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

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

July 19, 2017

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

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

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

July 17, 2017

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

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

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New Audi A8 comes with 48V mHEV standard; plug-in e-tron model with wireless charging

July 11, 2017

In a brand event in Barcelona, Audi unveiled its fourth-generation A8 luxury sedan. The new A8 features a new design language, an innovative touchscreen operating concept and a systematically electrified drive. The Audi A8 has also been developed for highly automated driving. From 2018, Audi will gradually be taking piloted driving functions such as parking pilot, garage pilot and traffic jam pilot into production.

All five engines options—3.0 TDI and TFSI; 4.0 TDI and TFSI; and 6.0L W12— operate in conjunction with a 48V mild hybrid (mHEV) belt alternator starter (BAS) system. (Earlier post.) This mHEV technology enables the car to coast with the engine switched off, and to restart smoothly. It also has an extended start/stop function and an energy recovery output of up to 12 kW. The combined effect of these measures is to bring down the fuel consumption by as much as 0.7 liters (0.2 gallons US) per 100 kilometers (62.1 mi) in real driving conditions.

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

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

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

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Study concludes US CAFE regulation can accelerate EV market penetration

July 09, 2017

In a new study, a team from the University of Central Florida and MIT has found that the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards is an effective policy solution that does increase the adoption of EVs, whether it is implemented alone or in conjunction with another policy such as government incentives.

In a study published in the journal Energy Policy, the researchers developed an agent-based model to estimate the potential future market shares of EVs considering the existing inherent uncertainties under different policy scenarios, including the current footprint-based CAFE regulation.

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

July 03, 2017

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

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

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

July 01, 2017

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

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

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

June 30, 2017

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

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

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

June 28, 2017

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

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

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

June 27, 2017

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

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

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

June 24, 2017

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

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

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Volvo Technology Award for wave piston design

June 23, 2017

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

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

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ICCT calculates consumer benefits of increased efficiency in 2025-2030 light-duty vehicles in the US

A new report from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) estimates Consumer benefits of increased efficiency in 2025-2030 light-duty vehicles in the US.

According to the analysis, under current standards, buyers of model year 2025 vehicles would fully recoup the extra cost for technology in the vehicle in the third year of ownership under a cash-purchase scenario. Those who finance their vehicles will see a net positive cash flow—again, specific to the additional cost of technology—starting immediately. Consumer benefits would be more than 3 times the costs of the standards. Fuel savings are 2.4 times the costs if fuel prices stay low for the next several decades.

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

June 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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Airbus Helicopters unveils Racer high-speed demonstrator configuration; in-flight “start-and-stop”

June 21, 2017

At the Paris air show, Airbus Helicopters unveiled the aerodynamic configuration of the high speed demonstrator it is developing as part of the Clean Sky 2 European research program. Codenamed Racer (Rapid And Cost-Effective Rotorcraft), this demonstrator will incorporate a number of innovative features and will be optimized for a cruise speed of more than 400 km/h (249 mph).

It will aim at achieving the best trade-off between speed, cost-efficiency, sustainability and mission performance. Final assembly of the demonstrator is expected to start in 2019, with a first flight the next year.

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2018 Chevy Equinox drops almost 400 lbs; about 10% of mass

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox SUV has dropped nearly 400 pounds (181 kg)—approximately 10% of its mass—compared to its predecessor. Combined with this weight loss, the all-new body was designed and optimized for top safety ratings.

The 2018 Equinox’s body structure design was optimized with a mixed-material strategy for strength and low weight. More than 80% of the Equinox’s body structure is composed of high-grade steel materials, with high-strength steel comprising nearly 20%.

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

June 20, 2017

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

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

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Waterloo team develops adaptive anti-idling regenerative power system for service vehicles

June 19, 2017

A team at the University of Waterloo in Canada has developed a novel adaptive auxiliary battery-powered anti-idling system for service vehicles (e.g. delivery trucks or public buses); the energy storage system in the regenerative auxiliary power system (RAPS) is able to electrify the vehicle auxiliary systems.

Service vehicles generally have pre-determined routes, making it feasible to use a model predictive control strategy to improve fuel economy. However, the team noted, the mass/load of such service vehicles is time-varying during a drive cycle. The researchers developed an adaptive model predictive controller to account for this variation. A vehicle can save up to 7% fuel by using anti-idling system and the adaptive model predictive controller, compared to a prescient model predictive controller. A paper on their work is published in the journal Energy.

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

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

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

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

June 17, 2017

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

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

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

June 15, 2017

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

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

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

June 14, 2017

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

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

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

June 12, 2017

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

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10th Generation Honda Accord launching this year with advanced new powertrain lineup; next-gen two-motor hybrid

June 10, 2017

Honda will launch the tenth-generation Accord ever later this year. A new-from-the-ground-up design that features a more aggressive stance and proportion than any previous Accord complements the lineup of three advanced new powertrains. The Accord is the US’ best-selling midsize sedan, the number one choice of individual American car buyers cumulatively since 2010 (according to Urban Science cumulative cumulative retail sales data for all car models in the industry for 2010-2017CYTD May).

The three powertrains in the 2018 Accord will include two direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, a new Honda-developed 10-speed automatic transmission and a sporty 6-speed manual transmission that will be available on both turbo engines, as well as a new next-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain system (Honda is using the second-generation two-motor hybrid system in the 2017 Accord, earlier post).

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

June 02, 2017

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

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

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EU greenhouse gas emissions from transport increased for the second year in a row in 2015; on-road up 1.6%

Total European Union greenhouse gas emissions increased by 0.5% in 2015—the first annual increase since 2010—according to new European Environment Agency (EEA) data. Transport was a key reason for that increase: better fuel efficiency in that sector was not enough to counter the effects of an increasing demand for transport.

Higher emissions were caused mainly by increasing road transport, both passenger and freight, and slightly colder winter conditions in Europe, compared to 2014, leading to higher demand for heating. Gains in the fuel efficiency of new vehicles and aircrafts were not enough to offset the additional emissions caused by a higher demand in both passenger and goods transport. Road transport emissions—about 20% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions—increased for the second year in a row in 2015, by 1.6%. Emissions from aviation, representing about 4% of the EU total emissions, increased by 3.3% in 2015.

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Continental supplying transmission control unit, sensor cluster and software for Great Wall 7DCT

May 24, 2017

Continental is supplying the transmission control unit (TCU), sensor cluster unit (SUU), and application software for Great Wall Motor’s (GWM) seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (7DCT). The new 7DCT transmission is Great Wall’s first in-house developed automatic transmission; the new GWM luxury brand “WEY” now is equipped with this this newly-developed 7DCT.

Dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) have become popular in the Chinese automobile market, because drivers benefit from improved fuel efficiency, smooth gear shifting and increased overall vehicle performance. Most manufacturers of the popular sports utility vehicles (SUVs) are concentrating on improving driving dynamics by using automated transmissions. DCTs are particularly suited for this goal as they provide an uninterrupted power flow even during shifting.

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EIA projects light-duty vehicle energy use to drop 12% by 2025

May 23, 2017

The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case projects a decline in light-duty vehicle energy use between 2018 and 2040 as improvements in fuel economy more than offset increases in light-duty vehicle (LDV) miles.

EIA projects that light-duty vehicle energy consumption will decrease 12%—from 16.1 quadrillion Btu in 2017 to 14.2 quadrillion Btu in 2025—in the AEO2017 Reference case, despite projected growth in vehicle-miles traveled of 5% over the same period. Nearly all of this energy consumption is gasoline, with gasoline consumption by light-duty vehicles projected to fall from 8.7 million barrels per day in 2017 to 7.5 million barrels per day in 2025 (-13.8%).

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2018 Volkswagen Tiguan powered by 2.0L EA888 Gen3B engine

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 19, 2017

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

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

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DOE moving forward with $11.1M in funding for three ARPA-E projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is honoring commitments to several previously selected Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) awardees, with funding of a combined $11.1 million. They are among the first awardees to move forward following the Department’s review of all taxpayer funded grants and projects, intended to ensure that each award applied good governance principles consistent with the new Administration’s policy directives.

The projects moving forward are part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) (earlier post) and Renewable Energy to Fuels Through Utilization of Energy-Dense Liquids (REFUEL) (earlier post) programs. Additional awardees are expected to move forward in the coming weeks.

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

May 18, 2017

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

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

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

May 17, 2017

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

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

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IAV 8-speed hybrid dual-clutch tranmission can reduce fuel consumption 18% over 6DCT

May 05, 2017

IAV has developed a high-power, high-torque eight-speed hybrid dual-clutch transmission (8H-DCT) that is capable of reducing fuel consumption by up to 18% in the NEDC over a conventional six-speed dual-clutch transmission (6DCT) due to its high number of speeds and integrated hybrid functionality. A further advantage of the IAV 8H-DCT450 lies in its extremely small package requirement.

IAV said that its design target was maximum efficiency at all operating points and in all driving situations; the high number of speeds plays a key part here. The unit makes optimum use of the map range when the combustion engine is the main source of propulsion, said Dr. Jörg Müller, head of the Transmission, E-Motor and Hybrid Systems department at IAV. “This alone cuts fuel consumption in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) by 4.3 percent over a six-speed transmission.

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Delphi to spin off powertrain segment as new independent company

May 03, 2017

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

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

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Blue Bird first to offer school buses with Allison Transmission’s FuelSense 2.0 to optimize fuel economy

May 02, 2017

Blue Bird Corporation is offering a new product for their new buses ordered on or after 1 May 2017 with Allison transmissions: FuelSense 2.0, featuring DynActive Shifting. This is a software upgrade to the previous FuelSense offering, which allows fleets to optimize fuel economy and performance to their specific needs.

FuelSense 2.0 has packages tailored to different driving conditions that Blue Bird school buses face daily. The new FuelSense 2.0 technology uses DynActive Shifting to provide an infinitely variable combination of shift points, and uses a learning algorithm to continuously find the ideal balance of fuel economy and performance. It provides maximum value for applications with heavy start-stop needs, such as school buses.

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Schaeffler highlights latest version of UniAir electrohydraulic valve control at Vienna

April 28, 2017

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

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

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FTA announces $55M for FY 2017 Low-No funding

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $55 million of Fiscal Year 2017 funds (FTA-2017-003-TPM-LowNo) for the purchase or lease of low- or no-emission vehicles as well as related equipment or facilities (Low-No). Only $31.5 million is available under the Continuing Resolution that expires on 28 April 28 2017.

The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the US transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program provides funding to State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities.

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

April 26, 2017

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

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

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EEA: Fuel efficiency improvements of new cars in Europe slowed in 2016

April 20, 2017

The fuel efficiency of new cars sold in the European Union (EU) continued to improve last year but at a slower rate, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency. The 1.4 g of CO2/km reduction (-1.2%) compared to 2015 constitutes the smallest annual improvement recorded over the last decade.

Official emissions have decreased by a total of more than 22 g CO2/km (-16%) since 2010, when an updated monitoring system started under the current EU legislation. The EU remains well below its target of 130 g CO2/km set for 2015; however, compared to 2016, annual improvements in vehicle efficiency need to increase significantly in each of the coming five years in order to achieve the second average emissions target of 95 g CO2/km by 2021.

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AAM develops new axle technology; lighter, more efficient for up to 1.5% better fuel economy

March 30, 2017

American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) has developed completely new, significantly improved axle technology. QUANTUM driveline technology is scalable across a wide range of vehicle segments and provides substantial advantages regardless of vehicle size: reduced mass, increased power density, improved noise vibration and harshness (NVH) and fuel efficiency gains in a more compact system package. The combined additional efficiency and weight reduction can deliver 1% to 1.5% improved vehicle fuel economy, AAM said.

QUANTUM offers a 20% increase in power density along with a minimum 30% mass reduction at the same torque capacity. For a heavy-duty pickup, QUANTUM provides more than 100 lbs. of vehicle weight savings, said Phil Guys, AAM vice president and chief technology officer. “It is significantly more efficient without any reduction in performance.

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California ARB moves forward with climate and air quality actions

March 24, 2017

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

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

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Lawrence Livermore Lab researchers significantly boost truck fuel efficiency through improved aerodynamics

March 23, 2017

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, as part of a Navistar SuperTruck I team, helped design a new type of tractor trailer truck that improves fuel economy by 124%, compared to heavy vehicles on the road today.

Seventy-four percent out of the 124% improvement comes from aerodynamic enhancements, while the rest comes from engine efficiency, tire rolling resistance, light weighting and other advancements. On a track test, the new SuperTruck I vehicle achieved 13 mpg (18.1 l/100 km), compared to a typical truck on the road that gets around 5.8 mpg (40.5 l/100 km).

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

March 22, 2017

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

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

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New Lotus Elise drops even more weight; Sprint edition at 798 kg

March 20, 2017

Lotus has unveiled a significant update for the Lotus Elise ahead of its arrival in showrooms this spring. The new Sprint edition features the biggest weight cut to the car since the introduction of the first-generation Elise. The Sprint edition of the Lotus Elise has removed 41 kg (90.4 lbs) from the previous model, to reach a benchmark dry weight of just 798 kg (1,759 lbs).

Integrating a new front and rear aesthetic with Lotus’ established design language, this latest Elise also receives a wide range of cabin enhancements, including the lightweight open-gate gear select mechanism first introduced on the Lotus Exige Sport 350. The Sprint is available in both the 1.6-liter naturally aspirated and 1.8-liter supercharged versions.

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

March 08, 2017

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

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

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Audi introduces new A4 Avant g-tron; Audi e-gas offered as standard

March 07, 2017

Audi has introduced the natural-gas-fueled A4 Avant g-tron; dealers in Europe will begin taking orders for the midsize model starting in early summer 2017. It can be selected with climate-friendly Audi e-gas (synthetic natural gas produced with renewable energy in a Power-to-Gas process, earlier post) or compressed natural gas (CNG), or can be powered with gasoline.

Additionally, Audi is now offering e-gas to power the A3 Sportback g-tron as standard; customers will pay only the regular natural gas price. With this deal, Audi is reducing the CO2 emissions of the g-tron fleet when running on gas by 80%. When the new A4 Avant g-tron and the A5 Sportback g-tron come on market later this year, the e-gas offer as standard will apply to these models as well.

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Audi unveils Q8 sport concept with 48V mild hybrid system (mHEV); drive system coming to “many” Audi models

At the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, Audi is presenting the Audi Q8 sport concept, a new performance-oriented take on the Q8 concept study introduced at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show. Equipped with a 3.0 TFSI six-cylinder engine featuring a 48V mild hybrid system (mHEV) and an electric compressor, the SUV delivers a total 350 kW (476 hp) output and 700 N·m (516.3 lb-ft) of torque, and sprints from 0 - 100 km/h (0 ‑ 62.1 mph) in 4.7 seconds. Top speed is 275 km/h (170.9 mph). Its range of more than 1,200 kilometers (745.6 miles) ensures it is also suitable for long journeys.

Compared with a model equipped with a regular TFSI six-cylinder engine without the mHEV system, the Q8 sport concept with its 20 kW greater performance consumes around one liter less fuel per 100 km —corresponding to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 25 g/km (40.2 g/mi).

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GKN Driveline develops new lightweight propshaft for Audi Q5; more compact, lighter, more efficient; MLB Evo

March 02, 2017

GKN Driveline created a new lightweight, high-speed propshaft joint for the all-new Audi Q5. The PVL joint is smaller, lighter and more refined than predecessor technology, and represents a bespoke solution by GKN engineers to create a more compact joint. Its outer diameter is reduced by 7mm, representing an 8% reduction in the width and height of the space it occupies in the driveline.

The smaller joint is also 350g lighter, representing a 23% weight reduction, yet there is no negative impact on torque capacity. With a smaller rotating mass, the PVL joint improves performance and efficiency, and helps to lower vehicle emissions.

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Volvo Trucks testing long-haul hybrid powertrain in Concept Truck

February 28, 2017

With the Volvo Concept Truck, Volvo Trucks has developed its first hybrid vehicle designed for long-haul applications. In combination with the vehicle’s other improvements, the total reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 is around 30%. (Earlier post.)

Volvo Trucks estimates that in long haul operation, the hybrid powertrain will allow the combustion engine to be shut off for up to 30% of the driving time. This will save between 5-10% in fuel, depending on the vehicle type or specification, and its drive cycle. It also offers the ability to drive in full electric mode for up to 10 kilometers, enabling the vehicle to operate with zero emissions and low noise.

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

February 24, 2017

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

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

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Strong honeycomb cargo shelf in new Ford EcoSport SUV made of recycled paper; 6lb floorboard holds ~700 lbs of cargo

February 18, 2017

The adjustable cargo floorboard in the all-new 2018 Ford EcoSport is made of high-strength 100% recycled paper honeycomb. Constructed from all-natural paper and water-based glue, the six-pound honeycomb floorboard is both eco-friendly and strong enough to handle nearly 700 pounds of cargo across its 38.5-inch by 25.25-inch surface.

Ford introduced the EcoSport for North America in November 2016 (via the first Snapchat reveal). The EcoSport is intended to combined space-saving convenience, SUV capability and connectivity. The adjustable floorboard will debut as an all-new feature when EcoSport arrives early next year.

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GKN, SDS begin production of all-wheel drive disconnect system in China; up to 4% improvement in fuel economy

February 16, 2017

GKN Driveline’s Chinese Joint Venture partner SDS has commenced production of its complete all-wheel drive (AWD) Disconnect system for small- to medium-sized vehicles in China. The system will initially feature on the Jeep Renegade built for the Chinese market by GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Co., Ltd. (GAC FCA) in Guangzhou City, southern Guangdong Province.

GKN’s Disconnect function enables vehicles to combine the enhanced traction, dynamics and stability of all-wheel drive with improved on-highway fuel efficiency. The system reacts to driver inputs and road conditions to seamlessly switch between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. During steady state cruising, the clutch system disengages the rear section of the driveline, eliminating rotating losses and improving highway fuel economy by up to 4%—compared to standard AWD. If the driver or conditions require more traction, the system reconnects within just 300 milliseconds.

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Ford investing $200M in next-gen wind tunnel complex

February 15, 2017

Ford is investing $200 million in a new aerodynamic testing complex that will house a next-generation rolling road wind tunnel and state-of-the-art climatic chamber. The new wind tunnel complex will sit on 13 acres next to Ford’s current Driveability Test Facility in Allen Park, Michigan. The complex will house new innovative technology that delivers state-of-the-art real-world driving simulations to advance improvements in fuel economy. Construction starts this year.

Ford’s new wind tunnel complex better positions its engineers to conduct testing that proves out advancements in vehicle design. A new five-belt conveyor system can replicate real-world drag through a rolling road aerodynamic tunnel that enables Ford to bring the road to the vehicle, rather than the vehicle to the road.

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ARPA-E awards SwRI-led team up to $2.9M for connected and automated vehicle technology; NEXTCAR program

February 14, 2017

A team led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been awarded up to $2.9 million in funding to develop connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies aimed at improving fuel economy by more than 20%. The project is part of ARPA-E’s Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.)s

The three-year project, “Model Predictive Control for Energy-Efficient Maneuvering of Connected and Automated Vehicles,” calls for the team to develop optimal control algorithms that leverage vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and other vehicle-to- everything (V2X) technologies to simultaneously optimize the vehicle’s route, speed profile, and power flows from the hybrid system.

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Extensive rollout for GM 9-speed transmission in China

General Motors said it will rapidly and extensively deploy its new nine-speed automatic transmission in China, which is debuting in a high-volume SUV later this year. The state-of-the-art transmission, which optimizes efficiency, performance and refinement, will be adopted in 13 models in China from the Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac brands by 2020.

The new nine-speed automatic offers a fuel efficiency improvement of up to 2% compared to a six-speed transmission. It supports stop/start technology, which further helps save fuel by allowing the engine to shut down in certain stop-and-go driving conditions. It was developed globally and tested in various road conditions worldwide, including China.

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

February 13, 2017

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

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

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

February 10, 2017

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

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

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

February 05, 2017

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

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

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

February 03, 2017

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

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

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DLR working with Yamaha on thermoelectric generators for vehicles; seeking 3-5% gain in fuel economy

February 02, 2017

The Institute of Vehicle Concepts at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt, DLR) is, together with the Japanese company Yamaha Corporation, developing special vehicle systems based on thermoelectric effects. The aim of the cooperation is to develop prototype thermoelectric generator modules for on-road and rail vehicles. Yamaha is mainly contributing its know-how in the procurement and manufacture of the thermoelectric modules made of semiconductor materials, and DLR is contributing its broad knowledge in design, vehicle concepts, as well as the design and optimization of vehicle energy systems.

Internal combustion engines in vehicles use only about one-third of the potential energy in the fuel for propulsion; the remaining two-thirds are lost as waste heat. Thermoelectric generators use this heat and convert it into electricity. The power can then be used in the vehicle for control units or convenience electronics and thus reduces the load on the alternator, which would otherwise have to generate this power itself.

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

January 31, 2017

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

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

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

January 27, 2017

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

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

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Viking Grace LNG ferry to install rotor sail; first LNG/wind electric propulsion hybrid ship

January 26, 2017

Norsepower Oy Ltd., a provider of low- maintenance, software-operated, and data-verified auxiliary wind propulsion systems, signed an agreement with Finnish shipping company Viking Line to install its Rotor Sail Solution onboard the M/S Viking Grace, an LNG-fueled cruise ferry.

The 57,565 GT M/S Viking Grace currently operates in the archipelago between Turku (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden), and is already one of the most environmentally-friendly cruise ferries in the global maritime industry. With the addition of Norsepower’s technology, the vessel will further reduce its emissions, fuel burn and fuel costs; reducing carbon emissions by around 900 tonnes annually; equivalent to cutting 300 tonnes of LNG fuel per year.

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BP Energy Outlook: 30% growth in global demand to 2035; fuel demand continues to rise, even with EVs & fuel efficiency

January 25, 2017

The 2017 edition of the BP Energy Outlook, published today, forecasts that global demand for energy will increase by around 30% between 2015 and 2035, an average growth of 1.3% per year. However, this growth in energy demand is significantly lower than the 3.4% per year rise expected in global GDP, reflecting improved energy efficiency driven by technology improvements and environmental concerns. The Outlook looks at long-term energy trends and develops projections for world energy markets over the next two decades.

While non-fossil fuels are expected to account for half of the growth in energy supplies over the next 20 years, the Outlook projects that oil and gas, together with coal, will remain the main source of energy powering the world economy, accounting for more than 75% of total energy supply in 2035, compared with 86% in 2015.

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

January 16, 2017

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

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

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Achates Power building 2.7L opposed-piston light-duty engine; exceeding CAFE 2025, Tier 3 targets at lower cost

January 13, 2017

Stemming from a major project partially funded with a $9-million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) to develop an opposed-piston two-stroke gasoline compression ignition engine (OPGCI) (earlier post), Achates Power announced it is developing a 2.7-liter, 3-cylinder (i.e., six-piston) light-duty version of its opposed piston engine (OPE) in both diesel- and gasoline-fueled versions. Achates will demonstrate the engine in 2018 in a driveable light-duty truck.

The 2.7-liter compression-ignition OPE will will be 30-50% more fuel efficient than comparable diesel and gasoline direct injection engines, reduce emissions and cost less than alternative technologies under development for meeting 2025 CAFE fuel economy and Tier 3 emission targets.

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EPA to maintain light-duty vehicle GHG standards unchanged through 2025

In an expected ruling, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy finalized her decision to maintain the current greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for model years 2022-2025 cars and light trucks. (Earlier post.) The EPA says that a wide variety of effective technologies are available to reduce GHG emissions from cars and light trucks, and that automakers are well positioned to meet the standards through model year 2025 at lower costs than the agency earlier predicted.

The standards are projected to result in average fleet-wide consumer fuel economy sticker values of 36 miles per gallon (mpg) by model year 2025, 10 mpg higher than the current fleet average. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to weigh in on the results of its midterm evaluation for fuel economy standards.

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UCR team’s new evolutionary-algorithm-based EMS for PHEVs can deliver >30% fuel savings than conventional controls

January 11, 2017

Engineers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) have developed a new online energy management system (EMS) based on an evolutionary algorithm for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) that they say can improve PHEV fuel efficiency by more than 30%. A paper describing the research was recently accepted for publication in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

PHEVs, which combine an internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor and a large rechargeable battery, offer advantages over conventional hybrids because they can be charged using grid electricity, which reduces their need for fuel. However, improving the efficiency of current PHEVs is limited by shortfalls in their energy management systems (EMS), which control the power split between engine and battery when they switch from all-electric mode to hybrid mode.

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U Chicago study proposes market-based approach to fuel economy standards to deal with impacts of fuel price volatility

January 10, 2017

Volatile gasoline prices have caused some regulators and carmakers alike to question the cost and effectiveness of current fuel economy standards, with some arguing they are too stringent and others saying they should be even stronger. A new study by Ryan Kellogg, a professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and author of the study, evaluates the current approach and proposes a novel, market-based alternative: indexing the standard to rise and fall with the price of gasoline.

When the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) developed the joint regulations for light-duty CO2 emissions and fuel economy respectively, they developed their estimates of future achieved efficiency levels, program costs and benefits on government projections of continuously rising fuel prices.

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DOE to award almost $20M to new research and development projects for advanced vehicle technologies

December 15, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001629) for the Vehicle Technologies Office of up to $19.7 million, subject to appropriations, to support research and development of advanced vehicle technologies, including batteries, lightweight materials, and advanced combustion engines, as well as innovative technologies for energy efficient mobility.

The funding opportunity seeks projects in four areas of interest that apply to light, medium, and heavy-duty on-road vehicles, energy efficient mobility, and transportation infrastructure systems Battery500 Seedling Projects; Integrated Computational Materials Engineering Predictive Tools for Low-Cost Carbon Fiber; Emission Control Strategies for Advanced Combustion Engines; and Energy Efficient Mobility Research and Development.

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DARPA awards LiquidPiston $2.5M to advance further X4 rotary engine prototype

December 14, 2016

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded LiquidPiston Inc. $2.5 million to continue development of a new, patented, high-efficiency, lighter-weight rotary engine.

LiquidPiston, a developer of advanced combustion engine technology, received the award for the first phase of a program to realize the full capability of its patented high-efficiency hybrid cycle (HEHC) engine. This is the second award DARPA has made to LiquidPiston in the past 18 months, following an earlier test program for a different LiquidPiston rotary engine prototype, which achieved promising results. (Earlier post.)

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NASA testing new boundary layer ingesting (BLI) propulsor; 4-8% fuel burn savings over current advanced engines

December 12, 2016

Engineers at NASA Glenn are testing a new boundary layer ingesting (BLI) inlet-fan combination—the first of its kind ever to be tested. Originally conceived of as a propulsion system for generation-after-next (N+2), the BLI system could increase fuel efficiency by 4-8% more than the advanced engines airlines are beginning to use.

On today’s jet aircraft, the engines are typically located away from the aircraft’s body to avoid ingesting the layer of slower flowing air that develops along the aircraft’s surfaces, called boundary layer. Aerospace engineers believe they can reduce fuel burn by embedding an aircraft’s engines into these surfaces and ingesting the boundary layer air flow to propel the aircraft through its mission.

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Honeywell Transportation Systems Forecast: turbocharged vehicles to account for 48% of annual global sales by 2021; electric boosting emerges

December 09, 2016

Honeywell’s Transportation Systems Forecast projects that turbocharged vehicles will acount for 48% of annual global sales by 2021, up 9 percentage points from 2016. This annual sales estimate, combining both passenger and commercial vehicles, would add more than 232 million turbocharged vehicles globally between 2017 and 2021—an increase of 35% from today.

This year’s forecast recognizes an industry trend for slightly bigger engine sizes in Europe and China as automakers adapt powertrain strategies to tackle updated emissions regulations developed for real-world driving conditions. In these regions, a typical powertrain is a three- or four-cylinder engine with a displacement size between 1.2 liters and 1.7 liters. By rightsizing engines with available technologies, automakers are able to continue applying the benefits of smaller turbocharged engines while fine-tuning powertrain systems to further optimize fuel economy, emissions and performance.

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New Lexus LC 500h with Multi Stage Hybrid System

December 08, 2016

Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2016, Lexus introduced its hybrid variant, the new LC 500h. (Earlier post.) The LC is a new flagship 2+2 performance coupe for Lexus’ global model range, and will go on sale in the US in Spring 2017.

The LC 500h is the first model to feature the new Multi Stage Hybrid system. (Earlier post.) Adding a multi stage shift device to the 3.5-liter V6 hybrid powertrain delivers greater torque, more usable power across a wider range of engine speeds and rhythmic, linear acceleration that gives the driver the sensation of working with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

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Global Automakers calls on EPA to withdraw proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 GHG standards, get back in alignment with NHTSA, provide more time

Global Automakers, the trade association representing the US divisions of 12 international automakers (Aston Martin, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Maserati, McLaren, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota), has called on the EPA either to withdraw its proposed determination on MY 2022-2025 light duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards or to extend the comment period. On 30 November, EPA proposed leaving the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for those model years in place, based on its technical analysis that shows automakers are well positioned to meet the targets, and proposed a 30-day comment period. (Earlier post.)

The final standards are projected to result in an average industry fleet-wide level of 163 grams/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which is equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.31 l/100 km), if achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements.

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Chevrolet’s 1st 9-speed automatic to debut in 2017 Malibu; available in 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox

December 06, 2016

Chevrolet’s first nine-speed automatic transmission makes its debut in the 2017 Malibu and will be available in the 2017 Cruze Diesel and 2018 Equinox, with another Chevrolet model to follow by the end of 2017. The new, General Motors-developed Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed is paired with the available 2.0L Turbo engine in the Malibu, contributing to an EPA-estimated 33 mpg highway (7.12 l/100 km)—a 3% increase over the 2016 model with the eight-speed automatic.

The new nine-speed has a wider 7.6:1 overall ratio compared to the eight-speed transmission, with a “deep” 4.69 first gear that supports excellent off-the-line acceleration and a “tall” 0.62 top gear for low-rpm highway cruising. That balance optimizes acceleration and fuel economy and reduces engine noise during cruising.

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Toyota unveils new TNGA-based engines and transmissions and improved hybrid systems; deployment begins in 2017

In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled new advanced engines and transmissions and further evolved hybrid systems based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota intends to deploy these new powertrain units in a rapidly broadening range of vehicle models, starting in 2017. The new units will feature in 60% or more of vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China in 2021, reducing CO2 emissions in those markets by 15% or more.

Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine new engines; 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission; and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.

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ORNL study finds even low penetration of CAVs delivers significant fuel economy benefits, but increases travel time slightly

December 01, 2016

A new study by a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) suggests that low penetration rates of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) can deliver significant fuel consumption benefits, but that the total travel time increases slightly. The study, presented presented at the 9th ACM SIGSPATIAL on Computational Transportation Science, also found that benefits in travel time increase with higher penetration rates of CAVs.

The study—one of the first that captures the impact of different penetration rates of CAVs on fuel consumption and travel time—builds off of earlier work done by the team of Jackeline Rios-Torres and Andreas Malikopoulos to develop an optimization framework and an analytical closed-form solution that addresses the problem of optimally coordinating connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) at merging roadways to achieve smooth traffic flow without stop-and-go driving. (Earlier post.)

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NREL report finds hydrogen fuel cell bus fuel economy up to 1.4x that of diesel, 1.9x CNG

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology Office (FCTO) has released the latest edition of an annual report showing that the average fuel economy of fuel cell electric buses from three fleets is 6.8 miles per diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) (ranging from 5.56 - 7.71 DGE), 1.4 times higher than conventional diesel buses (~4.2 miles per DGE) from one fleet and up to 1.9 times higher than compressed natural gas buses (~3.3 miles per DGE) in another fleet.

This demonstrates significant fuel economy improvement toward the DOE and Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) target of 8 miles per DGE. FCEB durability has reached 23,000 hours, surpassing FCTO’s 2016 target of 18,000 hours, and range has reached up to 340 miles (547 km), more than 13% above the 2016 target of 300 miles (483 km).

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EPA proposes leaving light-duty vehicle GHG standards for MY 2022-2025 unchanged

November 30, 2016

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed leaving the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for light-duty vehicle model years 2022-2025 in place, based on its technical analysis that shows automakers are well positioned to meet the targets. The final standards are projected result in an average industry fleet-wide level of 163 grams/mile of CO2 in model year 2025, which is equivalent to 54.5 mpg (4.31 l/100 km), if achieved exclusively through fuel economy improvements.

As part of the rulemaking establishing the model year 2017-2025 light-duty vehicle GHG standards, EPA committed to conduct a Midterm Evaluation of standards for model years 2022-2025. The public comment period for this action begins today and will end on 30 December 2016. After the comment period has ended and consideration of the input, the Administrator will decide whether she has enough information to make a final determination on the model year 2022-2025 standards.

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Ford to offer cylinder deactivation for 1.0L EcoBoost in 2018; 6% fuel economy boost; global first for a 3-cylinder

Ford will offer the multi-award-winning 1.0‑liter EcoBoost gasoline engine with innovative cylinder deactivation technology for further reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency by up to 6%. Ford had been investigating different cylinder deactivation approaches for the 1.0L EcoBoost in collaboration with the Schaeffler Group. (Earlier post.)

The 1.0L EcoBoost with cylinder deactivation will debut in early 2018, becoming the first production three-cylinder engine with that fuel-saving feature. The accomplishment is delivered through innovative engineering by Ford engineers across Europe, and counters industry opinion that a three-cylinder, variable capacity engine could not deliver the refinement needed for passenger car applications.

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Update on DOE Co-Optima project to co-optimize fuels & engines; goal of 30% per vehicle reduction in petroleum

November 28, 2016

In October 2015, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) launched a broad, joint effort to co-optimize the development of efficient engines and low greenhouse-gas fuels for on-road vehicles with the goal of reducing petroleum consumption by 30% by 2030 beyond what is already targeted. (Earlier post.) The intended application is light-, medium-, and heavy-duty markets including hybrid architectures.

The Co-Optima project team, which is leveraging the technical contributions of nine of DOE’s 17 national laboratories, has grown to more than 130 researchers, according to Robert Wagner, Director of the Fuels, Engines, and Emissions Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and a member of the Co-Optima leadership team, in a briefing at the lab earlier this month. In August 2016, DOE announced funding of up to $7 million further to support the initiative.

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Volvo Cars’ 90 Series cars receive powertrain, safety and connectivity updates including Android Auto

November 23, 2016

Volvo Cars is updating its 90 series cars with new powertrain, safety and connectivity updates. The new Drive-E powertrain variants include a D3 4-cylinder diesel engine coupled to a new manual 6-speed transmission; estimated fuel economy is 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 mpg US) NEDC in the S90 with emissions down to 114 g/km CO2.

A new automatic 6-speed transmission coupled to the D3 will deliver 114 g/km CO2 and 4.3 l/100 km. The D3 will also now be available with All-Wheel Drive.

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ICCT: 2025 target average of 70 g/km CO2 for new cars in EU feasible and economical; more so with electric drive

November 22, 2016

A 2025 CO2 target of an average 70 g/km for new cars in the EU could be met with very little electrification and with an average payback period of less than 4 years, according to a new study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). However, transitioning soon to electric drive could lower manufacturers’ compliance costs by as much as €500 (US$532) per vehicle in 2025.

Under current European Union regulations, average new car CO2 emissions must decrease from the present 120 grams per kilometer (g/km) to 95 g/km by 2021. Although no further reductions are presently mandated, new targets for 2025 and 2030 are under discussion in Brussels. In 2013 the European Parliament recommended an “indicative range” of 68–78 g/km for 2025, while holding out the possibility that even lower targets should be considered if justified.

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Qoros Auto unveils drivable engineering development car with QamFree engine; near +50% boost in power & torque, -15% fuel consumption

November 20, 2016

At the 2016 Guangzhou Auto Show, Qoros Auto introduced the first drivable engineering development car—a modified Qoros 3 hatchback—equipped with the QamFree engine featuring FreeValve’s Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electric-Actuator (PHEA) technology. (Earlier post.) FreeValve AB is a sister company to Koenigsegg Automotive.

Qoros debuted the Qamfree engine with FreeValve technology in a concept car at the Beijing Motor Show in April 2016. “Called QamFree” in the Qoros application, FreeValve uses PHEA technology to replace the traditional camshaft-based method of controlling valve operation in an internal combustion engine. This results is much more precise and completely customizable control over valve duration and lift, on both the intake and exhaust sides.

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ICCT/TNO study: Real-world vehicle fuel consumption discrepancy widens to 42% in Europe

November 17, 2016

The average gap between official fuel consumption figures and actual fuel use for new cars in the EU has reached 42%, according to the latest update by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) to its on-going research into vehicle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

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 translates into €450 per year in extra fuel costs for the average vehicle. As a result, less than half of the on-paper reductions in CO2 emissions since 2001 have been realized in practice.

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Peloton in ARPA-E NEXTCAR project to cut HD truck fuel use by 20% with smart powertrains and platooning

November 15, 2016

Peloton Technology, a connected and automated vehicle technology company developing platooning technology for heavy-duty trucks (earlier post), is participating in the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). (Earlier post.)

The Peloton project, led by Purdue University (earlier post) will apply next-generation truck platooning technology and concepts for smart, cloud-connected powertrains to achieve 20% fuel savings for tractor-trailers.

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Study finds CO2 emissions trading more effective path to automotive CO2 reduction in Europe than tailpipe standards

November 11, 2016

A new study by researchers at MIT and colleagues in Europe has found that rather than adopting a standard for automotive fuel economy ratings, as the United States has done with its CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards for many years, the EU could achieve the same results for CO2 emission reduction at far lower cost to the economy by simply extending their existing emissions-trading system to encompass transportation rather than just electricity generation and energy intensive industry.

The European Union (EU) recently adopted CO2 emissions mandates for new passenger cars, requiring steady reductions to 95 gCO2/km in 2021. Switching from the automotive standards to the trading scheme could save as much as €63 billion, says the study’s lead author Sergey Paltsev, deputy director at MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and senior research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative. The results are published in the journal Transportation.

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Volkswagen unveils updated Golf; Millerized engines, semi-automated driving, digital cockpit and gesture control

November 10, 2016

Volkswagen presented a major update of the Golf in an event at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg. In addition to some design enhancements, the new Golf features new engines (including the Millerized 1.5L EA211 introduced at the Vienna Motor Symposium in April, earlier post), new assistance systems and a new generation of infotainment systems. As a world-first in the compact class, the top-of-the-range “Discover Pro” infotainment system can be operated by gesture control.

With its 9.2-inch screen it forms a conceptual and visual entity with the Active Info Display (digital instrument panel), which is also new to the Golf. (earlier post) The updated Golf is also one of the first compact cars to be available with semi-automated driving functions—the new Traffic Jam Assist function can guide the Golf at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph) in strenuous stop-and-go traffic. It steers, brakes and accelerates the new Golf.

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Argonne study on optimizing gasoline compression ignition at idle and low loads

November 09, 2016

Gasoline compression ignition—i.e., igniting gasoline purely by compression, as with a diesel, rather by using a spark—is a promising, high-efficiency, low-temperature combustion mode that offers low engine-out NOx and soot. (Earlier post.) GCI, however, is challenged by stable idle- to low-load operation (i.e., 0-2 bar BMEP) because it is challenging to ignite the low-reactivity gasoline purely through compression.

One way to address that challenge is through optimizing the injection system and injection strategy to ensure that the air-fuel mixture maintains a high level of reactivity. A team from Argonne National Laboratory now reports in a paper published in the International Journal of Engine Research on the effects of injector nozzle inclusion angle, injection pressure, boost, and swirl ratio on gasoline compression ignition combustion.

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ORNL-led team developing breakthrough high-temperature, high-strength Al alloy for advanced light-duty engines

November 08, 2016

A team led by researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing a lower-cost cast aluminum (Al) alloy capable of at least a 50 ˚C temperature increase over the current cylinder head alloys 319 and 356 for use in light duty engines. The new alloy is also targeting a better than 25% increase in strength at 300 ˚C compared to the older alloys at 250 ˚C, as well as excellent hot tearing resistance.

The work, led by Dr. Amit Shyam at ORNL, is part of a 4-year project consisting of a CRADA partnership with FCA and foundry giant Nemak. (Earlier post.)

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Ricardo’s low-cost, fuel-efficient automatic transmission concept for motorcycles

November 07, 2016

Ricardo has developed and demonstrated an advanced and cost-effective motorcycle Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) concept that offers the comfort and convenience of automatic and semi-automatic operation with better-than-manual fuel efficiency.

Manual transmissions predominate in almost all non-scooter two-wheeler categories; automated alternatives can be expensive and bring efficiency penalties. BY contrast, the Ricardo concept avoids these drawbacks and is comparatively simple to integrate into an existing product range.

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SAE REX: PHEVs and REEVs could open door for advanced combustion regime engines

Increased market penetration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs) across vehicle segments could present an opportunity for emerging advanced combustion regime engines, such as those using various low-temperature combustion modes, according to a number of presentations at the SAE 2016 Range Extenders for Electric Vehicles Symposium held last week in Knoxville.

The REEV or PHEV also may present opportunities for more novel power sources such as turbines (Wrightspeed), fuel cell stacks (Nissan) or aluminum-air batteries (Phinergy and Arconic), speakers suggested. The REX symposium was sponsored by Mahle; the organizers were from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Mahle.

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ARPA-E awards $32M to 10 new projects to improve connected and automated vehicle efficiency

November 03, 2016

The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $32 million in funding for 10 innovative projects as part of the Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR) program. (Earlier post.) With a goal of reducing individual vehicle energy usage by 20%, NEXTCAR projects will take advantage of the increasingly complex and connected systems in today’s—and tomorrow’s—cars and trucks to improve their energy efficiency.

Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technology utilizes on-board or cloud-based sensors, data and computational capabilities to help a vehicle better process and react to its surrounding environment. This knowledge could include the location of stop signs and intersections, the actions of nearby vehicles, the location of congested areas, and much more. Currently, CAV technologies predominantly improve upon vehicle safety and add driving convenience. NEXTCAR projects will leverage these rapidly evolving technologies to greatly reduce vehicle energy use.

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Nissan introduces series-hybrid powertrain with Note e-POWER in Japan; small pack, small engine, LEAF motor, low price

November 02, 2016

In Japan, Nissan Motor introduced its new series-hybrid drive system called e-POWER along with its application in the Note. This marks the first availability of e-POWER technology for consumers, marking a milestone in the electrification strategy under Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

e-POWER borrows from the EV technology in the Nissan LEAF. Unlike the all-battery-electric powertrain of the LEAF, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output. Nissan says that although e-POWER uses a much smaller battery than the LEAF (1.5 kWh vs 30 kWh), it delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.

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Ricardo’s “deep” Miller cycle concept: Magma

November 01, 2016

In its new report on downsized and boosted gasoline engine technologies (earlier post) the ICCT highlighted Ricardo’s work on an “extreme” Miller cycle concept with high (13:1) compression ratio (CR) and central direct injection in a downsized boosted engine.

The basic architecture of “Magma” concept is a boosted four-stroke gasoline engine with four valves per cylinder. The Magma concept architecture closes the inlet valve early to reduce pumping losses. A mechanical supercharger and fixed-geometry turbocharger fill cylinders effectively. A long exhaust stroke then extracts maximum efficiency.

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ICCT-led analysis of turbocharged, downsized engine tech finds lower costs and greater benefits than 2012 EPA/NHTSA analysis; 48V, e-boost, Miller

October 31, 2016

A new white paper published by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), in collaboration with Eaton, Ricardo, JCI, BorgWarner, Honeywell, and the ITB Group, analyzes current turbocharged, downsized gasoline engine technology developments and trends.

The assessment, which relies on data from publicly available sources and data and information from the participating automotive suppliers, provides an update to the technology assessments performed by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to inform the 2017–2025 fuel economy and GHG rule.

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