[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.]
ATDynamics projects 200,000 semi-trailers to be equipped with fuel-saving rear-drag aerodynamics technology by end of 2017
March 11, 2014
|The patented TrailerTail design lowers vehicle fuel consumption by reducing low-pressure suction drag directly behind a trailer. Source: ATDynamics. Click to enlarge.|
ATDynamics, a supplier of semi-trailer aerodynamics technology, projects that, based on current trucking fleet adoption trends, 200,000 semi-trailers will be equipped with fuel saving TrailerTail technology by the end of 2017. TrailerTail technology, which reduces aerodynamic drag at the back of tractor-trailers and improves vehicle fuel efficiency by approximately 5%, has been incorporated into three of the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck Projects.
ATDynamics launched the patented thermoplastic composite TrailerTail design in 2010. At present, 350 US trucking companies, including top 100 US fleets such as Mesilla Valley Transportation; Prime Inc.; Roehl Transport; and C.R. England operate approximately 20,000 semi-trailers with TrailerTails.
Eaton and Cummins Westport launch first automated transmission/natural gas engine package for N.A. Market; expanding SmartAdvantage diesel packages
March 10, 2014
|ISXG12 G paired with UltraShift PLUS. Click to enlarge.|
Eaton and Cummins Westport, a joint-venture company of Cummins Inc. and Westport Innovations (NASDAQ: WPRT/TSX: WPT), are introducing an integrated powertrain package for the Cummins Westport ISX12 G natural gas engine that will provide customers with the first automated transmission to be paired with a spark-ignited natural gas engine in the North American market. The powertrain will combine an Eaton UltraShift PLUS automated transmission with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine.
Eaton and Cummins also announced that their popular SmartAdvantage Powertrain package is being expanded to include applications for the ISX12 diesel engine and ISX15 SmartAdvantage applications up to 110,000 lb gross vehicle weight (GVW). The product initially integrated an Eaton Fuller Advantage Series Automated Transmission with the Cummins ISX15 engine.
Westport and Delphi sign joint development agreement to commercialize natural gas injector technology for heavy-duty applications
March 03, 2014
Westport Innovations Inc. and Delphi Automotive have signed a joint development agreement under which the two will combine their intellectual property and engineering strengths to co-develop and manufacture high-pressure natural gas fuel injectors designed for multiple heavy-duty engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The first in a family of injectors to be developed will be one of the core components of Westport’s recently announced HPDI 2.0 fuel system. (Earlier post.)
Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel in a diesel (compression ignition) cycle along with a small amount of diesel fuel as an ignition source. Core to the approach is a patented injector with a dual-concentric needle design. This allows small quantities of diesel fuel and large quantities of natural gas to be delivered at high pressure to the combustion chamber.
Obama directs EPA and DOT to develop and issue next phase of fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016
February 18, 2014
President Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and to issue the next phase of medium- and heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards by March 2016. Under this timeline, the agencies would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) by March 2015.
This second round of fuel efficiency standards will build on the phase 1 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018) issued in 2011. (Earlier post.) Under the phase 1 program, trucks and buses built in 2014 through 2018 will reduce oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons.
MHI to supply 2 electric buses featuring MLIX Li-ion batteries for Kitakyushu City
February 17, 2014
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) will supply two electric buses to serve in a transportation system being planned by the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. The buses—full-size, low-floor models for the city’s regular route network—will operate on MHI’s high-performance “MLIX” lithium-ion rechargeable batteries.
In combination with a lighter body enabled by the partial adoption of carbon fiber construction, the new buses will be able to operate continuously over increased distances—up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) on a full charge, at a top speed of 85 km/h (53 mph). Load capacity is 72 passengers.
Calif. ARB releases GHG scoping plan update; more ZEVs, “LEV IV”, MD and HD regulations; ZEV for trucks; more LCFS
February 11, 2014
The California Air Resources Board released the draft proposed first update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, which guides development and implementation of California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction programs. The Air Resources Board is required to update the Scoping Plan every five years.
Among the actions proposed or considered in the transportation sector include aggressive implementation of the light-duty Zero Emission Vehicle standard; LEV IV emissions regulations for the light-duty fleet post-2025 (GHG reductions of about 5% per year); Phase 2 GHG regulations for medium and heavy-duty (MD and HD) vehicles; a possible ZEV regulation for trucks; more stringent carbon reduction targets for the Low Carbon Fuel Standard; and others.
US Army and Lockheed Martin complete advanced autonomous convoy demonstration
February 03, 2014
|Notional implementation of AMAS kits on a medium tactical vehicle. Source: TARDEC. Click to enlarge.|
The US Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated the ability of fully autonomous convoys to operate in urban environments with multiple vehicles of different models. The test involved driverless tactical vehicles navigating hazards and obstacles such as road intersections, oncoming traffic, stalled and passing vehicles, pedestrians and traffic circles in both urban and rural test areas.
The demonstration in January at Boaz Military Operations and Urban Terrain Site in Fort Hood, Texas was part of the Army and Marine Corps’ Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) program, and marked the completion of the program’s Capabilities Advancement Demonstration (CAD). The AMAS hardware and software are designed to automate the driving task on current tactical vehicles.
Hino and DENSO develop the world’s first electric refrigerator system for heavy-duty trucks powered by a hybrid unit
January 31, 2014
|Hino Profia with an electric refrigerator system. Click to enlarge.|
Hino Motors, Ltd., a Toyota Group company, and DENSO Corporation have jointly developed the first electric refrigerator system for heavy-duty trucks using a hybrid unit. This system is being applied in the Hino Profia, which will be released on 1 February in Japan; Hino is targeting annual sales of 180 units.
Hybrid trucks conventionally use energy generated from hybrid systems to assist the vehicle’s driving. However, this new truck uses energy from hybrid unit only for the new electric refrigeration system. The compact and light-weight hybrid unit—also applied in the Hino Dutro Hybrid (Hino 300 outside of Japan)—was optimized as an energy source for this new refrigerator. With the combination of Hino’s hybrid powertrain system technology and DENSO’s electric refrigerator system technology, the two companies have developed a high-quality refrigerator system that helps improve fuel economy, improves refrigeration performance, and is quieter when operating.
Report argues advanced HD natural gas vehicles foundational for California to hit air and climate goals; near zero-emission potential
January 28, 2014
|Five technology paths for very-low-NOx and GHG emissions from heavy-duty natural gas engines. Click to enlarge.|
Gladstein, Neandross & Associates (GNA), a consulting firm specializing in market development for low emission and alternative fuel vehicle technologies, infrastructure, and fuels for both on- and off-road applications, released a report examining the critical role that ultra-low-emission heavy-duty (HD) natural gas engines can play in helping California achieve its air quality, climate protection and petroleum-displacement goals.
The “Pathways to Near-Zero-Emission Natural Gas Heavy Duty Vehicles” report, authored by GNA on behalf of Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), showcases the technologies currently under development that could deliver near-zero-emission heavy-duty natural gas engines by the end of this decade.
Initial results from first phase of road trials for 40-ft BYD electric bus in Canada
January 25, 2014
|2013 STO-AVT electric bus test results chart: BYD Electric Bus energy consumption (Wh/km) over speed (km/h). Click to enlarge.|
The first phase of a ten-month trial for a 40-foot BYD battery-electric bus (which commenced the Summer of 2013) was completed in Gatineau, Québec and Ottawa, Ontario in December. (Although the bus drive is zero-emissions, in frigid weather bus-heating was supplemented with a small diesel heater integrated into the bus).
The evaluation, performed by the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) in conjunction with AVT (the Société de gestion et d’acquisition de véhicules de transport), found that the average speed of drivers on Gatineau and Ottawa routes was 23 km/h (14 mph), and the resulting distance the BYD bus could travel at this average speed was 250 km (155 miles)—the equivalent of 1.3 kWh/km without air-conditioning and 1.5 kWh/km with air-conditioning, and full passenger loads).
Scania adds 13-liter biodiesel engines to its Euro 6 range
January 23, 2014
|Torque and power curves for the 490 hp biodiesel engine. Click to enlarge.|
Scania is introducing two Euro 6-certified, 13-liter truck engines that can run on any diesel blend, right up to 100% biodiesel (EN 14214). The versions certified for biodiesel operation are the modular, six-cylinder, 13-liter 450 and 490 hp engines with SCR and EGR aftertreatment systems. In October 2013, Scania had introduced its robust five-cylinder, 9-liter biodiesel engine in two different output versions, 320 hp and 360 hp.
The basic model of the 450 hp (336 kW) engine offers 2,350 N·m (1,733 lb-ft) of torque from 1,000 r/min, while the 490 (365 kW) produces 2,550 N·m (1,881 lb-ft) from 1,000 r/min up to 1,300 r/min. Output declines a maximum of 8% when the engines are run on 100% biodiesel fuel (due to the lower energy content in biodiesel).
FTA to award up to $24.9M to low- or no-emissions transit bus projects
January 10, 2014
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced the availability of $24.9 million of Fiscal Year 2013 funds (FTA-2014-001-TRI) for the deployment of low- or no-emission (LoNo) transit buses. Of that amount, $21.6 million is available for buses and $3.3 million is available for supporting facilities and related equipment.
The LoNo Program provides funding for transit agencies for capital acquisitions and leases of zero emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities such as recharging, refueling, and maintenance facilities.
EIA: light duty vehicle energy consumption to drop 25% by 2040; increased oil production, vehicle efficiency reduce US oil and liquid imports
December 16, 2013
Reflecting slow growth in travel and accelerated vehicle efficiency improvements, US light-duty vehicle (LDV, cars and light trucks) energy use will decline sharply between 2012 and 2040, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case released today.
AEO2014 includes a new, detailed demographic profile of driving behavior by age and gender as well as new lower population growth rates based on updated Census projections. As a result, annual increases in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in LDVs average 0.9% from 2012 to 2040, compared to 1.2% per year over the same period in AEO2013. The rising fuel economy of LDVs more than offsets the modest growth in VMT, resulting in a 25% decline in LDV energy consumption decline between 2012 and 2040 in the AEO2014 Reference case.
Torotrak to acquire remaining 80% of Flybrid for up to £23M; targeting commercial launch of M-KERS in 2015
December 13, 2013
|Torotrak’s M-KERS unit. Click to enlarge.|
Supercharger, kinetic energy recovery and transmission specialist Torotrak will acquire, pending shareholder approval, the remaining 80% of flywheel hybrid innovator Flybrid for up to £23.0 million (US$37.4 million), of which £15.0 million (US$24.4 million) is subject to performance targets. Torotrak had acquired 20% of its partner in March of this year. (Earlier post.)
Torotrak uses Flybrid’s flywheel module in its Mechanical Kinetic Energy Recovery System (M-KERS). M-KERS captures and stores energy that is otherwise lost during vehicle deceleration events. The integration of Flybrid and Torotrak provides a platform for a joint development and commercial launch of M-KERS, Torotrak said. The group intends to exploit what it sees as a market window from 2015 to 2020 in which new technologies are being demanded to achieve new EU CO2 targets applying to vehicle manufacturers’ overall fleets.
Scania to lead 3-year European research project on vehicle platooning
December 11, 2013
Scania will take the lead role in a three-year European research project to develop a system for implementing truck platooning on roads. Introducing platooning on European roads can significantly contribute towards reducing the carbon footprint of trucks. The European Union has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 20% by 2020; heavy vehicles currently account for 17% of total CO2 emissions.
Through the €5.4-million (US$7.45-million) COMPANION research project, of which €3.4 million (US$4.69 million) is funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme, the partners will identify means of implementing the platooning concept in practice in daily transport operations. The project also includes Volkswagen Group Research; Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology (KTH); Oldenburger Institut für Informatik (OFFIS) in Germany; IDIADA Automotive Technology in Spain; Science [&] Technology Corporation in the Netherlands; and the Spanish haulage company Transportes Cerezuela.
Westport unveils next-generation High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI 2.0) natural gas system for HD trucks
December 10, 2013
Westport Innovations Inc. unveiled its next generation of high pressure direct injection natural gas technology platform, Westport HPDI 2.0. Westport is now working with seven OEM applications with engine sizes ranging from trucks to trains at various stages of development with the goal of vertically integrated Westport HPDI 2.0 OEM product lines. Westport anticipates first availability of customer products in late 2014 and 2015.
Westport HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel in a Diesel (compression ignition) cycle along with a small amount of diesel fuel as an ignition source. Core to the approach is a patented injector with a dual-concentric needle design. This allows small quantities of diesel fuel and large quantities of natural gas to be delivered at high pressure to the combustion chamber. (Earlier post.)
Ricardo report finds hybrid buses have higher regulated emission intensities than conventional buses; need for whole vehicle testing
December 09, 2013
While technologies for low carbon buses such as hybridization offer the prospect of significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions compared to conventionally powered vehicles, the improvement in terms of regulated emissions (criteria pollutants) may not be as great, according to a new report by Ricardo. Local emissions from buses are of particular significance, as the vehicles mainly operate in urban areas.
The UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) commissioned the review of the air quality impacts arising from the recent rapid increase in the number of low carbon buses in the UK, a result of subsidies provided through the Government’s Green Bus Funds. The UK now has around 1,300 low carbon buses in operation. The new report recommends that the legislation needs to consider hybrid technology impacts in the test processes to avoid potential unintended consequences in terms of local emissions.
Ballard signs MOU with Van Hool for further fuel cell bus deployments; next-gen FCvelocity-HD7 power module
December 06, 2013
Ballard Power Systems has signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, in support of the manufacture and further deployment of fuel cell buses. By February 2014, the companies plan jointly to respond to last week’s call for proposals under the EU Hydrogen Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking, and also plan jointly to respond to other future calls for proposals under the Horizon 2020 program. (Earlier post.)
For the newly funded buses, Ballard will deliver its next-generation fuel cell power module to Van Hool for incorporation into hybrid bus platforms. This new FCvelocity-HD7 power module will offer improved durability and reliability along with significant cost reduction. (Earlier post.)
CRC ACES Phase 2 report finds emissions from modern heavy-duty diesels well below required levels
December 04, 2013
|2010 engines emissions reduction relative to 2010, 2007, and 2004 US emission standards. Source: CRC. Click to enlarge.|
A rigorous emissions testing of modern heavy-duty diesel engines in the US has demonstrated a greater than 94% reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2 - an important contributor to ozone smog), and substantial reductions in all other pollutants, even when compared to engines first marketed to meet 2007 standards, according to a study released today by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC).
For a number of the most important pollutants, levels were substantially lower than required by regulations. The study, the Phase 2 Report of the comprehensive Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) (earlier post), found that emissions of NO2 and other nitrogen oxides—which can have direct health effects and contribute to the formation of smog—were approximately 61% below the 2010 EPA standard and 99% lower than in 2004 engines. These reductions came while emissions of fine particles were also 92% lower than the 2010 standard 99% lower than 2004 emissions.
Field test shows Volvo Buses’ plug-in hybrid reduces fuel consumption by 81% and energy consumption by 61%; 21 mpg
November 14, 2013
|Volvo Bus’ plug-in hybrid. The pantograph for rapid charging can be seen on the roof. Click to enlarge.|
Field tests being conducted in Gothenburg show that Volvo Buses’ plug-in hybrid reduces fuel consumption by 81% and total energy consumption (diesel plus electricity) by 61% compared to a comparable Euro 5 diesel bus. (Earlier post.)
The field test in Gothenburg began in June 2013 and includes three plug-in hybrid buses, the batteries of which are rapidly recharged at the terminals. This makes it possible for the buses to run on electric power for most of the route.
Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting endorses harmonized global approach to improve fuel efficiency and reduce GHGs
November 09, 2013
Leading global manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines gathering at the annual Global Commercial Vehicle Industry Meeting endorsed a harmonized global approach as an effective pathway to further improve energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from commercial vehicles. The manufacturers have been pursuing policy cooperation for a number of years. (Earlier post.)
Meeting in Chicago, the chief executives of commercial vehicle and engine manufacturers in Europe, Japan, and the United States discussed fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, diesel fuel specifications, and topics related to heavy-duty engine and vehicle regulation and certification.
Study finds biodiesel use in HD trucks in Canada will result in very minimal changes in air quality and health benefits
November 07, 2013
Results of a study by a team from Health Canada and Environment Canada suggest that the use of B5 and B20 biodiesel fuel blends (5% and 20% biodiesel, respectively) compared to ULSD in on-road heavy-duty diesels in Canada will result in very minimal changes in air quality and health benefits/costs across Canada, and that these were likely to diminish over time.
Health Canada is the Canadian Federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health; Environment Canada is the Federal agency tasked with, among other things, protecting the environment. An open-access paper on the study has been accepted for publication in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Volvo Trucks announces XE11 fuel efficiency package for 11L North American engines; up to 3% improvement in fuel efficiency
October 15, 2013
Volvo Trucks expanded its XE (exceptional efficiency, earlier post) powertrain package lineup with the introduction of XE11 for its 11-liter Volvo D11 engine. Available on Volvo VNM and VNL models and rated up to 80,000 lbs. GCWR, XE11 is suited for less-than-truckload, distribution, bulk haul and other regional applications. The powertrain package improves fuel efficiency by up to 3%.
Volvo first introduced XE packages for its 13-liter D13 and 16-liter D16 engines. To date, more than 24% of all Volvo-powered trucks ordered in 2013 also feature XE powertrain packages. The XE11 package includes the following components:
ACEEE recommends steps for enhanced data gathering and analysis essential to developing next phase of heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency and GHG regs
September 27, 2013
A newly released working paper from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) outlines the organization’s recommendations to policymakers for developing the next phase of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles in the United States expected in 2015.
The focus of the paper is less on the range of technologies that might be applied to deliver the requisite reductions (ACEEE also published a short fact sheet briefly touching on technology approaches) and more on enhanced and improved data gathering, analysis and dissemination that will be required to inform the development of the next phase of the standards.
Ballard announces definitive agreements with Azure Hydrogen for China fuel cell bus program; next-gen FCvelocity-HD7 module
September 26, 2013
Further to the MOU announced on May 28 (earlier post), Ballard Power Systems has signed multi-year definitive agreements to support Azure Hydrogen’s fuel cell bus program for the China market. Beijing-based Azure plans to partner with Chinese bus manufacturers in a phased development program for deployment of zero emission fuel cell buses in China, utilizing Ballard’s fuel cell technology.
For the first phase of the program, Ballard has agreed to provide a license, associated equipment and Engineering Services to enable assembly of Ballard’s next-generation FCvelocity-HD7 bus power modules by Azure in China. As per the agreements, once this assembly capability is established, Azure will assemble modules with fuel cell stacks to be supplied exclusively by Ballard.
New valveless electro-hydraulic steering system for off-road equipment shows significant fuel savings and productivity benefits
September 25, 2013
Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new valveless hydraulic steering system for heaving construction equipment that improves efficiency and reduces fuel consumption. The new approach eliminates valves now needed to direct the flow of hydraulic fluid in steering systems and uses advanced algorithms and models to control hydraulic pumps precisely. New designs might also incorporate textured “micro-structured” surfaces inside pumps to improve performance.
Testing the new “electro-hydraulic power steering system” on a front loader has shown a 15% fuel savings and 23% increased machine productivity, for a total fuel efficiency increase of 43% during steering maneuvers. The findings are detailed in a research paper being presented during the SAE 2013 Commercial Vehicle Engineering Congress (1-3 October). The paper was authored by doctoral student Naseem Daher and Monika Ivantysynova, Maha Fluid Power Systems Professor in Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, and director of Purdue’s Maha Fluid Power Research Center.
Cummins announces new global in-line six-cylinder heavy-duty engine platform
September 17, 2013
|Cummins new ISG11 will be one of the first members of the new family. Click to enlarge.|
Cummins Inc. announced a new global heavy-duty engine platform that it has developed to complement its existing global product offering. The G Series platform is an in-line six cylinder engine and will be available in 10.5 and 11.8 liter displacements to meet a broad variety of on-highway and off-highway global market requirements and emission standards. Initial engines are designed to run on diesel fuel.
Design and development of the engine was led by a team in the United States and supported by global technical and marketing resources with deep knowledge of local market and customer needs. This global design approach utilizes the latest advanced technologies to develop an adaptive architecture, with each engine designed to meet unique performance and cost of ownership expectations for its target market and region.
Balqon working with Polar Power to develop series plug-in hybrid drive system for heavy-duty trucks and buses
September 16, 2013
|XRE-20 battery-electric yard tractor. Click to enlarge.|
Balqon Corporation, a developer of electric drive system technology for commercial vehicles (earlier post), has entered into a Joint Development Agreement with Polar Power Inc. to develop a series plug-in hybrid system for Balqon’s line of heavy-duty electric trucks and buses. Under this agreement both companies will work towards development of a 40 kW on-board DC generator to charge batteries during the daily drive cycle to increase the range of Balqon vehicles.
Balqon’s heavy-duty trucks and drive systems are designed to transport up to 30 ton cargo containers. Products include the Li-in battery-powered Model XRE20 yard tractor designed for port drayage applications.
US DOT awards $13.6M to 8 projects to advance fuel cell technology for transit industry
September 05, 2013
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded $13.6 million in federal funding to 8 projects to advance the commercialization of American-made fuel cell buses for the transit industry. The awards come from FY2012 funds via FTA’s National Fuel Cell Bus Program, which has provided nearly $90 million since 2006 to speed the development of fuel cell technology.
Over the period of that program, fuel cell lifetimes (in transit operations) have more than doubled while costs have declined by 50%.
Ricardo advancing with two novel heavy-duty vehicle technologies: cryogenic split-cycle engine and microwave fuel reforming
September 04, 2013
|The concept of the Ricardo Split-Cycle engine. The recuperated engine uses isothermal compression via cryogenic injection to enable significant exhaust to compressed gas heat transfer. Source: Neville Jackson. Click to enlarge.|
Ricardo is advancing its work with two novel technologies to improve the efficiency of heavy-duty goods vehicles: a cryogenic split-cycle engine “CryoPower” (earlier post), and a low-carbon waste-heat powered microwave fuel reformer “HeatWave II”.
Heavy duty vehicles, such as long haul trucks, represent a significant challenge in terms of the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. An essential element of the transportation mix of modern industrialized society, they are inherently less amenable to the type of electrification and hybridization strategies that are already contributing to reduced carbon emissions and potential long-term sustainability for the light vehicle sector.
KIT presenting modular battery concept for electric bus
September 03, 2013
|Design of the modular batteries. Source: KIT. Click to enlarge.|
At the upcoming IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will present a modular battery concept for the efficient operation of an electric bus; an electric city bus demonstrator will illustrate the concept. The development of the e-city bus demonstrator was carried out within the scope of the project Competence E and was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
The key modules of the demonstrator are a drive train with a high-torque electric motor, a high-voltage network, a battery management system, and a novel modular battery system with lithium-ion cells made in Germany. At the IAA, the demonstrator developed for drive tests will present options for the design of the electric drive train of buses.
BAE Systems’ HybriDrive HDS300 technology to power new articulated buses in San Jose
August 27, 2013
New Flyer Industries has selected BAE Systems’ HybriDrive HDS300 propulsion system to power a fleet of new 60-foot, low-floor rapid transit buses for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose, California. New Flyer Industries will provide up to 29 articulated hybrid buses for the transit agency, with an option for up to 20 additional buses at a later date. Articulated buses are comprised of a single-deck design with two rigid sections linked by a pivoting joint, allowing for higher passenger capacity.
The HDS300 articulated bus solution, which powers 60-foot transit buses, is the most recent addition to the HybriDrive Solutions product line. The HybriDrive family of products also includes the HDS100 European lightweight bus model and the HDS200 for 30- to 40-foot North American bus fleets.
New York launches $19M truck voucher incentive program; $9M for EVs, $10M for alt fuels
August 09, 2013
New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $19-million New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program to encourage the purchase of battery-electric commercial trucks as well as other energy-efficient transportation, including hybrid and CNG (compressed natural gas) trucks. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) estimates that this program could encourage the purchase or retrofit of up to 1,000 low-emission trucks in areas of the state with the poorest air quality.
The truck voucher program will include two voucher funds: $9 million for battery-electric truck vouchers offered in 30 counties around the state that did not meet federal clean air standards, primarily downstate New York, the Capital Region and Western New York; and a $10-million alternative fuels voucher fund for New York City, which also includes compressed natural gas, hybrid-electric vehicles and retrofitting diesel engines with emission control devices.
AKASOL providing Li-ion systems for Bombardier PRIMOVE; wireless charging
August 05, 2013
German Li-ion battery systems specialist AKASOL is supplying Li-ion battery systems for Bombardier’s PRIMOVE system. (Earlier post.) PRIMOVE is a Business Unit of Bombardier that specializes in creating market-ready solutions in the field of electromobility; its portfolio comprises integrated charging, battery, and power solutions for all types of electric rail and road vehicles. The wireless PRIMOVE charging technology permits automatic inductive rapid charging with up to 200 kW of power.
AKASOL’s water-cooled PRIMOVE Li-ion battery systems feature an extremely compact size and low weight. Depending on use, the energy capacity of the system packs varies between 50 and 90 kWh. Under the Bombardier partnership, AKASOL will supply 5-10 MWh of its Li-ion battery systems to Bombardier by the end of 2014 for use in various applications and at sites of operation around the world. Starting in 2015, volume should rise to a middle to high double-digit MWh range.
Renault Trucks and Norbert Dentressangle testing 16t series hybrid electric truck
July 22, 2013
|Series hybrid 16-t truck. Click to enlarge.|
Renault Trucks is working with Norbert Dentressangle, a major transport, logistics and freight forwarding company, to develop and to test a 16-tonne series hybrid electric truck. Developed on a Midlum chassis, the vehicle has an all-electric range of up to 60 km (37 miles), with a total operating range of more than 400 kilometers (249 miles).
The vehicle will be tested from June 2013 to January 2014 in the Paris region on behalf of ThyssenKrupp Materials France. This project is part of the continued technology partnership between Renault Trucks, PVI and IFP Energies nouvelles.
BRUSA supplies complete drivetrain for E-FORCE 18-t electric truck
July 18, 2013
|The E-Force truck for Feldschlösschen. Click to enlarge.|
BRUSA Elektronik AG is to supply the main drivetrain components such as motors, inverters and chargers for the E-FORCE, Switzerland’s first all-electric 18-tonne truck.
The E-FORCE truck was jointly developed by EFORCE ONE AG and Designwerk GmbH for use in short-haul services and the national distribution of goods. The lead customers will each put one truck into their fleets for evaluation from August 2013. Both COOP—the second largest retailer in Switzerland—and Feldschlösschen—the biggest brewery in Switzerland—are considering adding more electric trucks in the near future.
BRUSA electric drive components now available in 750-volt versions; targeted for commercial and very high performance
July 13, 2013
|BRUSA 750V electric drive components. Click to enlarge.|
BRUSA Elektronik AG is now offering its proven electric-drive components—including motor, controller, power electronics, battery pack and chargers—in 750-volt versions. The new 750-volt products are suited for use in commercial vehicles and applications demanding very high output performance.
Increasing the voltage reduces the current with the performance remaining the same. Lower current leads to a reduction of cable thicknesses and bending radii. This will directly result in weight and material savings—especially with commercial vehicles of a certain length such as trucks or buses, BRUSA says.
ARB researchers evaluate in-use heavy-duty NOx aftertreatment systems, find elevated levels during certain lower-temperature operations
July 09, 2013
A team from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) reports on their evaluation of the in-use emissions performance of four different heavy-duty diesel engines certified to the MY 2010 or interim MY 2010 NOx standards over a wide range of driving conditions in California in a paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
One of the trucks was equipped with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR); three were equipped with EGR and a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) device. The results indicated that brake-specific NOx emissions for the truck equipped only with an EGR were independent of the driving conditions—and exceeded the certification value over each segment of the entire test route. Results also showed that for typical highway driving conditions, the SCR technology is proving to be effective in controlling NOx emissions. However, they also found that under operations where the SCR systems do not reach minimum operating temperature—e.g., cold starts and some low-load/slow-speed driving conditions—NOx emissions are still elevated.
LowCVP study identifies cost-effective options for cutting bus emissions
July 03, 2013
|Meeting long-term CO2 targets for buses will require the development of advanced technologies, in parallel with improvements to engines. Source: Ricardo. Click to enlarge.|
A wide range of technologies can cut carbon emissions from buses and provide a short-term payback at current fuel prices and subsidy levels, according to a new report prepared for the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) by Ricardo. Overall, the study indicates that significant improvements in bus CO2 can be achieved in the medium to long term through development, incentivization (or regulation) and implementation of new vehicle technologies and fuels.
The aim of the LowCVP study was to identify a range of low carbon fuels and technologies which can cost-effectively reduce well-to-wheel (WTW) CO2 emissions for urban buses in the UK. The report developed technology roadmaps to illustrate when these technologies are likely to be ready for deployment into the bus market, focusing on the timescales 2012-2020 and 2020-2050. The study also examined the wider role of the selected fuels and technologies for decarbonizing heavy goods vehicles.
LA Metro to purchase up to 25 new BYD electric buses as part of $30M pilot project
June 27, 2013
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors approved a contract with BYD Motors for the manufacture and delivery of up to 25 new all-electric buses as part of a $30-million clean air bus technology pilot project. This marks the first time that all-electric transit buses will be purchased and placed into Metro revenue service.
Metro’s Advanced Transit Vehicle Consortium (ATVC), a partnership with LA City, LA County and South Coast Air Quality Management District, will initially purchase five low-floor, 40-foot all-electric buses. After an initial period of testing and evaluation, Metro may then choose to purchase up to 20 additional buses. Metro will also initiate a new solicitation to convert six existing Metro gasoline electric hybrid buses to Super Low Emission Bus standards.
Obama climate plan calls for new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles post-2018; cleaner fuels and investment in advanced fossil energy
June 25, 2013
Among the transportation-related elements of US President Barack Obama’s new climate action plan, which he is outlining today in a speech at Georgetown University, is the development of new fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles post-2018. In 2011, the Obama Administration finalized the first fuel economy standards for Model Year 2014-2018 for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and vans. (Earlier post.)
The plan as outlined also calls for further work on advanced biofuels, advanced batteries and fuel cell technologies in every transportation mode. In coming months, the plan notes, the Department of Transportation will work with other agencies to further explore strategies for integrating alternative fuel vessels into the US flag fleet.
SoCalGas, California agencies funding $9M RFP to develop ultra-low NOx heavy-duty natural gas engines
June 13, 2013
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) are jointly funding a request for proposals (RFP) (P2013-22) issued by SCAQMD to support the development of ultra-clean natural gas engines for a variety of heavy-duty vehicle applications in the South Coast Air Basin (SCAB) and San Joaquin Valley Air Basin (SJVAB).
The initiative, funded up to $9 million by the participating agencies together with $500,000 in matching funds from SoCalGas, aims to demonstrate natural gas engines capable of achieving aggressive, near-zero emission standards for on-road, heavy-duty vehicle applications suitable for refuse, goods movement, drayage, transit, or school bus applications.
Volvo Trucks to begin limited production of DME heavy-duty trucks in NA in 2015; customer trials; Oberon partnership
June 07, 2013
|Volvo VNL D13 with DME. Click to enlarge.|
At an event in Sacramento, California, Volvo Trucks announced that it will commercialize dimethyl ether (DME)-powered heavy-duty commercial vehicles in North America, with limited production beginning in 2015. Volvo also revealed ongoing customer field testing of DME trucks in the US (with Safeway and Martin Transportation), as well as its partnership in the customer trials with startup DME producer Oberon Fuels. Oberon Fuels is the first company to announce plans to commercialize DME fuel production in North America. (Earlier post.)
DME offers diesel-quality performance with a high cetane number and low auto-ignition temperature, but burns cleanly without producing any soot. It is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, and can be made from a variety of sustainable domestic sources, as well as from North America’s abundant supply of natural gas. The carbon intensity of the DME will vary with the feedstock, but with the use of bio-gas (biomethane) from an anaerobic digester as input into the Oberon process, DME can provide up to a 95% CO2 reduction compared to diesel. Volvo has been testing Bio-DME in Sweden since 2009. (Earlier post.)
ABB develops and demonstrates “flash charging” system for electric buses
May 31, 2013
|Close-up of the charging mechanism on the demo TOSA bus. Source: ABB. Click to enlarge.|
ABB has developed and is demonstrating a high-capacity “flash charging” system for electric buses. The system enables onboard batteries to be charged in 15 seconds with a 400 kW boost at selected stops using a roof-mounted system (“Flash station”). The flash stations are connected to the 50kVA electricity network and also have a 3kWh storage unit (supercap) for smoothing peaks in consumption.
At the end of the bus line (“Terminus station”) a 3 to 4 minute boost at 200 kW tops up the batteries. At the depot station, the bus plugs into a multi-bus supply station connected to the 50 kVA network.
CALSTART to evaluate Navitas Systems’ military-grade Li-ion 6T batteries in Class 8 highway trucks
May 22, 2013
Navitas Systems LLC, which earlier this year acquired substantially all of the assets of bankrupt A123 Systems’ former Ann Arbor, Michigan-based government business, including US military contracts, has signed a contract to supply prototypes of its upcoming 6T lithium-ion battery (earlier post) for use by CALSTART in assessing the efficacy of this advanced battery in hot and cold weather testing on Class 8 highway trucks.
The 6T battery is commonly used in military vehicles, and to-date has been based on lead-acid chemistry. The Navitas 6T prototype batteries embody the same physical form factor, but utilize advanced lithium iron phosphate chemistry, offering greater cycle and calendar life, discharge runtime, charge acceptance rate and amp-hour throughput over life, all at half the weight of lead acid.
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.
Study suggests operational optimization can maximize the health and climate benefits of public transit investments in new bus technologies
April 02, 2013
A study by a team from the University of British Columbia and Metro Vancouver suggests that optimized operational control strategies for transit bus fleets ultimately offer transit agencies a way to maximize the benefits of their capital investments in new, cleaner technologies.
In their paper published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, they note that the evolution in bus technologies, particularly with respect to controlling pollutants that impact health—such as PM—combined with capital investments by transit agencies in these technologies, have resulted in the potential for large differences in emission factors within transit bus fleets. Operational optimization strategies such as vehicle assignment and scheduling can exploit this heterogeneous mix and minimize the climate and health impacts as well as operating costs of transit systems with minimal capital expenditure, they suggest.
CaFCP proposes two Centers of Excellence in California for fuel cell buses to accelerate commercialization; $100M program
March 30, 2013
The California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP) has published “A Road Map for Fuel Cell Electric Buses in California: A zero-emission solution for public transit”. The roadmap suggests the steps necessary to move from the pre-commercial phase of fuel cell electric bus (FCEB) deployment and manufacturing (2012-2015) to the early commercial phase (2016- 2017) to a commercial model in 2018 and beyond, including the requisite fueling infrastructure.
This road map suggests a specific strategy for the implementation of two Centers of Excellence in Northern and Southern California, each of which would cost approximately $50 million and would operate 40 FCEBs. The two centers would allow for economies of scale sufficient to achieve 2016 DOE/DOT targets and begin to overcome the primary barriers to market: the capital cost of the vehicles and the cost of fuel, CaFCP suggests.
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%.
Torotrak acquires 20% of Flybrid Automotive Ltd, with option for remainder by end of year; accelerating adoption of flywheel hybrids; Allison investment
March 19, 2013
|Cutaway of the Flybrid flywheel and Torotrak IVT. Click to enlarge.|
UK-based toroidal drive company Torotrak has acquired a 20% stake in flywheel hybrid innovator Flybrid Automotive Ltd (formerly Flybrid Systems LLP) (earlier post) with an option to acquire the remaining shares before the end of the calendar year.
Torotrak says that the transaction strengthens its ability to provide turnkey development and manufacture of complete flywheel hybrid systems for buses, trucks, passenger cars, commercial and off-highway vehicles. The company expects the deal will accelerate the adoption of its technology, which it says will be in fleet trials with bus operators later this year through an agreement with bus constructor Wrightbus.
DOE TEF project finds US can eliminate petroleum and reduce GHG by more than 80% in transportation by 2050; less use, more biofuels, expansion of electricity and hydrogen
March 15, 2013
|TEF project points to deep cuts in petroleum and emissions in the transportation sector by focusing on modes, fuels, and demand. Source: DOE. Click to enlarge.|
The US Department of Energy (DOE) released findings from a new project—Transportation Energy Futures (TEF)—that concludes the United States has the potential to eliminate petroleum use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than 80% in the transportation sector by 2050. The project identifies possible paths to a low-carbon, low-petroleum future in the US transportation sector, and also looks beyond technology to examine the marketplace, consumer behavior, industry capabilities, and infrastructure.
TEF is organized into four research areas: light-duty vehicles; non-light-duty vehicles; fuels; and transportation demand. Findings are being detailed in a series of nine reports, six of which are now available.
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:
Ballard fuel cell modules to power fleet of 10 buses in Aberdeen, Scotland
Ballard Power Systems announced the recent signing of an agreement between Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer, and the Transit Authority in Aberdeen, Scotland for delivery of 10 buses that will be powered by Ballard’s 150 kW FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module.
When deployed in revenue service, the 10-bus fleet to be operated in Aberdeen will be Europe’s largest hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet. Ballard says that by early-2014, approximately 40 buses in Europe will be powered by Ballard fuel cell modules.
Scania and Siemens to develop heavy-duty hybrid vehicles with trolley-assist; enabling the eHighway
March 11, 2013
|Scania truck with a pantograph on the roof (“trolley-truck”) . Click to enlarge.|
Scania and Siemens have entered into a partnership which involves the integration of Siemens’ trolley-assist technology with Scania’s expertise in the electrification of powertrains in trucks and buses.
Scania has for a long time explored the possibilities of electrifying the powertrain in buses and trucks, while Siemens has developed trolley-assist systems for heavy duty trucks and is selling its SIMINE trolley-assist system for mining trucks to that industry. At EVS26 in Los Angeles in 2012, Siemens described its ‘eHighway of the Future’ concept for the electrification of on-road commercial trucks and select highway lanes via overhead electrified wires. (Earlier post.)