[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.]
Study of eco-driving in hybrids finds need for systems that facilitate energy-efficient behaviors
January 30, 2016
A study of eco-driving behavior in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) by a team from Technische Universität Chemnitz (Germany) and the University of Southampton (UK) has found that simply providing drivers with a technology that has the potential for high energy savings—i.e., a hybrid—is not sufficient to result in high energy savings; systems must be developed in a way that facilitates energy efficient behaviors.
Put another way, they found that eco-driving motivation does not guarantee ecodriving success. Their study showed that even among drivers who were highly motivated for eco-driving, the individual differences in applied ecodriving strategies were still substantial. Building on the results, the team presented a number of suggestions for the design of systems that facilitate ecodriving. A paper on their study is published in the journal Applied Ergonomics.
Federal-Mogul Powertrain cuts engine valve development time using new simulation model
January 28, 2016
Federal-Mogul Powertrain has developed a simplified transient dynamic simulation model of valve closing action in order to predict dynamic loading on engine valves. By improving the accuracy of calculated deformation and stress under load, the technique enables valve fatigue life to be estimated more reliably and helps to ensure optimum material selection from the early stages of a new engine design.
In the design of intake and exhaust valves for combustion engines, especially those with a high degree of forced induction by supercharging or turbocharging, particular attention is paid to the loading conditions during valve closing.
ALABC: 48V mild hybrids can meet emission targets with CO2 reductions of 15-20%
January 27, 2016
Current mild-hybrid vehicle projects, in partnership with Ford and Hyundai/Kia, that utilize advanced 48V lead-carbon batteries, can reduce CO2 emissions by 15-20%, according to the latest data from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), presented at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (25-28 January, Mainz).
The T-Hybrid (based on a Kia Optima) (earlier post) and the ADEPT (based on a Ford Focus) (earlier post) both utilize an advanced 48V lead-carbon battery system with bolt-on electrical components that allow for significant engine-downsizing without loss in performance.
New Porsche Boxsters up to 13% more fuel efficient with new turbocharged four-cylinder flat engines
Porsche has restructured its Boxster mid-engine roadster lineup, introducing the new 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S. The launch of the new 718 Boxster generation represents the first time since the late 1960s that Porsche is implementing sports cars with four-cylinder flat (i.e., horizontally opposed, or “boxer”) engines. The outgoing Boxsters were equipped with 2.7-liter, 6-cylinder boxer engines.
The centerpiece of the new model series is the newly developed four-cylinder flat engine with turbocharging. The 718 Boxster develops 220 kW (300 hp) of power from 2.0 liters of engine displacement, while the 718 Boxster S attains 257 kW (350 hp) from 2.5 liters of displacement.
Hyundai introduces 2017 Elantra with two new powertrains; up to 35 mpg combined with new 1.4L TGDI
January 26, 2016
Hyundai’s all-new 2017 Hyundai Elantra arrives in dealerships this month, featuring two new, more efficient powertrains; lower weight; improved stiffness, and a number of safety and connectivity technologies. Elantra is one of Hyundai’s all-time best-selling models; the 2017 version starts at $17,150—$100 less than the award-winning model it replaces.
The standard engine available on the base SE and Limited trim is a 2.0-liter Nu MPI (multi-port injection) Atkinson four-cylinder engine producing a peak 147 hp (110 kW) at 6,200 rpm and 132 lb-ft (179 N·m of torque at 4,500 rpm.
DeltaWing partners with DHX Electric Machines; ultra high-torque motors for automotive applications
DeltaWing Technology Group—creators of the DeltaWing vehicle design (earlier post)—and DHX Electric Machines—a Georgia Tech spinout and developer and manufacturer of ultra-high torque density electric machines using proprietary and patented direct cooling technology—announced an agreement granting DeltaWing worldwide rights to make, use and sell DHX electric motors and components specifically designed for automotive applications.
DHX traction motor technology is based on proprietary direct-winding heat exchange cooling technology that is able to remove motor heat at the source—the stator windings. The technology is based on the advanced micro-feature heat exchange research and development efforts of Dr. J. Rhett Mayor (DHX CEO) and Dr. S. Andrew Semidey (DHX VP of Engineering) at the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.
Northwestern researchers discover crumpled graphene balls are a promising lubricant additive
Researchers at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering have found that crumpled graphene balls are an extremely promising lubricant additive. In a series of tests, a polyalphaolefin base oil with only 0.01–0.1 wt % of crumpled graphene balls outperformed a fully formulated commercial lubricant in terms of friction and wear reduction. A paper on their work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For the average car, 15% of the fuel consumption is spent overcoming friction in the engine and transmission. While oil helps reduce this friction, researchers have long sought additives that enhance oil’s performance. Ultrafine particles are often used as lubricant additives because they are capable of reducing friction and protecting surfaces from wear. They also tend to be more stable than molecular additives under high thermal and mechanical stresses during rubbing. However, they also can aggregate, reducing the effective concentration.
ExxonMobil projects 25% energy demand increase between 2014-2040, 50% decline in carbon intensity; hybrids to be 40% of new car sales
January 25, 2016
Global energy demand will increase 25% between 2014 and 2040, driven by population growth and economic expansion, ExxonMobil forecasts in the 2016 edition of its annual The Outlook for Energy. At the same time, energy efficiency gains and increased use of renewable energy sources and lower carbon fuels, such as natural gas, are expected to help reduce by half the carbon intensity of the global economy.
During the period, the world’s population will increase by about 2 billion people and emerging economies will continue to expand significantly, according to the forecast. Most growth in energy demand will occur in developing nations that are not part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Per capita income in those countries is likely to increase by 135%.
Bosch says its haptic gas pedal can reduce fuel consumption up to 7%; safety warnings via nav and V2X systems
The automotive industry has been exploring the use of haptic gas pedal technologies as a way to reduce fuel consumption and increase safety by signaling the driver using a mechanism such as a vibration or a counterforce in the accelerator pedal. Continental announced its Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal in 2010, Frost & Sullivan anticipates wide premium-segment deployment of the active gas pedal technology post-2018 (earlier post); and Mercedes-Benz offers the technology in the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID (earlier post).
Bosch now says that its active gas pedal allows drivers to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 7%. This is possible because the gas pedal can be networked with other automotive functions, such as the transmission. Up to now, the only indication drivers have had of the best time to shift gear has been in the form of small arrows on the instrument display. The active gas pedal comes with the option of a palpable indication of the best time to shift gear.
Driving Chevrolet’s 2015 Impala Bi-Fuel sedan
January 19, 2016
Chevrolet offers the 2015 Impala full-size sedan as an all-new bi-fuel model—the only manufacturer-produced full-size sedan in North America that can run on both compressed natural gas (CNG) and gasoline. Available at the end of 2015 to both fleet and retail customers in either LS or LT trims, the bi-fuel Impala features a dedicated version of the standard 3.6L V–6, with specific valves and hardened valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability with the CNG fuel system. The engine, mated to a six-speed automatic, is rated at an estimated 260 hp (195 kW) on gasoline and 230 horsepower (172 kW) on CNG.
EPA figures put combined fuel economy in gasoline mode at 20 mpg combined (17 mpg city/25 mpg highway), and 19 mpg combined (16 mpg city/24 mpg highway) with natural gas. That works out to 437 grams CO2 per mile with gasoline, and 343 g CO2/mile with natural gas.
ORNL team reviews fuel-injection strategies for low-temperature gasoline compression ignition
January 18, 2016
The potential for using low temperature combustion (LTC) in compression ignition engines (i.e., diesel) to reduce NOx and PM while maintaining high efficiency has attracted a great deal of research interest over the past several years. While achieving LTC with diesel fuel over a wide operating range has been shown to be difficult for several reasons, gasoline, with its high volatility and low chemical reactivity, offers a more attractive fuel option for LTC.
Accordingly, in the industry’s quest for lower fuel consumption and emissions, a number of schemes for achieving LTC gasoline compression ignition have emerged. Now, a team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) has published a comprehensive, open-access review of a variety of fuel injection strategies being investigated for LTCGCI. The paper is available for download from the International Journal of Engine Research.
ICCT analysis shows growing divergence between official and real-world fuel economy values for new cars in Europe
January 15, 2016
Researchers at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) have used data from Spiritmonitor.de—a free web service that allows users to track their fuel consumption by entering odometer readings and the amount of fuel added during fill-ups—to calculate the divergence between official fuel consumption values in Europe and real-world performance.
Presented in a working paper, the ICCT findings show that after EU-wide CO2 standards were introduced in 2009, official fuel consumption values decreased by 15% while real-world figures only decreased by 2%.
Fraunhofer characterizes Alphabet Energy thermoelectric PowerCard; up to 5% fuel economy improvement in automotive
January 14, 2016
Alphabet Energy is commercializing low-cost, efficient thermoelectric materials for power generation leveraging technology initially developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (Earlier post.)
The company has now announced characterization from the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM of heat flow and thermal resistance (in air) of the Alphabet Energy PowerCard, the company’s core thermoelectric device for power generation. The PowerCard has shipped to customers in a variety of industries, including automotive; has been tested extensively; and is now entering high-volume production.
Mercedes-Benz introduces new E-Class with PHEV version coming
January 13, 2016
At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz introduced the 10th generation of its E-Class. The new sedans feature the world premiere of a number of technical innovations including additional driver assistance, infotainment and control systems.
The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market launch: the E 200 with a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 220 d with an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine. Further model variants will be added to the range after the market launch, including the E 350 e plug-in hybrid. The E 350 e will deliver some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of all-electric range.
Chrysler introduces Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan; 80 mpge city, 30-mile AER
January 11, 2016
Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2017 Pacifica minivan in both conventional and plug-in hybrid versions at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The PHEV is the minivan segment’s first.
The Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 MPGe based on US Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Lux: micro-hybrids will provide the most economical path for automakers to meet 2025 fuel efficiency targets
January 06, 2016
While battery-electric vehicles, super-light carbon fiber composites, and hydrogen fuel cells will all be available, a new report from Lux Research has concluded that micro-hybrids will provide the most economical route—$1,700 additional average vehicle cost—to meet aggressive fuel efficiency targets in 2025: 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in the US and 95 g CO2/km in Europe.
The Lux report—Building the Car of 2025: How to Cost-Effectively Get to 54.5 MPG Using the Right Mix of Advanced Technologies—concluded that nearly half of the improvements required to meet the targets will come from improvements in micro-hybrid technology, notably through improved batteries, while lighter structural materials will contribute 39% and improved fuels will add 13%.
Dalian team proposes jet controlled compression ignition to control PCCI phasing in a hybrid pneumatic engine
December 30, 2015
Researchers at the Dalian University of Technology have proposed a novel method to control premixed charge compression ignition (PCCI) phasing in internal combustion engines in all load operations. High-pressure air jet controlled compression ignition (JCCI) is based on a compound thermodynamic cycle and is implemented in a hybrid pneumatic engine (HPE) as proposed by Schechter in 1999.
The application of HPE is also beneficial to the fuel consumption and emissions because of its several flexible operation modes. A paper on the use of JCCI is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
Lux: 48V microhybridization could prove to be cost-effective means of achieving 2025 CAFE targets
December 21, 2015
Lux Research has built a bottom-up model for automotive innovation for fuel economy improvements to analyze the cost-effectiveness of all the various pathways for meeting regulatory fuel consumption and emissions targets.
The roadmap to reducing fuel consumption and emissions from the automotive sector has many options—including lightweight materials, increasing electrification, autonomy, and alternative fuels—but picking the right mix of options is tricky.
DOE to issue $56M funding opportunity for vehicle technologies in January
December 20, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will issue, on behalf of the Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a FY 2016 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement, with an estimated $56 million of total program funding, in the January 2016 timeframe.
VTO supports a broad technology portfolio aimed at developing and deploying advanced highway transportation technologies that reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, while meeting or exceeding vehicle performance and cost expectations. Research, development, and deployment efforts are focused on reducing the cost and improving the performance of a mix of near- and long-term vehicle technologies including advanced batteries, power electronics and electric motors, lightweight and propulsion materials, advanced combustion engines, advanced fuels and lubricants, and other enabling technologies. The January 2016 FOA thus may include the following Areas of Interest, covering that spectrum of interests:
Infiniti introducing new advanced 3.0L V6 twin-turbo engines for 2016 Q50; up to 6.7% improvement in fuel efficiency
December 18, 2015
Infiniti has developed a new advanced compact and lightweight 3.0-liter V6 twin-turbo engine which is making its debut in a 400 hp configuration for the new 2016 Infiniti Q50, which will premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January.
Key engine features include a compact, lightweight aluminum-alloy engine block and cylinder heads; Gasoline Direct Injection (DIG) system; optimized turbine blade design; turbine speed sensor; electronic wastegate actuator; water-cooled engine charging; e-motor valve timing control; and an integrated exhaust manifold.
DOE BETO seeking input on Optima initiative for co-optimization of fuels and engines
December 17, 2015
The US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) have released a request for information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0001460) titled “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines” (Optima).
The Optima program is a key collaborative initiative being pursued by EERE, VTO, and BETO. The Optima initiative is focused on the development of new fuels and engine architectures that are co-optimized—i.e., designed in tandem to maximize performance and carbon efficiency. (Earlier post.) The initiative intends to accelerate the widespread deployment of significantly improved fuels and vehicles (passenger to light truck to heavy duty commercial vehicles) by 2030. Specifically, Optima is targeting a reduction in per-vehicle petroleum consumption by 30% versus the 2030 business as usual.
Achates OPGCI project targeting 50% fuel efficiency gains over downsized GDI engine at reduced cost
Achates Power will work with Delphi Automotive and Argonne National Laboratory on its ARPA-E-funded project to develop an innovative opposed-piston, gasoline compression ignition (OPGCI) engine. (Earlier post.) The engine should yield fuel efficiency gains of more than 50% compared to a downsized, turbo-charged gasoline direct injection engine, while reducing the overall cost of the powertrain system, said Fabien Redon, Vice President, Technology Development at Achates Power.
ARPA-E will provide initial funding of $9 million to this project over three years; Achates Power, Argonne and Delphi expect to spend a total of $13 million on the program, including cost share. The $9-million award is “one of the largest single ARPA-E awards ever made,” noted Chris Atkinson, the ARPA-E program manager for the Achates project.
Ford and Corning introduce lightweight Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield technology on Ford GT
Ford and Corning have developed Gorilla Glass hybrid windshield technology—a light-weighting innovation set to debut on the all-new Ford GT. The Gorilla Glass hybrid is thinner and about 30% lighter than traditional laminate glass, and will improve Ford GT handling by lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity and positively impact acceleration, fuel economy and braking performance. The Gorilla Glass hybrid window will be used on both the windshield and rear engine cover of Ford GT.
When tasked with developing lightweight and advanced material vehicle applications, the Ford team approached Corning, a recognized leader in materials science that introduced light and durable Gorilla Glass to the consumer electronics market in 2007. Interested in further exploring potential automotive applications, Ford engaged Corning to help research and develop a unique formulation for exterior vehicle glass.
Opel to begin publishing WLTP fuel consumption numbers in Q2 2016; improving SCR for NOx reductions
December 15, 2015
Beginning in Q2 2016, and in addition to the official fuel consumption and CO2 information, Opel will start publishing fuel consumption numbers recorded under the WLTP cycle, starting with the new Astra.
In addition, Opel’s diesel engineers have recently started working on an initiative to implement NOx emission improvements on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel applications. This is a voluntary and early improvement towards the RDE (Real Driving Emissions) legislation that goes into effect in Europe in 2017. Opel said it is committed to providing the testing authorities transparency.
Torotrak introduces new technologies to enhance V-Charge variable supercharger
December 14, 2015
Torotrak Group presented new technologies for low-cost, high efficiency drive systems at the Berlin CTI symposium and exposition. These developments will allow Torotrak’s V-Charge variable supercharging technology (earlier post) to compete with the latest boosting solutions coming to market, but without their integration challenges.
In a technical paper titled, “Low-cost developments in full-toroidal variator technology”, Chris Gaskell, one of the design engineers responsible for new concepts and intellectual property for the Torotrak Group, introduced and described two new proprietary technologies, called PitchSteer and DriveDisconnect.
U Wisconsin team investigates RCCI and GCI in single engine using adaptive dual-fuel injector
December 10, 2015
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have investigated blending the benefits of reactivity controlled compression ignition (RCCI) and gasoline compression ignition (GCI) using QuantLogic’s novel adaptive dual-fuel injector which is capable of direct injecting both gasoline and diesel fuel in a single cycle.
Working with Deyang Hou, the founder of injection technology company QuantLogic, they reported on the computational optimizations of RCCI and GCI in a paper in the International Journal of Engine Research.
Volkswagen: CO2 “irregularities” issue largely concluded; no unlawful changes
December 09, 2015
In early November, the Volkswagen Group announced that during the course of its internal investigation into the diesel emission cheating issue, it had uncovered “irregularities” when determining type-approval CO2 levels. (Earlier post.) Some 800,000 vehicles in Europe could be affected, the company said.
Today, Volkswagen announced that, “following extensive internal investigations and measurement checks,” almost all of those model variants do correspond to the CO2 figures originally determined.
GFEI: vehicle fuel economy is below global targets, jeopardizing action on climate and energy; failure of policy
December 08, 2015
Worldwide, the vehicle fleet is not making enough progress on fuel economy and is failing to reach global targets aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, cutting oil consumption and improving energy efficiency according to a new report from the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) (earlier post) released at the Paris COP21 Climate Summit.
The new report shows that while fuel economy is improving in OECD countries, progress is still below the rate needed to hit global targets by 2030. Meanwhile, developing countries—where vehicles markets are set to grow massively—are failing to make any substantial improvements in fuel economy, and are way off target as measured by the GFEI. The GFEI targets—which are reflected in the new global Sustainable Development Goals—include a 50% reduction in l/100km by 2030 in all new cars worldwide.
Achates Power wins $9M from ARPA-E to develop gasoline compression ignition medium-duty multi-cylinder opposed-piston engine
November 24, 2015
Achates Power, the developer of a family of two-stroke compression-ignition opposed-piston engines (earlier post), has been selected by APRA-E under its OPEN 2015 solicitation (earlier post) for an award of more than $9 million to develop a multi-cylinder opposed piston engine operating with compression ignition that uses gasoline as the fuel.
The unthrottled nature of the compression ignition process provides high engine efficiency while achieving compliant exhaust emissions with conventional, low-cost aftertreatment. This—in addition to the opposed engine architecture—could increase fuel efficiency by 40-50% over the comparable spark-ignited gasoline engine, Achates said.
Continental and Fallbrook to collaborate on new CVTs for urban mobility incorporating Fallbrook NuVinci technology
November 20, 2015
Continental has entered into licensing and engineering services agreements with Fallbrook Technologies Inc. (Fallbrook). The central focus of the collaboration is Fallbrook’s NuVinci transmission technology. (Earlier post.)
This innovative continuously variable planetary (CVP) is a new class of continuously variable transmission (CVT) utilizing rotating balls that allow the transmission ratio to change continuously.
Elio introduces Gen5 three-wheeler prototype at LA Auto Show
Elio Motors introduced its three-wheeled P5 fifth-generation prototype at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The company is targeting a launch date of late 2016 for the enclosed vehicle that is expected to deliver to 84 mpg and retail for a targeted base price of $6,800.
The P5 is the company’s first prototype to feature the 0.9-liter, 3-cylinder 60 hp (45 kW) engine designed specifically for Elio Motors by engine developer IAV. (Earlier post.)
U-M teams with Argonne, Idaho national labs to study potential energy savings of connected vehicles
November 19, 2015
The University of Michigan is working with two US Department of Energy national laboratories to study whether connected and automated vehicles could help people drive more efficiently. U-M, with Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, won a three-year, $2.7 million grant from DOE to fund the research.
Reuben Sarkar, DOE deputy assistant secretary for transportation, announced the grant Wednesday during a conference at U-M. He called it an “incubator award” to help DOE learn more about connected and automated vehicles, which are a growing focus for the agency.
Propel Fuels reports strong consumer adoption of renewable diesel in SoCal; retail sales up 300% over biodiesel
November 18, 2015
Propel launched Diesel HPR across Southern California in August 2015, and consumer adoption of the fuel has risen 300% compared to its former biodiesel product (B20). (Earlier post.) Utilizing Neste’s NEXBTL renewable diesel, Propel’s Diesel HPR is a low-carbon, drop-in renewable fuel that meets the ASTM D-976 petroleum diesel specifications for use in diesel engines, while offering drivers better performance and lower emissions.
Performance features include a 75 cetane rating, 40 percent higher than regular diesel. Diesel HPR provides cleaner and more efficient combustion for more power and a smoother ride at a cost similar to or lower than petroleum diesel.
ICCT benchmarking report finds wide 51% gap between most- and least- fuel-efficient transatlantic airlines
November 17, 2015
The gap between the most- (Norwegian Air Shuttle) and least- (British Airways) fuel-efficient airlines on 2014 transatlantic operations was 51%—roughly twice the performance gap between the best and worst US airlines on domestic operations (25% in 2014), according to a newly released study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). The new report is an extension of ICCT’s work benchmarking US airline fuel efficiency on domestic operations since 2010 (earlier post).
The gap in carbon intensity on international flights is larger than expected, which holds implication for ongoing efforts by policymakers to constrain emissions growth.
New Ford Escape launching with two new EcoBoost engines with standard Auto Start-Stop
The new Ford Escape, being showcased at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is the first Ford vehicle to make Auto Start-Stop standard with either of two EcoBoost engines new to the model—a 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter twin-scroll.
The start-stop technology senses when the vehicle is sitting idle and shuts off the engine to conserve fuel, resulting in a 4 percent to 6 percent improvement in fuel economy in stop-and-go traffic. The engine restarts automatically—in less than half a second—when the driver releases the brake pedal.
Kia outlines 5-year plan for more green vehicles; Optima PHEV, Niro hybrid, FCV; $10.2B investment
November 16, 2015
Kia Motors outlined its mid- to long-term plans for the development of a greatly increased range of environmentally friendly vehicles, with the goal of becoming a leader in the low-emissions car market by 2020. Kia said it intends to expand its green car line-up from four current models to 11 by 2020, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.
The five-year development plan will see Kia further increase its investment in research and development (R&D) into fuel-efficient technologies and new products, with a range of all-new models and highly advanced powertrains for global markets.
Report finds road transportation sector in Canada likely to fall far short of 2050 GHG emissions reduction target
November 12, 2015
A new Conference Board of Canada report finds that Canada is unlikely to achieve an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Even when taking into account reduced distances traveled per vehicle, improvements in fuel efficiency, and greater market penetration of alternative technology vehicles, Canada falls short of the 80-by-50 target.
Despite voluntary and regulatory initiatives that have improved the emissions efficiency of passenger and freight transportation, emissions from road transportation are increasing due to growing number of cars on the road and Canadians’ changing preference for light trucks. Canada’s road transport emissions were 40% higher in 2013 than in 1990. Between 1990 and 2013, transportation emissions accounted for nearly half of the growth of Canada’s total emissions levels, with road transport accounting for the largest share of transportation emissions.
Chevy Colorado diesel pickup EPA-rated at up to 31 mpg highway
The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado two-wheel drive with the Duramax turbo-diesel (earlier post) will be the most fuel efficient pickup in the US, offering an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated 31 mpg (7.58 l/100 km) highway fuel economy. The EPA-estimated highway fuel economy for 2016 Colorado four-wheel drive diesel is 29 mpg.
The EPA has issued a Certificate of Conformity for the Chevrolet Colorado Duramax diesel. The agency expressed no issues or concerns following its recent extensive testing and evaluation of the emission control system on the Colorado Duramax diesel.
Ford EcoBoost US sales up 46% year-to-date; tracking to top 1 million in US in 2015 for 1st time
November 11, 2015
Year-to-date, total sales of EcoBoost-powered Ford vehicles are up 46%; F-150, Escape and Fusion are the top-selling EcoBoost-powered Ford vehicles. Ford expects 2015 will be the first year in which EcoBoost-equipped vehicles in the United States exceed 1 million sales.
For 2015, EcoBoost is available on every non-hybrid light-duty passenger vehicle in Ford’s US lineup. The technology combines smaller engines with turbocharging, direct injection and variable valve timing—as well as Ford’s proprietary EcoBoost engine management software—to deliver improved fuel efficiency along with performance. Ford’s global EcoBoost engine family now includes the 1.0-liter three-cylinder; 1.5-liter, 1.6-liter, 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter four-cylinder engines; and the powerful 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V6 engines. A Lincoln-exclusive 3.0-liter V6 debuts in 2016.
ORNL, industry partners using high-performance computing to develop new high-temperature aluminum alloys for engines
The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FCA US LLC, and Nemak, a specialist in the production of high complex aluminum components for the automotive industry such as cylinder heads and engine blocks, are partnering to create lightweight powertrain materials that will help the auto industry meet the mandated target of 54.5 mpg (4.3 l/100 km) by 2025. Using high-performance computing, ORNL researchers are modeling the atomic structure of new alloys to select the best candidates for physical experimentation.
The ORNL-led project is part of a new initiative from DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office to develop such new high-performance alloys. Ford, General Motors and FCA US are collaborating with national laboratories, universities and the casting industry to develop an affordable, 300 ˚C-capable high-strength cast aluminum alloy.
2017 Cadillac XT5 initiates new series of Cadillac luxury crossovers; cylinder deactivation and stop/start
November 10, 2015
Cadillac unveiled the first 2017 Crossover Touring 5 (XT5), a comprehensively upgraded luxury crossover and the cornerstone of a new series of crossovers. Cadillac crossovers will wear the “XT” designation. The XT5 premieres this month at the Dubai and Los Angeles auto shows and begins production in the US and China in spring 2016.
The new luxury crossover joins Cadillac’s lineup immediately following the new range-topping CT6 Sedan, as the brand enters a new phase of product growth. In the US market, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 will be powered by the new 3.6-liter V6 engine which debuted earlier this year on the brand’s ATS and CTS sport sedans and is featured on the CT6. This engine has been completely redesigned and features Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology, which allows the engine seamlessly and automatically to switch to a fuel-saving 4-cylinder mode under low or moderate loads.
Toyota announces expected fuel economy and pricing for RAV4 Hybrid: 33 mpg combined, entry at $28,370
November 06, 2015
Toyota anticipates that the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid—unveiled earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show (earlier post) and the eighth hybrid in Toyota’s line-up—will receive EPA ratings of 34 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 33 mpg combined (6.9, 7.6 and 7.1 l/100 km, respectively) for both 2016 RAV4 Hybrid models. The RAV4 Hybrid comes in two premium grades: XLE and Limited. The RAV4 gasoline version comes in four grades: LE, XLE, Limited and the new SE.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid will be $28,370 for the AWD XLE and $33,610 for the AWD Limited. MSRP for the 2016 RAV4 gasoline models will range from $24,350 for the LE 2WD to $32,910 for the AWD Limited.
VW uncovers irregularities in type-approval CO2 levels affecting about 800K vehicles as part of diesel investigation
November 03, 2015
The Volkswagen Group announced today that during the course of its internal investigation into the diesel emission cheating issue, it uncovered “irregularities” when determining type-approval CO2 levels. Based on present knowledge, around 800,000 vehicles from the Volkswagen Group could be affected, the company said.
Under the ongoing review of all processes and workflows in connection with diesel engines, Volkswagen investigators established that the CO2 levels—and thus the fuel consumption figures—for some models were set too low during the CO2 certification process. The majority of the vehicles concerned have diesel engines.
ICCT updates US airline fuel efficiency rankings; Alaska stays on top, American on bottom
October 22, 2015
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) has released its annual update on the fuel efficiency of US airlines. (Earlier post.) The report, which covers US airlines in domestic operations in 2014, highlights a continuing gap in the carbon intensity of US carriers, and comes as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meets in Montreal to debate proposals that will serve as the basis for future US regulation.
The ICCT team found that the gap between most- and least-efficient airlines has narrowed slightly to 25%, and overall industry fuel efficiency has improved by 1.7% on an RPM (revenue passenger miles) per fuel basis, due in large part to a 1% increase in average passenger load factor to 84% in 2014and higher seating densities (and greater passenger discomfort) on domestic flights.
New efficient hybrid optimization control method for diesel engine emissions and performance
October 19, 2015
Researchers at Iowa State have developed a new hybrid optimization control method to improve diesel engine emissions and performance. As reported in a paper in the International Journal of Engine Research, the hybrid method, which combines both particle swarm optimization (PSO) and genetic algorithm (GA) methods was able to locate a narrow window of operation which showed 27% lower NOx emissions and 60% lower particulate matter emissions than a standard PSO method.
The hybrid method was also able to locate the improvements using similar dynamometer time, indicating that the hybrid method is more efficient and more effective, the researchers said.
EPA: jatropha-based biofuels could qualify as biomass-based diesel or advanced biodiesel under RFS
Based on its analysis of the production and transport components of the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of biofuel made from jatropha oil, the US EPA anticipates that biofuels produced from jatropha oil could qualify as biomass-based diesel or advanced biofuel under the Renewable Fuel Standard program if typical fuel production process technologies or process technologies with the same or lower GHG emissions are used. EPA has published its analysis in the Federal Register and is inviting comment.
Background. The RFS regulations lists three critical components of an approved fuel pathway: (1) Fuel type; (2) feedstock; and (3) production process. EPA uses lifecycle analysis to assess the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) impacts of a fuel throughout each stage of its production and use.
Volvo Cars introduces new compact architecture; expects electrified vehicles to be 10% of total sales by 2020
October 15, 2015
Volvo Cars will extend its range of compact cars into new segments based on its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA)—a smaller version of Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) (earlier post). The company’s first car on CMA is expected to be launched in 2017. CMA’s introduction in 2017 means that all future Volvo cars will be built on just two fully scalable and wholly modular vehicle architectures.
The company also announced its electrification strategy in which plug-in hybrids will be introduced across its entire range. Volvo Cars will also develop an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars and build a fully electric car for sale by 2019.
Toyota announces aggressive environmental targets through 2050; cutting new vehicle CO2 by 90% compared to 2010
October 14, 2015
Addressing key global environmental issues such as climate change, water shortages, resource depletion, and degradation of biodiversity, the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 aims to reduce the negative impact of manufacturing and driving vehicles as much as possible. The challenge comprises six individual challenges across three areas: Ever-better cars, quantified as reducing global average new-vehicle CO2 emissions by 90% by 2050 compared to Toyota’s 2010 global average; ever-better manufacturing (zero CO2 emissions at all plants by 2050); and enriching the lives of communities.
As a key step toward achieving these long-term targets, Toyota is announcing its Sixth Toyota Environmental Action Plan, which will be enacted between April 2016 and the end of March 2021.
Toyota details powertrain advances in Gen4 Prius; available E-Four system for all-wheel drive (not for US)
October 13, 2015
Toyota made significant improvements in its new generation full hybrid powertrain applied in the fourth generation Prius (earlier post), reducing losses, redesigning and relocating key components and reducing weight. Extensive changes to the transaxle, engine and combined hybrid system, generate an expected improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models of up to 10% (i.e., up to ~55 mpg US combined), with an Eco model that will achieve an even greater improvement.
In a presentation outlining the changes to the new Prius system, Shunsuke Fushiki from Toyota’s Hybrid Engineering Management Division noted that the new engine contribues about 28% of the improvement in fuel efficiency; hybrid system management contributes about 26%; the new electric motor, 16%; new transaxle and PCU, 13% each; and new battery packs, 4%.
Argonne study finds lightweight material substitution increases vehicle-cycle GHGs, but results in total life-cycle benefit
October 12, 2015
A team at Argonne National Laboratory has taken a closer look at vehicle-cycle (all processes related to vehicle manufacturing) and vehicle total life-cycle (vehicle-cycle plus fuel cycle—i.e., the use phase) impacts of substituting lightweight materials into vehicles.
In a study published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they reported that while material substitution can reduce vehicle weight, it often increases vehicle-cycle greenhouse gas emissions GHGs—for example, replacing steel with wrought aluminum, carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CRFP), or magnesium increases the vehicle-cycle GHGs. However, lifetime fuel economy benefits often outweigh the vehicle-cycle, resulting in a net total life-cycle GHG benefit, they found. This is the case for steel replaced by wrought aluminum in all assumed cases, and for CFRP and magnesium except for high substitution ratio and low fuel reduction value.
MIT study finds carbon prices more cost-effective than fuel economy regs at reducing CO2 emissions; fuel economy regs more efficient at reducing fuel use
Researchers at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change have compared the worldwide economic, environmental, and energy impacts of currently planned fuel economy standards (extended to the year 2050) with those of region-specific carbon prices designed to yield identical CO2 emissions reductions.
Their study, which appears in the Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, finds that such stringent fuel economy standards would cost the economy 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2050, compared with a 6% cost under carbon pricing. This finding reinforces economists’ contention that improving the efficiency of motor vehicles through fuel economy standards will yield significantly less CO2 emissions reduction per dollar than an economy-wide instrument that encourages such cutbacks where they are cheapest—principally in the electric power and industrial sectors.
Freudenberg-NOK wins first regular-production order for dry gas-lubricated frictionless engine seals
October 05, 2015
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies (Freudenberg-NOK) has won its first major order for its new generation of dry gas-lubricated automotive seals—a first in the automotive market. The frictionless Levitex seals, a subject of the company’s research for years, will go into an engine for a global platform in 2017. The new seals function with a cushion of air, reducing both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. CO2 reductions can be as high as 1 gram per kilometer driven.
Freudenberg-NOK initially will produce Levitex seals in Europe, although the company plans to expand product into North America in the future as customer demand grows.
GM planning to “own” the customer relationship beyond the vehicle; autonomous Volts, car sharing and fuel cells
October 01, 2015
General Motors CEO Mary Barra and her leadership team outlined the company’s plans to capitalize on the future of personal mobility by owning the customer relationship beyond the vehicle, building upon nearly two decades of connectivity leadership.
GM also said it plans to strengthen its core business through global growth initiatives and an aggressive product launch cadence, while continuing to focus on driving cost efficiencies. As a result, the company expects to increase its earnings per share and generate significant shareholder value. The company shared its plans with investors during a conference at its Milford Proving Ground.
JAC and Ricardo develop production version of HyBoost concept; seeking 30% boost in fuel economy with same performance
September 30, 2015
Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co Ltd (JAC) and Ricardo are collaborating on a project to develop the Ricardo HyBoost concept (earlier post)—a combination of low-cost technologies to deliver improved performance and fuel economy which featured recently in the Ricardo Centenary celebrations —into volume production on a JAC vehicle.
The Ricardo HyBoost concept is based on a downsized, highly boosted turbocharged direct injection gasoline (TDGI) engine giving improved fuel economy at low cost, linked to a 48V electrical architecture including a belt starter generator (BSG), DC-DC converter and a lithium-ion battery for energy storage.
Eaton launches new, more efficient TVS2 supercharger; targeting super-turbo systems
September 25, 2015
Eaton has announced its newest supercharger—TVS2—which improves vehicle manufacturers’ ability to deliver an optimal single boosted application, or to pair this device with other boosting technologies in order to deliver compound boosting solutions for improved engine performance—a combined supercharger-turbocharger system. The announcement came at the 20th Supercharging Conference in Dresden, Germany.
Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) is a Roots-type supercharger with four- lobe rotors and high-flow inlet and outlet ports. TVS2 technology builds on Eaton’s supercharger portfolio by delivering significant improvements in efficiency and increased capability, achieved through a rotor design that improves the internal aerodynamics. Key elements of this new design include:
ICCT update finds real-world vehicle fuel economy gap continues to widen in Europe to 40%
The gap between official fuel-economy figures and the real world for new cars in the EU has reached 40 per cent, according to the latest update by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) to its on-going research into in-use vehicle fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions. (Earlier post.)
Since 2001, the discrepancy between official measurements of vehicle efficiency and actual performance of new cars in everyday driving has more than quadrupled—a discrepancy that now translates into €450 (US$500) per year in extra fuel costs for the average vehicle. The updated study closely follows on revelations that a similar gap in NOx emissions from diesel passenger vehicles was, at least in the case of Volkswagen, deliberately engineered, and as the European Commission prepares to adopt an improved test procedure that would produce more realistic vehicle test results.
Toyota Land Cruiser in Europe offers new 2.8L diesel; first Toyota SCR NOx aftertreatment system
September 22, 2015
|New D-4D diesel. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota’s Land Cruiser off-road 4WD vehicle in Europe is now available with a new 2.8 liter D-4D turbo-diesel. The engine replaces the current 3.0-liter engine, with a focus on improved driveability with better torque delivery, plus lower fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. It delivers 130 kW/177 DIN hp @ 3400 rpm and can be mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox or a new 6-speed automatic transmission.
Available on 3-door and 5-door models, Toyota’s newly developed 2.8 D-4D Global Diesel (GD) engine combines an 11% increase in low speed torque and a 7% increase in maximum torque with a 9% reduction in average fuel consumption. The engine features Toyota’s first urea Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system that can eliminate up to 99% of NOx emissions.
DOE awards nearly $55M to advance fuel efficient vehicle technologies in support of EV Everywhere and SuperTruck
September 18, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding nearly $55 million for 24 projects to develop and deploy advanced vehicle technologies, supporting the Energy Department’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to make plug-in electric vehicles as affordable to own and operate as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles by 2022.
Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance with the Energy Department, the Department of the Army is contributing an additional $2.26 million in co-funding to support projects focused on battery modeling technologies and computational fluid dynamics.
NRC Canada team investigates effect of gasoline particulate filter on PM from light-duty GDI engine
September 17, 2015
A team led by researchers from the National Research Council Canada has investigated the effect of the use of a gasoline particulate filter on the size and morphology of PM emitted from a light-duty gasoline-direct-injection (GDI) vehicle over the FTP-75 and US06 transient drive cycles.
Using transmission-electron-microscope (TEM) image analysis, they compared PM from a 2012 Ford Focus powered by a 2.0-liter wall-guided GDI engine, operating under globally stoichiometric condition, to the results for the same vehicle equipped with a catalyzed gasoline particulate filter (GPF). A paper describing their results is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Hyundai showcasing two new turbocharged GDI engines, 7-speed DCT at Frankfurt
At the IAA in Frankfurt, Hyundai Motor is showcasing two new turbocharged gasoline direct injected (T-GDI) engines. Hyundai Motor’s new downsized 1.0 T-GDI and 1.4 T-GDI powerplants are part of a new generation of small turbocharged gasoline engines within the Hyundai engine line-up.
Also on show is the new seven-speed double-clutch transmission (7DCT), which provides an improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emission compared to a conventional six-gear automated transmission, while acceleration performance increases. The new 7DCT is already available in the New i30, New i40 and All-New Tucson.
Honda unveils 10th generation 2016 Civic Sedan; two new engines, including Honda’s first turbo in US
Honda unveiled the new 10th-generation 2016 Civic Sedan, slated for sale in the US this fall. The Civic Sedan is the first in a series of new 10th-generation Civic models that will include a sedan, coupe, high-performance Si models, a 5-door hatchback and the first-ever Civic Type-R model for the market, constituting the most diverse lineup in Civic's 43-year history.
The 2016 Civic will feature two all-new engines, including the first application of Honda turbo engine technology in the US. The 2016 Civic Sedan will be available with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation and, for the first time in a Honda, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow.
Johnson Controls expanding global production of AGM batteries for start-stop systems; $555M investment from 2011 to 2020
September 16, 2015
In anticipation of increasing demand for start-stop systems, Johnson Controls is adding Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery production capacity. AGM battery technology is at this point the dominant start-stop energy storage technology.
The market for new vehicle and aftermarket Start-Stop batteries could rise to 56 million worldwide by 2020, compared to 22 million today. In this time frame, 85% of all new vehicles in Europe and 40% in the US and China are expected to be powered with Start-Stop batteries. With $555 million in investments between 2011 and 2020, the company is implementing plans to expand AGM production capacity in Germany, the United States and China.
New Mahle piston ring coating for high-output GTDI engines; chromium nitride using high-velocity oxygen fuel process
Mahle has developed a new thermal spray coating for modern high-output direct-injection turbocharged gasoline engines (GTDI). Under development since 2011 at Mahle’s thermal spray development labs in Michigan, the new process initially was designed for high-output GTDI engines currently in production by two US domestic automakers. The market for high-output turbocharged engines is expected to achieve a market share of 30% or more by 2020.
The new top ring coating, also referred to as MSC312, uses chromium nitride applied through a high-velocity oxygen fuel (HVOF) thermal spray process. MSC312 improves upon the scuff-and-wear capabilities of Mahle’s MSC385 chrome carbide HVOF coating because of the chromium nitride composition.
Continental Voltage Stabilization System with Maxwell Ultracapacitors to power start-stop in Cadillac ATS and CTS as standard
September 15, 2015
Maxwell Technologies, Inc. announced that Continental Automotive Systems’ Maxwell-powered voltage stabilization system (VSS) will be a standard feature on 2016 Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans. General Motors is the first North American automotive OEM to integrate the Continental ultracapacitor-based voltage stabilization as part of the enhanced start-stop system, which lowers fuel costs, improves performance and reduces emissions, delivering an overall superior owner-driver experience.
There are currently some 1.5 million vehicles on the road in Europe with the Maxwell-based Continental VSS, said Marty Mills, regional sales manager, ultracapacitor products, Central North America.
Volkswagen introduces new MQB-based Tiguan at Frankfurt; plug-in hybrid concept
Volkswagen introduced the second-generation Tiguan SUV at the IAA in Frankfurt. The second generation Tiguan is the first Volkswagen Group SUV whose design is based on the MQB platform. Volkswagen has sold some 2.6 million units of the first generation version since its introduction in 2007.
Volkswagen presented four versions of the new Tiguan simultaneously. The three production versions are the sporty Tiguan R-Line; the basic on-road model; and a version customized for off-road use. The Tiguan GTE—a concept vehicle with a plug-in hybrid drive (160 kW / 218 PS of system power) (earlier post)—offers an outlook on future development of the best-selling SUV.
National Academies release third review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership
September 14, 2015
The National Academies have released a third review of the 21st Century Truck Partnership (21CTP); the review follows the Phase 1 and Phase 2 reviews by the National Research Council in 2008 and 2012 (earlier post) and assesses the progress the partnership has made. The report highlights goals that have been achieved and identifies remaining issues that the partnership should continue to address.
The 21st Century Truck Partnership is a cooperative research and development (R&D) partnership comprising four federal agencies and 15 industrial partners. The Partnership aims to “accelerate the introduction of advanced truck and bus technologies that use less fuel, have greater fuel diversity, operate more safely, are more reliable, meet future emissions standards, and are cost effective.” To do so, it supports research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that can lead to commercially viable products and systems. Its strategic approach includes:
Ford at Frankfurt: Euro-spec Ford Edge diesels with up to 40.6 mpg; new Ranger pickup with 17% improvement in fuel efficiency
Ford will be introducing the Euro-spec version of its Edge SUV at the IAA in Frankfurt this week. The large SUV will be offered in Europe with a choice of 180PS 2.0-liter TDCi diesel engine with six-speed manual transmission, or 210 PS bi-turbo 2.0‑liter TDCi diesel with six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission. Ford said both powertrains will deliver up to 40.6 mpg US (5.8 l/100 km) fuel efficiency and 149g/km CO2 supported by Auto-Start-Stop technology.
The upscale Edge will join the Ford Kuga medium-sized SUV and EcoSport compact SUV to meet the demands of growing numbers of SUV customers in Europe. Ford expects to sell 200,000 SUVs in Europe in 2016—a 200% increase compared to 2013. (Earlier post.)
Jaguar Land Rover investigating energy-efficient vehicle heating and cooling; Air Bubbles and Air Blankets
September 10, 2015
Because heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) consume substantial amounts of energy—and therefore fuel, or electrical energy stored in the battery of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)—Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is working on research projects that could significantly reduce the energy consumed when heating and cooling a vehicle.
Rather than continuously heating or cooling a flow of air as it enters the car, Jaguar Land Rover is exploring how a car could heat or cool an “Air Bubble” inside the vehicle once, and then maintain the temperature and quality of this air bubble using innovative new HVAC technologies. These include infra-red reflective (IRR) glass, tailor-made for the solar radiation profile of an individual region or country. The glass would reflect the sun’s rays so less energy is required to cool the inside of the car.
Achates Power proposes EPA/NHTSA medium- and heavy-duty engine standard require 15% decrease in fuel consumption and emissions
Achates Power, Inc., the developer of a family of efficient compression-ignition opposed-piston two-stroke (OP2S) engines (earlier post), proposed more stringent engine fuel efficiency and emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles at a recent public hearing held by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles – Phase 2”.
Earlier this year, NHTSA and EPA jointly announced the proposed Phase 2 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. (Earlier post.) While these vehicles as a whole will have to curb fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 24% between the 2018 and 2027 model years, the agencies are proposing separate engine standards requiring only a 4% decrease.
FAA awards $100M to 8 companies for CLEEN II development; lower fuel consumption, emissions and noise
September 09, 2015
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded $100 million in contracts to eight companies to develop and to demonstrate aviation technologies that reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and noise under the second phase of its Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions, and Noise (CLEEN II) program. (The CLEEN II solicitation was posted in October 2014.)
The five-year CLEEN II program will build on the success of the original CLEEN program, a public-private partnership that began in 2010 and is a key part of the FAA’s NextGen efforts to make aviation more environmentally friendly. (Earlier post.) The CLEEN team focused on nine projects in the area of energy efficient aircraft technologies and sustainable alternative jet fuels. The first of these technologies will enter service in 2016.
New Tandem Axle Lift function from Volvo Trucks lowers fuel consumption up to 4%
Volvo Trucks has introduced a new function—Tandem Axle Lift—that makes it possible to disengage and raise the second driven axle even while driving. This gives better road grip and up to 4% lower fuel consumption when the truck is driven without a load. The new function is designed for heavy duty transports with loads being carried one way and empty return trips—for example, when hauling timber or in construction and bulk cargo operations.
By replacing the differential in the first driven axle with a dog clutch, the second driven axle can be disengaged and raised; the tires can be lifted 140mm (5.51 inches) off the road surface. The driver thus has access to both the power and capacity of two driven axles (6X4) and also the better maneuverability of a single driven axle (4X2).
Bosch presenting new heat pump EV thermal management system at IAA; up to 25% increase in effective range
September 08, 2015
At IAA next week, automotive supplier Bosch is presenting a new heat-pump-based thermal management system for EVs that it says can enable an increase in effective range of up to 25% without modifications to the battery.
In battery-driven powertrains, heating and cooling can play a significantly greater role than in gasoline or diesel engines, since without a combustion engine, the vehicle does not have a generous supply of heat. If the passenger compartment is heated using a purely electrical system drawing its power from the battery, range can be significantly reduced. As a result, there has been interest in the industry about the use of heat pumps as a lower energy-intensity solution.
Route Monkey partners with Heriot-Watt University to develop new algorithms for route optimization
September 07, 2015
Scotland-based route optimization company Route Monkey is teaming up with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh to develop new algorithms to optimize the use of vans, trucks and passenger cars. The partnership with Heriot-Watt University will initially focus on delivering the £1.5-million (US$2.3-million) National Scheduling Platform project—an on-demand route optimization and scheduling solution that can be easily accessed via a web portal.
This integrated mobility platform is intended to enable the efficient transportation of people and goods in ways that deliver the maximum economic, environmental and societal benefits. Funded in conjunction with Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland, the platform is due to go live next year.
New engines in Porsche 911 Carrera boost power and torque; almost 12% more efficient
The new Porsche 911 Carrera features a set of new engines that increase power and torque while also decreasing fuel consumption. The completely new engine generation with bi-turbo charging offers 370 hp (272 kW) at the rear of the 911 Carrera and 420 hp (309 kW) in the 911 Carrera S. In both cases this represents a power increase of 20 hp (15 kW). Both engines have a displacement of three liters.
Every new 911 generation boasts enhanced performance and efficiency compared with the predecessor. For example, depending on the model variant, the new engine generation is almost 12% more efficient: fuel consumption is reduced by up to a liter per 100 kilometers. The 911 Carrera with PDK transmission now consumes 7.4 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (32 mpg US), a reduction of 0.8 l per 100 km, while the 911 Carrera S with PDK consumes 7.7 l/100 km (31 mpg US)—1.0 l less per 100 km.
ICCT: industry lagging UN fuel efficiency goals for new commercial aircraft by about 12 years; need for a CO2 standard
September 03, 2015
Reductions in the average fuel burn of new commercial aircraft have returned to the long-term average after stagnating from 2000 to 2010. However, according to a new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), manufacturers continue to lag the UN’s fuel efficiency goals for new aircraft; on average, industry is about 12 years behind the 2020 and 2030 aspirational goals established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The authors of the ICCT report, which updates its 2009 report on the topic (earlier post), do expect to see an accelerating improvement rate in the foreseeable future due to the introduction of new, more efficient aircraft designs such as the a320neo, 737 MaX, and 777X. Despite that, when comparing the ICAO fuel burn technology goals (a 40% improvement in fuel efficiency for new single-aisle (SA) and small twin-aisle (STA) aircraft in 2020 relative to 2000 levels) with fuel burn trend projections, they found the 12-year time lag between the projected fuel burn improvement and the time needed to reach ICAO’s goals.
FCA US upgrades 3.6L Pentastar V-6; 2-step VVL, cooled EGR; up to 6% better fuel economy
September 02, 2015
FCA has upgraded its 3.6-liter Pentastar engine for MY 2016. The 3.6L Pentastar, first introduced in 2009 (earlier post), was the first of an all-new line of V-6 engines intended to improve fuel efficiency across the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge lineup. More than 5 million Penetastar engines are now on the road.
Depending on the application, the redesigned V-6 delivers fuel-economy improvements of more than 6% while increasing torque more than 14.9%. This occurs at engine speeds below 3,000 rpm, where elevated torque has its most profound impact on the driving experience. Enhancements such as two-step variable valve lift (VVL), cooled exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) and innovative weight-reduction strategies boost the engine’s efficiency and performance, all while preserving its smoothness.
Saft America receives $6.13M USABC award for lithium-ion 12V stop-start battery technology development
August 31, 2015
Saft America Inc. has received a competitively bid, $6.13-million award from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC) in collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE) for 12-volt stop-start battery technology development. The contract includes a 50% cost-share by Saft.
The 30-month contract will focus on the development and delivery of lithium-ion 12-volt modules for vehicle stop-start battery applications consistent with USABC goals based on Saft’s advanced lithium-ion battery technologies along with battery management electronics.
Lockheed Martin invests in Peloton Technology and truck platooning
The Peloton Truck Platooning System electronically couples pairs of trucks through a combination of vehicle-to-vehicle communications, radar-based active braking systems and proprietary vehicle-control algorithms. The system improves safety and allows trucks to travel at closer distances, which improves aerodynamics and reduces fuel use.
New Opel Astra up to 441 lbs lighter than predecessor
August 27, 2015
The new Opel Astra, which makes its debut in several weeks at the IAA in Frankfurt, will be up to 200 kg (441 lbs) lighter than its predecessor (120 kg / 265 lbs at a minimum). The next generation of the compact bestseller is based on an all-new lightweight architecture, with a slimmer body and all-aluminum engines.
The Monza Concept presented at the 2013 IAA (earlier post) was the role model for Opel’s eleventh compact class generation. The new Astra features a slimmed down vehicle architecture: the bodyshell (body-in-white) and structure alone are more than 20 percent lighter, down from 357 to 280 kilograms (787 to 617 lbs). Another 50 kilograms (110 lbs) were saved in the design of chassis components: high-strength and ultra-high-strength lightweight steels, more compact subframes as well as modification to the front and rear suspensions all contributed to this end result.
Renault Trucks and partners launch EDIT project to cut distribution vehicles’ fuel consumption by 13%
After Optifuel Lab 2 (earlier post), the laboratory vehicle which brought together technological innovations designed to reduce long-distance trucks’ fuel consumption, Renault Trucks is extending its research to distribution vehicles.
Renault Trucks and six partners—Valeo, Lamberet, Michelin, BeNomad, INSA de Lyon (LamCoS) and IFSTTAR (LICIT)—have launched the EDIT (Efficient Distribution Truck) project, which aims to reduce distribution vehicles’ fuel consumption by 13% compared with a current production vehicle.
FEV working on water injection system using exhaust condensate; fuel consumption improvements up to 16% possible
August 26, 2015
FEV is developing a water injection system for internal combustion engines using condensate from exhaust gases, the “Extended Direct Condensate Injection” system. The concept, as reported in a new paper in the International Journal of Engine Research , demonstrates a potential for efficiency increase of 3.3% – 3.8% in the region of the minimum specific fuel consumption on a stoichiometric combustion concept with Miller cycle and cooled external exhaust gas recirculation.
Further improvement of the efficiency of up to 16% is possible at full-load operation, the researchers said. If water injection is used in addition to homogeneous lean combustion, an efficiency gain of 4.5% in the region of the minimum specific fuel consumption is achieved.
Team from GM, Ford, FCA reviews how to calculate engine efficiency benefits of high octane fuels
August 25, 2015
A team of engineers from GM Powertrain, Ford and FCA have published a detailed review of how to estimate the engine efficiency benefits of higher octane fuel—e.g., fuel with higher ethanol content—for part- and full-load operation for different engine types and fuel assumptions. Their paper is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Engine compression ratio plays a fundamental role in engine efficiency; a higher compression ratio improves efficiency, but also causes higher temperatures and pressures of the unburned air-fuel mixture which can lead to knock at high loads. Compression ratio is thus limited to avoid knock. The compression ratio selected for a particular engine depends, the authors note, on the expected duty cycle and fuel octane. A higher compression ratio can be used if an engine will operate primarily at light loads, such that degraded efficiency at high loads is more than offset by improved efficiency at light loads.
CMU analysis finds BEVs powered with natural gas-based electricity have about 40% of the lifecycle GHGs of a conventional gasoline vehicle
August 21, 2015
According to a new lifecycle analysis by a team at Carnegie Mellon University, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) powered with natural gas-based electricity achieves around an average 40% lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction when compared to a conventional gasoline vehicle. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), either with a 30- or 60-km range, when powered by natural gas electricity, have the second lowest average emissions. Both BEVs and PHEVs provide large (more than 20%) emissions reductions compared to conventional gasoline, but none of them is a dominant strategy when compared to gasoline hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the team found.
Gaseous hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles have comparable life cycle emissions with conventional gasoline, offering limited reductions with 100-year global warming potential (GWP) yet leading to increases with 20-year GWP. Other liquid fuel pathways using natural gas—methanol, ethanol, and Fischer–Tropsch liquids—have larger GHG emissions than conventional gasoline even when carbon capture and storage technologies are available. The study is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
New UMTRI report on US vehicle fuel economy from 1923-2013 suggests need to focus on improving lower tails in each vehicle class
August 17, 2015
In a new report, researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) have calculated the actual, on-road fuel economy for the entire fleet of all vehicles in the US, and for different classes of vehicles, with primary interest in light-duty vehicles (cars, pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs), between 1923 and 2013.
The main findings from the analysis are that fuel economy decreased from 14.0 mpg (16.8 l/100 km) in 1923 to 11.9 mpg (19.6 l/100 km) in 1973. Starting in 1974, fuel economy increased rapidly to 16.9 mpg (13.9 l/100 km) in 1991. Thereafter, improvements have been small, with fuel economy in 2013 at 17.6 mpg (13.4 mpg US). Overall, the results suggest, the authors conclude, that efforts on improving fuel economy should focus on the lower tails of the distributions of fuel economy in each vehicle class.
BMW introduces Concept M4 GTS at Pebble Beach; water injection
August 14, 2015
BMW M GmbH unveiled the BMW Concept M4 GTS at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in Monterey, California. Details on a production version will be revealed at a later date. The BMW Concept M4 GTS is the first M3/M4 special production vehicle to be sold in the US.
The BMW Concept M4 GTS showcases new technologies which will debut in production vehicles later this year. Among them, the BMW Concept M4 GTS features the innovative water injection system (earlier post) that has already provided a significant output and torque boost in the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car. In addition, the BMW Concept M4 GTS has rear lights with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology for an unmistakable appearance.
Jeep Cherokee in Europe gains new 2.2L MultiJet II diesel
August 12, 2015
The Jeep Cherokee in Europe is adding a new 2.2-liter MultiJet II diesel engine, available with 185 hp (138 kW) and 200 hp (149 kW) outputs, and offering a significantly wider spread of torque from low rpm, greater power, improved performance and better fuel economy than the out-going two-liter 170 hp automatic engine. The new 2.2-liter Euro 6 compliant engine, appearing on an FCA model for the first time, joins the current 2.0L diesel 140 hp manual version in the Cherokee line-up.
Both power variants are available deliver 440 N·m (325 lb-ft) of peak torque. The 200 hp variant is available on Limited specification while the 185 hp is fitted on Cherokee Longitude and Longitude+ variants only. The engines are available only with Jeep’s segment-first nine-speed automatic gearbox, and are matched to the Active-Drive four-wheel-drive systems.
Tsinghua studies on alcohol-gasoline dual fuel engines show fuel efficiency and particle number benefits
August 10, 2015
Researchers at Tsinghua University in China are studying the effects of Dual-Fuel Spark Ignition (DFSI) combustion fueled with different alcohols and gasoline. In one paper, published in the journal Fuel, they investigated the use of alcohols–gasoline DFSI Combustion for knock suppression and high fuel efficiency using a gasoline engine with high compression ratio.
In a second paper, also published in Fuel, they systematically compared the stoichiometric alcohol–gasoline and gasoline–alcohol DFSI combustion for engine particle number (PN) reduction (and fuel economy improvement), also using a high compression ratio gasoline engine.
Ford wins 3rd annual Altair Enlighten Award for lightweighting of F-150
August 07, 2015
Ford Motor Company was the winner of the 3rd annual Altair Enlighten Award for its use of various lightweight materials to minimize weight of the 2015 Ford F-150. The Enlighten Award is the automotive industry’s first award program created specifically to acknowledge innovation in vehicle weight reduction.
Ford’s entry, one of 17 nominations that competed for the award, was selected as the winner for taking 700 pounds (318 kg) off of the Ford F-150 while improving its performance, safety, and efficiency. (Earlier post.) Ford engineers took a holistic approach to weight reduction by incorporating advanced materials into the entire design of the vehicle, including the frame, body, powertrain, battery and interior features such as the seats. The weight savings help the truck tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and it contributes to fuel efficiency.
VW bringing EA211 1.4L turbo direct-injection engine to Jetta range in US
August 04, 2015
Volkswagen is introducing the 1.4-liter EA211 four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI engine into the Jetta range, replacing the previous naturally aspirated 2.0-liter engine that was used in the S model and the 1.8T TSI engine in the SE model. This brings implementation of intelligent downsizing to more than 97% of vehicles sold by Volkswagen in the US, available across all the models on sale.
The engine will be mated to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission: manufacturer estimated fuel economy on the highway is predicted to be 39 mpg with the six-speed automatic transmission, an improvement of 13% over the EPA estimated highway fuel economy for the previous 2.0-liter engine and 7% over the 1.8T.
2016 Chevrolet Volt EPA-rated at 53 miles all-electric range
The Chevrolet Volt’s all-new second-generation Voltec extended-range electric propulsion system (earlier post) delivers 53 miles (85 km) of all-electric range, based on EPA testing. That is nearly a 40% improvement over the first-generation Volt, and a 6% boost over the projected 50-mile (80 km) AER estimated at the new Volt’s unveiling in January. (Earlier post.)
Chevrolet expects many next-generation Volt owners will use power solely from their batteries for more than 90% of trips. Today, Volt owners use battery power on 80% of their trips, according to GM. The additional range would enable the average Volt owner to travel well over 1,000 miles (1,609 km) (in multiple trips) between gas fill ups, if they charge regularly.
Researchers find HEV under real-world conditions delivers significantly greater fuel economy benefits than EPA “sticker” values
August 03, 2015
In a new study reported in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, a team at the University of Vermont found that when including real-world road grade and ambient conditions compared to controlled laboratory tests, fuel consumption benefits for a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) under study increased by 18% highway and 33% city compared to estimates based on EPA adjusted fuel economy “sticker” values. (The vehicles under study were a conventional and hybrid Camry).
In other words, they found that they real-world fuel economy benefit of adoption of HEVs may be better than for estimates based on EPA “sticker” fuel economy alone. The duo, Britt A. Holmén and Karen M. Sentoff, suggested that based on these results, more positive forecasts for future petroleum and corresponding CO2 emissions savings from increased hybridization of the passenger vehicle fleet may be warranted.
Aeristech launches new 48V electric supercharger
July 31, 2015
UK-based Aeristech has introduced a new 48V electric supercharger capable of continuous operation at high boost levels. Independently validated by Ricardo and MAHLE Powertrain UK, the technology provides greater efficiency and easier packaging than a mechanical supercharger or a two-stage turbocharger.
Aeristech said it overcame the thermal management issues that can restrict other electric boosting devices currently available on the market to only transient operation by using permanent magnet motor technology in place of the more usual switched reluctance type. This has been made cost-effective by developing a patented control and switching technology that enables the use of many cost-competitive components.
Delphi invests in Tula; Dynamic Skip Fire cylinder deactivation
July 30, 2015
Delphi has made a minority investment in Tula Technology, the developer of Dynamic Skip Fire cylinder deactivation technology. (Earlier post.) The software-enabled powertrain technology integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls to create a variable displacement engine.
DSF allows the engine’s cylinders to fire or skip (deactivate) on a continuously variable basis. In independent tests, DSF has improved fuel efficiency by up to 17% as measured on a CAFE basis when compared to a vehicle (V8 engine) that does not have cylinder deactivation. GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula in 2012.
Chevrolet introduces Colorado Duramax Diesel midsize pickup
July 28, 2015
Chevrolet has introduced the diesel version (earlier post) of its 2016 Colorado midsize pickup truck. (Colorado is the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Cars.com’s Best Pickup Truck of 2015.) With 369 lb-ft of torque (500 N·m) generated by the all-new 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel, the Colorado’s maximum trailering capacity rises to 7,700 pounds (3,492 kg) on 2WD models, with estimated fuel economy projected by GM to top the already segment-leading efficiency of the gas models (27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) highway with 2.5L gasoline engine and automatic transmission).
It is also the cleanest diesel truck engine ever produced by General Motors. The new Colorado diesel goes on sales this fall, offered in LT and Z71 Crew Cab models, with 2WD or 4WD. It is priced $3,730 more than a comparably equipped 3.6L V-6 model.
BMW brings Enlighten real-time signals app into car
July 27, 2015
The BMW Group is the first manufacturer to bring the EnLighten App, by Connected Signals, into the car. Drivers of BMW Vehicles with iOS Devices will be able to see traffic signal data on the vehicle’s display in real time. The EnLighten app makes driving in cities easier by helping the driver anticipate traffic signal changes, which can increase safety and help save fuel by avoiding unnecessary acceleration.
The EnLighten app shows the current status of the traffic light in front of the car in real time as well as a countdown to when the signal will change. Based on the current vehicle position, as well as its speed, the EnLighten app offers a recommendation about whether or not to stop for the traffic light or proceed through. An audio alert notifies the driver about a pending change in the signal they are approaching.
International Truck invites Class 8 competitors to open event for head-to-head testing on fuel economy, aerodynamics and drivability
July 24, 2015
International Truck (Navistar’s flagship vehicle brand) has invited each of its Class 8 competitors to participate in an open performance testing to compare fuel economy and drivability of their new trucks during the week of 31 August at the Navistar Proving Grounds in New Carlisle, Indiana. Competitors will have the opportunity to bring their two best performing vehicles with regards to fuel economy and drivability.
The vehicle specifications for the test include: Class 8, on-highway sleeper; model year 2016, calendar year 2015 builds; include only factory installed options (hardware, software, and fluids), and currently meet compliance and are capable of delivery to all customer applications; and must fall within total mileage range of 2,500 – 15,000 miles (4,000 - 24,000 km) to maintain consistent break-in levels.
Next-generation LNG carrier concept about 8% more energy efficient, with 5% more cargo
July 23, 2015
DNV GL announced the completion of the LNGreen joint industry project, which worked to develop a state-of-the-art next-generation LNG carrier. (Earlier post.) The LNGreen joint industry project brought together experts from DNV GL and industry specialists from GTT (cryogenic membrane containment systems for LNG); shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries; and shipowner GasLog.
Each of the project partners contributed their know-how and experience, to develop a next-generation LNG carrier using the latest technology, within the bounds of existing shipbuilding methods. The vessel concept has a significantly improved environmental footprint; a higher level of energy efficiency (up to 8% improvement); as well as an improved boil-off rate and cargo capacity (+5%), making it much better suited to future trading patterns than existing vessels.
GM using Continental Structural Plastics’ TCA Ultra Lite in Corvette for 20 lb weight savings
July 22, 2015
Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), a global provider of lightweight composite solutions, announced that its Tough Class A (TCA) Ultra Lite material, introduced in September 2014, is now in production on the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette. The use of TCA Ultra Lite, a Class A body panel material, results in a 20 lb (9 kg) weight savings on the Stingray Coupe model. This is the first production use of CSP’s Ultra Lite advanced composite.
Ultra Lite technology uses treated glass bubbles to replace some of the CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) filler, allowing the resin to adhere to the matrix and increase the interfacial strength between the bubble and the resin. This is a patented treatment technology that results in a more robust resin mix that makes molded parts more resistant to handling damage, and prevents the micro-cracks that cause paint pops, pits and blistering. The treated bubbles also help with paint adhesion and bonding characteristics.
Buick 2016 Encore Sport Touring features new 1.4L direct injection turbo with stop/start
July 20, 2015
Buick introduced the 2016 Encore Sport Touring crossover, a more sporty take on the brand’s popular crossover. (Encore sales increased 29% for the first six months of 2015, logging 30,549 units.) The new model is equipped with an exclusive, all-new 1.4L turbocharged engine with direct injection and stop/start technology. The engine is part of the new, global family of small, power-dense engines developed to balance performance and efficiency with refinement.
Direct injection helps the engine generate an estimated 153 hp (112 kW) and 177 lb-ft of torque (240 N·m), for about 11% more horsepower and nearly 20% more torque than the Encore’s standard engine. The engine is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Argonne, Ford and FCA partnering to study natural gas and gasoline blending for 50% cut in gasoline, 10% boost in efficiency and power density
July 14, 2015
Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are partnering with Ford Motor Company and FCA US LLC in pre-competitive research to study blending natural gas and gasoline using natural gas direct injection to enable more efficient engines. The project is a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) resulting from the 2014 DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA).
The project’s objective is to understand potential benefits and demonstrate targeted blending of gasoline and natural gas in an engine that uses half as much gasoline and shows a 10% increase in overall efficiency and a 10% improvement in power density.