[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.]
Volvo Trucks introduces new monofuel natural gas version of FE
August 20, 2014
|Volvo FE CNG. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks is expanding its model range in Europe with a new version of the Volvo FE running entirely on natural gas. The Volvo FE CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has been primarily developed for operations involving short driving cycles with repeated starts and stops such as refuse collection and local distribution.
The Volvo FE CNG is powered by an all-new 9-liter Euro 6 engine featuring spark plug technology that produces 320 hp (239 kW) and 1356 N·m (1000 lb-ft) of torque. Spark plug technology is particularly suitable for driving cycles where the truck covers short distances with a lot of start-stop traffic, said Christina Eriksson, Business Manager Alternative Drivelines at Volvo Trucks.
SCAQMD funding Siemens test of eHighway overhead catenary system for electric trucks in California
August 06, 2014
Siemens will conduct trials of its eHighway system (earlier post) in California on a two-mile (3.2 km) stretch of highway after installing a catenary system for electric and hybrid trucks in the vicinity of the largest US ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The company was awarded the associated contract by Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The objective is to eliminate local emissions such as nitrogen oxides completely and to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and cut the operating costs of trucks. The test results should be available in the summer of 2016, and will indicate the suitability of the systems for future commercial use.
GKN to supply 500 electric flywheel hybrid drive systems to Go-Ahead Group for buses
July 29, 2014
UK transport operator Go-Ahead Group has ordered 500 electric flywheel Gyrodrive systems from GKN Hybrid Power for use in buses. The Gyrodrive Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) system (featured in Audi’s LeMans-winning R18 e-tron quattro) harvests braking energy normally lost as heat.
When the driver brakes, a traction motor on one of the axles slows the vehicle, generating electricity at the same time. This electricity is used to charge the flywheel, spinning it at up to 36,000 rpm. When the driver accelerates, the system works in reverse. The energy is drawn from the flywheel and converted back into electricity to power the traction motor, which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating fuel savings of more than 20% at a significantly lower cost and weight (60 kg, 132 lbs) than battery hybrid alternatives. Useable stored energy is 1.2MJ, with peak power of 120kW.
Delphi to debut new Tech Truck at IAA CV show; new high-pressure fuel injection system and new HPDI injector for natural gas
July 27, 2014
Delphi Automotive PLC will unveil the second generation of its Technology Truck concept highlighting future technologies at the upcoming IAA Commercial Vehicles show being held 25 Sept - 2 Oct in Hannover, Germany.
Among the technologies Delphi will unveil is the next-generation fuel injection system for commercial vehicles applications. The system, which builds on the performance of its 2700 bar F2 common rail technologies, includes a patented fuel injector and will help vehicle manufacturers meet future legislated emissions and fuel efficiency levels. Also at IAA, Delphi will showcase the new second-generation High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) natural gas injector for heavy-duty engine applications. Delphi co-developed the new HPDI injector with Westport.
ABB and Volvo Buses partnering on fast-charging system for hybrid and electric buses
July 22, 2014
ABB and Volvo Buses are partnering to co-develop and to commercialize electric and hybrid buses with open standards-based direct current (DC) fast charging systems. The cooperation will create a city-wide standardized charging system for electric and electric hybrid buses that can charge buses quickly through an automatic roof-top connection system at bus stops or through cabled charging systems overnight.
This approach, based on internationally accepted standards (EN61851-23), enables maximum re-use of existing e-mobility technologies, thereby ensuring a rapid deployment of urban e-mobility. The first joint project will be the implementation of Volvo Electric Hybrids and ABB’s automatic e-bus chargers in the Luxembourg public transport system, where as many as 12 Volvo Electric Hybrid buses operated by Sales-Lentz will be running on existing lines by 2015.
Virginia Tech wins $55M in federal contracts for commercial truck driver safety and automated vehicle research
July 21, 2014
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has been awarded two federal contracts worth a combined potential $55 million to further study safety efforts for commercial truck drivers and break new ground in the burgeoning field of automated vehicles.
The contracts are being awarded by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with a ceiling of $30 million for a five-year period, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at a maximum of $25 million during a five-year period. Collectively, the contracts—both won this spring—are the largest of their kind awarded to the institute in its 25-year history.
Eberspächer introducing diesel fuel-cell APU at IAA; planned market introduction in US in 2017
July 18, 2014
|Basic elements and operating principle of the diesel fuel-cell APU. Click to enlarge.|
At the upcoming IAA in Hanover, automotive supplier Eberspächer is presenting a fuel-cell APU (auxiliary power unit) for commercial trucks that converts diesel efficiently to electricity and thereby supplies the required power to all on-board consumer components such as the air-conditioning system or the refrigerator units.
As a result, the load for electricity generation can be taken off the engine or generator with a resulting decrease in fuel consumption and emissions. In future generations of trucks, components still driven mechanically today could thus be powered electrically at considerably less expense, the company suggests.
Navigant forecasts MHD vehicle market to nearly double by 2035 with declining share of conventional engines; gases win out over electricity
July 07, 2014
The number of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs) in use worldwide will nearly double between 2014 and 2035, according to a new forecast report by Navigant Research. Navigant projects that annual MHDV sales will grow throughout the forecast period at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.4%.
Alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)—including battery-electric (BEVs), plug-in hybrid (PHEVs), propane autogas (PAGVs) and natural gas vehicles (NGVs)—will grow from 5.0% of the market in 2014 to 11.2% by 2035. A majority of these AFVs will be NGVs and PAGVs. Vehicles running primarily on hydrogen and electricity will make up less than 1% of all MHDVs in 2035, according to Navigant.
Report finds progress in UK Low Carbon Emissions Bus uptake, but a need to review incentives
July 06, 2014
Despite the recent uptake of low carbon emission buses (LCEBs) in the UK, significant barriers remain to sustained market growth, and there are risks of current progress being disrupted, according to a new report prepared for the UK LowCVP by Transport & Travel Research Ltd, in partnership with TRL.
LCEBs are defined as vehicles producing at least 30% fewer lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than a current Euro-III-equivalent diesel bus of the same total passenger capacity. The well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions, expressed in grams of carbon dioxide equivalent measured over a standard test, take into account both the production of the fuel and its consumption.
Mercedes-Benz presents autonomous Future Truck 2025 research vehicle; “Highway Pilot”
July 04, 2014
|Autonomous driving in long-distance truck operations with the “Highway Pilot”. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Future Truck 2025 in Magdeburg, Germany. The truck is equipped with the intelligent Highway Pilot assistance system, which enables it to drive completely autonomously at speeds of up to 85 km/h (53 mph). Daimler Trucks demonstrated the vehicle on a trip along a section of the A14 autobahn near the city of Magdeburg, in which the Future Truck drove itself under realistic driving conditions.
The Highway Pilot is comparable to an autopilot system in an airplane—probably the most advanced form of autonomous mobility in existence today, the company noted. Mercedes-Benz will unveil the complete study of the Future Truck 2025 at the International Commercial Vehicle Show (IAA) in September.
Volvo Trucks launches dual-clutch transmission for heavy-duty trucks
June 17, 2014
|I-Shift Dual Clutch provides seamless power delivery. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks is now launching I-Shift Dual Clutch, the first transmission on the market with a dual clutch system for heavy vehicles. With power-shift gear changes without any interruption in power delivery (with the exception of the range-change, which takes place when shifting from 6th to 7th gear), the 12-speed transmission maintains torque, and the truck does not lose any speed during gear changes. For the driver, the result is more comfortable and efficient progress on the road.
Transmissions with dual clutches are already used in cars, but Volvo Trucks is the first manufacturer to offer a similar solution for series-produced heavy vehicles. Volvo Trucks says that fuel consumption with the base I-Shift Dual Clutch is the same as with regular I-Shift. The company is offering two software packages to improve fuel economy with the unit:
US Army, Lockheed Martin complete 2nd autonomous convoy demo; more vehicles, higher speeds. Update w/video.
June 12, 2014
|The AMAS CAD II convoy of driverless trucks. Click to enlarge.|
The US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Lockheed Martin successfully demonstrated additional capabilities of the Autonomous Mobility Appliqué System (AMAS) at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in South Carolina by conducting a driverless line-haul convoy with seven military trucks at speeds up to 40 mph (64 km/h).
The recent AMAS CAD II demonstration built upon the capabilities that were demonstrated at Ft. Hood, Texas, in January 2014, where three unmanned military trucks negotiated oncoming traffic, followed rules of the road, recognized pedestrians and avoided various obstacles at speeds up to 25 mph (40 km/h) in an urban environment. (Earlier post.)
SunLine Transit Agency takes delivery of two new fuel cell buses; 8th generation
June 10, 2014
SunLine Transit Agency of Thousand Palms, CA has taken delivery of two new eight-generation fuel cell buses, each powered by a Ballard FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module. These new buses evolve the previously deployed seventh-generation American Fuel Cell Bus (AFCB) configuration, which was first introduced with SunLine Transit Agency in 2011. (Earlier post.) SunLine is a longstanding leader in the deployment of clean transportation technologies in the United States; the agency converted entirely to CNG from diesel more than 20 years ago.
The AFCB has a fuel-cell-dominant hybrid electric propulsion system in a series configuration. The AFCB configuration utilizes Ballard’s FCvelocity-HD6 fuel cell module to provide primary power, in combination with BAE Systems’ HybriDrive propulsion and power management systems deployed in an ElDorado National 40-foot (12-meter) Axess model, heavy duty transit bus.
Kinetics Drive Solutions and Efacec collaborate on electric bus propulsion systems
May 28, 2014
|Kinetics’ NexDrive EV3-850 + PowerPhase HD electric drive system. Click to enlarge.|
Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. and Portugal-based Efacec Electric Mobility, S.A. are collaborating to deliver full-vehicle propulsion systems for electric buses. This solution is engineered to provide bus OEMs a fully integrated and optimized system that can be implemented on various platforms with minimal engineering development. Efacec’s first electric bus with the NexDrive solution will be deployed for field operation in July.
In April, UQM Technologies Inc. and Kinetics announced their collaboration to offer an integrated electric motor and multi-speed transmission system for commercial vehicle applications (earlier post); that system is used in the Kinetics/Efacec solution.
EC sets out strategy to cut CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles; short-term focus on measurement and reporting
May 21, 2014
Heavy-duty trucks, buses and coaches would use less fuel and emit lower amounts of carbon dioxide under a strategy adopted by the European Commission. Such heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) are responsible for around a quarter of CO2 emissions from road transport in the EU. Without action, HDV emissions in 2030-2050 are projected to remain close to current levels.
While light-duty CO2 emissions are already being addressed by recent EU legislation, the new “Strategy for reducing Heavy-Duty Vehicles’ fuel consumption and CO2 emissions” marks the European attempt to address emissions from HDVs. The strategy focuses on short-term action to certify, report and monitor HDV emissions as an essential first step towards curbing emissions. The strategy is addressed to the European Parliament and the Council, which are invited to endorse it and help deliver the actions outlined.
The Volvo Group studies potential for dynamic charging for city buses with test electric road
May 19, 2014
The Volvo Group, in collaboration with the Swedish Transport Administration, will study the potential for building electrified roads on which city buses can be charged inductively at the same time as the bus is in operation (dynamic charging). A 300- to 500-meter electric road may be built for test operations in central Gothenburg during 2015.
The Volvo Group will develop a detailed proposal within the framework of innovation procurement from the Swedish Transport Administration. The proposal entails building a road section equipped with wireless charge technology and developing vehicles that will automatically charge their batteries when passing such a road section.
Caterpillar investigating 6-stroke engine cycle as low-emission solution
May 05, 2014
Caterpillar engineers have been exploring a novel 6-stroke compression ignition engine cycle in search of a low-emission system that retains fuel efficiency. In a paper presented at the SAE 2014 World Congress, they reported on their investigations of the 6-stroke cycle for near-stoichiometric and lean operation.
The primary difference between the conventional 4-stroke and Caterpillar 6-stroke cycle is the addition of a second compression and combustion stroke immediately following the primary combustion event. The fourth stroke omits the conventional exhaust event in order to recompress the combustion gases. This approach differs from the traditional 6-stroke approach in which water is injected into the cylinder after recompression to extract additional expansion work from the hot combustion products, the team noted.
Cambridge study of near-term alternative London bus technologies finds lean-burn CNG most costly with greater climate impact than diesel
May 01, 2014
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have conducted a comprehensive environmental cost–benefit analysis of near-term alternative bus technologies. The study considered emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), CO, NOx, PM2.5, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and ammonia (NH3), as well as the lifecycle climate impact of CO2 and non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHG) on a CO2-equivalent basis.
Their findings indicated that emission control strategy retrofits are the least costly near-term intervention to reduce urban air pollution. Although hybrid buses provide net GHG reductions and air quality improvements, associated costs are higher and more uncertain than emission retrofits. Lean-burn (spark ignition) compressed natural gas (LB-CNG) delivers the lowest health impacts due to the significant reduction of PM2.5, but has relatively high associated CO2e emissions that negate the health benefits, they found. As a result, current LB-CNG vehicles are the most costly of all of the modeled technologies, they concluded. Their study appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
UK APC selects four powertrain projects for $51M in funding; contributing to next-gen Ford EcoBoost
April 30, 2014
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable recently announced the first four automotive technology projects to be funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) (earlier post) with grants totaling £30.3 million (US$51 million); the projects that will help develop next-generation engines (including the Ford EcoBoost) and see Formula 1 technology applied in buses and excavators.
The jointly funded government and industry APC will invest around £1 billion (US$1.7 billion) over the next 10 years to develop, commercialize and manufacture greener and more efficient technologies for engines of vehicles of the future. The four projects are the winners of an up to £75 million competition that the Technology Strategy Board launched in partnership with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Automotive Council in December 2013.
DOE to award up to $10M for projects advancing Zero Emission Cargo Transport (ZECT)
The US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), on behalf of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Office of Vehicle Technologies (OVT) Program, has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0001106) to award up to $10 million for projects to accelerate the introduction and penetration of electric transportation technologies (ETT) into the cargo transport sector for Zero Emission Cargo Transport (ZECT).
Goals for awards resulting from this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) include demonstrating reductions of 1) petroleum use, 2) greenhouse gas emissions, and 3) criteria pollutant and toxics emissions. Other goals include evaluating the market viability of cargo ETT and collecting detailed information to analyze the benefits and viability of this freight transportation approach for this and other non-attainment areas.
Westport and Weichai launch WP12 engine and begin development of WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0 technology
April 28, 2014
Westport Innovations Inc. has launched the final customer validation units of the next-generation Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI 2.0, earlier post) on the Weichai Westport WP12 engine platform. The Weichai Westport WP 12 HPDI is China’s first engine featuring Westport HPDI technology, delivering the power and performance of the base diesel engine, while replacing up to 95% of diesel fuel with cleaner burning, less expensive natural gas. Using Westport HPDI, the WP12 engine is expected to meet China V emission standards (roughly equivalent to Euro V) without a complex after-treatment system.
Weichai Westport plans to release 30 trucks for customer validation through 2014 with factory production expected to start in 2015. Weichai and Westport have also agreed to develop the 10-liter Weichai Westport WD10 engine with Westport HPDI 2.0. Weichai Westport will provide funding for the development with Westport supplying key components and engineering support.
UQM Technologies and Kinetics Drive Solutions collaborate on electric drive systems for all-electric commercial vehicles
April 23, 2014
|EV3-850 combined with PowerPhase HD220. Click to enlarge.|
UQM Technologies Inc. and Kinetics Drive Solutions Inc. are collaborating to offer an integrated electric motor and multi-speed transmission system for commercial vehicle applications that will benefit from a full system approach. This system is engineered to provide commercial vehicle manufacturers with an efficient electric drive powertrain while minimizing the development time for integration.
Advantages for customers will be a fully integrated and calibrated system that allows quicker time to market and reduced development time and cost, as well as fewer engineering variables. Systems will feature UQM PowerPhase HD electric motors and controllers combined with Kinetics NexDrive transmissions.
Opbrid Bůsbaar demonstrates ultra-fast charging at 625 Amps; pathway to 2-3 minute bus charging
April 15, 2014
|The infrared photo shows a temperature increase of only 9.8 degrees at the junction between the pantograph and the overhead charging rail of the Opbrid Bůsbaar at 625 A. Click to enlarge.|
During recent tests of Hybricon Bus Systems’ new Arctic Whisper (HAW) urban bus in Umeå, Sweden (earlier post), the Opbrid Bůsbaar achieved ultrafast charging at 625 amps for 6 minutes. This paves the way for charging at 500 – 1000 kW or more to achieve 2- to 3-minute charges at the end stations of longer bus routes. It also allows all-electric heating and 5 – 6 minute charging for the upcoming 18 m 4WD Arctic Whisper articulated bus.
The Opbrid Bůsbaar is an overhead, pantograph-based fast-charging station for buses. In the future, this technology may enable other applications such as medium-distance electric buses or even long distance buses and trucks, the company said.
NRC report offers guidance on development of Phase 2 rules to reduce fuel consumption and GHG from medium-and heavy-duty vehicles; more natural gas and aerodyanamics, expanded lifecycle considerations
April 03, 2014
Expanding the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and greater use of aerodynamic devices on trailers are among the 17 overarching strategies recommended by a new National Research Council report for reducing fuel consumption by tractor-trailers, transit buses, commercial vehicles, trucks, and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (MHDVs).
The report follows a 2010 Research Council report the findings and recommendations of which informed the “Phase I Rule” on fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles issued jointly by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and US Environmental Protection Agency. (Earlier post.) The new report offers guidance for the “Phase II Rule” under development, which is directed at technologies and programs in the post-2018 time frame. (Earlier post.) The committee will expand upon this new work and issue a final report in 2016 that will cover a broader range of technologies and approaches that address the 2025-2030 time frame.
Scania introduces new 100% biodiesel version of 16-liter V8; Euro 6 with EGR and SCR
April 02, 2014
|Scania 16-liter V8 580 hp Euro 6 engine with EGR and SCR is available in a 100% biodiesel version. Click to enlarge.|
Scania is adding another alternative to its engine lineup with a 100% biodiesel (EN 14214) configuration of a 16-liter, 580 hp (433 kW) V8 engine in the R-series. Today, Scania notes, biodiesel is probably the most uncomplicated solution from a user perspective for reducing the effects on the environment from heavy trucks.
Scania now has five different engines for biodiesel operation in its range, with a power span of 320-580 hp (238 kW to 433 kW). In October 2013, Scania introduced its five-cylinder, 9-liter biodiesel engine in 320 hp (238 kW) and 360 hp (268 kW) versions. These were followed by the 13-liter, inline six engine in 450 hp (336 kW) and 490 hp (365 kW) versions with SCR and EGR aftertreatment systems.
Walmart showcases WAVE tractor-trailer at MATS; micro-turbine range extended electric vehicle with 45.5 kWh Li-ion pack
March 28, 2014
Walmart showcased its Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, Ky. WAVE is a tractor-trailer combination that features leading edge aerodynamics; an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain; electrified auxiliary components; and control systems.
The project aims to demonstrate a wide range of advanced technologies and designs Walmart is considering in an effort to improve the overall fuel efficiency of its fleet and lower the company’s carbon footprint. Although the prototype currently runs on diesel, its turbine is fuel-neutral and can run on compressed or liquid natural gas, biofuels or other fuels.
Kenworth and Peterbilt introduce more fuel-efficient Class 8 trucks
March 27, 2014
|Kenworth T680 Advantage. Click to enlarge.|
At the Mid-America Trucking show, PACCAR companies Kenworth and Peterbilt introduced more fuel efficient version of their heavy-duty models: the Kenworth T680 Advantage and the Peterbilt Model 579 with EPIQ package. Kenworth says that the T680 Advantage can deliver up to a 5% fuel efficiency enhancement over a standard T680. Peterbilt says that the Model 579 with EPIQ package can improve fuel efficiency compared to a standard Model 579 by up to 10%.
Both trucks rely on a combination of the PACCAR MX-13 engine with an Eaton Fuller Advantage Automated Transmission. This pairing features precise communication between the engine and transmission, as well as proprietary control logic to further enhance fuel economy.
Aberdeen takes delivery of first 4 of 10 hydrogen buses
March 24, 2014
The Aberdeen (Scotland) city council has taken delivery of four of the 10 hydrogen buses ordered from Belgian firm Van Hool and to be operated by FirstGroup and Stagecoach as part of the Aberdeen Hydrogen Bus Project. The others are due to be delivered in the coming weeks; in total, the 10 will represent the largest single operating hydrogen bus fleet. Ballard Power Systems is developing the hydrogen fuel cells for the buses.
The £19-million (US$31 million) Aberdeen City Council-led bus project, which has backing from Europe, the UK Government and the Scottish Government, as well as a broad range of private sector partners, is testing the economic and environmental benefits of hydrogen transport technologies and aims to drive the development of hydrogen technologies.
Predictive Powertrain Control cuts test consumption in Setra coach by an average of 9.2%
March 14, 2014
In a European media test event, the fuel consumption of Daimler’s new TopClass 500 with Predictive Powertrain Control (PPC) (earlier post) fell by an average of 9.2%. Daimler has been citing fuel consumption improvements of up to 4% for the anticipatory cruise control technology.
More than two dozen journalists from the specialist press tested PPC intensively on the topographically challenging A6 motorway between Kaiserslautern and Grünstadt. On five days of driving they covered a total of 3,120 km (1,939 miles). The fuel consumption was precisely recorded using measuring devices. Three new Setra TopClass 500 touring coaches were tested in various versions.The three-axle super-high-deck touring coaches were each realistically loaded to a gross vehicle weight of 21.5 t.
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.