[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.]
Infiniti unveils I4 Variable Compression Turbo engine; targeting 27% improvement in fuel efficiency over V6 engines of similar output
September 30, 2016
At the Paris Motor Show, Infiniti unveiled the new VC-Turbo (Variable Compression Turbo)—the first production-ready variable compression ratio engine. (Earlier post.) VC-Turbo technology combines the power of a high-performance 2.0-liter turbo gasoline engine with the torque and efficiency of an advanced diesel powertrain without the equivalent emissions.
Transforming on demand, Infiniti’s VC-Turbo technology uses an advanced multi-link system to raise or to lower the reach of the pistons, detecting the car’s driving condition and driver inputs, and instantly selecting the most suitable compression ratio. The engine is able to offer any compression ratio between 8:1 (for high performance) and 14:1 (for high efficiency).
New ICCT study identifies significant potential to reduce aviation fuel consumption by up to 40% by 2034
September 27, 2016
A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) identifies significant potential to reduce aviation emissions through emerging fuel efficiency technologies.
The study summarizes the results of the first independent, bottom-up cost assessment of near- (2024) and mid-term (2034) technologies to improve new aircraft fuel efficiency. Carried out in cooperation with a panel of top technical experts and consultants using NASA and DoD-approved models to evaluate aviation technology programs, the study concludes that the rate of fuel efficiency improvement for new aircraft can be more than doubled through 2034, from about 1% today to 2.2% annually, by the adoption of cost effective technologies to improve engine efficiency, reduce aerodynamic drag, and trim aircraft empty weight.
Chevrolet introduces 2018 Equinox SUV with turbo diesel option in N. America
September 23, 2016
Chevrolet has introduced the all-new 2018 Equinox compact SUV with a choice of three turbocharged engines—including the segment’s first turbo-diesel in North America. The choices are a 1.5L turbo, a 2.0L turbo—matched with GM’s new nine-speed automatic transmission—and a 1.6L turbo-diesel.
The new Equinox is the first Chevrolet model in North America to use an all-turbocharged, multi-engine powertrain lineup. The 2018 Equinox goes on sale in the first quarter of 2017 in North America and rolls out to approximately 115 additional global markets later in the year.
DEKRA-certified tests: Mercedes-Benz HD trucks cut fuel consumption 22% in 20 years while meeting more stringent emissions rules; VECTO
September 22, 2016
Despite drastically more stringent emission standards for nitrogen oxides and particulates, the fuel consumption of Mercedes-Benz heavy trucks has been reduced by 22% over the last 20 years, according to the results of a comparative test drive certified by the test organization DEKRA.
The August 2016 testing by commercial vehicle magazine Lastauto Omnibus (LaO) compared the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz Actros long-distance truck compared to the basic model of 1996—a Mercedes-Benz from the SK model series and therefore one of the last representatives of the pre-Actros era. The model 1844 was certified according to the Euro II standard valid in 1996, and was therefore allowed to emit 7 grams of NOx per kilowatt hour (kWh) while staying within the limiting value of 0.15 g/kWh for particulate matter. The number and size of the soot and other particles was not prescribed.
Cummins introduces next-gen X-series Euro 6 engines; up to 605 hp
At the IAA Show in Germany, Cummins Inc. revealed the next generation X Series for heavy-duty truck applications with 15-liter and 12-liter displacements to meet Euro 6 (VI) and equivalent emissions standards as they become globally adopted from 2019 onward.
Across a broad 350 hp to 605 hp (260-451 kW) range, the X Series introduces an innovative approach to duty-cycle optimization with a medium-bore X12 engine and two big-bore configurations, available as the X15 Efficiency Series and the X15 Performance Series.
Bentley introduces its first diesel: Bentayga Diesel with 48V system & electric supercharger
Bentley Motors has introduced its first diesel model: the Bentayga Diesel SUV. At its core is an all-new, technologically advanced, triple-charged, 4.0-liter, 32-valve V8 engine. Developing 435 PS (429 bhp) and 900 N·m (664 lb. ft.) of torque, the Bentayga Diesel hits a top speed of 270 km/h (168 mph) and can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds). Peak torque is available from very early in the rev range (just 1,000 rpm).
The Bentayga Diesel, equipped with a start-stop system, has the lowest CO2 emissions of any Bentley (210 g/km), as well as a range of more than 1,000 km (621 miles)—allowing owners to, for example, drive from London to Verbier, Bordeaux or the Scottish Highlands on a single tank.
Ford showcases Transit line-up powered by new Ford EcoBlue diesel at Hannover; 6-speed auto, AWD and SYNC 3
September 21, 2016
The 2.0-liter Ford EcoBlue engine powers every vehicle displayed on Ford’s Hannover stand, and provides commercial vehicle operators with fuel efficiency improved by up to 13% compared with the outgoing 2.2-liter TDCi engine, with CO2 emissions from 157 g/km. EcoBlue also delivers significant improvements in low-rpm torque for enhanced driveability.
CALSTART survey of major auto suppliers finds 70% don’t want US to change CAFE targets; split on amount of electrification needed
September 15, 2016
Major automotive suppliers see national fuel economy standards as important for long-term planning and investment and don’t want to see them altered by US policymakers, according to a first-of-its-kind industry survey commissioned by CALSTART and conducted by Ricardo Energy & Environment.
The firm polled and interviewed 23 suppliers, almost all of them global Tier 1 suppliers that sell parts directly to automakers. According to the survey:
Volvo Trucks SuperTruck demonstrator improves freight efficiency by 88%, fuel efficiency by 70%
Volvo Trucks North America unveiled an innovative SuperTruck demonstrator whose combination of advanced aerodynamics, vehicle and powertrain technologies achieved a freight efficiency improvement of 88%—exceeding the 50% improvement goal set by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Supertruck I program.
The sleek tractor-trailer combination boosted fuel efficiency by 70%—exceeding 12 mpg, with some test runs showing more than 13 mpg—in road tests, and powertrain brake thermal efficiency reached 50%.
Jaguar Land Rover expanding Ingenium powertrain family; new gasoline engine, TRANSCEND transmission
September 12, 2016
This week, Jaguar Land Rover will expand its Ingenium powertrain family (earlier post), unveiling new technologies for both current and future vehicles. The new additions will support the company’s long-term commitment to reduce vehicle emissions and improve fuel economy across its range through the introduction of more efficient engines along with alternative powertrains, lighter vehicles and improved vehicle energy conservation.
At the heart of its low-emissions strategy, the new four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline engine is now in production at Jaguar Land Rover’s £1-billion (US$1.33-billion) Engine Manufacturing Centre. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK, these engines will deliver up to 25% more power than the engines they replace and offer fuel consumption reductions of up to 15%.
Nissan introducing Rogue Hybrid model for 2017; one-motor, two-clutch system
September 10, 2016
The newly announced 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid, the latest addition to the popular Rogue crossover lineup, offers a second powertrain choice for Rogue buyers for the 2017 model year in both FWD and AWD applications. Like the MY2017 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine-equipped standard Rogue models, the Rogue Hybrid offers freshened exterior and interior styling, additional safety, security and driving aid technology and a wide range of standard and available comfort, convenience and utility features. Rogue Hybrid will join the lineup by the end of 2016.
The 2017 Rogue Hybrid produces projected fuel economy of 33 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined (estimated) (7.12, 6.71 and 6.91 l/100km respectively) for the front-wheel drive model. Rogue Hybrid all-wheel drive models are projected at 31 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined (estimated) (7.58, 6.91 and 7.12 l/100km, respectively). Rogue Hybrid does so with virtually no compromise of performance, interior roominess or cargo space (compared to standard Rogue models).
Torotrak to present extreme engine downsizing solution at Dresden supercharging conference
September 08, 2016
At the 21st Supercharging Conference in Dresden next week, Torotrak Group will present results from engine testing that verify previous claims for V-Charge, a variable drive mechanical supercharger.
In comparison with the incumbent fixed-ratio positive-displacement supercharger on a 1.0L GTDI engine, V-Charge achieved improved BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption), better transient performance and a maximum BMEP (brake mean effective pressure) of 31 bar.
Kia introducing its first FWD 8-speed automatic
September 06, 2016
Kia Motors has revealed some details of its advanced new eight-speed automatic transmission (8AT), engineered for use in front-wheel drive vehicles.
Kia developed the new front-wheel drive 8AT (FWD 8AT) in-house; the new FWD 8AT occupies the same space as a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, and weighs 3.5 kg less. Under development since 2012, the development program for the breakthrough transmission led Kia to patent 143 new technologies to ensure a high level of performance and efficiency in a compact structure.
Study finds isopropanol-n-butanol-ethanol and gasoline blend viable as alternative fuel
September 05, 2016
Researchers from the University of Illinois and colleagues in China investigating the performance, combustion and emission characteristics of a port fuel-injection SI engine fueled with isopropanol-n-butanol-ethanol (IBE)-gasoline blends have concluded that an IBE30 blend could be a good alternative to gasoline.
Bio-n-butanol itself is a promising alternative fuel, produced conventionally from the fermentation of carbohydrates by Clostridium bacteria in a well-established process referred to as ABE fermentation, after its major chemical products: acetone, butanol and ethanol. However, ABE fermentation production suffers from relatively low production efficiency as well as the high cost of component recovery; the product mixture typically has an A:B:E ratio of 3:6:1.
Daimler Trucks NA presents new Class 8 Freightliner Cascadia with fuel efficiency improved up to 8%
September 02, 2016
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) has presented its new heavy-duty truck flagship: the new Freightliner Cascadia.
When developing the new Cascadia, the engineers set a priority goal of achieving significant fuel savings. A fresh, aerodynamic shape with dozens of new updates and advanced powertrain components contribute to increased fuel efficiency by up to 8% over a 2016 Cascadia Evolution. One key benefit of the new Cascadia is its integrated powertrain. Unlike in Europe, it is quite common in the North American commercial vehicle market that the customer has third party aggregates in its trucks.
Cummins and Peterbilt to team up on SuperTruck II
September 01, 2016
For SuperTruck II, the Cummins–Peterbilt team will focus on breakthrough advances in Class 8 vehicle freight efficiency technologies that are cost-effective enough to be used in everyday real-world applications. Building on the solid foundation of SuperTruck I, Cummins will develop and demonstrate 55% or greater engine Brake Thermal Efficiency (BTE) at a 65 mph cruise condition and the full team will demonstrate a greater than 100% improvement in vehicle Freight-Ton Economy (FTE) over the 2009 baseline vehicle.
Bosch more broadly commercializing water injection system; up to 13% fuel savings under some conditions
Bosch is now more broadly commercializing its water injection system for turbocharged engines (earlier post). Bosch currently supplies water injection parts for the BMW M4 GTS—the first production vehicle to feature a water injection system. (Earlier post.) In the vehicle’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine, it offers improved performance and consumption even at full load.
Bosch’s WI system comprises a water pump; a water rail; and injectors which have been designed to handle the specific challenges arising as a result of operation with water. Particularly when accelerating quickly or driving on the freeway, the injection of additional water makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 13% in highway conditions and 4% in normal driving (WLTC).
Volvo Group selected to participate in DOE’s SuperTruck II Program; 55% BTE
August 31, 2016
Under a SuperTruck II award announced by the US Department of Energy (DOE) (earlier post), Volvo Group North America is scheduled to receive $20 million in federal funding that it will use to improve the freight-moving efficiency of heavy-duty trucks. The Volvo Group and its partners will match the development funds dollar-for-dollar.
The Volvo Group’s team of researchers and engineers will use alternative engine designs and an integrated system approach to build a lightweight tractor-trailer concept that exceeds the freight efficiency goal of 100% improvement on a ton-mile-per-gallon basis compared with a 2009 baseline. The team also will demonstrate a powertrain capable of 55% brake thermal efficiency.
XL Hybrids awarded DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot; testing of first diesel/XL3 combo at Argonne
August 30, 2016
XL Hybrids, Inc. has been awarded test funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV). Testing validation and analysis of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for Reach walk-in commercial vans will be performed at Argonne National Laboratory. The goal of the SBV-funded project is to overcome specific technical challenges, the company said.
The Reach van from Utilimaster is a high-roof Class 3 delivery van that comes with a standard 151.4 inch wheelbase and the high efficiency 3.0L, 150 hp, Isuzu DOHC I-4 diesel engine. The XL3 hybrid system is available on the Reach van with 2,500 pounds payload capacity with the XL3 system installed. (Hybrid system weight is 385 lbs / 175 kg.)
Select truck fleets boosted fuel economy 3% in 2015 compared to national Class 8 average
August 28, 2016
Seventeen trucking fleets operating more than 62,000 tractors and 217,000 trailers recorded a 3% increase in fuel economy in 2015, saving an accumulative $501 million on fuel when compared to the 2015 national average fuel spend of 1.7 million over-the-road class 8 trucks. They achieved these gains by purchasing a variety of fuel efficiency technologies, according to the Annual Fleet Fuel Study released by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
As a result of these investments, fleet-wide mpg increased from 6.87 to 7.06 in 2015, the largest margin of improvement in eight years of consecutive improvements. The trade cycle for these fleets is a little over five years, meaning that the new trucks are about 16% more efficient than the 2010 model year trucks they replaced.
USDOT proposes speed limiters for large commercial vehicles; potential savings up to ~$1B in fuel each year depending on limit
August 26, 2016
The US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are proposing equipping heavy-duty vehicles with devices that limit their speeds on US roadways, and requiring those devices be set to a maximum speed, a safety measure that could save lives and more than $1 billion in fuel costs each year.
Specifically, NHTSA is proposing to establish a new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) requiring that each new multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, bus and school bus with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 11,793.4 kilograms (26,000 pounds) be equipped with a speed limiting device.
2017 Audi A4 ultra with Millerized 2.0 TFSI offers 31 mpg combined; highest EPA-estimated fuel economy in competitive segment
August 17, 2016
Audi’s 2017 A4 ultra leverages the Millerized 2.0-liter TFSI engine (earlier post) to achieve 27 mpg (8.7 l/100 km) city, 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) highway, and 31 mpg (7.58 l/100 km) combined EPA-estimated fuel economy. No other luxury sedan in its non-hybrid competitive segment offers higher EPA-estimated city or highway mileage.
The efficiency of the 2.0 TFSI is the result of Audi’s Millerized combustion method with shorter compression and longer expansion phases as well as increased compression. The Miller cycle uses a higher expansion ratio than compression ratio (i.e., over-expansion) obtained by either early or late closing of the intake valves (EIVC and LIVC, respectively), and results in a smaller effective compression stroke; combustion and expansion proceed normally.
DOE to award up to $137M for SuperTruck II, Vehicle Technology Office programs
August 16, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest up to $137 million in two programs, subject to appropriations, to develop next-generation technologies that will support industry in going beyond the newly announced Phase II standard for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post) and also accelerating technology advances for passenger cars and light trucks.
One initiative, SuperTruck II (earlier post), will award $80 million to four projects to develop and to demonstrate cost-effective technologies that more than double the freight efficiency of Class 8 trucks. Through the other initiative, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (earlier post)selections, 35 new projects will receive $57 million to develop and deploy a wide array of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, including advanced batteries and electric drive systems, to reduce carbon emissions and petroleum consumption in passenger cars and light trucks.
EPA and DOT issue final Phase 2 GHG and fuel efficiency rulemaking for medium- and heavy-duty trucks
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) jointly released the finalized Phase 2 greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks.
The product of four years of testing and research and outreach to industry, environmental organizations, labor unions, and other stakeholders, the vehicle and engine performance standards will cover model years 2021-2027, and apply to semi-trucks, large pickup trucks and vans, and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. These standards will result in significant GHG emissions reductions and fuel efficiency improvements across all of these vehicle types. For example, when the standards are fully phased in, tractors in a tractor-trailer will achieve up to 25% lower CO2 emissions and fuel consumption than an equivalent tractor in 2018.
Infiniti introducing production-ready variable compression ratio engine at Paris Motor Show
August 15, 2016
Infiniti will introduce a production-ready variable compression ratio engine VC-T (Variable Compression-Turbocharged) at the 2016 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile) in September. Infiniti said that the new four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline VC-T engine has been in development for more than 20 years. (Nissan was awarded a patent in 1995 on compression ratio control for an engine.)
Interest in variable compression engines stretches back more than 40 years. In a 1976 SAE paper, Grundy et al. described the Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) AVCR 1360-2 variable compression ratio (VCR) diesel engine, the culmination of fifteen years of VCR piston and high specific output research. Two main types of variable compression ratio systems have been proposed over the years: continuous and two-stage.
CALSTART white paper shows nationwide tech supplier industry ready to support more efficient heavy-duty trucks and buses
August 12, 2016
A new high-level white-paper from clean transportation industry group CALSTART shows that US companies that develop and manufacture high-efficiency, low-carbon technologies for heavy-duty vehicles are ready to support more efficient trucks and buses.
In a first attempt to gauge the scope of the United States’ high-efficiency technology supplier sector for heavy-duty trucks and buses, CALSTART conducted an initial scan of businesses and identified and mapped 255 companies. The firms range from vehicle manufacturers to component suppliers to technology developers, and operate from 535 facilities in 40 states, impacting 80% of the nation.
Argonne team discovers self-regenerating DLC tribofilm
August 05, 2016
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered an ultra-durable, self-lubricating tribofilm that regenerates in the presence of oil, heat, and pressure—meaning that it will not wear away over the life of an engine. The film, reported yesterday in the journal Nature, develops when a new catalytic coating that can be applied to engine parts interacts with lubricating oil to create an extremely tough coating that almost eliminates wear.
Tests revealed the diamond-like carbon (DLC) tribofilm reduced friction by 25-40% and that wear was reduced to unmeasurable values. The discovery could have implications for the efficiency and durability of future engines and other moving metal parts that can be made to develop self-healing DLC tribofilms.
Survey: Fuel efficiency top criterion for US buyers regardless of size of vehicle; good news for start-stop
August 03, 2016
American consumers are strongly influenced by fuel efficiency and the price of gas when purchasing a vehicle, according to a new survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Johnson Controls. Of the 1,006 people surveyed, fuel efficiency (57%) is top of mind for consumers when they go to buy any size automobile, followed closely by cost (55%) and safety (54%).
That preference is consistent with a similar survey conducted five years ago, despite falling gas prices, which are down more than 37% from the national average in 2011. The new survey also found consumers are sensitive to the price of fuel when considering a new vehicle, with 64% saying it directly impacts their purchase. This is up 14% from 2011.
UPS hits target of 1 billion alternative-fueled miles one year early
August 02, 2016
UPS has achieved its goal of driving 1 billion miles in its alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet one year earlier than planned, and marked more than 10 years of learning from its “Rolling Laboratory” of now more than 7,200 alternative fuel vehicles.
UPS’ long-term commitment to sustainability is transforming commercial transportation and logistics, spurring growth in the clean fuels market and enabling critical engineering advances. The company’s wider sustainability progress is detailed in the newly released 14th annual Sustainability Report.
DOE to award $7M to accelerate fuel and engine co-optimization technologies; Co-Optima initiative
August 01, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $7 million in project funding to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines as part of the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative. (Earlier post.)
Co-optimized fuels and engines offer the opportunity to build on decades of advancements in both fuels and engines. Groundbreaking research in the last 10 years has identified combustion engine strategies that—especially if optimized to run on new fuels—would offer significantly higher efficiency and produce fewer engine-out pollutants than current engines. The new funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001461) will advance the long-term objective of the Co-Optima initiative to accelerate widespread deployment of significantly improved fuels and vehicles (from passenger to light truck to heavy-duty commercial vehicles) by 2030.
TÜM study finds reduction in fuel consumption from eco-driving training, even with incentives, to be fleeting
A study of the persistence of effects of eco-driving training by a team from Technische Universität München has found that, while there is an immediate reduction of the average fuel consumption following eco-driving training along with the provision of an incentive, there is an attenuation of this effect after six months.
Further, they also found no impact on fuel consumption from purely theoretical eco-driving training—i.e., without incentives—either short-term or long-term. A paper describing their study is published in the journal Energy Policy.
California releases Sustainable Freight Action Plan to transform freight system; 25% more efficient by 2030
July 30, 2016
In response to an Executive Order issued last year by California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., state agency leaders on Friday released the California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a comprehensive document that serves as a blueprint for transforming the state’s multi-billion dollar freight transport system into one that is environmentally cleaner, more efficient, and more economically competitive than it is today.
The revised document is similar to the draft version issued in May 2016, but reflects new input provided by industry, labor, regional and local government, and community and environmental group stakeholders, who submitted more than 85 comments on the draft plan.
Argonne National Laboratory to lead US consortium for new CERC medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track; 50% boost in efficiency
July 23, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected Argonne National Laboratory to lead a consortium of university, private sector and national laboratory partners for a new, medium- and heavy-duty truck technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) Truck Research Utilizing Collaborative Knowledge (TRUCK) program.
The multidisciplinary consortium includes Cummins Inc.; Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation; Ohio State University; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; and the University of Michigan. The program will address cost-effective measures to improve on-road freight efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by greater than 50% compared to today’s vehicles.
EPA, NHTSA & ARB Draft TAR finds MY 2022-2025 LD fuel and GHG standards can be met largely with more efficient gasoline-powered cars
July 18, 2016
The US EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) have released the Draft Technical Assessment Report mid-term evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for light-duty cars and trucks for model years (MY) 2022-2025.
The draft TAR shows that automotive manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market at a rapid pace, and that they will be able to meet the MY 2022-2025 standards established in the 2012 rulemaking with a wide range of cost-effective technologies. Moreover, it indicates that these standards can be achieved by relying primarily on advanced gasoline vehicles.
MAHLE Jet Ignition for Ferrari F1 as well as sub-200 g/kWh BSFC in light-duty engine; on-road and stationary applications
July 11, 2016
MAHLE Powertrain has been developing Jet Ignition—a high-energy distributed ignition technology that enables homogeneous ultra-lean (λ > ∼1.6) combustion, with its attendant benefits of reduced fuel consumption and emissions—for a number of years. (E.g., Earlier post, (Earlier post.)
MAHLE Jet Ignition (MJI) uses a pre-chamber in conjunction with a spark plug and secondary fuel injector. The chemical, thermal and kinetic energy from the combustion of this small fuel-air mixture is transferred via nozzles to the main combustion chamber where it ignites the main fuel-air mixture.
GE Aviation hits Farnborough at full throttle; $7.5B in R&D investments since 2010; ceramic matrix composites and 3D printing
July 10, 2016
GE Aviation will enter the Farnborough Air Show on Monday with a wave of new product and technology introductions while expanding its factory network to deliver on a record $154-billion industrial backlog of product and services.
From running the first full GE9X engine for the Boeing 777X (earlier post)—fired more than seven months ahead of a typical engine program schedule—to certifying the Passport jet engine for the Bombardier Global 7000 and Global 8000 (earlier post), GE Aviation this year is introducing new jet engines for business jets to wide-body airline aircraft. GE Aviation has announced eight new factories in eight years to respond to record engine orders. By year’s end, GE and CFM International (the 50/50 joint company of GE and Safran) will have more than 15,000 commercial engines on back order.
Porsche opens new plant for eight-cylinder engines; digitalization and data management; V8s for all VW Group brands
July 08, 2016
Porsche has officially dedicated a new engine plant for eight-cylinder engines. The factory at the main site in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen works with state-of-the-art production methods, leveraging digitalization and data management. At full plant utilization produces around 200 eight-cylinder V-engines daily. The sports car manufacturer has invested nearly €80 million in the new production facility.
Porsche’s new engine plant will also contribute towards synergies within the Volkswagen Group. Plans call for producing the eight-cylinder V-engines for all Group brands in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen from this point forward.
Report: combination of new mobility technologies creates opportunities for cutting emissions, but requires strategic policy interventions
June 30, 2016
The combination of connectivity, automation plus shared vehicle ownership and use has the potential to make car travel greener and cheaper, cutting energy use and helping accelerate the introduction of low carbon vehicles. However, these energy and carbon benefits are by no means guaranteed and will require strategic policy interventions to maximize them according to new report by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds, commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
The study—Automated vehicles; Automatically low carbon?— was presented at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Conference at the Olympic Park in London. According to the study, better coordination and connectivity between vehicles and infrastructure is likely to improve energy efficiency, as well as potentially make road transport safer and quicker.
WEC report: EVs need 16% market share by 2020 for fuel economy standards to be met
Electric vehicles (EVs) will need to increase their combined market share to 16% by 2020 for markets to achieve the aggressive fuel economy standards set by regulators, according to new research by the World Energy Council, the UN-accredited global energy body representing the entire energy spectrum.
While EVs currently represent less than 1% combined market share across the world’s largest markets for new passenger cars, they should be considered central to any policy and technology portfolio designed to lower transport emissions, WEC said.
Canada, US and Mexico commit to align light- and heavy-duty fuel efficiency and GHG standards out to 2025 and 2027, respectively
As one of the outcomes of the “Three Amigos” meeting in Ottawa, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US President Barack Obama, and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto committed to an “ambitious and enduring” North American Climate, Clean Energy, and Environment Partnership. A key element of that partnership is a goal for North America to strive to achieve 50% clean power generation by 2025.
The action plan also encompasses a range of initiatives, including a focus on clean transportation. As part of that effort, the leaders committed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from light- and heavy-duty vehicles by aligning fuel efficiency and/or GHG emission standards out to 2025 and 2027, respectively. They further agreed to reduce air pollutant emissions by aligning air pollutant emission standards for light- and heavy-duty vehicles and corresponding ultra low-sulfur fuel standards by 2018. In addition, the SmartWay freight transportation program will be extended to Mexico.
Report finds US automakers remain profitable under future CAFE standards even with fuel price fluctuation
June 28, 2016
Even with wide-ranging unpredictable gas prices, US automakers will remain profitable and suppliers will benefit under existing national fuel economy standards slated to be in place until 2025, according to a new economic analysis brief prepared by independent automotive industry analysts, commissioned by the nonprofit group Ceres. The brief is a summary for investors and policy analysts of a larger study that will be available from Ceres in August 2016.
The study, Economic Implications of the Current National Program vs. a Weakened National Program in 2022-2025 for Detroit Three Automakers and Tier One Suppliers, was released shortly before federal agencies are expected to release a new technical assessment report regarding a midterm review of light-duty fuel-efficiency and carbon emissions standards.
Torotrak outlines advances in its full-toroidal traction-drive CVT using PitchSteer; EV applications as well
June 24, 2016
At the 2016 International VDI Congress “Drivetrain for Vehicles” in Friedrichshafen, Germany, John Fuller, Director of Concepts & IP for Torotrak Group, presented and discussed the company’s latest advances to optimize its full-toroidal variator technology for the light vehicle market as applied in continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).
Torotrak’s main drive CVTs combine its full toroidal traction drive variator with other conventional transmission components. By combining its extensive experience in main drive and auxiliary drive transmissions, Torotrak has designed a variator concept with ratio spread of up to 12, operated by a low cost actuation system.
Beijing Foton launches “China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance”; Auman Energy Super Truck
June 23, 2016
Chinese truck and utility vehicle manufacturer Beijing Foton has launched the China Internet Super Truck Global Innovation Alliance and showcased the Auman EST (Energy Super Truck) at an event in Athens, Greece.
The Internet super truck project is a collaboration that brings together Foton Motor Group, Cummins, and Daimler AG and aims at building Internet-driven super trucks that are green, efficient, safe, and intelligent through the integration of global resources, the effective use of new energies, the establishment of vehicle networks, and the implementation of intelligent truck-loading technology.
Ricardo investigating potential for its split-cycle engine in large engine market
Ricardo is exploring the value proposition for applications of its novel split-cycle combustion engine (earlier post). In a poster-session paper presented at CIMAC Congress 2016 in Finland, Ricardo described the use of this split-cycle concept in high- and medium-speed engines for power generation to achieve efficiencies of 60% from units of 1–30 MW mechanical output.
Ricardo, in collaboration with the University of Brighton, has been developing the split-cycle engine with an eye toward improving the thermal efficiency of heavy-duty engines. The engine is based on a fundamentally new split-cycle combustion concept using a recuperated split-cycle with isothermal compression via cryogenic injection. The technology has the potential to realize brake thermal efficiencies in the order of 60% across a number of applications, Ricardo says.
Iveco launches the New Stralis XP long-haul truck; fuel savings up to 11%
June 20, 2016
Iveco has introduced the New Stralis XP long-haul truck, featuring fuel savings of up to 11% and a reduction in total cost of ownership (TCO) of up to 5.6% in long-distance transport operations.
The New Stralis XP builds on the foundation of the Stralis Hi-Way, launched in 2012 and named “International Truck of the Year 2013”. It carries over the best of its predecessor, and in particular the Hi-Way cab, which is very well appreciated by customers, Iveco’s HI-SCR Euro VI solution that requires no regeneration and preserves the long-term value of engine and vehicle, and the quality and reliability of the previous range.
Dana presenting VariGlide beltless transmission technology at International VDI Conference
June 17, 2016
Dana Holding Corporation will present its VariGlide planetary variator for beltless continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) at the International VDI Conference, to be held 21-22 June 2016, in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Dana’s VariGlide technology features a unique planetary, coaxial configuration, which eliminates belts and pulleys used in conventional CVTs. In addition to providing fuel economy benefits relative to 6-, 8-, and 9-speed transmissions, the VariGlide variator has the potential to improve fuel economy by up to 10% when compared with conventional CVTs with belts.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks boosts power, lowers emissions and fuel consumption with latest generation OM 470 engine
At the upcoming IAA this fall, Mercedes-Benz Trucks will showcase the latest generation of the OM 470 six-cylinder in-line engine, which incorporates numerous new developments to achieve a further reduction in fuel consumption of up to 5%.
Mercedes-Benz is also introducing a new top-of-the-range variant with a power output of 335 kW (456 hp). All the heavy-duty engines benefit from new low-friction engine oils. The Mercedes PowerShift 3 twelve-speed transmissions have been modified for optimum efficiency and the driving strategy of the anticipatory cruise control system Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) has been refined. The Actros additionally benefits from aerodynamic improvements.
Honda launches 2017 Accord Hybrid; 2nd generation two-motor hybrid powertrain
June 15, 2016
Honda has launched the 2017 Accord Hybrid (earlier post) at its dealers in the US. Featuring an advanced second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid midsize sedan delivers peak total system output of 212 hp, best-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings of 49/47/48 mpg US (4.8/5.0/4.9 l/100 km) (city/highway/combined), and a starting MSRP of $29,605.
In addition to the more powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid benefits from the extensive upgrades made to the Accord lineup for 2016 including new styling, sportier driving performance and increased levels of standard and available equipment including the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, offered as standard equipment on all models.
LiquidPiston releases proof-of-concept video of X Mini 70cc rotary engine applied in a kart
June 14, 2016
LiquidPiston, Inc. (LPI), the developer of engines based on its High Efficiency Hybrid Cycle (HEHC) (earlier post), has released a proof-of-concept video of its X Mini rotary engine applied in a go-kart.
LiquidPiston’s X Engine architecture is a non-Wankel rotary embodiment of the HEHC. The X Engine has few parts and three combustion events per rotor revolution, resulting in tremendous power density. The X Engine’s few moving parts consist of a rotor (the primary work-producing component) and an eccentric shaft. Except for ancillary parts such as injectors, fuel pumps, and oil pumps, there are no other moving parts.
EU investing >€3M in research into ultra-efficient aero engines; ULTIMATE project
The EU is investing more than €3 million in innovative aero-engine technologies in the three-year ULTIMATE project, short for Ultra Low emission Technology Innovations for Mid-century Aircraft Turbine Engines. The 3-year project, which launched in September 2015, targets radical concepts for new aero engines, in line with the EU’s long-term emissions reduction target for 2050. The project is being presented in a paper (Grönstedt et al.) at the ASME Turbo Expo 2016 conference this week in Seoul, South Korea.
The project team, coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology, includes four of the largest engine manufacturers in Europe: Rolls-Royce (UK), MTU Aero Engines (Germany), Safran Aircraft Engines (France) and GKN Aerospace (Sweden), four universities: Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Cranfield University (UK), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (France), the research institute Bauhaus Luftfahrt (Germany) and the technology management company Arttic (France).
New aluminum-cerium alloys could boost rare earth production; improved energy efficiency of engines
June 03, 2016
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and partners Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Eck Industries have developed aluminum-cerium (Al-Ce) alloys that are both easier to work with and more heat tolerant than existing products.
ORNL scientists Zach Sims, Michael McGuire and Orlando Rios, along with colleagues from Eck, LLNL and Ames Laboratory in Iowa, discuss the technical and economic possibilities for aluminum–cerium alloys in an article in JOM, a publication of the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society. The alloys have the potential to jump-start US production of rare earth elements, the researchers suggested.
Audi’s Gen2 A5 offers up to 17% more performance and up to 22% lower fuel consumption
Nine years after the launch of the mid-size A5, Audi unveiled the second-generation A5 and S5 Coupé during an event at the company’s headquarters in Ingolstadt. The new Audi A5 Coupé will launch in Germany with five engines: two gasoline TFSI and three diesel TDI units.
Their power output has increased considerably and is now between 140 kW (190 hp) and 210 kW (286 hp). Compared with the previous model, they offer up to 17% more performance while consuming as much as 22% less fuel. All the engines combine high efficiency with sporty power development and smooth running—especially the two 3.0 TDI six-cylinder engines.
New BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo improves fuel economy by up to 14%
June 01, 2016
BMW will launch the latest BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo in time for the start of summer. Combining the style of a coupé, the passenger spaciousness of a luxury sedan and the trunk capacity of a station wagon, the 3 Series Gran Turismo has developed into a firm fixture of the mid-size class over the last three years. Its biggest sales markets are China, Germany and the USA; the majority of BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo customers are new to the BMW brand.
The new version of the Gran Turismo offers three new gasoline and five diesel engines with noticeably higher output; all the engines are turbocharged and burn up to 14% less fuel. A total of 18 engine, transmission and drive configurations are available for the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo.
Volvo Trucks’ new concept truck cuts fuel consumption by more than 30%
May 31, 2016
With support from the Swedish Energy Agency, Volvo Trucks has developed a new concept vehicle, the Volvo Concept Truck. The result of a five-year long research project aimed at creating more energy-efficient vehicles, the new concept truck cuts fuel consumption by more than 30%. The aim of the project is to improve the efficiency for long-haul truck transportation by 50%.
One of the key factors behind the low fuel consumption is the massive 40% improvement in aerodynamic efficiency that has benefited both the tractor and trailer. Aerodynamically optimized chassis side-skirts cover the rear wheels on the tractor and all the trailer wheels; aerodynamic spoilers extend the trailer and cut air resistance.
Peapod adds two LH hydraulic hybrids delivery trucks to fleet
May 20, 2016
Peapod, the leading online grocer in the US, took delivery of its first two hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks this month. The vehicles, existing Workhorse walk-in vans with GM gasoline engines and equipped with the Lightning Hybrids Energy Recovery System (ERS), are in service on the streets of Chicago and were partially paid for by the Drive Clean Chicago voucher program for clean vehicles.
The trucks, the first hydraulic hybrids in Peapod’s fleet of approximately 130 vehicles in the Midwest, are expected to reduce fuel consumption, reduce brake maintenance costs and cut emissions significantly in Peapod service neighborhoods.
Suzuki reports fuel economy testing irregularities in Japan but says no need to amend values
May 18, 2016
Suzuki announcement that it has found “some discrepancies” between the automobile emission and fuel efficiency testing methodology it has used in Japan and the requirements from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).
However, the company said, after retesting vehicles, it found that all certified fuel efficiency values remained within the range of measurement deviation. The company said it thus was not necessary adjust the measured values. The announcement came as Suzuki delivered the results of an internal investigation into its emissions and fuel efficiency testing ordered by the MLLIT. The issues do not apply to products sold under the Suzuki badge outside of Japan.
BMW introducing new quad-turbo 6-cylinder diesel in 7 Series; engine output up 5%, average fuel consumption down 11%
May 17, 2016
BMW is introducing its new quad-turbo, six-cylinder diesel, described several weeks ago at the Vienna Motor Symposium, in the BMW 750d xDrive and BMW 750Ld xDrive. The new diesel—billed by BMW as the world’s most powerful six cylinder diesel, generates maximum output of 294 kW/400 hp and peak torque of 760 N·m (560 lb-ft).
The 14 kW/19 hp (i.e. 5%) increase in output and peak torque up by 20 N·m (15 lb-ft) are accompanied by a 11% reduction in average fuel consumption and emissions over the predecessor model. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 5.9 – 5.7 l/100 km (39.8 – 41.2 mpg US); the corresponding CO2 emissions are 154 – 149 g/km. The engine comes standard with intelligent all-wheel drive.
New GM 10-speed auto for Camaro ZL1 shifts quicker than DCT; to be applied in 8 other models by 2018
May 12, 2016
With faster upshifts than a dual-clutch transmission (DCT) and a wider overall gear ratio spread to optimize performance and efficiency, the all-new available GM Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission sets a new performance standard in the 2017 Camaro ZL1. The transmission is an all-new design—and the first application in a car—with a wider, 7.39 overall gear ratio spread, that enables the ZL1’s supercharged engine to remain at optimal engine speeds during upshifts. GM and Ford began joint development of 9- and 10-speed transmission designs in 2013. (Earlier post.)
The wider overall ratio enables a lower numerical top gear ratio—an attribute that reduces engine speed on the highway, which contributes to greater fuel efficiency than a comparable eight-speed transmission. Improvements in spin loss complement the optimized gearing, further enhancing efficiency. Although the Camaro ZL1 will be the first GM vehicle to offer the new 10-speed automatic, designed for rear-wheel-drive applications, it will be available in eight additional vehicles by 2018.
Mitsubishi Motors admits to improper fuel consumption testing in 9 additional models
May 11, 2016
In April, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) admitted to manipulating fuel consumption testing data for some 625,000 mini-cars representing four models it manufactured for sale in Japan by itself and partner Nissan. (Earlier post.)
MMC now says that its internal hearings into the cheating suggest that the method used to cheat—the improper calculation of running resistance—was also applied in nine other models currently sold in Japan, as well as in other models no longer sold in Japan. The use of the calculations is also suspected on the RVR and some other models, and investigations into the background and details are ongoing and will be announced separately.
Argonne rolls out updated version of AFLEET alternative fuels and advanced vehicles analysis tool
May 10, 2016
The US Department of Energy (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory is releasing an updated version of its AFLEET tool to reflect the latest advances in alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies and updated emissions data. Sponsored by the DOE Clean Cities program, AFLEET (Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation Tool) is a free, publicly-available tool that provides users with a roadmap for assessing which types of vehicles and fuels are right for them. The 2016 AFLEET Tool and user guide are available online. Although anyone can download and use the tool, AFLEET was designed for managers that purchase and maintain a fleet of vehicles.
The latest version includes, for the first time: gaseous hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; state-based (rather than national-based) fuel pricing, private station fuel pricing and fueling infrastructure costs. Updates to existing inputs include new light-duty vehicle costs; vehicle air pollutant emission factors derived from the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions modeling system, MOVES 2014a; and petroleum use and greenhouse gas and relative air pollutant emissions from the 2015 GREET model, Argonne’s leading fuel life-cycle analysis model that is now in its twentieth year.
Study suggests high-mileage light-duty fleets contribute higher emissions and emissions share than expected
May 04, 2016
A study by researchers from the University of Denver and the University of Puget Sound indicates that high-mileage light-duty fleets contribute higher emissions and emissions share than expected based on their actual numbers in the fleet.
In their open-access paper, published in the ACS Journal Environmental Science & Technology, they estimate that these small fleets, which represent less than 1% of the total, may be overlooked as a significant emission source (>2−5% of fleet emissions).
California issues draft plan for more efficient, less polluting freight system
May 03, 2016
California agency leaders released the Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, an ambitious document that lays a foundation for modernizing California’s multi-billion dollar freight transportation system.
The Draft Action Plan puts forward a single shared vision to improve the efficiency of California’s freight system while reducing its pollution, while continuing to bolster the competitiveness of California’s goods movement system nationally and internationally. Key components of the Action Plan include:
2017 Ford F-150 to offer 2nd-gen 3.5L EcoBoost with dual direct and port fuel injection; 10-speed automatic
The 2017 Ford F-150 will offer an all-new, second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission. The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine will provide 30 lb-ft more peak torque compared with the first-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, up to a best-in-class 450 lb-ft (610 N·m) for a V6. F-150 remains the only truck in its segment to offer a twin-turbo V6 gasoline engine.
The all-new Ford-built transmission—the first volume-production 10-speed automatic transmission available to consumers from any automaker—will deliver improved acceleration and performance compared with previous six-speed automatic transmissions. More than 20 patents are approved or pending for the new powertrain combination.
Qoros and FreeValve partner on camless technology; new Qoros concept uses FreeValve PHEA
April 29, 2016
At Auto China in Beijing, Qoros Auto unveiled a concept car showcasing a new Qoros “Qamfree” engine featuring FreeValve’s Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuator (PHEA) technology. FreeValve and Qoros also announced a partnership for the continued development of the camless technology. FreeValve AB is a sister company to Koenigsegg Automotive.
FreeValve’s PHEA technology replaces the conventional camshaft and associated hardware, and allows the engine management system to have full control over each valve. Where camshaft technology has been limited to the relationship between the valves and the camshaft position, FreeValve’s fully variable valve actuation allows independent control over every valve’s precise opening/closing position and timing throughout the whole combustion cycle.
VW introduces new, more efficient TSI engine generation; Miller cycle with higher compression and electric VTG turbo
April 28, 2016
Volkswagen is presenting the latest generation of the EA211 TSI evo at the 37th International Vienna Motor Symposium. The first model in this future generation of spark ignition engines is the 1.5-liter TSI. The fuel-efficient and high-torque gasoline-fueled TSI engine is set to launch in late 2016, initially with outputs of 96 kW and 110 kW.
The main technology elements of the new EA211 TSI evo result in efficiency benefits of up to 10% compared with the previous 1.4l TSI (92 kW). The improvements in fuel economy take effect across a wide range of the engine map—i.e, they do not merely apply under test bench conditions but also impact everyday driving. Among the key new/revised technologies are:
Tula Technology reports up to 18% fuel economy gain in GM 6.2L V8 using Dynamic Skip Fire technology; emissions benefits too
April 25, 2016
In a paper presented at the 2016 SAE World Congress, Tula Technology, developer of Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF) cylinder deactivation technology, reported significant fuel economy gains of up to 18% over a conventional GM 6.2-liter V8 by operating using Dynamic Skip Fire. DSF—a software-enabled powertrain technology that integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls—reduces the pumping losses while improving the combustion stability in spark ignition engines.
GM has been working closely with Tula Technology; in 2012, GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula. (Earlier post.) In 2015, Delphi also took a stake in the Silicon Valley-based company. (Earlier post.)
Tsinghua team evaluates impact of types and arrangements of electric traction motors in fuel cell hybrid buses
April 20, 2016
Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the performance of two different powertrains for fuel cell hybrid buses. Both buses use 50 kW PEM fuel cell stacks (from different manufacturers) as the primary power source, with LiMn2O4 battery packs as secondary power sources. A significant difference between the two powertrains lies in the types and arrangements of the electrical motor.
One powertrain employs a single induction motor (IM) to drive the vehicle via a reduction gearbox and differential (Powertrain A), while the other powertrain adopts two permanent magnetic synchronous motors (PMSMs) for near-wheel propulsion (Powertrain B). A further difference between the proposed powertrains is the supply path for the fuel cell accessories. A paper on their study is published in Journal of Power Sources.
Mitsubishi Motors manipulated fuel economy testing on 625K mini-cars sold in Japan; other models affected
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has admitted to manipulating fuel consumption testing data for some 625,000 mini-cars it manufactured for sale in Japan by itself and partner Nissan. Nissan was the one who identified the discrepancies.
In a statement, MMC said that with respect to the fuel consumption testing data submitted to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), MMC conducted testing improperly to present better fuel consumption rates than the actual rates; and that the testing method was also different from the one required by Japanese law.
Volvo Trucks used SuperTruck learnings to boost efficiency, performance in 2017 powertrains; wave piston, turbocompounding, injection
April 14, 2016
Key learnings from Volvo’s SuperTruck (earlier post) efforts played a critical role in the design and engineering of Volvo Trucks North America’s recently introduced 2017 powertrain, delivering improved fuel efficiency and performance to customers. (Earlier post.)
The development of several new features, such as the wave piston, turbo compounding and a common rail fuel injection system, was supported by the SuperTruck program, sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
Study: Combination of active and passive engine-off coasting delivers optimal fuel savings with 48V hybrid systems
April 13, 2016
A study by Germany-based automotive supplier HELLA found that the combination of active and passive engine-off coasting and recuperation using a 48V mild hybrid system shows the best potential to reduce CO2 emissions for all car segments, with the highest potential in the larger car segments, for both NEDC and WLTP (especially true for real world driving).
On the other hand, passive engine-off coasting alone showed no CO2 reduction potential for NEDC and some in WLTP according to the paper presented at the 2016 SAE World Congress.
ARPA-E issues $30M NEXTCAR program funding opportunity; 20% reduction in energy consumption beyond current regulatory requirements
April 12, 2016
The Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a $30-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001564) for the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Automated On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)
NEXTCAR seeks to fund the development of new and emerging vehicle dynamic and powertrain (VD&PT) control technologies that can reduce the energy consumption of future vehicles—light-, medium- and heavy-duty—through the use of connectivity and vehicle automation. The new program is seeking transformative technological solutions that will enable at least an additional 20% reduction in the energy consumption of future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), compared to vehicles without these VD&PT control technologies. I.e., the NEXTCAR improvements are in addition to and beyond any currently expected future vehicle fleet fuel efficiency improvements that will be required or driven by Federal or State regulations.
New ACE researchers propose new diesel combustion concept; pathway to >50% BTE without WHR
April 11, 2016
A team at Japan’s New ACE Institute—an industry-funded research initiative founded to develop a new diesel combustion concept—has developed a new diffusion-combustion-based concept with multiple fuel injectors to overcome the trade-offs of thermal efficiency with energy loss and exhaust emissions typical of conventional diesel engines.
In a presentation at the 2016 SAE High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium, Noboru Uchida, general manager of research for New ACE, outlined the basic approach, which he said potentially offers a pathway to greater than 50% brake thermal efficiency without the use of waste heat recovery systems. A paper on their concept is also published in SAE International Journal of Engines.
FEV showcasing 48V technology at 2016 SAE World Congress
April 08, 2016
FEV will showcase some of its 48-Volt technology capabilities at the 2016 SAE World Congress next week in Detroit. FEV says it believes that 48V technology will be the next evolution in in-vehicle power.
The proliferation of components and systems that require electrical power in today’s vehicle are pushing the standard 12-Volt battery to its limits. Under idle conditions and especially under low-temperature conditions, current 12V electrical systems can account for the entire power output of a conventional alternator, FEV notes.
Audi refreshes A3 with new engines, driver assistance systems, virtual cockpit
April 06, 2016
Audi is refreshing the A3 with new engines—including the A3’s first 3-cylinder unit and a new 2.0L TFSI—new driver assistance systems and the Audi virtual cockpit. The new A3 is available in a three-door version and as a Sportback, a sedan and a Cabriolet.
The engine lineup for the new Audi A3 comprises six engines (three gasoline and three diesel units). Power output ranges from 81 kW (110 hp) to 140 kW (190 hp). All A3 models fulfill the EU6 standard. With the 1.0 TFSI, Audi is offering a three-cylinder model in the Audi A3 series for the first time.
EIA: trends in downsized engine design leading to increased demand for higher-octane gasoline
Since 2013, the share of premium gasoline in total motor gasoline sales in the US has steadily increased to 11.3% in August and September 2015—the highest share in more than a decade, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
This trend of increasing demand for higher octane gasoline is likely driven by changes in fuel requirements for light-duty vehicles (LDV) in response to increasing fuel economy standards, which will have widespread implications for future gasoline markets, according to EIA analysts.
New Renesas 32-Bit MCUs for improved fuel efficiency in vehicle powertrain control applications
April 05, 2016
Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the 32-bit RH850/E1M-S2 microcontrollers (MCUs) for automotive powertrain control applications. The new MCUs provide high performance and advanced functionality to enable improved fuel efficiency. The RH850/E1M-S2 MCUs include four product versions, including the high-end R7F701216EABA (BGA304, 320MHz).
To help meet increasingly stringent fuel efficiency and CO2targets, engine control systems must optimize the ignition and fuel injection timing to match a variety of conditions, such as current combustion and driving status. Transmission control systems, for their part, must instantly select the optimal gear ratio to match the driving conditions, which change moment by moment, in order to minimize power loss in the transmission.
BASF 2016 science competition seeks synthetic lubricant solutions for future high-efficiency vehicles
March 31, 2016
BASF has kicked off its second annual North American Science Competition. This year’s competition focuses on chemistries that can be used to develop a synthetic fluid to meet the needs of future high-performance, high-efficiency engines and transmissions.
With more advanced machinery, lubricating and functional fluids represent a steadily growing industry projected to reach $11 billion by 2020. Synthetic fluids, which are more expensive than petroleum-derived materials, address increasing market demands for higher quality and purity, increased performance and more stringent environmental standards. By developing high performing synthetic fluids with better thermal stability, BASF aims to extend the life cycle of these materials, reduce waste and support the development of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
New Federal-Mogul Powertrain piston skirt coatings increase durability for the life of pistons
March 30, 2016
Federal-Mogul Powertrain has introduced two innovative piston skirt coatings: EcoTough-New Generation (for gasoline engines) and EcoTough-D (for diesel engines). Building on the proven performance of previous EcoTough coatings, the new formulations further reduce engine friction, wear and noise while dealing with the increasingly challenging loads and temperatures that exist in the latest downsized, turbocharged engines.
Gasoline and diesel engines require alternative solutions because of important differences in their relative combustion loads, piston geometry and the lubricity of their respective fuels. Federal-Mogul Powertrain has accommodated these differences by formulating specific coatings, each optimized for either gasoline or diesel application.
Opel outlines steps in engineering initiative for WLTP-based fuel consumption numbers and improved NOx reduction
March 29, 2016
Starting with the new Opel Astra from June 2016 onwards, and in addition to the official fuel consumption and CO2 information, Opel will publish fuel consumption numbers reflecting different driving behavior recorded under the WLTP test cycle. In addition, Opel will implement an initiative to improve NOx emissions on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel applications in new vehicles from August onwards.
IIT team explores combustion, performance and emissions characteristics of HCNG blends in spark ignition engine
March 28, 2016
A new study by a team from the Engine Research Laboratory at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur explores the combustion, performance and emission characteristics of a prototype spark ignition engine operating with different blend ratios of HCNG (hydrogen and compressed natural gas blends). Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
Use of lower carbon natural gas and carbon-free hydrogen have potential to reduce harmful emissions of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and and could displace a portion of conventional liquid fossil fuels, the IIT noted. However, both fuels pose different challenges for use in internal combustion (IC) engines.
CMU study shows autonomous vehicle algorithms can have considerable effect on fuel economy; need for new approaches in testing
March 24, 2016
Autonomous vehicle driving behavior can have a considerable effect on fuel economy. Researchers in the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University have determined that fuel efficiency for self-driving cars—within the bounds of current fuel economy testing—could improve by up to 10% under efficiency-focused control strategies when following another vehicle.
However, the study also showed that autonomous vehicle (AV) technology following algorithms designed without considering efficiency can degrade fuel economy by up to 3%. In a paper published in the journal Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Constantine Samaras and Ph.D. student Avi Chaim Mersky suggest the need for a new near-term approach in fuel economy testing to account for connected and autonomous vehicles.
Volvo Trucks unveils new powertrains featuring increased power and 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency
March 22, 2016
Volvo Trucks North America launched several new integrated powertrain solutions, offering increased fuel efficiency, productivity, reliability, packaging, comfort and uptime. Volvo’s new powertrain offerings include multiple engine enhancements, such as turbo compounding for the Volvo D13 engine; the introduction of Volvo I-Shift with Crawler Gears automated manual transmission; and a one-box Exhaust Aftertreatment System (EATS).
As a result of the improvements, Volvo is delivering between 2.2 to 6.5% better fuel efficiency with the 2017 engines compared with the previous generation.
Audi unveils redesigned R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans racer for 2016 season
Audi unveiled its redesigned R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans racer for the 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season. Among the new features in the R18 are a more radical aerodynamics concept, including a new safety cell; a Li-ion battery replacing the flywheel energy storage system; and a revised V6 TDI diesel engine. As a result, Audi’s LMP1 sports car is more powerful and more efficient than its predecessor; the new R18 consumes less fuel than any of the generations before it.
The new hybrid TDI powertrain delivers power output of more than 1,000 hp (746 kW), along with 10% less consumption that its immediate predecessor. The current V6 TDI consumes 32.4% less fuel than the first generation did in 2011.
ETI to launch project to develop Flettner rotor sails for ships; seeking at least 10% improvement in fuel efficiency
March 19, 2016
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) in the UK is seeking partners for a new project which it hopes will deliver fuel savings of at least 10% for large shipping vessels.
The Flettner Rotor Supply, Install and Commission Project will deliver a full scale demonstrator of Flettner Rotor technology on a large ocean going vessel which the ETI intends to source for the demonstration phase. Flettner rotors use a spinning cylinder to convert the force of the wind into thrust that helps propel the ship.
ORCnext project concludes waste heat recovery efficiency can be boosted by 20-25%
March 18, 2016
The four-year projet ORCNext, aimed at developing knowledge and design tools for next generation of Organic Rankine Cycles (ORCs), has concluded that waste heat recovery efficiency can be increased by 20 to 25% through appropriate cycle selection, efficient expanders, appropriate control and less oversizing of the heat exchangers.
The project, funded by the government agency IWT, ran from February 2012 to January 2016 and was a partnership between Ghent University, University of Antwerp, University of Liège and Atlas Copco.
Renault upgrades heavy-duty Trucks T for lower fuel consumption, higher payload
March 17, 2016
Less than three years after its launch and positive feedback from customers, Renault is upgrading the heavy-duty Trucks T to help it be even more cost efficient for its users. The 2016 version of the T benefits from improvements to the chassis and driveline, enabling it to reduce its consumption by up to a further 2%, while at the same time increasing the payload by up to 114 kg (251 lbs). It is also introducing Optivision, a predictive cruise control system with GPS.
Renault pursued three main tracks in the upgrade, in addition to basic engine efficiency improvements: improving the aerodynamics to reduce fuel consumption; reducing the weight to increase payload; and encouraging eco-driving by means of a predictive GPS navigation system, said Sophie Rivière, the Long Haul segment manager at Renault Trucks
MIT Energy Initiative report on transforming the US transportation system by 2050 to address climate challenges
March 16, 2016
A new MIT Energy Initiative report spearheaded by John Heywood, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at MIT, identifies three important paths forward reducing light-duty vehicle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: improve the existing system and technologies for shorter-term benefits; conserve fuel by changing driver habits for nearer- to longer-term benefits; and transform the transportation system into one that is radically less carbon-intensive for longer-term benefits.
According to the report, “On the Road Toward 2050: Potential for Substantial Reductions in Light-Duty Vehicle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” each element is separately important, but must collectively be pursued aggressively to achieve necessary emissions reductions. More research, development, and demonstration studies are needed to lay the foundation for such a long-term transformation.
DOE to award $12.5M to improve efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks as part of new tech track for US-China initiative
March 13, 2016
The US Department of Energy is soliciting applications (DE-FOA-0001542) for the formation of a Consortium to pursue five identified R&D topic areas related to improving the operating efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Consortium that is funded through this solicitation will form a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral initiative to encourage R&D collaboration and accelerate technology development and deployment in both countries.
Funding available is $12.5 million, and will support the US Consortium. In parallel, and with equivalent resources, Chinese funding will support a collaborative counterpart Chinese Consortium. The US consortium will pursue five topics; responsive application will address all five. These are:
Argonne and Marathon partner in DOE Optima initiative to co-optimize fuels and engines
March 10, 2016
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is partnering with Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) to support an ongoing effort by DOE to explore fuels and engines holistically in search of greater efficiency.
The collaboration between Argonne and MPC is designed to support the “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines” initiative, which was recently launched jointly by the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office and Bioenergy Technologies Office. (Earlier post.) The new collaboration leverages MPC’s and Argonne’s complementary capabilities in fuel design, analysis and production, as well as advanced engine combustion and emissions formation.
Mercedes-Benz launches new E-Class; new engines, PHEV, driver assistance systems; DRIVE PILOT
March 09, 2016
Mercedes-Benz has launched the new tenth-generation E-Class, introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this January. (Earlier post.) The new generation features technology innovations in a number of areas, including driver assistance and powertrains, with new efficient engines and a plug-in hybrid version.
Initially, the E 200 d models of the new E-Class will be available with an all-new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine (earlier post), while the E 200 will be powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 350 d by a six-cylinder diesel.
EPA and NHTSA seeking comments on new data for Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program to reduce GHG
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have issued a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) related to the Phase 2 Heavy-Duty National Program proposed in July 2015 (earlier post) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption for new on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
This NODA provides an opportunity to comment on the new information being made available by the EPA and by NHTSA, including memoranda and data, which been placed in the public dockets. Data relating to the potential stringency of the proposed standards includes:
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan EPA-rated at 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined; stop/start and PHEV still to come
March 08, 2016
The gasoline-powered version of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan has earned a highway-cycle fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg US (8.4 l/100km) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—a benchmark unsurpassed by any minivan on the US market and 12% better than the vehicle Pacifica replaces.
The Chrysler brand’s all-new minivan also has a calculated lifecycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) 9% less than the outgoing vehicle. GWP considers the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery, along with the implications of its consumption. FCA US LLC engineers used industry-standard software to calculate and compare the all-new Pacifica’s GWP with that of the outgoing vehicle over 124,274 miles (200,000 km) of operation.
ViriCiti, Simacan tool predicts energy usage and savings per route by driving electric
March 04, 2016
ViriCiti B.V., a provider of telematics systems for electric city buses and trucks, and Simacan B.V., a provider of real-time traffic information, are partnering to develop a new online tool that predicts the energy usage and savings per route by driving electric.
The EV Fleet Analyzer provides insights into when the deployment of electric distribution vehicles is profitable. With this tool, ViriCiti and Simacan aim to increase the use of electric vehicles.
2016 Mazda CX-9 shows 32% improvement in EPA-estimated fuel economy over predecessor; SKYACTIV-G 2.5 turbo
March 02, 2016
Mazda North American Operations released EPA-estimated fuel economy figures for its all-new 2016 Mazda CX-9. Certified at an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined, when equipped with front-wheel drive, the 2016 CX-9 achieves best-in-class (MY 2016 midsize, three-row, non-hybrid crossover SUVs for sale in the US) city and combined fuel economy ratings and class-leading highway fuel economy.
The second-generation CX-9’s efficiency reflect a 32% improvement compared to its predecessor. (In Canada, NR Canada estimates of fuel consumption put the improvement at 35%.)
DOE launching $80M Supertruck II initiative; ≥ 55% BTE; awards $12M for 3 medium- and heavy-duty plug-in projects
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is launching SuperTruck II, an $80-million funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001447), subject to congressional appropriations, for research, development and demonstration of long-haul tractor-trailer truck technology.
The project is a follow-on to the successful $240-million SuperTruck I initiative (earlier post), the goal of which was to develop tractor-trailers that were 50% more efficient on a ton‐mile‐per-gallon basis than baseline models by 2015. Two teams have already exceeded this goal and two are on track to meet it.
MIT/CalTrans study finds pavement-vehicle interaction accounts for 1% of overall fuel consumption on California highways
March 01, 2016
A recent collaboration between the MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) showed that phenomena associated with deflection-induced pavement-vehicle interaction (PVI) accounts for 1% of overall fuel consumption on California highways.
Deflection-induced PVI—which results from a vehicle overcoming a resisting force (i.e. dissipating energy due to deformation of the pavement structure)—results in wasted fuel because the dissipated energy does not contribute to the vehicle’s forward movement. Past studies on PVI and the three elements that impact PVI—texture, roughness, and deflection—have been empirical in approach, using actual trucks on actual pavements. This approach has ignored the pavement layer structure and material properties, and has led to high variability in the reported results.
Pierburg GmbH electric compressor for turbos
February 24, 2016
Pierburg GmbH, part of the KSPG Group, has developed an electric compressor for spontaneously boosting the charge pressure of engines fitted with an exhaust-gas turbocharger. This component allows pressure to be increased regardless of the exhaust-gas energy availability.
The compressor is compatible with both gasoline and diesel engines. Initial prototypes are now being tested by various customers. The electric compressor fits in well and without any constraints with the proven strategy of downsizing, the company said.
HRL laboratories team achieves breakthrough in dynamically variable negative stiffness structures
February 22, 2016
Researchers in the HRL Laboratories Sensors and Materials Laboratory have developed an active variable stiffness vibration isolator capable of 100x stiffness changes and millisecond actuation times, independent of the static load. According to Principal Investigator Christopher Churchill, “This performance surpasses existing mechanisms by at least 20 times in either speed or useful stiffness change.”
This isolator has broad applications for makers of automobiles, aircraft, watercraft, rotorcraft, and robotics. An open-access paper on their work is published in the journal Science Advances.
Diesel/2-methylfuran blends show higher brake thermal efficiency, higher NOx than diesel
Researchers at Wuhan University report on the first comprehensive study of the combustion and emissions performance of blends of diesel and the renewable fuel 2-methylfuran (MF) in compression-ignition engines. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
Among their findings were that diesel–MF blends show higher brake thermal efficiency (BTE) than pure diesel. However, diesel–MF blends also lead to higher NOx emissions than pure diesel and the NOx emissions are increased with the increase of MF fraction.
Audi introducing quattro ultra: predictive, permanently available all-wheel drive for improved efficiency
February 20, 2016
For more than 30 years, Audi quattro has been a permanent all-wheel drive system. (Earlier post.) In 2015, more than 40% of all Audi customers chose a quattro model; the Audi Q5 topped the list with more than 260,000 units.
Audi is now introducing a new “quattro ultra” technology that combines driving dynamics and safety with high efficiency. With quattro ultra, the all-wheel drive is always deactivated when it is not needed, but remains permanently available, significantly reducing the potential fuel consumption difference between front-wheel drive and permanent all-wheel drive. The system is designed for numerous Audi models with longitudinally mounted front engines. An initial variant will debut in the new Audi A4 allroad quattro in mid-2016.