[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.]
Volkswagen to lead EEMBC effort on benchmarks to quantify automotive microcontroller energy efficiency
May 21, 2013
|Prototype of EEMBC’s automotive microcontroller efficiency benchmark includes test equipment from National Instruments connected to the Renesas V850E2/Fx4-L microcontroller. Click to enlarge.|
The Volkswagen Group will chair an expanded Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) working group project to establish an energy-efficiency benchmark for microcontrollers aimed at making automotive end products more energy-aware and more robust.
EEMBC’s first-generation automotive benchmark suite, AutoBench, focuses on CPU processing power, measuring the time required to complete specific algorithms. Its 16 benchmark kernels include generic workload tests; basic automotive algorithms, including controller area network (CAN), tooth-to-spark (locating the engine’s cog when the spark is ignited), angle-to-time conversion, road speed calculation, and table lookup and interpolation; and signal processing algorithms.
Mercedes-Benz launches new S-Class with hybrid, diesel, gasoline models; 59 mpg PHEV model to come
May 16, 2013
|New S 400 HYBRID. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz’s new generation flagship S-Class, introduced at an elaborate event at Airbus in Finkenwerder, marks a number of technology firsts in numerous areas from comfort, to driver control, to efficiency. As one example of the last, the new S-Class is the first car in the world to completely dispense with conventional electric bulbs, making exclusive use of energy-saving LED technology both inside and outside.
On a larger efficiency scale, the new S-Class in its first year will offer two hybrid versions, a gasoline model and a diesel variant: the S 400 HYBRID, S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, S 500, and S 350 BlueTEC. The models offer up to 20% lower fuel consumption than the outgoing model series. These soon will be followed by the S 500 Plug-In HYBRID—the first S-Class with a fuel consumption lower than 4l/100 km (59 mpg US). All the engines already meet the requirements of the Euro-6 emissions standard.
FEV analysis of automotive-scale Pinnacle opposed-piston engine finds potential for significant increases in fuel economy
May 15, 2013
An analysis by FEV of a modeled automotive scale version of Pinnacle’s 4-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post) concluded that the engine has the potential to deliver significant additional fuel economy benefits of up to 42.6% with application of various advanced technologies over a baseline naturally aspirated (NA) 1.5L configuration of the engine.
Start-up Pinnacle initially has been targeting the Asian two-wheeler market with a small-displacement version of its technology (e.e., 110 cc) to gain some market traction rather than trying to push its way into the automotive market. Automotive, however, has always been a company target, notes founder Monty Cleeves. FEV is also supporting Pinnacle on those initial versions of the engine.
Cummins progressing toward ATLAS Tier 2 Bin 2 fuel-efficient diesel for light-duty pickups
May 10, 2013
In a US Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored project, engineers at Cummins are developing a Tier 2 Bin 2 emissions compliant diesel for application in a light duty pickup (ATLAS, Advanced Technology Light Automotive Systems, earlier post). Tier 2 Bin 2 requirements are only slightly less stringent than the CARB LEVIII-SULEV20 requirements. (Earlier post.) Fuel economy targets for the vehicle are 22.4 mpg US (10.5 l/100km) city and 34.3 mpg US (6.9 l/100 km) highway.
At the recent 2103 SAE World Congress, Cummins discussed key engine technology enablers—including air-handling, fuel system, and base engine design— and development of the combustion system that will help in achieving the target emission levels and fuel economy.
Update on the ACCESS fuel efficient engine project; simulations find up to 48.9% improvement in fuel economy over baseline
May 08, 2013
Robert Bosch LLC, AVL Powertrain Engineering and partners including the University of Michigan are working on a four-year, $24-million US Department of Energy (DOE)-supported project— Advanced Combustion Concepts—Enabling Systems and Solutions (ACCESS)—to achieve a 30% fuel economy improvement in a gasoline-fueled light-duty vehicle without compromising performance while also meeting SULEV emission standards. (Earlier post.)
At the recent 2013 SAE World Congress, engineers from Bosch and AVL presented papers on progress in the ACCESS project, describing the design, combustion development and controls development for a resulting 4-cylinder gasoline turbocharged direct injection (GTDI) engine with part-load HCCI capability.
Euro Parliament Environment Committee approves 147 g CO2/km target for light commercial vehicles by 2020; caps van speed
May 07, 2013
Members of the European Parliament’s Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee approved a draft law setting out rules for achieving a 147 g CO2/km (235 g/mile) target for new light commercial vehicles by 2020, down from 203 g/km (325 g/mile) today—i.e., a 27.6% reduction. The vote was 53 to 4 with 1 abstention.
The committee also proposed indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in a range of 105 to 120 g/km (168 to 192 g/mile) from 2025. The committee also voted to limit electronically the top speed of vans to 120 km/h (75 mph).
GM recalling certain eAssist models; up to 42,904 vehicles potentially affected by GCM issue
May 06, 2013
General Motors (GM) is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Buick LaCrosse and Regal, and model year 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco vehicles equipped with the eAssist light electrification system. (Earlier post.) Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the Generator Control Module (GCM) may not function properly. This could cause a gradual loss of battery charge and the illumination of the malfunction indicator light, GM said in its notice to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If these warnings are ignored, eventually the engine may stall and/or the vehicle may not start. In addition, there may be a burning or melting odor, smoke, and possibly a fire in the trunk. Potentially up to 42,904 MY 2012 and MY2013 vehicles may be affected.
2014 Sprinter van for US standard with new 2.1L diesel; new driver assistance features
|2014 Sprinter. Click to enlarge.|
The new MY2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van for the US now features a 2.1L, 4-cylinder diesel with a t-speed automatic transmission as standard. The familiar V6 diesel is available as an option.
Since 2010, all Sprinters in the US have been powered by BlueTEC diesel engines, marking the first use of BlueTEC technology, with its selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment system, in the commercial van market here. The 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine produces 161 hp (120 kW) and 265 lb-ft (359 N·m) of torque at 1,400-2,400 rpm.
New Porsche 911 Turbo improves fuel economy by 16%
May 03, 2013
The new generation Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S, equipped with new advanced engines, PDK transmission, new combined thermal management system for the turbo engine and the transmission, the new Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system, and other fuel efficiency technologies such as start/stop and active aerodynamics, have reduced NEDC fuel consumption by up to 16% to 9.7 l/100 km (24.3 mpg US); these figures apply to both models. Final US EPA label values will be calculated closer to the time the car is on sale in the United States.
The bi-turbocharged 3.8-liter flat 6-cylinder engine with direct gasoline injection produces 520 hp (383 kW) in the 911 Turbo and 560 hp (412 kW) in the S model. Porsche continues to be the only carmaker to offer two turbochargers with variable turbine geometry for a gasoline engine. Power is transferred to the drivetrain via the seven-speed dual clutch transmission (PDK), which now enables an auto start/stop function with engine shutoff that now activates earlier during coasting to a stop as well as a coasting function.
Volkswagen boosts Beetle Turbo and Jetta GLI with EA888 Gen 3 engine; more power, improved fuel economy
|The EA888 for the US. Click to enlarge.|
The Volkswagen Beetle Turbo, Beetle Turbo Convertible, and the Jetta GLI receive a number of running changes to 2013 model year cars that go on sale this month. The most notable of these is fitment of a new version of the EA888 Gen 3 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected TSI gasoline engine.
The new engine delivers a manufacturer-estimated improvement in fuel efficiency for the Beetle models of between 4-8% percent on the combined cycle and by up to 9% percent on the city cycle. The new engine produces 210 horsepower (157 kW), an increase of 10 hp over the previous Gen 2 TSI engine.
Reports highlight ongoing advances in vehicle technology, consumer demand for fuel efficiency in US and Europe
May 02, 2013
|4-cylinder engines and hybrid vehicles as a percent of cars sold in the US. Source: CFA. Click to enlarge.|
Two separate reports highlight the ongoing improvement in vehicle technologies and the growing trend toward consumers purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles in the US and in Europe. In the US, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released an analysis—“On the Road to 54.5 MPG: A Progress Report on Achievability”—of the response of consumers and automakers as both begin to experience the effects of the newly adopted federal fuel economy standard.
In Europe, a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) found that the average car sold in the EU in 2012 was 9% more fuel-efficient than the average three years before, due to improved technology and an increase in the share of diesel cars.
Vocis launching demo EV with 2nd generation multi-speed transmission; projected 15% improvement in vehicle efficiency
April 30, 2013
|2nd generation eDCT prototype unit, with both motors mounted at the same end of the transmission. Source: Vocis. Click to enlarge.|
During the coming month, UK-based transmission engineering and control specialist Vocis will launch an electric demonstrator vehicle fitted with the second generation of its multi-speed eDCT transmission for electric vehicles. The demonstration vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz Vito minibus, will be made available for evaluation by interested parties from industry and the press.
The 4-speed dual-motor Vocis eDCT concept (earlier post) uses the principles of dual clutch transmissions (DCTs) to provide seamless shifting and up to 15% improvement in electric vehicle efficiency over the combined European cycle compared to a single speed gearbox Vocis transmission. The second-generation unit has been developed with partial funding from the Niche Vehicle Network and was shortlisted for an SMMT Automotive Innovation award in 2012.
U. Wisconsin team reports gross indicated thermal efficiency of RCCI operation near 60%
April 29, 2013
In a paper presented at the 2013 SAE World Congress, a team from the University of Wisconsin reported a gross indicated thermal efficiency of Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) operation of near 60%, given optimized combustion management and thermodynamic conditions. That 60% gross engine efficiency provides a pathway to meet the DOE Super Truck 50% brake thermal efficiency (BTE) engine goal as well as a pathway for reaching 55% BTE, the researchers concluded.
The findings also showed that improvements to boosting system efficiencies for low exhaust temperatures and overall reductions in friction are required to capitalize on the high gross efficiences offered by RCCI.
Winterkorn says Volkswagen developing 10-speed DCT and high-performance diesel; plug-in hybrids offer great potential
April 26, 2013
|Volkswagen’s view of powertrain technologies to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, Executive Director Volkswagen Group Research. Click to enlarge.|
At the International Vienna Motor Symposium Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, gave a forecast of future drive system technologies. Areas of work being focused on by Volkswagen include the development of a high-performance diesel engine delivering 100 kW (134 hp) per liter of displacement and a new 10-speed dual clutch gearbox that reduces fuel consumption.
The high performance diesel engine features a variable valve-train assembly, a high-pressure injection system at up to 3,000 bar and combined charging with an innovative e-booster. Among alternative drive systems, plug-in hybrids in particular offer great potential, Winterkorn said. (The Volkswagen Group intends to launch at least 6 new plug-in hybrid models starting in 2014 and beyond. Earlier post.)
Euro Parliament committee approves new 95 g/km CO2 target for cars; super credits and a switch to WLTP
April 25, 2013
The environment committee of the European Parliament approved a draft law setting out a new CO2 target for cars of 95g CO2/km (153 g/mile) by 2020, down from 130 gCO2/km (209 g/mile) in 2015. The draft also sets indicative targets for post-2020 CO2 emissions in the range of 68-78 g/km (109-126 g/mile) from 2025.
These emission limits are the average maximum allowed for car makers registered in the EU. Makers producing fewer than 1,000 cars a year should be exempt from the legislation, said the MEPs. Car makers would therefore have to produce, in addition to older, heavier or polluting models, enough cleaner ones to achieve a balance of 95g en 2020, on pain of penalties.
Volvo Cars’ tests of flywheel technology confirm fuel savings of up to 25%
|Volvo Car’s flywheel KERS system. Click to enlarge.|
Results of Volvo Car Group’s testing of kinetic flywheel technology on public roads during 2012 show that the flywheel technology combined with a four-cylinder turbo engine has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% compared with a six-cylinder turbo engine at a comparable performance level, according to Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group. (Earlier post.)
If the energy in the flywheel is combined with the combustion engine’s full capacity, it will give the car an extra 80 horsepower. Combined with the swift torque build-up, this translates into rapid acceleration, cutting 0 to 100 km/h figures by seconds. The experimental car, a Volvo S60, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds.
ALABC and CPT to introduce 48V LC Super Hybrid demonstrator at Vienna Motor Symposium
April 24, 2013
|12V and 48V LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrators. Click to enlarge.|
The Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) and Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) will introduce a low-carbon 48 volt LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrator at the International Vienna Motor Symposium this week. The 48V LC Super Hybrid aims to demonstrate CO2 emissions of 120 g/km, combined with 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in less than nine seconds, in a family-sized sedan.
Employing cost-effective low-voltage micro-mild hybrid technology, the LC Super Hybrid, which is based on a 1.4-liter VW Passat, will make its global debut at the 34th annual powertrain conference. The 48-volt version of the LC Super Hybrid complements the existing 12 volt technology demonstrator unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012. (Earlier post.)
ZF’s decoupleable all-wheel drive system for cars delivers up to 5% reduction in fuel consumption compared to conventional AWD
April 22, 2013
|Simulation of CO2savings using ECOnnect decoupleable AWD system. Source: ZF. Click to enlarge.|
ZF has developed an all-wheel drive system for front-transverse installation in passenger cars that, through an automatic decoupling function, can reduce fuel consumption by up to 5% in comparison with conventional all-wheel drives, according to the company. Additionally, the front-transverse architecture allows for a combination with the new ZF 9-speed automatic transmission. ZF showed the ECOnnect system, first presented at a technical workshop in October last year, at the 2013 SAE World Congress.
Currently, vehicles with classic, controllable all-wheel drive (AWD) do not have better fuel economy than vehicles with permanent all-wheel drive; even when the second axle is trailing, the driveline is active, which causes spilling and friction losses.
FEV’s two-stage VCR system; 5-7% increase in fuel economy using variable length conrods
|Working principle of FEV’s two-stage VCR system. Click to enlarge.|
Use of a variable compression ratio (VCR) could be one technology approach to reducing fuel consumption in highly boosted (e.g., downsized, turbocharged) gasoline engine, as operating an engine with higher compression ratios at low load can increase fuel economy compared to operating an engine with fixed compression ratio.
At SAE World Congress 2013, engineers at FEV reported on their progress on a two-stage variable compression ratio (VCR) system based on a variable length conrod with eccentric piston pin suspension. The small end of the connecting rod in the FEV systemis equipped with an eccentric sleeve housing the wrist pin. By rotating the eccentric sleeve, the effective connecting rod length, and thus the compression ratio, can be varied. (Diagram at right.)
GM outlines plans for China with 17 launches this year; developing advanced propulsion and electrification tech in China
April 21, 2013
General Motors discussed its future plans in China during a press conference in conjunction with the start of Auto Shanghai 2013. GM and its joint ventures are launching 17 new and upgraded models in China this year, including the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback; the new Wuling Sunshine; two new Jiefang light-duty trucks, the S230 and F330; and the Insignia Sports Tourer, Zafira Tourer and Astra GTC from Opel.
GM is also in the process of bringing Cadillac’s entire global portfolio to China, adding one locally produced model per year through 2016. Earlier this year, it introduced the locally produced XTS luxury sedan as well as the refreshed SRX luxury SUV, which is Cadillac’s best-selling model in China.
Ford / AVL study concludes mid-level ethanol blend attractive as a long-term future fuel for use in optimized engines in US
April 19, 2013
A study by a team from Ford Motor Company and AVL has concluded that a mid-level ethanol blend—greater than E20 but less than E40—appears to be attractive as a long-term future fuel for the US for use in engines optimized for the higher octane blend. The team presented a paper on their work at the 2013 SAE World Congress in Detroit. Ford engineers also presented two other papers evaluating the effects of low to mid-level ethanol blends in spark-ignited engines at the conference.
In the face of increased regulatory stringency (e.g., US CAFE, California LEV 3 and pending US Tier 3), the combustion engine community is gearing up for an intensified push to deliver higher efficiency engines with lower fuel consumption and emissions. One of the many emerging possible technology pathways to achieve those goals is the use of a future high-octane fuel in optimized, higher-compression-ratio engines. (Earlier post.) The study by the Ford / AVL team provides an overview of the effects of such a future ethanol-gasoline blend in such an engine.
Johnson Controls to supply AGM batteries to Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China; introducing 48V micro hybrid system
Johnson Controls will provide its Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) advanced lead-acid battery technology to power the Chery Jaguar Land Rover Start-Stop and other vehicles made in China to serve the China market. Start-Stop systems help reduce fuel consumption as the engine shuts off when the vehicle comes to a stop in traffic or at a red light. The battery restarts the engine when the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal or engages the clutch.
Separately, the company will debut to the China market its 48-volt Micro Hybrid battery demonstration module (earlier post) at the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition (Auto Shanghai 2013). Leveraging a dual voltage architecture, the Micro Hybrid battery system involves a low voltage lead-acid battery and a 48 volt Lithium-ion battery that enable optimization of energy generation and consumption, thus saving fuel.
IEA: carbon intensity of global energy supply has barely changed in last 20 years; “window of opportunity in transport”
April 18, 2013
|The ESCII, along with projections for three scenarios. To meet 2DS targets, the index needs to decline by 5.7% by 2020, and 64% by 2050. Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.|
In a fairly bleak assessment of global progress towards low-carbon energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that, despite a few bright spots such as the rapid expansion of renewable technologies and the growth of hybrid and EV sales, the progress is far below that required to achieve a 2 °C pathway—i.e., to hold warming to 2 °C as outlined in the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP) 2 °C Scenario (2DS). The assessment came in an annual report to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM).
To illustrate this inertia, the report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, introduced the Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII), which shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted, on average, to provide a given unit of energy. The global energy supply became 6% cleaner from 1971 to 1990,in response to the oil shocks of the 1970s. Since 1990, however, the ESCII (2010 = 100) has remained essentially static, changing by less than 1%. In 1990 the underlying carbon intensity of supply was 57.1 tCO2/TJ (2.39 tCO2/toe); in 2010 it was 56.7 tCO2/TJ (2.37 tCO2/toe).
Achates Power developing light-duty two-stroke opposed-piston diesel engine: the OP4
April 17, 2013
|The OP4 light-duty opposed-piston diesel. Click to enlarge.|
Achates Power, which is developing a family of two-stroke, compression-ignition (CI) opposed-piston (OP) engines, has designed and is developing a light-duty diesel concept engine, the OP4. The OP4 is a two-stroke, inline two-cylinder, four-piston diesel with a swept volume of 1.5 liters.
With nominal power of 96 kW (129 hp) @ 4000 rpm and maximum torque of 325 N·m (240 lb-ft) @ 1750-2250 rpm (achieved at 14 bar BMEP), the engine will meet Euro 6 and LEV 3 emissions requirements and shows modeled best point fuel consumption of 189 g/kWh. Benchmarked against the Mercedes-Benz 1.8-liter OM651 Euro 5 engine, said Fabien Redon VP, Technology Development at Achates Power, the OP4 design shows a modeled 13.5% cycle-average fuel consumption advantage. Redon presented the basics of the OP4 engine concept at the SAE High Efficiency IC Engine Symposium in Detroit.
EDAG study finds aluminum BIW can deliver mass savings of 35-40% over steel; fuel economy boost
|Material selection for the Venza aluminum BIW. Click to enlarge.|
A new study by EDAG Group, commissioned by the Aluminum in Transportation Group of the US Aluminum Association, finds that an all-aluminum body in white (BIW) can deliver potential mass savings in the 35 – 40% range over a base steel BIW. This, when combined with secondary mass savings and other design changes, could boost fuel economy by around 18%.
The study built upon research EDAG performed last year for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) examining mass reduction, safety and cost variables in a mid-size crossover Toyota Venza. The EPA study aimed to reduce vehicle mass by 20% while meeting all NHTSA and IIHS safety standards, and maintaining or improving performance, handling and braking.
GM and Ford jointly to develop new 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions
April 15, 2013
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. have signed an agreement under which both companies will jointly develop a new generation of advanced technology 9- and 10-speed automatic transmissions for cars, crossovers, SUVs and trucks.
The new transmissions, to be built in both front- and rear-wheel drive variants, will improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. The collaboration enables both automakers to design, develop, engineer, test, validate and deliver these new transmissions for their vehicles faster and at lower cost than if each company worked independently.
Delphi advancing Gasoline Direct-Injection Compression-Ignition engine concept; new two-stage supercharger/turbocharger boost system
April 12, 2013
At SAE World Congress next week in Detroit, Delphi Automotive will present two technical papers describing its ongoing progress with the Gasoline Direct-Injection Compression-Ignition (GDCI) engine concept. (Earlier post.)
GDCI is an advanced low-temperature combustion concept that uses compression ignition under lean to near stoichiometric fueling conditions over the complete engine operating range. Previous studies of GDCI have shown good potential for very high efficiency, low NOx, and low PM over the full speed-load range. GDCI achieves low-temperature combustion using multiple-late injection (MLI), intake boost, and cooled EGR.
Ford launches the 1.5L EcoBoost engine; first in Mondeo, Fusion following; computer-controlled clutch on water pump
|Ford’s 1.5L EcoBoost engine. Click to enlarge.|
Ford Motor Company officially launched the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine into its lineup. The new engine will be first introduced in China in the all-new Ford Mondeo, making its public debut later this month at Auto Shanghai 2013 (earlier post), with applications following in the Fusion sedan in North America this year, and later the new Mondeo in Europe.
The 1.5-liter EcoBoost is the first engine from Ford to incorporate a computer-controlled clutch on the belt-drive water pump, which further improves efficiencies by reducing warm-up time. A water-cooled charge air cooler is added to offer a more efficient feed of air into the engine.
Opel to launch 3 new engine families, 13 new engines by 2016
April 10, 2013
Opel is launching three new engine families and 13 new engines between 2012 and 2016, renewing 80% of its engine portfolio. In the same period the company will also launch a number of new transmissions.
Opel—in which GM has said it will invest €4 billion (US$5.3 billion) through 2016—is beginning the renewal of its powertrain portfolio now with the introduction of all-new 1.6-liter gasoline and diesel engines, together with next generation five- and six-speed gearboxes. They will be joined by the end of this year by a new small-displacement gasoline engine family.
LaunchPoint completing SBIR project on electromechanical valve actuator for fully variable valve system
April 09, 2013
|Concept of valve implementation on 4-cylinder head. Source: LaunchPoint. Click to enlarge.|
LaunchPoint Technologies, Inc. is completing Phase II of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant (IIP-1058556) from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to design and test a novel electromechanical valve actuator designed specifically to control a low-cost, high efficiency valve actuation system that achieves fully variable control over the duration and phase of an engine’s intake valve.
Phase I of the project (NSF SBIR Award No. IIP-0945595) demonstrated a compact, linear-motion actuator capable of driving a typical engine valve. LaunchPoint designed and tested a prototype actuator using the magnetic spring technology originally developed for a high-speed switching mechanism in a space application (US Patent 7,265,470).
Zhongding Power to invest more than $200M to build EcoMotors opoc plant in China
p> Zhongding Power and EcoMotors have entered an agreement for the production of the opoc (opposed-piston, opposed cylinder) engine (earlier post). One of the largest automotive component conglomerates in China, Zhongding will finance and construct the first opoc plant in the Anhui Province.
The plant represents an investment by Zhongding of more than US $200 million and will have a capacity of about 150,000 engines per year—or more than US $1 billion in revenue potential. High-volume production is expected to begin in 2014.
Volvo Car Group’s new VEA diesels will use i-ART injection systems for improved fuel consumption
April 08, 2013
Volvo Car Group’s new engine family VEA (Volvo Engine Architecture) (earlier post) will be launched this autumn with i-ART injection technology that helps to cut fuel consumption in the new diesel engines. i-ART (intelligent-Accuracy Refinement Technology) was developed by Denso and introduced at the IAA 2011. (Toyota is also using i-ART systems in upcoming 3.0L commercial diesel engines. Earlier post.)
i-ART features a closed-loop control system—the system autonomously adjusts the fuel injection quantity and timing to their optimal targets based on feedback from injectors. To do this, each injector is equipped with a pressure sensor that communicates its fuel pressure to the engine ECU.
ACEEE report recommends steps toward international alignment of heavy-duty vehicle efficiency standards
April 05, 2013
A new report published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recommends the international harmonization of fuel efficiency and/or greenhouse gas emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks and buses.
Foundational steps toward such alignment would include a common set of test cycles and test payload weights, which would serve to define universal measures of vehicle performance. This in turn would permit a standardized calculation of cost-effectiveness of technology improvements as a function of regional conditions. This would also allow comparison of vehicles in a range of driving conditions, and in particular would allow buyers to estimate performance over their own duty cycles, the report suggests.
GM investing $332M in 4 sites to produce new Ecotec small gasoline engine, 8-speed, V6
General Motors Co. will invest nearly $332 million in four manufacturing sites to produce more fuel-efficient engines and transmissions. The investments at GM plants in Flint and Bay City, Mich.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bedford, Ind. will support production of a new Ecotec small gasoline engine, a new V6 engine, 8-speed transmission, and tooling for an existing 6-speed transmission.
The new small Ecotec gasoline engine is part of a new global engine family that could top 2 million engines a year by the end of the decade, based on production in Flint and other locations around the world. The new family comprises a range of three- and four-cylinder engines in displacements from 1.0L to 1.5L and is the result of an engineering partnership between GM and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), Shanghai General Motors (SGM) and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC). (Earlier post.)
Ford unveils 1.5L EcoBoost engine in new Mondeo in China (corrected)
April 04, 2013
Ford unveiled the new, fifth-generation global Mondeo in China, the first Ford to be equipped with the new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. The new
3 4-cylinder, 1.5L EcoBoost is the fifth and latest member to join Ford’s global family of EcoBoost engines, which includes a 1.0-liter three-cylinder, 1.6- and 2.0-liter four-cylinders, and two 3.5-liter V6 variants.
Ford’s EcoBoost technology combines direct fuel injection, turbocharging and variable valve timing to enable a downsized engine to gain fuel economy by up to 20% over larger engines with no loss of performance. The 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine is projected to produce 132 kW (177 hp) of power at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 240 N·m (177 lb-ft) from 1,500 to 4,500 rpm.
US EPA proposing allowing high-octane, higher ethanol content fuels as part of Tier 3 regs; E30 as example
April 03, 2013
As part of the proposed Tier 3 rulemaking on vehicle emissions and gasoline sulfur content released last week (earlier post), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to allow vehicle manufacturers to request approval for an alternative certification fuel—such as a high-octane 30% ethanol by volume (E30) blend—for vehicles they might design or optimize for use on such a fuel.
Higher octane fuels can lead to higher compression ratios which in turn can lead to more efficient gasoline engines and reduced fuel consumption. With turbocharged gasoline engines, there is a double benefit: higher compression ratios and increased boost. (Earlier post.) Having approval for such a high octane certification fuel would, the EPA proposed in the Tier 3 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:
GM: new Sierra 5.3L V-8 EcoTec3 highway fuel economy tops Ford EcoBoost V-6
April 01, 2013
|2014 5.3L V-8 EcoTec3 AFM VVT DI (L83) for Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Click to enlarge.|
The 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 full-size pickup truck features a new 5.3L EcoTec3 V-8 engine (earlier post) equipped with direct injection, cylinder deactivation (AFM) and variable valve timing to achieve EPA estimates of 16 mpg city (14.7 l/100 km) and 23 highway (10.2 l/100 km) with two-wheel drive or 16/22 mpg (14.7/10.7 l/100 km) with four-wheel drive.
In addition to highway fuel economy estimates that are 2 mpg higher than a 2013 Ford V8 pickup equipped with a 5.0L Ti-VCT V-8 and 3 mpg higher than a Ram V8, Sierra’s new V-8 highway fuel economy estimates also measure higher than those of the 2013 Ford F-150 EcoBoost V-6 (23 mpg for the Sierra, 22 mpg for the Ford EcoBoost F-150), GM noted.
New 2014 Jeep Cherokee features up to 31 mpg highway, 9-speed transmission; driver assistance firsts
March 27, 2013
|2014 Jeep Cherokee. Click to enlarge.|
Chrysler introduced the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee mid-size SUV at the New York International Auto Show. The new Cherokee features a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission, developed in partnership with ZF; fuel economy improvements of more than 45% versus the outgoing Liberty model; and more than 70 advanced safety and security features.
Powered by the choice of two new engines mated to the nine-speed, the Cherokee features expected highway fuel economy ratings of up to 31 mpg US (7.6 l/100 km) and a driving range on a tank of gasoline of nearly 500 miles (805 km).
New Scania heavy-duty truck series offers up to 8% reduction in fuel consumption
March 22, 2013
|Scania Streamline G-series unit. Click to enlarge.|
Scania unveiled its new Streamline series of trucks that will enable customers to reduce fuel consumption by up to 8%.
The Scania G- and R-series long-haulage trucks feature new low-drag looks and full air deflector kits. Potential fuel savings in long-haulage are up to 8% with the new, more efficient second-generation Euro 6 engines. Corresponding savings for Euro 3/4/5 are up to 5%.
Honda tests congestion minimization technology on public roads in Indonesia, finds >20% improvement in fuel efficiency
March 21, 2013
|The amount of traffic and pattern of changes in average speed with vehicles equipped with the system. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. conducted public-road testing of its new traffic congestion minimization technology (earlier post) in Indonesia and verified the effectiveness of the technology in delaying the development of congestion and in improving fuel efficiency by more than 20%. The public-road testing was conducted from September 2012 through February 2013 on a toll road between Ulujami and Pondok Ranji in Jakarta.
Traffic congestion is caused by the disorderly flow of the traffic. Therefore, to minimize congestion, the driver of each vehicle needs to adjust driving behavior to the surrounding vehicles. Honda developed a smartphone app which changes the colors of the smartphone display to help the user to check at a glance whether his/her driving is aligned with surrounding vehicles.
Down to the wire for final round of public voting in DOE Apps for Vehicles challenge
Nearly 40 teams initially submitted ideas for the $50,000 Apps for Vehicles Challenge that seeks to improve safety and fuel efficiency through data innovation. Eight finalists were selected to move on to this second and final phase of the competition based on the business plans and product prototypes they submitted during the first phase.
Study explores impact of alcohol-gasoline blends with early inlet valve closing at low and moderate loads on EGR tolerance
March 20, 2013
A team from Brunel University, MAHLE Powertrain and University College London studied the combined effects of different inlet valve operating strategies on combustion, performance and emissions with different ethanol and 1-butanol blends with gasoline in a single-cylinder spark-ignition research engine equipped with a fully variable valvetrain. Their paper is published in the journal Fuel.
The focus was to better quantify the effects of alcohol content and Early Inlet Valve Closing (EIVC) operation on EGR tolerance under the lowest speed-load conditions typically encountered (e.g., engine idle) while also quantifying the changes in optimum valvetrain settings at moderate speeds and loads where the effects of varying EGR tolerance were less dominant.
Study finds technology cost of achieving European 2020 LDV CO2 targets more than offset by resultant fuel savings
March 19, 2013
|Provisional 2030 economic impact of achieving the 2020 targets in the two Phase I scenarios—Current Policy Initiatives and Tech 1— compared to baseline. Source: Cambridge Econometrics.Click to enlarge.|
A report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA concludes that overall, the cost of technologies required to meet proposed European 2020 CO2 regulations for vehicles (95 g/km for cars and 147 g/km for vans) will be more than offset by the resultant fuel savings. The technical and macro-economic study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, focuses on light-duty vehicles.
The project is taking a phased approach. This first report (Phase I) examines only the impact of improving the efficiency of fossil-fueled vehicles, in which efficiency gains are delivered by the improvement of the internal combustion engine vehicle, including lightweighting, engine downsizing and hybridization. The Phase II report, to be presented mid-2013, examines the impact of the gradual penetration of advanced powertrains, such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with increasing levels of indigenous energy resources, such as electricity and hydrogen.
NRC report concludes US LDVs could cut oil consumption and GHGs by 80% by 2050; reliance on plug-ins, biofuels and hydrogen; strong policies mandatory
March 18, 2013
|Projected rates of fuel consumption improvement under different scenarios relative to past experience and the 2016 and 2025 CAFE standards. Source: NRC. Click to enlarge.|
Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the US may be able to reduce petroleum use by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the newly published results of a two-year study by a committee convened by the National Research Council.
Achieving those goals will will be difficult—but not impossible to meet—and will necessitate a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. Given the importance of policy as a driver, the committee was also asked—somewhat unusually for a study of this kind—to explore policies, noted Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
Tsinghua study compares two diesel-gasoline combustion modes; both deliver high efficiencies and low emissions
|The effects of gasoline ratio on indicated thermal efficiency of HCII and GDBF modes. Yu et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the combustion and emissions characteristics of two dual-fuel (diesel-gasoline) modes intended to integrate the advantages of both fuels to achieve high thermal efficiency and low emission targets. A paper on their results is published in the journal Fuel.
Gasoline Homogeneous Charge Induced Ignition (HCII) by diesel combines the port fuel injection of gasoline to form a homogeneous charge with the direct injection of diesel fuel as an ignition source. (E.g., RCCI, earlier post.) Gasoline/Diesel Blend Fuels (GDBFs) use a premixed blend of diesel and gasoline which is directly injected into the cylinder for combustion. (E.g., dieseline, earlier post.)
GAO report finds DOE not actively considering any applications for Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program
March 16, 2013
A new review of the status of US Department of Energy (DOE) loan programs by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that, as of 29 January 2013, DOE was not actively considering any applications for using the remaining $16.6 billion in loan authority or $4.2 billion in credit subsidy appropriations available under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan program.
The ATVM loan program was established in 2007 by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to provide up to $25 billion in loans for projects to produce more fuel-efficient passenger vehicles and their components. The fiscal year 2009 continuing resolution provided the ATVM loan program with $7.5 billion in appropriations to cover credit subsidy costs. DOE has made five loans worth $8.4 billion and used $3.3 billion in appropriations to cover credit subsidy costs. Loans awarded were:
EPA annual report on CO2, fuel economy and technology trends finds 2012 heading for all-time best; rapid adoption of new technologies
March 15, 2013
|Adjusted CO2 emissions and adjusted fuel economy, MY 1975-2011. Source: EPA. Click to enlarge.|
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual report summarizing key trends in carbon dioxide emissions, fuel economy, and CO2- and fuel economy-related technology for gasoline- and diesel-fueled personal vehicles sold in the United States, from model years (MY) 1975 through 2012.
Data for MY 2011 are final; data for MY 2012 are preliminary and based on projected vehicle production values provided to EPA by manufacturers. The report finds that CO2 emissions rates and fuel economy values reflect a very favorable multi-year trend beginning in MY 2005. The fleet-wide average real world MY 2011 personal vehicle CO2 emissions value is 398 g/mi and average fuel economy is 22.4 mpg (10.5 l/100 km), both slightly worse relative to MY 2010. Preliminary projections for MY 2012 are 374 g/mi CO2 emissions and 23.8 mpg (9.9 l/100 km), which, if realized, would be all-time records and amongst the largest annual improvements since 1975.
Cummins/Peterbilt SuperTruck shows 54% improvement in fuel economy, 61% improvement in freight efficiency
March 14, 2013
|The new SuperTruck achieved a 54% increase in fuel economy. Click to enlarge.|
Cummins Inc. and Peterbilt Motors Company, a division of PACCAR, released test results showing their demonstration SuperTruck tractor-trailer achieved a 54% increase in fuel economy, averaging nearly 10 mpg US (23.5 l/100 km) under real world driving conditions. In addition, the truck also demonstrated a 61% improvement in freight efficiency during testing compared to a baseline truck driving the same route. Freight efficiency is based on payload weight and fuel efficiency expressed in ton-miles per gallon.
Cummins is a prime contractor leading one of four vertical teams under the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck project, one of several initiatives under the 21st Century Truck Partnership. (Earlier post.) Objectives for the program, which runs from April 2010 through April 2014, include:
Nissan to expand use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel into up to 25% of new model parts; 1.2 GPa ultra high strength steel for weight reduction
March 12, 2013
|Relationship of material strength and elongation in steel plates. Source: Nissan. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. plans to expand the use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel (AHSS) into up to 25% of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models starting in 2017 as one of its initiatives to help reduce vehicle weight.
Nissan, in collaboration with Nippon Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd., earlier developed 1.2 gigapascal (GPa) Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability. (Earlier post.) Prior to the development of 1.2GPa ultra high strength steel it had been difficult to use high tensile steels for vehicle parts with highly-complex shapes. This steel is first employed in the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America in 2013.
ExxonMobil: diesel will surpass gasoline as the number one global transportation fuel by 2020
March 09, 2013
|Transportation fuel mix in millions of oil-equivalent barrels through 2020. Source: ExxonMobil Outlook. Click to enlarge.|
Diesel will surpass gasoline as the number one transportation fuel worldwide by 2020 and continue to increase its share through 2040, according to ExxonMobil’s recently published Outlook For Energy: A View To 2040. The relative shift away from motor gasoline to diesel is driven by improving light-duty vehicle fuel economy and the growth in commercial transportation activity. Diesel demand accounts for 70% of the growth in demand for all transportation fuels through the forecast period to 2040.
Fuel demand for heavy-duty vehicles, the largest subsector, sees the greatest growth, up 65%, and accounts for 40% of all transportation demand by 2040. About 80% of the growth in commercial transport demand will come from developing nations, according to the forecast. Fuel for aviation and marine will increase about 75% and 90%, respectively, over the Outlook period, with their combined share growing from about 20% today to more than 25% by 2040.
SwRI launches HEDGE-III; high-efficiency gasoline engine consortium targets LEV III, best efficiency of 43%
March 08, 2013
|HEDGE-III will investigate solutions to the primary barriers to high efficiency in gasoline engines. Source: SwRI. Click to enlarge.|
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has launched its third cooperative research program aimed at developing a high-efficiency gasoline engine for the light-duty automotive and medium-duty engine markets. This four-year effort will expand on earlier efforts to improve gasoline engine technology for future emissions and fuel economy requirements. (Earlier post.)
The HEDGE-III (High-Efficiency Dilute Gasoline Engine) consortium incorporates new and more aggressive efficiency, performance and emissions goals that are in line with existing and potential future regulations and expectations.
GM CEO outlines highlights of fuel economy plan through MY2016: lightweighting; more efficient gasoline and clean diesel engines, electrification
March 07, 2013
Within his talk about the need for a US energy policy at the IHS CERAWeek 2013 energy conference in Houston, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson outlined some highlights of the company’s fuel economy plan through the 2016 model year.
The auto industry should play a central role in the energy discussion, Akerson noted, because light-duty vehicles account for about 60% of total transportation energy usage in the United States. Automakers are currently deploying and developing technologies that will satisfy customers and make an enormous contribution to energy security at the same time, he added. The near-term elements of GM’s fuel economy efforts he adduced are:
FedEx Express fleet exceeds 2020 fuel improvement goal of 20%; sets new goal of 30% improvement compared to 2005
March 06, 2013
|FedEx Express alternative fuel fleet deployment as of August 2012. Source: FedEx. Click to enlarge.|
FedEx Express has exceeded its original goal of a 20% improvement in global vehicle fleet fuel economy by 2020, as compared to 2005, with a more than 22% cumulative improvement in fuel economy for its vehicles. The unit of FedEx Corp has accordingly set a a new target of 30% improvement in fuel efficiency for its global vehicle fleet by 2020. This revision mirrors the company’s 2012 announcement to increase its aircraft emissions goal from 20% to a 30% reduction in global aircraft emissions intensity by 2020.
By pursuing the most promising avenues of advanced technologies, enlisting a variety of experienced manufacturers and optimizing our vehicle operations, FedEx Express has been able to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicle fleet at a faster rate than expected. FedEx Express has seen the biggest impact on overall fuel efficiency from its strategy of matching the right vehicle to each route.
Peugeot 2008 crossover delivers CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km for gasoline, 98 g/km for diesel
|The 2008 on display in Geneva. Click to enlarge.|
Peugeot’s new 2008 B-Segment urban crossover, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show, leverages its light-weight design, aerodynamic silhouette and a wide range of gasoline and diesel engines equipped with Stop&Start—including a new generation of 3-cylinder gasoline engines—to offer fuel consumption and CO2 emissions as low as 3.8 l/100km (62 mpg US) and 98g/km for diesel, and 99g/km for gasoline.
New generation of 3-cylinder gasoline engines. The PSA Peugeot Citroën Group designed the new generation of 3-cylinder gasoline engines, which, while maintaining comparable output to 4-cylinder engines, are more compact and lightweight (a 21 kg reduction of the 1.2-liter VTi over a 4-cylinder counterpart). (Earlier post.)
Study finds that increased vehicle travel and decreased occupancy have undercut the impact of improving fuel economy over last 40 years
A new study by Dr. Michael Sivak, Director, Sustainable Worldwide Transportation, University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), has found that from 1970-2010, an increase in vehicle distance travelled in the US, coupled with a decrease in the number of occupants in the vehicles, combined to undercut the impact of advances in vehicle fuel economy during that period.
From 1970 to 2010, vehicle distance travelled in the US increased by 155% (from 1.674 trillion km to 4.260 trillion km); however, because vehicle load (i.e., occupants carried) decreased by 27% (from 1.9 to 1.38 persons), the occupant distance travelled increased by 84% (from 3.182 to 5.867 trillion km). Sivak found that while the vehicle fuel economy of the entire light-duty fleet improved by 40% (from 13 mpg US to 21.6 mpg US, or from 18.1 l/100km to 10.9 l/100km), because of the decrease in vehicle load, the occupant fuel economy only improved by 17% (from 24.8 mpg US to 29.8 mpg US, or 9.5 to 7.9 l/100km).
GFEI report finds improvements in average new LDV fuel economy lagging pace required to cut 50% fuel use for new cars worldwide by 2030; policy focus should be on emerging markets
March 05, 2013
Worldwide, light-duty vehicle (LDV) fuel economy is not improving fast enough to cut average fuel use by 50% for all new cars by 2030, according to a working paper issued by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI). (Earlier post.) Of particular concern for the GFEI is a lack of progress among non-OECD countries.
The analysis, an update of an earlier work using data from 2010 and 2011, found that the global average for light-duty vehicle fuel economy was 7.2 l/100 km (32.7 mpg US mpg) in 2011—an improvement of 1.8% per year from 2005 when the average was 8.0 l/100 km (29.4 mpg US). In the first edition of the report, published in 2011, the main finding highlighted that global fuel economy had improved by an average of 1.7% per year between 2005 and 2008. While the pace of improvement has slightly accelerated between 2008 and 2011, it lags behind the required 2.7% annual improvement rate that had been required to reach the GFEI target of a 4l/100 km (58.8 mpg US) global average by 2030 for new cars.
SEAT introducing natural gas Mii Ecofuel with 79 g/km CO2
March 03, 2013
|The SEAT Mii Ecofuel. Click to enlarge.|
SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group, is expanding its Mii family with the introduction of the Mii Ecofuel, which runs on natural gas. The first model with a CNG engine to wear a SEAT badge, and making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2013 this coming week, the Mii Ecofuel offers average consumption of 2.9 kg CNG/100 km and CO2 emissions of 79 g/km. Given the fuel price in many countries, the running costs are approximately half those of a Mii with a gasoline engine.
The 1.0-liter, 68 PS (50 kW) engine is based on the three-cylinder gasoline unit found in the Mii with 60 PS (44 kW) and 75 PS (55 kW) outputs, but it’s been specifically developed for CNG operation. At an entry price of €12,050 (US$15,700) in Germany, the new SEAT Mii Ecofuel is also the most inexpensive CNG model on the market.
Land Rover to demonstrate ZF 9-speed automatic transmission; up to 16% fuel savings over standard 6-speed automatic
February 27, 2013
|The ZF 9HP 9-speed. Source: ZF. Click to enlarge.|
At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, Land Rover will announce the first 9-speed automatic transmission for a passenger car; Land Rover is the lead partner on the project, working together with ZF. The ZF 9HP transmission (earlier post) is specifically designed for transverse applications and front or four-wheel drive and can thus be installed in 75% of all cars produced worldwide, ZF notes.
Increasing the number of gear ratios from six to nine improves fuel economy and a correspondingly reduces CO2 emissions. (ZF suggests that the 9HP can provide fuel savings up to 16% compared to a standard 6-speed front transverse automatic transmission.) Smaller ratio steps give improved response during acceleration, improved shift quality, drive and refinement. The higher top gear not only reduces fuel consumption but the lower engine revs improve comfort and reduce noise when cruising at high speed.
UTS study details efficiency benefits of combining ethanol direct injection with gasoline port injection
February 25, 2013
|Variation of indicated thermal efficiency with increased EER at 3500 rpm and light load. Zhuang and Hong, 2013. Click to enlarge.|
A new study by researchers at the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) is contributing more detail on the leveraging effect of combining ethanol direct injection with gasoline port injection (EDI + GPI) to reduce gasoline consumption in a spark ignition engine while retaining performance. (The EDI + GPI concept was proposed by MIT researchers in 2005. Earlier post.)
Existing methods of using ethanol fuel—e.g., in blends with gasoline or neat—do not make the best use of ethanol’s potentials in improving engine performance, they noted in a paper on their work in the journal Fuel. Ethanol possesses a higher octane number and latent heat of vaporization, which allow the use of higher compression ratios and consequently can lead to the increased thermal efficiency. Ethanol fuel’s higher combustion velocity could also help increase the combustion efficiency and minimize the energy loss.
MIT study finds fuel economy standards are 6-14 times less cost effective than fuel tax for reducing gasoline use
February 21, 2013
In a study published in the journal Energy Economics, MIT researchers have found that a fuel economy standard is at least six to fourteen times less cost effective than a fuel tax when targeting an identical reduction in cumulative gasoline use (20% by 2050). The researchers also found that a binding fuel economy standard, combined with a cap-and-trade (CAT) policy, increases the cost of meeting the GHG emissions constraint by forcing expensive reduction in passenger vehicle gasoline use, displacing more cost-effective abatement opportunities.
The impact of adding a fuel economy standard to the CAT policy depends on the availability and cost of abatement opportunities in transport—if advanced biofuels provide a cost-competitive, low carbon alternative to gasoline, the fuel economy standard does not bind and the use of low carbon fuels in passenger vehicles makes a significantly larger contribution to GHG emissions abatement relative to the case when biofuels are not available.
Volkswagen to produce XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid at Osnabrück; 261 mpg US
|The XL1. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has confirmed that its XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle, featuring fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km (approx. 261 mpg US), will go into limited production at the company’s Osnabrück factory in Germany. The plug-in diesel-electric hybrid, which Volkswagen will showcase at the Geneva show, can cover a distance of up to 50 km (31 miles) in all-electric mode.
The XL1 is low weight (795 kg), aerodynamic (Cd 0.189) and with a low center of gravity (1,153 mm high). This gives it the ability to cruise on the road at a constant speed of 100 km/h (61 mph) using just 6.2 kW / 8.3 hp, Volkswagen says. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover a driving distance of more than one kilometer.
New Nissan Note to make world premiere at Geneva show; as low as 95 g/km CO2
February 18, 2013
|Built on Nissan’s lightweight V platform, the new Note combines a long wheelbase and short overhangs to create a sporty, agile look. Click to enlarge.|
The new Nissan Note will make its world debut in European specification at the Geneva Motor Show on 5 March. The B-segment offering will feature a package of driver assistance and safety technologies, along with three engine options, with CO2 outputs from as low as 95 g/km. Nissan’s intelligent stop-start ignition system is fitted to all models, further boosting efficiency and minimizing CO2 emissions.
Both new Note gasoline engines displace 1,198cc and are lightweight, compact and efficient three-cylinder 12-valve units. The imbalances that can often be highlighted in a three-cylinder engine have been overcome with the introduction of a number of engineering innovations, including an offset counterweight on the crank pulley that cancels out the vertical vibration caused by piston travel. As a result, this engine enjoys the same refinement levels of a four-cylinder unit, Nissan says.
Qoros premieres first production vehicle, hybrid concept at Geneva
February 15, 2013
|Qoros 3 sedan. Click to enlarge.|
Qoros Automotive, an equal joint venture partnership founded in 2007 between China-based Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation, is presenting the world premiere of its first series production vehicle, the C-segment Qoros 3 Sedan, at the Geneva International Motor Show. In addition, the automaker is presenting two concepts based on the Qoros 3: the Cross Hybrid Concept and the Estate Concept.
The Qoros 3 Sedan, which is entering a pre-production development phase after two summers and two winters of testing at locations around the world, is due to be launched in China in the second half of 2013, with first European sales following later in the year. The launch of further Qoros models is then planned at intervals of approximately six months. Rapid expansion of the model range is possible due to a modular vehicle architecture developed in-house, the company said.
New Audi S3 Sportback cuts fuel consumption 18% from predecessor
February 13, 2013
Audi has overhauled the 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engine in its new S3 Sportback; the only thing in common with its predecessor is a displacement of 1,984 cc. Its rated output of 221 kW (300 hp) is available at 5,500 rpm; maximum torque of 380 N·m (280 lb-ft) is constantly available from 1,800 to 5,500 rpm.
The 2.0 TFSI consumes 6.9 liters per 100 km (34 mpg US) on average when paired with the S tronic (7.0 liters [33.6 mpg US] with the manual transmission). This engine thus requires 1.5 liters per 100 km less compared to the previous S3 Sportback, a reduction of 18%.
Panasonic develops 12V NiMH energy recovery system for start-stop vehicles; aims to double fuel economy improvement rate of start-stop systems
February 08, 2013
|Concept of the 12V Energy Recovery System for start-stop. Click to enlarge.|
Panasonic Corporation has developed a NiMH-based 12V Energy Recovery System for start-stop systems in vehicles. This system allows the energy generated during braking to be stored in the batteries and use the stored energy to power the vehicle’s electrical components, thus ensuring power availability even when the engine is not being used. The system is also designed to supply power to the drive assist motor, improving fuel economy.
With this 12V Energy Recovery System, Panasonic aims to approximately double the fuel economy improvement rate of existing start-stop systems over conventional gasoline-engine vehicles.
Energy 2030 outlines steps to double US energy productivity by 2030; spend $166B a year to net savings of $327B
February 07, 2013
The Alliance Commission on National Energy Efficiency Policy released a set of recommendations—Energy 2030—designed to double US energy productivity by 2030. The Commission was created in 2012 to identify solutions for increasing US energy productivity and aid in jumpstarting the economy.
To achieve the Commission’s goal of doubling energy productivity by 2030 with currently available technology and design practices, households, businesses, and federal, state, and local governments will need to invest about an additional $166 billion a year (in real 2010 US dollars) in building improvements, energy efficient vehicles and industrial equipment, and energy saving transportation systems, according to the report. This investment would both reduce the amount of energy needed to run the American economy and the price of energy for US consumers, lowering overall energy costs by some $494 billion a year, according to the analysis.
SAE High Octane Fuels Symposium: Is a new high-octane fuel a pragmatic pathway for higher engine efficiency in the US? (part 2)
February 06, 2013
As highlighted at the 2013 SAE International High Octane Fuels Symposium (HOF) last week, high octane fuels—combined with optimized engines—are viable enablers to higher efficiency operation. When ethanol is used as the octane enhancer, there is an added benefit due to the latent heat of vaporization of that fuel. (Earlier post.)
As articulated by Dr. Jim Szybist from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), one vision of a high-octane ethanol fuel infrastructure and distribution system could include a standardized high ethanol/high octane fuel with ethanol content probably in the E20-E50 range. Refiners would continue to produce two high volume products in the gasoline boiling range: the Exx BOB (Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending) would have a low octane requirement (e.g., RON ~85), and be inexpensive for refiners to produce. Gasoline or E10 BOB would be premium-grade fuel for total coverage of legacy fleet.
AC Kinetics to showcase next-generation motor control software at ARPA-E Summit; 10-40% reduction in energy consumption and improved performance
February 05, 2013
Motor control company AC Kinetics, Inc. will introduce its next-generation motor control technology at the upcoming ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., 25-27 February. AC Kinetics was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Future Energy Pitching Event at the Summit.
The advanced AC Kinetics software (ACKS), supported by real-time adaptive algorithms, runs on standard drive hardware for motorized equipment in the consumer, industrial, and transportation markets. The drive software controls the motor to optimally generate torque on demand in a maximally efficient manner.
Consumer Reports testing finds many small turbo engines underperforming; fuel economy, acceleration no better than in larger conventional powertrains
Consumer Reports’ own fuel economy tests of vehicles equipped with small turbocharged engines has found in many cases that the turbocharged cars tested by CR have slower acceleration and no better fuel economy than the models with larger conventional engines, the organization said.
Consumer Reports tests many cars with small, turbocharged engines, and many competitors with traditional, naturally aspirated engines, large and small. Based on the EPA fuel-economy estimates, many of the charged engines look better. However, CR testers found those results don’t always map to real world driving and Consumer Reports’ own fuel economy tests.
PSA to commercialize SwRI-developed Dedicated-EGR technology in high-efficiency gasoline engines by 2018
February 04, 2013
|The D-EGR concept dedicates one (or more) cylinders to EGR production and fuel reforming. Source: SwRI, DEER 2012. Click to enlarge.|
During its recent Innovation Day presentations (earlier post), PSA Peugeot Citroën announced that it will commercialize high-efficiency gasoline engines featuring dedicated exhaust gas recirculation (D-EGR), derived from a collaborative program with SwRI in the US. PSA has filed for two patents on its work. The new engines, due to be available in PSA vehicles by 2018, will consume 10% less fuel than their predecessors across all uses, according to PSA.
D-EGR, as proposed and developed by SwRI, envisions engines with individual cylinders dedicated to EGR production to overcome the challenges associated with EGR tolerance and control. In the inaugural study reported in an SAE paper in 2009 (2009-01-0694), SwRI ran a 4-cylinder engine with cylinder 1 exhausting directly to the intake manifold, leading to a constant 25% EGR level.
Achates Power opposed-piston diesel for TARDEC will demonstrate multi-cylinder configuration
|Achates Power says that its 2-stroke OP engine offers higher best point brake thermal efficiency than diesel or gasoline engines. Source: Achates Power. Click to enlarge.|
In December 2012, the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) awarded Achates Power, Inc., developer of a two-stroke, compression-ignition (CI) opposed-piston (OP) engine, and AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. a $4.9-million contract for design and construction of the Next-Generation Combat Engine. (Earlier post.)
TARDEC, commented David Johnson, Achates President & CEO, in general has used COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf) engines, but is now looking for better fuel efficiency and is funding its own development activity; the solicitation won by Achates and AVL is a big departure for them, Johnson said. “We won on our data. The proposal we submitted with AVL had a substantial set of data [for the engine].” Achates Power has accumulated more than 3,600 hours of dynamometer testing and achieved 47.5% brake thermal efficiency with its OP engine. (The Achates/AVL project was the sole award from the solicitation.)
Volkswagen introduces new 4WD Golf 4MOTION with 5th generation Haldex coupling; 15% reduction in fuel consumption over current model
January 29, 2013
|Fifth-generation Haldex coupling in the Golf 4MOTION. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen is expanding the new Golf range with versions with 4MOTION all-wheel drive. In this latest version of the Golf 4MOTION, Volkswagen is using a four-wheel drive system with an enhanced, fifth-generation Haldex coupling.
Volkswagen is offering the new Golf 4MOTION in Europe in three levels (Trendline, Comfortline, Highline) and with two turbo diesel engines. The Golf 1.6 TDI 4MOTION BlueMotion Technology delivers 77 kW/105 PS and consumes 4.5 liters per 100km (52.3 mpg US). The Golf 2.0 TDI 4MOTION BlueMotion Technology delivers 110 kW / 150 PS with fuel consumption of 4.7 liters per 100km (50 mpg US). The new model consumes 0.8 liters or 15% less fuel than the current Golf 4MOTION delivering 150 PS.
DeCicco: Transportation GHG reduction policy should focus upstream on fuel supply rather than downstream on choice of fuels in vehicles
January 25, 2013
In a new working paper, Prof. John DeCicco at the University of Michigan argues that to reduce transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, the proper policy focus should be upstream in sectors that provide the fuel, rather than downstream on the choice of fuels in the automobile.
More specifically, he suggests that other than supporting fundamental R&D, programs to promote alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) “are not currently warranted for climate protection. In addition to managing travel demand and improving vehicle efficiency, the implied climate policy priority is limiting net GHG emissions in fuel supply sectors.” The paper is available from the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).
Directly comparable fuel consumption tests on two locomotives finds GE Class 70 PowerHaul could save 18% of fuel compared with Class 66 in UK fleet
January 22, 2013
|GE Transportation Class 70 PowerHaul locomotive. Click to enlarge.|
Recent testing commissioned by GE Transportation and overseen by Ricardo found that GE’s Class 70 PowerHaul diesel-electric freight locomotive would save 18% of fuel in comparison with the Class 66 currently representing the majority of the UK’s locomotive fleet. The Class 66 is used for 87% of rail freight movements in the UK.
In addition, further significant fuel savings could be made by the Class 70 locomotive when closing down the engine during extended idling using the automatic engine stop/start (AESS) system and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), or by using power from the dynamic brake being used for driving auxiliary loads.
ORNL researchers quantify the effect of increasing highway speed on fuel economy
January 18, 2013
John F. Thomas, Brian H. West and Shean P. Huff
Fuels, Engines and Emissions Research Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
|Figure 1. Vehicle installed on the chassis dynamometer in the ORNL vehicle research laboratory. Click to enlarge.|
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) staff have been performing vehicle research and testing in support of the fueleconomy.gov website. This website, jointly maintained by the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provides information such as official EPA “window label” fuel economy estimates for city, highway, and combined driving for all U.S.-legal light-duty vehicles from 1984 to present. It also offers consumer information and advice pertaining to vehicle fuel economy and energy-related issues such as driving tips. One tip is that drivers should obey the speed limit since the fuel economy of most vehicles decreases above 50 mph [80 km/h].
ORNL staff members John Thomas, Shean Huff and Brian West have worked to quantify this trend through analysis of dynamometer testing results for 74 vehicles at steady-state speeds from 50 to 80 mph [80 to 129 km/h].
Opel introducing new 1.6L diesel engine family; fuel consumption reduced by up to 10%, Euro 6 compliant
January 16, 2013
|The 1.6-liter CDTI Ecotec diesels will replace existing 1.7-liter engines and certain lower powered versions of the 2.0-liter range. Click to enlarge.|
Opel is introducing a new four-cylinder, 1.6-liter turbo-diesel engine as part of the fundamental renewal of its powertrain portfolio. The second family of new downsized power units to be introduced after the gasoline 1.6-liter SIDI Ecotec (earlier post), the 1.6-liter CDTI Ecotec diesels will replace existing 1.7-liter engines and certain lower powered versions of the 2.0-liter range.
Featuring closed-loop combustion control and an aluminum block, the new 1.6 CDTI Ecotec is the first diesel from Opel to comply with future Euro 6 emissions requirements. The engine will be available in a variety of power outputs across several carlines.
Schaeffler presents Efficient Future Mobility North America concept vehicle; cost-effective reductions in fuel consumption
January 14, 2013
|Technologies and contributions to reduced fuel consumption in Efficient Future Mobility North America. Click to enlarge.|
Schaeffler presented a new concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The Efficient Future Mobility North America vehicle is based on a mid-size SUV and highlights a range of Schaeffler solutions for optimizing North American internal combustion engine drive trains. All of the technologies are cost-effective, close to volume production and, when integrated into an all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, offer a potential combined fuel consumption savings of up to 15%.
The Schaeffler demonstration vehicle was developed in North America. The project is structured in two phases, said Jeff Hemphill, CTO of Schaeffler North America. Phase one is intended to fulfill CAFE requirements for the year 2020. The second phase will see the addition of hybrid systems with the aim of fulfilling the requirements for the year 2025.
GM debuts 2014 Stingray; direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT contribute to more power and reduced fuel consumption
|2014 Corvette Stingray. Click to enlarge.|
GM staged the debut of the all-new, 7th generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with a new LT1 6.2L Small Block V8 delivering an estimated 450 hp (335 kW) and 450 lb-ft of torque (610 Nm). The new LT1 combines advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system that delivers more power while using less fuel.
The Stingray accelerates from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip; it is also expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg (9.05 l/100km) of the current model.
KPMG survey finds global auto execs expect ICE dominance for some time; ICE downsizing and PHEVs to receive greatest investment over next 5 years; mobility-as-a-service in cities
January 10, 2013
|Biggest investments in powertrain technologies over next five years. Source: KPMG. Click to enlarge.|
Global auto executives have cooled a bit on the prospects for e-mobility, with a majority of automakers from both developed and emerging markets believing that internal combustion engines (ICE) will remain the dominant powertrain for some time, according to the 14th Annual Global Automotive Executive Survey conducted by KPMG LLP, the US audit, tax and advisory firm.
Two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe e-vehicles will represent 15% or less of total new car sales by 2025. Nevertheless, this still represents potential sales of up to 5.7 million in China, 2.5 million in India, 3.8 million in the US and 2.1 million in Western Europe.
Mercedes-Benz adds two more fuel-efficient models to new A-Class range; 5% improvement in both diesel and gasoline models
|A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. Click to enlarge.|
Just a few months after the launch of the new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is now adding two BlueEFFICIENCY Edition models to the range. The new A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Edition features a fuel consumption figure of 3.6 l/100 km (65 mpg US) according to the MVEG cycle and CO2 emissions of 92 g/km—making the new A 180 the most fuel-efficient combustion-engined Mercedes-Benz yet, according to the company.
The A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY Edition gasoline model, with consumption of 5.2 l/100 km (45 mpg US) and 120 g of CO2/km is likewise one of the most efficient vehicles in its class. The models will go on sale on 1 February 2013, while the first vehicles will reach customers in March 2013.
NASA moves Environmentally Responsible Aviation project into next phase of research with 8 large-scale technology demonstrations
January 08, 2013
NASA has selected eight large-scale integrated technology demonstrations to advance aircraft concepts and technologies for reducing the impact of aviation on the environment over the next 30 years.
The demonstrations, which are part of by NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project, will focus on five areas: aircraft drag reduction through innovative flow control concepts; weight reduction from advanced composite materials; fuel and noise reduction from advanced engines; emissions reductions from improved engine combustors; and fuel consumption and community noise reduction through innovative airframe and engine integration designs.
ORNL researcher explores impact of motor/generator and battery pack sizing on medium-duty PHEV; optimization framework
January 04, 2013
|GHG emissions in PHEV post-transmission configuration as an example of the optimization study output. Source: A.A. Malikopoulos. Click to enlarge.|
Using a new optimization framework, Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos of the Energy & Transportation Science Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has explored the impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions of varying the size of the motor/generator and battery pack in pre- and post-transmission hybrid configurations of a medium-duty PHEV. The paper is currently in press in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology.
Broadly, he found that for the PHEV pre-transmission configuration, there is a trade-off between fuel economy and GHG emissions when the motor/generator and battery size increases. In post-transmission PHEV configurations, however, a combination of a big motor/generator size with a big battery size appears to be beneficial both in terms of fuel economy and GHG emissions as it enhances energy recovery during brake regeneration as a result of the physical location of the motor/generator.
New Ford Fiesta ECOnetic van offers 71 mpg US
December 27, 2012
|New Fiesta Van. Click to enlarge.|
Ford is introducing a new version of its Fiesta Van in Europe. All diesel engines in the new Fiesta Van achieve sub-100 g/km CO2 emissions and 3.7 l/100 km (63.6 mpg US) or better (measured according to the technical requirements and specifications of the European Regulation (EC) 715/2007 as last amended).
The 1.6L diesel Fiesta ECOnetic Van variant, featuring enhanced fuel-saving technologies, delivers fuel consumption of 3.3 l/100 km (71 mpg US), equivalent to 87 gCO2/km.
US Army awards $4.9M contract to Achates Power and AVL for Next-Generation Combat Engine based on Achates two-stroke, opposed-piston technology
December 19, 2012
The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has awarded Achates Power, Inc., developer of a two-stroke, compression-ignition (CI) opposed-piston (OP) engine (earlier post) and AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. a $4.9-million contract for design and construction of the Next-Generation Combat Engine.
As outlined in the solicitation (TARBAATOPIC27), to serve a wide range of US combat and tactical vehicles, the engine must deliver superior fuel efficiency, high power density and low heat rejection and will be multi-fuel capable. It should also be of a scalable design to maximize value to the Government and military vehicles. To meet the program requirements, AVL proposed an engine based on the Achates Power opposed-piston, two-stroke technology, which includes more than 1,000 innovations covered by patents and patent applications. This the the sole award from the solicitation.
Mercedes-Benz to offer new generation of 4MATIC all-wheel drive system next year integrated with 7G-DCT transmission; lighter and more efficient
December 18, 2012
|Elements of the new 4MATIC. Click to enlarge.|
Starting next year, Mercedes-Benz will offer a new generation of the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution. This completely new development is based on the front-wheel drive architecture with transversely mounted engines.
The most innovative components of the new 4MATIC include the power take-off to the rear axle which is integrated in the 7G-DCT automated dual clutch transmission and the rear-axle gear unit with integrated, electrohydraulically controlled multi-disc clutch. This set-up enables fully variable distribution of the drive torque between front and rear axle. Additional benefits of this design are a lower system weight than is available from the competition and high efficiency. Similarly to the front-wheel drive versions, all 4MATIC models also boast good energy efficiency.
2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class in the US will offer new 4-cylinder diesel; new 4-cylinder gasoline direct injection engine in other markets
December 17, 2012
Mercedes-Benz has introduced the updated 2014 E-Class Sedan and Wagon, featuring an array of new driver assistance systems in addition to new fuel efficient engines. Eleven new or optimized assistance systems from the future S-Class make their world premiere in both the sedan and wagon models. (Earlier post.)
Both the E-Class sedan and wagon offer a range of gasoline and diesel engines, all coming with the ECO start/stop system as standard equipment. The gasoline engines offered in the MY14 E-Class in the US are the V6 and V8 units in the E350 and E550, which will go on sale in Spring 2013. New in the MY14 E-Class sedan is the 2.1-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine powering the E250 BlueTEC with 4MATIC all-wheel drive, available Fall 2013. The E250 BlueTEC, emissions compliant in all 50 states, generates 190 hp (142 kW) and 369 lb-ft (500 N·m) of torque, replacing the V6-powered E350 BlueTEC engine that only was available with rear-wheel drive.
Global Commercial Vehicle meeting continues calls for global regulatory harmonization on fuel efficiency and emissions reduction
December 16, 2012
European, North American and Japanese heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers continue to call for global cooperation and regulatory harmonization to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from the road freight sector, according to a summary of the recent 10th Global Commercial Vehicle meeting posted by the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).
More specifically, the assembled chief executives of manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines agreed on the need to expand the application of the UN ECE’s world-wide harmonized heavy-duty certification (WHDC) procedure for engine exhaust emissions; the importance of global diesel fuel specifications; the development of globally harmonized fuel-efficiency test procedures; and the promotion of harmonization of heavy-duty hybrid certification procedures.
Ford’s math on hybrid fuel economy; standing by the C-MAX EPA ratings, acknowledging large real-world variance
December 15, 2012
|Raj Nair outlining factors affecting real-world fuel economy in hybrids. Click to enlarge.|
At Friday’s event unveiling the new Transit commercial vehicle family for North America (earlier post), Ford’s Raj Nair, group vice president global product development, spent some time addressing the issue of the large discrepancy between real-world fuel economy results for the C-MAX hybrid and its EPA fuel economy ratings—47 mpg (5.0 l/100km) city, highway and combined—earlier highlighted in detail by Consumer Reports. (Earlier post.)
Basically, Ford is standing by the ratings as determined by the current testing protocols, Nair said, but added that “we absolutely agree with EPA that hybrids are far more variable in the test cycle compared to real world driving conditions in conventional vehicles. We are working closely with the agency to determine if any changes are needed for the industry relative to hybrid vehicle testing.”
Ford introduces new Transit family in North America; emphasis on improved fuel economy in commercial vehicle segment
December 14, 2012
|Highlights of the full-size Transit. Click to enlarge.|
Ford unveiled the full new 2014 Transit family of commercial vehicles for North America, comprising the full-size Transit, the Transit Connect Van, and the Transit Connect Wagon (shown earlier, earlier post). The new Transit family reflects Ford’s ongoing strategy of platform consolidation, said Raj Nair, Group Vice President, Global Product Development. In this case, Ford has consolidated two regional platforms—E-Series and the Transit—into the single Transit commercial vehicle platform.
The total commercial segment presents more potential for growth than any other segment, Nair said; global commercial vehicle sales are expected to grow by 4.8 million during the next several years to 21 million units annually by 2017. “People need to carry things,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln. “It’s that simple.”
New GM EcoTec3 engine family for 2014 Silverado and Sierra pickups; direct injection, cylinder deactivation and CVVT
December 13, 2012
|2014 4.3L V-6 EcoTec3 AFM VVT DI (LV3) for Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Click to enlarge.|
The newly unveiled 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickup trucks will deliver more power, more torque and improved fuel efficiency, partly due to a trio of all-new EcoTec3 engines designed specifically for the needs of full-size truck customers. (From January through November 2013, GM has sold 506,088 Silverados and Sierras—22% of all vehicles it sold in that period.)
EcoTec3 engines feature three advanced technologies—direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing (CVVT)—to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions. The new engine family includes a 4.3L V6, a 5.3L V-8 and a 6.2L V-8, all matched with six-speed transmissions.
Delphi and University of Luxembourg SnT partner on joint research on electronic control systems for automotive
December 07, 2012
Leading global automotive supplier Delphi and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg have signed a four-year agreement to cooperate on a joint research program involving electronic control systems for automotive applications.
This is the first cooperation between Delphi and the SnT. The program, entitled Cost-Effective Automated Testing of ECU-Software, initially includes two research projects: embedded software testing (model-based testing of Electronic Control Modules software); and embedded software safety (early verification of performance and timing properties of automotive software systems).
Lotus Engineering Phase 2 lightweighting study for ARB shows crashworthiness of low-mass body structures and potential for cost-effective mass production
December 06, 2012
|Phase 2 body-in-white material usage front three-quarter view. Source: Lotus Engineering. Click to enlarge.|
Building on a Phase 1 Lotus study published in 2010 (earlier post), the Phase 2 study demonstrated the crashworthiness of a low mass body-in-white (BIW) using computer aided analysis and simulation. The study also illustrates how a holistic, total vehicle approach to system mass and cost reduction can help offset the additional cost of a 37% mass reduced body structure. This study’s findings also indicate that the 30% mass-reduced vehicle could be cost-effectively mass-produced in the 2020 timeframe with materials and techniques technically feasible by 2017.
EIA Energy Outlook 2013 reference case sees drop in fossil fuel consumption as use of petroleum-based liquid fuels falls; projects 20% higher sales of hybrids and PHEVs than AEO2012
December 05, 2012
|Transportation sector gasoline demand declines. Click to enlarge.|
The US Energy Information Administration released its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case (the Early Release), which highlights a growth in total US energy production that exceeds growth in total US energy consumption through 2040.
Among its many findings, the Reference case suggests that US primary energy consumption will grow by 7% from 2011 to 2040 to 108 quadrillion Btu. However, energy use per capita declines by 15% from 2011 through 2040 as a result of improving energy efficiency (e.g., new appliance standards and CAFE) and changes in the way energy is used in the US economy. Further, the fossil fuel share of primary energy consumption falls from 82% in 2011 to 78% in 2040 as consumption of petroleum-based liquid fuels falls, largely because of the incorporation of new fuel efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles.
Ricardo papers on ultra-fuel efficient gasoline engine research receive FISITA awards
December 03, 2012
|Cross-sectional view of SGDI cylinder head showing the layout of the combustion system. King et al. Click to enlarge.|
Papers on the Ricardo turbocharged spray-guided gasoline direct injection (T-SGDI) combustion system and on its HyBoost research (earlier post) took awards for most “outstanding paper” at the recent FISITA 2012 World Automotive Congress in Beijing in the “future internal combustion engines” and “future powertrain” categories.
T-SGDI. Ricardo, in collaboration with the engines business of Malaysian technology and energy company PETRONAS Research Sdn Bhd., have undertaken a four-year collaborative research program to develop the next generation of spark-ignited Spray Guided Direct Injection (SGDI) gasoline engine combustion system with robustness to blended fuels such as ethanol or methanol.
Volvo Car Group making multi-billion dollar investment in Scalable Product Architecture and Volvo Engine Architecture
Volvo Car Group, owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd. in China, is making a multi-billion dollar investment in its SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) and VEA (Volvo Engine Architecture, earlier called Volvo Environmental Architecture). (Earlier post.) The main part of the two projects will be carried out in Sweden, constituting one of Sweden’s largest ever industrial investments.
SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) is a flexible, scalable product architecture that covers most of Volvo’s future car models. It is a product range consisting of shared modules and scalable systems and components, all manufactured in a flexible production system. The first car model based on the new architecture is the next-generation Volvo XC90, which will be launched at the end of 2014.
New Lacks eVOLVE hybrid wheel technology shows 1.1 mpg highway gain in fuel efficiency on Ford Focus
|Design of the eVOLVE wheel. Click to enlarge.|
Lacks Wheel Trim Systems LLC, a business unit of Lacks Enterprises, Inc., a global supplier of trim systems to the automotive industry, introduced its new patented eVOLVE hybrid composite wheel technology, based on Lacks’ Chromtec wheel technology, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Hybrid-composite eVOLVE wheels developed for the Ford Focus as an initial proof of design showed a fuel economy improvement of 1.1 miles per gallon highway by balancing weight reduction and optimizing aerodynamics. As a comparison, the Focus production wheel BM5J-1007-DB (17x7x50) weighs 23.7 lbs (10.75 kg); the eVOLVE wheel (17x7x50) weighs 19.2 lbs (8.7 kg). Use of the eVOLVE wheels showed a 0.4 mpg improvement on the city cycle.
Singapore introducing stiff new feebate scheme for low carbon cars
November 29, 2012
Singapore will implement a new Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEV) on 1 January 2012, providing rebates to qualified new cars, taxis, and imported used cars with low carbon emissions, and imposing an equivalent surcharge on higher emitting vehicles. This new scheme will replace the existing Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR) scheme that will expire on 31 December 2012.
Under CEV, all new cars, taxis, and imported used cars registered from 1 January 2013 with low carbon emissions of less than or equal to 160g CO2/km will qualify for rebates of between S$5,000 and S$20,000 (US$4,097 to US$16,389), which will be offset against the Additional Registration Fee (ARF) payable.
Toyota introduces 4th gen RAV4; discontinues V6 option as segment moves towards more fuel efficiency
|2013 RAV4 Click to enlarge.|
The all-new fourth-generation 2013 RAV4 crossover SUV made its world debut at the 2012 Los Angeles International Auto Show. In redoing the RAV4, Toyota discontinued the optional V6 engine of the previous-generation; the new RAV4 only features Toyota’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which will produce 176 hp (131 kW) at 6,000 rpm and 172 lb-ft (23 N·m ) of torque at 4,100 rpm.
Replacing the previous four-speed automatic will be a six-speed transmission with Sequential Shift. First and second gear ratios will be optimized for around-town performance. To keep engine revs lower at highway speeds and enhance fuel mileage, fifth and sixth gears will be overdrives.
Ford to offer 1L EcoBoost in 2014 Fiesta in North America
November 19, 2012
|1.0L EcoBoost. Click to enlarge.|
The new 2014 Ford Fiesta on sale next year will be the first vehicle available in the United States with Ford’s 3-cylinder 1.0-liter EcoBoost (direct injection plus turbocharging) engine. (Earlier post.) Though the car has not yet undergone EPA testing, Ford says it expects the Fiesta to be certified as the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car available in the United States.
The 1.0-liter EcoBoost is a quiet, smooth-running engine that develops roughly the same output as a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with about 25% fewer moving parts. The smallest engine available in its class, Ford’s 1.0-liter EcoBoost is projected to produce 123 hp (92 kW) and peak torque of 148 lb-ft (201 N·m). In a quick preview prior to the Los Angeles Auto Show next week, Bob Fascetti, Ford director of Global Engine Engineering, outlined 10 features of the engine enabling its performance and refinement:
Freescale announces new high-end powertrain microcontroller; 3x performance of prior high-end unit
November 13, 2012
Freescale Semiconductor announced the new 32-bit Qorivva MPC5777M multicore microcontroller (MCU), the latest advancement in its Qorivva product line. (Earlier post.) This advanced MCU family will help automakers worldwide address regional automotive fuel economy and safety trends by enabling a new generation of engine management solutions.
Automakers are under increasing pressure from both governments and consumers to improve overall fuel efficiency across their fleet and lower polluting emissions. This is achieved partly by increasingly tight computerized control of the complete engine combustion process.