, the eClutch makes the coasting function possible, which saves fuel. Click to enlarge.|
Bosch’s electronically controlled eClutch allows drivers of cars with a manual transmission to use first gear in stop-and-go traffic without engaging the clutch. If the powertrain is electrified, the electronically controlled clutch means that a combination of hybrid powertrain and manual transmission is now possible.
Up to now, it has only been possible to combine a hybrid powertrain with an automatic transmission, since it is not possible to coordinate a combustion engine and an electrical powertrain using a merely manual transmission. In this respect, the eClutch offers two advantages, Bosch says: (1) a manual transmission is possible in hybrid vehicles, and (2) the price of entry-level hybrids can be reduced, since a fully automatic transmission is no longer necessary.
Honda unveils new Civic Tourer with 1.6L i-DTEC diesel
|New Civic Tourer. Click to enlarge.|
Honda unveiled the new UK-built Civic Tourer wagon ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month. The Civic Tourer will be available with the choice of two engines: the new 1.6 i-DTEC diesel engine from the Earth Dreams Technology series (earlier post) and the 1.8 i-VTEC gasoline engine with manual or automatic transmission. Applied in the Honda Civic (available since January 2013), the i-DTEC engine delivers combined cycle fuel economy of 65.3 mpgUS (3.6 l/100 km).
The new Civic Tourer will be launched in Europe in early 2014. It will be built at Honda’s UK manufacturing facility in Swindon alongside the hatchback variant and the CR-V and Jazz.
Opel launching new all-aluminum 1.0L 3-cylinder turbo for Adam; fuel economy and refinement
August 07, 2013
|The new 1.0L turbo. Click to enlarge.|
Opel will introduce the first in an all-new modular family of small-displacement three- and four-cylinder gasoline direct injection engines at the upcoming Frankfurt International Motor Show next month. The new three-cylinder 85 kW/115 hp, 1.0-liter turbo will be launched in the Opel Adam, coupled with an all-new six-speed gearbox.
The engine produces low-end torque of 166 N·m (122 lb-ft) all the way from 1,800 to 4,700 rpm. The 12-valve 1.0 SIDI Turbo (Spark Ignition Direct Injection) generates more torque throughout its operating range than equally powerful, higher displacement engines, while fuel efficiency is improved by 20% compared to Opel’s current 1.6-liter naturally aspirated power unit.
BMW Group presents prototype of i8 plug-in hybrid; first use of new 3-cylinder engine
|Prototype BMW i8 at the track. Click to enlarge.|
BMW i presented a prototype of its second production vehicle, the i8 (earlier post), at a driving event at the BMW Group’s Miramas test track in France. Following the world debut of the first production model, the battery-electric urban-focused BMW i3 (earlier post), the BMW Group’s next step will be to address the sports car segment with the plug-in hybrid BMW i8. The BMW i8 will make its world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month and arrive in BMW showrooms in 2014.
Calculated using the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, the average fuel efficiency of the BMW i8 at model launch will be less than 2.5 liters/100 km, which equates to approximately 95 miles per US gallon, with CO2 emissions of less than 59 grams per kilometer.
Audi unveils first “ultra” production model: fuel efficient A3 1.6 TDI ultra with 73.5 mpg US
August 05, 2013
|Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra. Click to enlarge.|
Audi unveiled its most fuel-efficient production model, the A3 1.6 TDI ultra. With 81 kW (110 hp) of power output, the Audi A3 1.6 TDI ultra consumes 3.2 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (73.50 US mpg). This equates to 85 grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer (137 g/mile).
This latest A3 is not only the most efficient Audi, it is also the brand’s first model designated as “ultra”. The ultra designation expresses Audi’s commitment to systematic sustainability concerning production and products. Along with Audi’s e-tron plug-in hybrid models and g-tron models powered by natural gas, ultra vehicles will constitute a third category in the brand’s portfolio of cars offering sustainable, everyday mobility.
Lifecycle analysis of energy use and pollution from gasoline, CNG and electric vehicles in 6 southwestern states highlights variability of benefits
July 29, 2013
|Comparison of greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles in 2020, EVs by state power mix. Percentages are relative to gasoline baseline. Click to enlarge.|
A report for policymakers issued by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) has found that in Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, electric vehicles offer the cleanest ride, while in New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming that’s not necessarily the case. SWEEP promotes greater energy efficiency in a six-state region that includes Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
The report, “Transportation Fuels for the Southwest”, compared the well-to-wheels energy use and air pollution emitted by vehicles fueled by gasoline, compressed natural gas and electricity in order to determine which fuel is cleanest in each of the six southwestern states.
UPS sets 2017 goal of 1 billion alternative fuel miles
July 27, 2013
UPS released its annual Sustainability Report announcing that while the total number of packages shipped in 2012 increased, the company reduced its total Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Environmental achievements included ground and air fuel savings, increased investments in alternative fuel vehicles, and retooled routes that shaved 12.1 million miles from ground deliveries.
UPS also set a new alternative fuel goal of one billion cumulative miles (from a baseline of the year 2000) driven by alternative fuel/advanced technology vehicles by 2017, said David Abney, UPS Chief Operating Officer—more than double the previous goal of 400 million miles. Through the end of 2012, UPS has logged 295 million cumulative alternative fuel miles.
ZF opens passenger car transmission plant in the US; emphasis on 9-speed automatics
July 26, 2013
|Manufacturing 8-speed automatics at Gray Court. Click to enlarge.|
ZF Friedrichshafen AG has officially opened its new plant for automatic passenger car transmissions in the US. Located in South Carolina, ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC will produce about 1.2 million transmissions at this plant annually; this includes 400,000 8-speed and 800,000 9-speed automatic transmissions (earlier post). The new plant expands the existing capacities at the Saarbrücken location to produce 8-speed automatic transmissions.
So far, ZF has invested around €300 million (US$399 million) in building the new location, which is around 130 kilometers (81 miles) north-west of Columbia. A total of approx. €450 million (US$598 million) is planned for investment into the new location—the largest single investment in the almost century-long history of ZF, emphasized Dr. Konstantin Sauer, ZF Board Member responsible for finance and the North American region.
Mercedes-Benz introduces 9G-TRONIC 9-speed on E350 BlueTEC
July 24, 2013
|9G-TRONIC. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz’ new E350 BlueTEC features as standard the new 9G-TRONIC, the first rear-wheel drive nine-speed automatic transmission with torque converter. The 9G-TRONIC is suitable for rear-wheel and all-wheel drives as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid drive systems and will be used in almost all model series and engines in the coming years.
The E350 with 9G-TRONIC is equipped with a 185 kW (252 hp) V6 diesel engine and delivers NEDC fuel consumption of 5.3 liters of diesel per 100 km (44.4 mpg US). The reduced fuel consumption of the E 350 BlueTEC with 9G-TRONIC compared to prior models has primarily been achieved as a result of the high level of efficiency of the transmission. As part of this, the broad ratio spread of 9.15 for gears one to nine enables a perceptible reduction in engine speed and is a decisive factor behind the high level of energy efficiency and ride comfort.
IEA report finds “avoid, shift and improve” policies for urban transport could deliver up to $70T in savings through 2050
July 18, 2013
|Expected urban private motorized travel (in passenger kilometers). Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.|
Policies that improve the energy efficiency of urban transport systems could help save as much as US$70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel and transportation infrastructure between now and 2050, according to a recently released report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Among the three broad categories of policies recommended in the report and policy guide, “A Tale of Renewed Cities”, are those that allow travel to be avoided; those that shift travel to more efficient modes; and those that improve the efficiency of vehicle and fuel technologies. The report notes that if fully implemented across the transportation sector, this “avoid, shift and improve” approach could deliver the up to US$70 trillion in savings.
Renault-Nissan jointly developing new vehicle program for growth markets; CMF-A for affordability
July 17, 2013
CEO and Chairman Carlos Ghosn confirmed that the Renault-Nissan Alliance is developing all-new vehicles to meet the specific demands of new car buyers in the world’s fastest growing economies.
The announcement marks the first all-new program developed from the ground up by Renault SAS and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., teams working side by side from inception. The program, internally named CMF-A, covers the most affordable category of cars in the Common Module Family (CMF, earlier post), Renault-Nissan’s modular system of vehicle architecture. Development work on CMF-A began last year at the Renault Nissan Technology Business Centre, a Chennai, India-based engineering facility.
Ford tweaking calibrations to boost on-road fuel economy for MY2013 hybrids
July 16, 2013
Ford is boosting the on-road fuel economy performance of its 2013 model year hybrid vehicles in the US and Canada. Starting in August, the company will make calibration updates for owners at dealerships designed to improve on-road fuel economy of the 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. New 2014 models will have the updated settings from the factory.
Ford had attracted criticism (and lawsuits, see below) around the end of 2012 for the large discrepancy between real-world fuel economy results for the C-MAX hybrid and its EPA fuel economy ratings—47 mpg (5.0 l/100km) city, highway and combined—earlier highlighted in detail by Consumer Reports. (Earlier post.)
New diesel Volkswagen Golf GTD heading for the US; first driving impressions
|New Golf GTD. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has introduced a new version of the Golf GTD (“Gran Turismo Diesel”) in Europe, and plans to bring it to the US market, reportedly likely for the 2016 model year. The latest GTD is based on the seventh-generation Golf (earlier post), and thus, on the strategic MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform. (Earlier post.) It thus becomes the first GTD built off of the MQB components set.
With a new 2.0L diesel delivering 184 horsepower (137 kW), 280 lb-ft (380 N·m) of torque, CO2 emissions of 109 g/km, and a NEDC combined fuel economy figure of 56 mpg US (4.2 l/100 km) when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission), the new A7 GTD is improved all around, with 14 more horsepower; an additional 22 pound-feet of torque; a 25 g/km improvement in CO2 emissions, and 10 mpg better fuel economy than its predecessor.
Volkswagen of America bringing in downsized 1.8L EA888 engine to displace 2.5L; all vehicles E15 capable
July 14, 2013
|Technologies in the EA888 engine line. Click to enlarge.|
Among the important product changes for Volkswagen of America for the 2014 model year is the introduction of the EA888 1.8-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine, which will gradually replace the 2.5-liter five-cylinder naturally aspirated powerplant fitted to the Jetta, Beetle, and Passat models. As an additional change across the entire lineup, all Volkswagen models are E15 capable, across all powertrains, for 2014.
The EA888 is one of the Volkswagen Group’s three major engine lines: EA 211 (gasoline engines 1.0l to 1.6l); EA 888 (Gen3 gasoline engines 1.8l to 2.0l); and EA 288 (MDB diesel engines). The new 1.8L engine produces 170 hp (127 kW) and 184 lb-ft (249 N·m) of torque: this is the same power as the 2.5L engine, but the torque is improved by 7 lb-ft, delivered much lower in the rev range.
Bosch and PSA present first two OpEneR prototypes for increased range of electric drive vehicles
July 13, 2013
|OpEneR prototype at RIVE2013 in Alès. Click to enlarge.|
Bosch, PSA Peugeot Citroën and partners recently presented the first two Optimal Energy Consumption and Recovery solution (OpEneR) prototypes. OpEneR is a European research project under the Seventh Framework Programme designed to increase the range of future hybrid and electric vehicles by optimizing energy management.
Launched in 2011, OpEneR is developing new driving strategies and driver assistance systems that significantly increase the efficiency, driving range, and safety of electric vehicles without increasing battery size—and thus also by limiting battery price and charging time. This is achieved by merging data from on-board and off-board sources. A particular focus lies on an optimal cooperation between the electric drivetrain and the regenerative braking system, supported by data from radar, video, satellite navigation, car-to-infrastructure and car-to-car systems.
GM to double models with 40 mpg highway or better by 2017; ongoing manufacturing efficiency improvements
July 12, 2013
Describing its product goals and tracking progress toward its 2020 manufacturing priorities in its 2012 Sustainability Report, General Motors reaffirmed its commitment to further reduce the energy used and the environmental impacts of building and operating an automobile.
GM has made three product commitments for 2017 related to its sustainability strategy: to have 500,000 vehicles on the road in the US with some form of electrification (earlier post); to double the number of US models that can achieve an EPA-estimated 40 mpg US (5.9 l/100 km) highway or better; and to reduce the average CO2 tailpipe emissions of its US fleet by 15%. Opel also estimates it will reduce the average carbon tailpipe emissions from its fleet by 27% by 2020.
Ricardo joins OSMC in commitment to Modelica-based CAE; IGNITE for vehicle performance and fuel economy
July 08, 2013
|Different views of Modelica: Libraries of model components, models in textual or schematic view, model animation, and plots of model signals. Source: Modelica Association. Click to enlarge.|
Ricardo Software has joined the Open Source Modelica Consortium (OSMC), demonstrating the company’s commitment to Modelica-based CAE and paving the way for launch of the forthcoming IGNITE software product. Modelica is a non-proprietary, object-oriented, equation-based language for the modeling of complex cyber-physical systems—i.e., containing mechanical, electrical, electronic, hydraulic, thermal, control, electric power or process-oriented subcomponents.
Ricardo’s forthcoming IGNITE product is a physics-based system simulation package—operating in Modelica—that focuses on complete vehicle performance and fuel economy. With a planned launch later this summer, IGNITE will allow engineers quickly to identify important variables and constraints and find optimal vehicle designs.
Georgia Tech life-cycle study finds TCO of medium-duty electric and diesel delivery trucks similar; electric life-cycle energy use and GHG lower than diesel
July 06, 2013
|Life-cycle energy use and GHG emissions normalized with NYCC diesel case (8.06 MJ/t·km and 0.63 kgCO2e/t·km) at 100%. Numbers in red are net total including recycling effect. Credit: ACS, Lee et al. Click to enlarge.|
Comparing life-cycle energy consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and total cost of ownership (TCO) of medium-duty electric and diesel urban delivery trucks for a range of drive cycles and electricity generation scenarios, a team from Georgia Tech found that all in all, the life-cycle energy use and GHG emissions of the electric truck are lower than that of the diesel truck, particularly for the frequent stop and low average speed (NYCC- and OCTA-type) drive cycles.
They also found that the total costs of ownership (TCO) of the electric and diesel trucks are similar. Over an array of possible conditions, the median TCO of electric trucks is 22% less than that of diesel trucks on the NYCC. However, the cost-competitiveness of the electric truck diminishes in drive cycles with higher average speed. Battery replacement along with EVSE will also greatly affect the relative TCO of the electric truck. The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Navigant forecasts US military spending on non-tactical alt drive vehicles to more than double to $926M by 2020 from 2013; 11.4% CAGR
July 05, 2013
|Non-tactical vehicle spending by alternative drive type, US Department of Defense: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant Research. Click to enlarge.|
In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that US military spending on alternative drive vehicles (ADVs—including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), and ethanol-powered vehicles—for the non-tactical fleet will increase from more than $435 million in 2013 to $926 million by 2020, a CAGR of 11.4%. A majority of the growth will be made through spending on HEVs and PEVs, Navigant projects.
Navigant forecasts that annual fuel consumption in the non-tactical fleet will decrease by a 2.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) almost from more than 81 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) in 2013 to just fewer than 70 million GGEs in 2020 due in part to increased use of alternative fuel vehicles.
LowCVP study identifies cost-effective options for cutting bus emissions
July 03, 2013
|Meeting long-term CO2 targets for buses will require the development of advanced technologies, in parallel with improvements to engines. Source: Ricardo. Click to enlarge.|
A wide range of technologies can cut carbon emissions from buses and provide a short-term payback at current fuel prices and subsidy levels, according to a new report prepared for the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) by Ricardo. Overall, the study indicates that significant improvements in bus CO2 can be achieved in the medium to long term through development, incentivization (or regulation) and implementation of new vehicle technologies and fuels.
The aim of the LowCVP study was to identify a range of low carbon fuels and technologies which can cost-effectively reduce well-to-wheel (WTW) CO2 emissions for urban buses in the UK. The report developed technology roadmaps to illustrate when these technologies are likely to be ready for deployment into the bus market, focusing on the timescales 2012-2020 and 2020-2050. The study also examined the wider role of the selected fuels and technologies for decarbonizing heavy goods vehicles.
Advanced Biofuels USA introduces “E30 Capable” high-octane fuels concept in EPA Tier 3 comments
July 02, 2013
Biofuel advocacy group Advanced Biofuels introduced the concept of “E30 Capable” vehicles as part of its comments to the the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recently proposed Tier 3 motor vehicle fuel and emission rulemaking. (Earlier post.)
As part of the Tier 3 requirements, EPA proposes allowing vehicle manufacturers to request approval for an alternative certification fuel—such as a high-octane 30% ethanol by volume (E30) blend—for vehicles they might design or optimize for use on such a fuel. (Earlier post.) Advanced Biofuels suggests that “E30 Capable” vehicles can serve a practical key to transitioning to higher percentage blends of affordable renewable transportation fuels. Elements of the proposal include:
Mazda introduces 3rd-generation Mazda3
June 27, 2013
|2014 Mazda3. Click to enlarge.|
Mazda unveiled the redesigned 2014 Mazda3 (known as the Axela in Japan) in a series of launch events world-wide. The new Mazda3 is the third new-generation model to embody Mazda’s new KODO Design and SKYACTIV Technology, after the CX-5 and new Mazda6. With more than 3.5 million units sold since its original debut, the Mazda3 is now sold in more than 120 countries and accounts for 30% of the company’s annual global sales.
For the North American market, the 2014 Mazda3 will be offered with two engine choices: the currently-offered SKYACTIV-G 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a new SKYACTIV-G 2.5-liter gasoline engine, as fitted to the CX-5 and 2014 Mazda6. Globally, the Mazda3 offers the widest SKYACTIV powertrain line-up in order to meet local market demands, and will be available with SKYACTIV-G 1.5- to 2.5-liter-sized gasoline engines; a SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter diesel engine; and as a hybrid electric vehicle (Japan only).
DENSO develops new 2500-bar diesel common rail system; reductions in fuel consumption and emissions
|Components of the new 2500-bar DCR system. Click to enlarge.|
Global automotive supplier DENSO Corporation has developed a new 2500-bar diesel common rail (DCR) fuel injection system; DENSO says this is the currently the world’s highest injection pressure for a diesel common rail fuel injection systems comprising injector, fuel pump and common rail.
Based on DENSO’s research, the new system can help increase fuel efficiency by up to 3% while also reducing particulate matter (PM) by up to 50% and NOx by up to 8%. This is compared to DENSO’s previous generation system. The new DCR system will launch later this year on passenger, commercial, agricultural and construction vehicles worldwide.
Volkswagen’s 3rd-gen Golf TDI BlueMotion rated at 73.5 mpg US; 15% better than predecessor
June 26, 2013
|New Golf TDI BlueMotion. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen’s third-generation Golf TDI BlueMotion, introduced as a concept at the Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris last September(earlier post), is rated with fuel consumption of 3.2 l/100 km (73.5 mpg US) on the NEDC—equivalent to 85 g/km CO2. This represents a 15% improvement in fuel consumption compared to the previous model.
Volkswagen launched the first generation of the Golf BlueMotion in 2007.At that time, the Volkswagen set a new benchmark for sustainability with a fuel consumption value of 4.5 l/100 km (52.3 mpg US), or 119 g/km CO2. The second generation of the Golf BlueMotion—with fuel consumption of 3.8 l/100 km (61.9 mpg US), or 99 g/km CO2—made its debut in autumn 2009.
New ArcelorMittal lightweight car door solutions; up to 34% weight savings over existing steel doors in medium-term
June 25, 2013
|ArcelorMittal lightweight door. Click to enlarge.|
ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company, unveiled its new ultra-lightweight car door solutions. Using steels and technology currently available, ArcelorMittal’s global R&D automotive team has demonstrated that a 27% weight and cost saving can be achieved without compromising safety and structural requirements.
By looking ahead to new advanced high strength steels and technology that will come to market over the next few years, the team has identified additional solutions that will deliver even greater weight savings of up to 34% compared to existing steel car door solutions.
Obama climate plan calls for new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles post-2018; cleaner fuels and investment in advanced fossil energy
Among the transportation-related elements of US President Barack Obama’s new climate action plan, which he is outlining today in a speech at Georgetown University, is the development of new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles post-2018. In 2011, the Obama Administration finalized the first fuel economy standards for Model Year 2014-2018 for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vans. (Earlier post.)
The plan as outlined also calls for further work on advanced biofuels, advanced batteries and fuel cell technologies in every transportation mode. In coming months, the plan notes, the Department of Transportation will work with other agencies to further explore strategies for integrating alternative fuel vessels into the US flag fleet.
DOE awards Envera $2.8M to develop and to test efficient variable compression ratio engine
June 22, 2013
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of the US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Envera LLC a $2.8-million contract (DE-EE0005981) to develop and to test a high-efficiency variable compression ratio (VCR) engine with variable valve actuation (VVA) and an advanced high-efficiency supercharger to improve fuel efficiency. (Earlier post.)
The new engine will achieve high efficiency using the Atkinson Cycle with an 18:1 compression ratio, combined with aggressive engine downsizing. To attain high power levels, new high-efficiency supercharging technology will be used to boost the engine and provide V8-like performance from only four cylinders. Envera estimates that the new engine could deliver up to a 40% improvement in fuel economy over a conventional port-fuel injection engine at a relatively low cost while also delivering performance, torque and flex-fuel capability.
Renault presents new hybrid power unit for F1 in 2014
June 21, 2013
|Renault’s hybrid power unit for F1 in 2014 includes a turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6L engine plus two motor generator units for energy recovery and use: the MGU-H (heat) and MGU-K (kinetic). Click to enlarge.|
At the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, Renault presented its new power unit designed to the new technical regulations to be used in the FIA Formula One world champion ship from 2014 onwards: the Energy F1-2014. The regulations call for a 1.6L direct injection Turbo V6 plus a single turbocharger; an electric motor for boost is allowed
There is a strong focus on improved vehicle fuel efficiency / reduced fuel consumption, with the fuel quantity for the race limited to 100 kg—about a 35% reduction from the current V8 F1 engines. Fuel mass flow rate is limited to 100 kg/hr max (it is currently unlimited), and Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) are allowed.
Study finds moderate biofuel blends increase benefits of RCCI in light-duty engines
June 19, 2013
Preliminary results from a new study by a team from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Wisconsin suggest that the fuel properties of moderate biofuel blends such as E20 and B20 increase the benefits of the use of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI). RCCI is a Low Temperature Combustion (LTC) strategy that uses in-cylinder blending of two different fuels to produce low NOxand PM while maintaining high thermal efficiency. (Earlier post.)
Previous studies on RCCI have used single-cylinder heavy-duty engines; in this study, Reed Hanson, Scott Curran and Robert Wagner (ORNL) and Rolf Reitz (U. of Wisconsin) investigated RCCI in a light-duty multi-cylinder engine over a wide number of operating points. Fuels in earlier studies were generally petroleum-based fuels such as diesel and gasoline, with some work done with high percentages of biofuels, such as E85.
CPT SpeedStart technology validated for 1.2M stop-starts
June 18, 2013
|Speedstart liquid-cooled switched-reluctance motor-generator. Click to enlarge.|
UK-based Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) has completed more than two years of continuous testing to validate its SpeedStart belt-integrated starter-generator for 1.2 million stop-starts—considered the standard that will be required for a new generation of micro-mild hybrid vehicles. Developed from the outset for 12, 24 and 48 volt applications, CPT’s SpeedStart system is the first liquid-cooled switched-reluctance motor-generator developed for automotive stop-start. (Earlier post.)
Conventional starter motors typically look at 30,000 stop-starts, while current generation stop-start systems target up to 300,000 events. CPT said that no issues surfaced with the technology in any of the recorded test data throughout this extended period of stop-start testing, which was followed by a teardown and forensic examination of CPT’s compact motor-generator system.
BMW launches new 4 Series with 1 diesel, two gasoline engines; Air Curtains and Air Breather
June 15, 2013
|BMW 4 Series Coupe. Click to enlarge.|
BMW is unveiling the all-new BMW 4 Series Coupe, previewed as a concept last December. (Earlier post.) Launched as the latest generation of BMW’s sporty mid-size Coupe, the two-door model will be available from launch powered by a six-cylinder in-line gasoline engine in the BMW 435i Coupe, a four-cylinder gasoline unit for the BMW 428i Coupe and the four-cylinder diesel for the BMW 420d Coupe. (The US market will see only the 428i and 435i models.)
All the engines use the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and deliver output ranging from 135 kW/184 hp to 225 kW/306 hp. In addition to the engines with optimized fuel economy, the car’s lightweight construction concept (although the new BMW 4 Series Coupe has grown in terms of dimensions, it is between 20 and 45 kilograms lighter than its predecessor) and aerodynamics—headlined by the Air Curtains and Air Breathers—also help to increase efficiency.
Nissan introduces new 1.5L diesel in Juke in Europe; 56 mpg US
June 11, 2013
|Nissan Juke n-tec. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan is introducing a new 1.5-liter dCi diesel engine in the Juke in Europe. The new 1.5L engine brings CO2 emissions down to 109 g/km from 124 g/km, with fuel consumption on the combined cycle of 4.2 l/100 km (56 mpg US)—an 11% reduction in consumption from the 4.72 l/100 km (49.8 mpg US) of the outgoing 1.5L unit.
The 108 hp (81 kW) diesel boosts maximum torque from 240 N·m to 260 N·m (192 lb-ft) at 1,750rpm, with 80% of this figure available from just 1,500 rpm to improve driveability. The new unit is now the most efficient engine in the Juke line-up, Nissan says.
CCST report: an integral role for next-gen biofuels in meeting California GHG targets requires advanced biofuels and demand reduction
Next-generation biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions of transportation to meet California’s target greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal, but deep replacement of fossil fuels through implementation of low-carbon lignocellulosic ethanol and advanced biomass derived hydrocarbons (drop-in biofuels) and reduction in demand is required, according to a new report from the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).
The study, “California Energy Future: the Potential for Biofuels,” co-authored by Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) scientists Heather Youngs and Chris Somerville, is the seventh and final report in its California’s Energy Future (CEF) project. The CEF project seeks ways the State could meet the mandated reductions of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, exploring possible energy strategies for California through in-depth examinations of different technology scenarios.
Audi announces pricing and fuel economy for 2014 Audi A6, A7 and Q5 TDI diesels
June 10, 2013
At the 2012 Los Angeles Motor Show in December, Audi of America announced the significant expansion of its diesel model line-up with the addition of A8, A7, A6, and Q5 TDI diesel models to the Q7 and A3 TDI already on sale in the US. (Earlier post.)
Audi has now announced pricing and fuel economy figures for the 2014 A6, A7 and Q5 TDI models, expected to begin arriving at US dealers in late Summer 2013. The 2014 Audi A8 L was already recently introduced. EPA estimated fuel economy figures for the clean diesel introductions are as follows:
CMU study finds driving conditions have “substantial” impact on benefits of electrified vehicles; policy implications
|NHTS-Averaged Annual GHG Emissions per vehicle type by drive cycle. (Base Case). Source: Karabasoglu and Michalek. Click to enlarge.|
A new analysis by Orkun Karabasoglu and Jeremy Michalek of the Carnegie Mellon Vehicle Electrification Group at Carnegie Mellon University found that driving conditions affect the economic and environmental benefits of electrified vehicles “substantially”.
As a result, they suggested, vehicle window stickers, fuel economy standards, and life cycle studies using average lab-test vehicle efficiency estimates are incomplete. Driver heterogeneity matters, they found, and efforts to encourage adoption of hybrid and plug-in vehicles will have greater impact if targeted to urban drivers vs. highway drivers. Further, electrified vehicles perform better on some drive cycles than others, so non-representative tests can bias consumer perception and regulation of alternative technologies. Their study is published in the journal Energy Policy.
New 2014 Toyota Corolla brings Valvematic, new CVT to North America; up to >40 mpg highway
June 07, 2013
|2014 Toyota Corolla LE Eco. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota unveiled the 2014 Toyota Corolla—the 11th generation of the car. With nearly 40 million units sold, the Toyota Corolla is the world’s best-selling car nameplate; this year marks its 47th year on the market.
The 2014 Corolla is available in four distinct grades: L, LE, S, and the new LE Eco grade. The LE Eco grade is differentiated by a more efficient 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine with Valvematic technology; improved aerodynamics; and low rolling resistance tires. The Corolla Eco-badged models will achieve an estimated highway fuel economy rating of more than 40 mpg (5.88 l/100km) due to to the new Valvematic engine combined with a newly developed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
VW wins “Best New Engine Award” for 1.4L TSI engine with active cylinder management (ACT)
June 05, 2013
|1.4 TSI with ACT. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen’s 1.4 TSI with automatic cylinder deactivation (ACT) (earlier post) received the “Best New Engine Award” at the 2013 International Engine of the Year Awards 2013 at Engine Expo in Stuttgart, Germany. This award recognizes the best engine development of the past 12 months.
The 1.4-liter TSI gasoline engine from Volkswagen also won the “Engine of the Year Award” for seventh consecutive time in the 1.0 to 1.4 liter displacement category. This makes the 1.4-litre TSI the most successful engine in the 15-year history of this international engine technology competition.
SEC issues cease-and-desist order against split-cycle engine developer Scuderi Group for violations of Securities Act
June 01, 2013
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a cease-and desist order against split-cycle engine developer Scuderi Group (earlier post) and its president, Salvatore Scuderi, as well as a $100,000-fine against Salvatore Scuderi for violations of the Securities Act including unregistered stock offerings and “misleading disclosures regarding the use of offerings proceeds.”
The Scuderi Engine is a split-cycle design that divides the four strokes of a conventional combustion cycle over two paired cylinders. Intake air is compressed in the compression cylinder and transferred to the power cylinder for combustion. The engine has two crossover passages that connect the two cylinders, which separate the four strokes of the pistons. The combination of discrete, asymmetrically sized cylinders and fully variable valvetrain promises the ability to vary displacement ratios, bore-stroke ratios, compression-expansion ratios, compression-expansion phasing, and gas transfer phasing for engine optimization—i.e., a more efficient internal combustion engine.
2014 Chevrolet Malibu equipped with new 2.5L iVLC base engine with start-stop
May 31, 2013
|2014 Malibu. Click to enlarge.|
Chevrolet unveiled the 2014 Malibu, featuring updated styling (and more rear seat room) and a new 2.5L base engine with variable valve lift control (Intake Valve Lift Control, iVLC earlier post) and start/stop technology as standard. Estimated fuel economy with the base engine is 23 mpg US city / 35 mpg highway (10.2 and 6.7 l/100km, respectively)—5% and 3% improvement, respectively. The new 2014 Malibu goes on sale this fall.
Chevrolet will continue to offer the Malibu ECO with eAssist (earlier post), as well as the 2.0L turbo; the latter, which features a 14% boost in torque (295 lb-ft/400 N·m), does not come with start-stop technology.
3rd generation BMW X5 to offer 5 diesel variants by end of year; more power, less fuel consumption
May 30, 2013
|BMW X5 xDrive30d. Click to enlarge.|
BMW’s newly introduced third-generation BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle will launch with two diesel engine model options, to be joined by three more in December. BMW has sold more than 1.3 million units of the X5 since the launch of the first generation model in 1999.
At launch, the diesel line-up will include the BMW X5 xDrive30d with revised six-cylinder in-line diesel unit (190 kW/258 hp) and the BMW X5 M50d M Performance Automobile with tri-turbo six-cylinder in-line diesel (280 kW/381 hp). (The xDrive30d will be badged as the X5 xDrive35d in the US, with a slightly different power rating but the same base engine.) By December 2013, these will be joined by the BMW X5 xDrive40d; the BMW X5 xDrive25d; and the BMW X5 sDrive25d.
ICCT study finds increasing gap between rated and actual passenger car fuel consumption in Europe
May 29, 2013
|The divergence of real-world CO2 emissions vs. manufacturers’ type-approval (100%) in Europe from various on-road data sources. Source: ICCT. Click to enlarge.|
A new white paper published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) comparing official and “real-world” fuel consumption and CO2 emission values for passenger cars in Europe and the United States shows that the average discrepancy between the values in Europe increased from less than 10% in 2001 to 25% in 2011.
The European analysis is based on the aggregation of several large sets of on-road driving data from various European countries. The analysis of US data is separate from that of the EU data—and draws different initial conclusions—for a number of reasons, including that both the test cycle and test procedure to determine vehicle CO2 emissions data are different from the way type-approval data are collected in the EU.
2.5L engine for 2014 Chevy Impala features new Intake Valve Lift Control (IVLC)
May 24, 2013
|IVLC uses an all-new rocker arm that switches between low- and high-lift intake cam profiles. The mechanism is actuated by an oil control valve through a dual-feed stationary hydraulic lash adjuster. Click to enlarge.|
The new 2014 Chevrolet Impala offers as one of its three engine options a four-cylinder Ecotec 2.5L engine, featuring the debut of a new advanced variable valvetrain technology—Intake Valve Lift Control (IVLC, earlier post)—and improved fuel economy. The EPA estimated fuel economy for the 2014 Impala with the new 2.5L engine is 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway (11.2 and 7.6 l/100 km, respectively).
The 2.5L engine, which delivers SAE-certified 196 horsepower (146 kW) and 186 lb-ft of torque (252 N·m), achieves variable valve lift using an all-new rocker arm that switches between low and high lift intake cam profiles.
Ricardo-led technology demonstrator delivers 72% improved fuel economy over regular Humvee
May 23, 2013
|Ricardo-TARDEC FED. Click to enlarge.|
Ricardo released an analysis of two years of on-the-ground testing of the Ricardo-engineered Fuel-Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED) showing that, when compared to the US military’s regularly outfitted M1151 HMMWV (“Humvee”), the FED experienced a 72% improvement in fuel economy. (Earlier post.) The FED’s performance was assessed using a number of realistic duty cycles including highway, off-road and idle conditions.
The FED powertrain features include a supercharged Cummins I4 diesel engine; a high efficiency 28V permanent magnet integrated starter-generator from Kollmorgen that enables electric accessories and 20 kW of power for on-board equipment; a 6-speed automatic transmission from Aisin; and an accelerator feedback pedal and fuel economy display to inform drivers how to operate the vehicle to produce the best fuel economy.
Volkswagen to lead EEMBC effort on benchmarks to quantify automotive microcontroller energy efficiency
May 21, 2013
|Prototype of EEMBC’s automotive microcontroller efficiency benchmark includes test equipment from National Instruments connected to the Renesas V850E2/Fx4-L microcontroller. Click to enlarge.|
The Volkswagen Group will chair an expanded Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) working group project to establish an energy-efficiency benchmark for microcontrollers aimed at making automotive end products more energy-aware and more robust.
EEMBC’s first-generation automotive benchmark suite, AutoBench, focuses on CPU processing power, measuring the time required to complete specific algorithms. Its 16 benchmark kernels include generic workload tests; basic automotive algorithms, including controller area network (CAN), tooth-to-spark (locating the engine’s cog when the spark is ignited), angle-to-time conversion, road speed calculation, and table lookup and interpolation; and signal processing algorithms.
Mercedes-Benz launches new S-Class with hybrid, diesel, gasoline models; 59 mpg PHEV model to come
May 16, 2013
|New S 400 HYBRID. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz’s new generation flagship S-Class, introduced at an elaborate event at Airbus in Finkenwerder, marks a number of technology firsts in numerous areas from comfort, to driver control, to efficiency. As one example of the last, the new S-Class is the first car in the world to completely dispense with conventional electric bulbs, making exclusive use of energy-saving LED technology both inside and outside.
On a larger efficiency scale, the new S-Class in its first year will offer two hybrid versions, a gasoline model and a diesel variant: the S 400 HYBRID, S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, S 500, and S 350 BlueTEC. The models offer up to 20% lower fuel consumption than the outgoing model series. These soon will be followed by the S 500 Plug-In HYBRID—the first S-Class with a fuel consumption lower than 4l/100 km (59 mpg US). All the engines already meet the requirements of the Euro-6 emissions standard.