[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.]
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.)
ExxonMobil: diesel will surpass gasoline as the number one global transportation fuel by 2020
March 09, 2013
|Transportation fuel mix in millions of oil-equivalent barrels through 2020. Source: ExxonMobil Outlook. Click to enlarge.|
Diesel will surpass gasoline as the number one transportation fuel worldwide by 2020 and continue to increase its share through 2040, according to ExxonMobil’s recently published Outlook For Energy: A View To 2040. The relative shift away from motor gasoline to diesel is driven by improving light-duty vehicle fuel economy and the growth in commercial transportation activity. Diesel demand accounts for 70% of the growth in demand for all transportation fuels through the forecast period to 2040.
Fuel demand for heavy-duty vehicles, the largest subsector, sees the greatest growth, up 65%, and accounts for 40% of all transportation demand by 2040. About 80% of the growth in commercial transport demand will come from developing nations, according to the forecast. Fuel for aviation and marine will increase about 75% and 90%, respectively, over the Outlook period, with their combined share growing from about 20% today to more than 25% by 2040.
Shell to build LNG units in Gulf Coast and Great Lakes regions; two additional LNG for transport corridors in North America
March 05, 2013
Shell and its affiliates will build two additional small-scale natural gas liquefaction units to provide liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel for marine and heavy-duty on-road customers in North America. Pending final regulatory permitting, these two new liquefaction units are expected to begin operations and production in about three years.
These two units will form the basis of two new LNG transport corridors in the Great Lakes and Gulf Coast regions. This decision follows an investment decision in 2011 on a similar corridor in Alberta, Canada. (Earlier post.) Shell is also working to use natural gas as a fuel in its own operations.
Axion Power and ePower Engine Systems enter 5-year agreement for use of PbC batteries in diesel-electric drivetrains for Class 8 trucks; tests suggest up to 35% improvement in fuel economy
March 04, 2013
Axion Power International, Inc, the developer of advanced lead-carbon PbC batteries and energy storage systems (earlier post), has entered a strategic relationship with ePower Engine Systems LLC. ePower Engine Systems specializes in the retrofit and conversion of diesel-powered Class 8 trucks into series hybrid-powered units inspired by the diesel-electric drives in locomotives—i.e., the diesel engine powers a generator that in turn provides power directly to the traction motors.
ePower Engine Systems has consented to a five-year initial term with Axion Power that includes the exclusive use of Axion’s PbC batteries, and battery management systems in all ePower retrofits and conversions.
EEA report suggests road charges for heavy-duty goods vehicles should reflect varied health effects of pollution in different countries
|Air pollution externalities of 12–14 ton HGV on highway (Euronorm III) in euro cents. Source: EEA. Click to enlarge.|
A new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) suggests that new road charges for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs or lorries) should reflect the varied health effects of traffic pollution in different European countries. This means charges should be much higher in some countries compared to others, according to the (EEA).
The amended Eurovignette Directive (2011/76/EU) relating to the charging of HGVs for use of major European motorways prescribes that from 2013, Member States may include air pollution costs in any charging structure for roads under the Trans‐European Network (TEN-T) and for comparable domestic motorways. The revenue from such schemes should be invested in sustainable transport, the Directive states. However, adoption of road user charges depends on a decision by individual countries.
California ARB to hold public workshop on new GHG and emissions standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles
February 21, 2013
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public workshop on 11 March to discuss proposals for several regulations and regulation amendments related to on-road heavy-duty vehicles.
At this workshop, staff will be soliciting input on proposals multiple proposals: a new regulation to harmonize with GHG emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles that US EPA adopted in 2011; amendments to ARB’s existing Heavy-Duty Vehicle GHG Emission Reduction Regulation to align with the proposed new GHG regulation; a new set of optional oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards for heavy-duty vehicle engines more stringent than the current 2010 model year standard; and amendments to the Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) to Limit Diesel-fueled Commercial Motor Vehicle Idling to expand compliance responsibility.
Volvo Trucks introduces dynamic steering system combining hydraulic power steering with electric motor
February 19, 2013
|Volvo Dynamic Steering. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks is introducing Volvo Dynamic Steering, which combines conventional hydraulic power-steering with an electronically-regulated electric motor fitted to the steering gear. The result is precise steering that gives a truck driver a safer and more comfortable working environment.
An electronically-controlled electric motor attached to the steering shaft is the technological innovation in Volvo Dynamic Steering. The electric motor, which works together with the truck’s hydraulic power steering, has a maximum of 25 N·m (18 lb-ft) of torque and is regulated thousands of times per second by the electronic control unit.
Volvo Group to acquires 45% of Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles for $900M; Volvo to become world’s largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks
January 26, 2013
|China is the world’s largest truck market. Click to enlarge.|
AB Volvo has signed an agreement with the Chinese vehicle manufacturer Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited (DFG) to acquire 45% of a new subsidiary of DFG, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles (DFCV), which will include the major part of DFG’s medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles business.
Completion of the transaction will make the Volvo Group the world’s largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks with a combined annual volume (2011) of 326,000 HD trucks and 98,000 MD trucks.
ETI, Loughborough University, Johnson Matthey & Caterpillar launch £4.5M project to improve effectiveness of SCR aftertreatment systems for heavy-duty vehicles
January 15, 2013
The UK public-private partnership Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), Loughborough University, Johnson Matthey and Caterpillar have launched a new £4.5-million (US$7.2-million) technology project to improve the effectiveness of Selective Catalytic Reaction (SCR) aftertreatment systems for NOx reduction in heavy duty vehicles (HDVs).
The project aims to help HDV fuel efficiency by developing a more efficient exhaust aftertreatment system. Often diesel engine fuel efficiency is reduced by having to comply with exhaust emission standards. It is hoped that the new exhaust system developed by this project will effectively remove this constraint. The project aims to deliver fuel efficiency and CO2 benefits of between 3%-4%.
San Diego MTS Board approves two major CNG bus procurements with combined value of up to $343.4 million
December 21, 2012
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System Board of Directors recently voted to approve two major bus procurements: up to 350 Gillig 40-foot low-floor CNG buses and up to 165 New Flyer 60-foot low-floor articulated CNG buses through 2017.
The total value of the contracts, if all options are exercised and future funding is available, is in excess of $343 million, inclusive of sales tax, licenses, fees and delivery. At the end of the contracts, more than 95% of MTS buses will run on cleaner compressed natural gas.
Global Commercial Vehicle meeting continues calls for global regulatory harmonization on fuel efficiency and emissions reduction
December 16, 2012
European, North American and Japanese heavy-duty vehicle and engine manufacturers continue to call for global cooperation and regulatory harmonization to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from the road freight sector, according to a summary of the recent 10th Global Commercial Vehicle meeting posted by the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA).
More specifically, the assembled chief executives of manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial trucks and engines agreed on the need to expand the application of the UN ECE’s world-wide harmonized heavy-duty certification (WHDC) procedure for engine exhaust emissions; the importance of global diesel fuel specifications; the development of globally harmonized fuel-efficiency test procedures; and the promotion of harmonization of heavy-duty hybrid certification procedures.
Chicago awards up to $13.4M contract to Motiv Power Systems for 20 Class 8 electric refuse trucks
November 19, 2012
The City of Chicago has awarded San Francisco Bay Area startup Motiv Power Systems an up to $13.4-million contract for 20 Class 8 electric refuse trucks. The 52,000-lb trucks, powered by a 200 kWh battery pack, will have a range of up to 60 miles.
The Motiv electric Powertrain Control System (ePCS) uses off-the-shelf batteries and motors, which can be mixed and matched to fit the size of the electric truck application. Motiv says that its ePCS can handle electric trucks from medium-duty to Class 8 heavy-duty, weighing 15,000 lbs-52,000 lbs. Motiv suggests the ePCS design approach cuts operating costs by 50% over an eight-year period. With a medium-duty pilot shuttle, Motiv reduced operating cost from 80 cents per mile ($0.80/mi) to 10 cents per mile ($0.10/mi). (Earlier post.)
GE and Clean Energy Fuels Partner to expand LNG refueling infrastructure in US for trucks; new MicroLNG plants
November 13, 2012
|GE’s MicroLNG plant can liquefy natural gas at any point along a gas distribution network. Click to enlarge.|
GE and Clean Energy Fuels are collaborating to expand the infrastructure for natural gas transportation in the United States. The agreement supports Clean Energy’s efforts in developing “America’s Natural Gas Highway,” (earlier post)—a fueling network spanning the contiguous US that will enable trucks to operate on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) coast to coast and border to border.
As part of the collaboration, Clean Energy Fuels will initially purchase two MicroLNG plants from GE Oil & Gas. (Earlier post.) The plug-and-play modular units, which are designed to rapidly liquefy natural gas while minimizing a site’s physical footprint, will support fueling stations along major transportation corridors that run across the US. Further underscoring GE’s commitment to expanding natural gas transportation infrastructure, GE Energy Financial Services is providing up to $200 million in financing for the two GE MicroLNG plants.
LCA study finds Alcoa forged aluminum wheels cut carbon footprint of commercial vehicles
October 01, 2012
|Alcoa aluminum truck wheels vs. steel wheels (average use case). Source: Alcoa. Click to enlarge.|
Alcoa last week released the findings of a peer-reviewed life cycle assessment (LCA) which concluded that Alcoa aluminum wheels substantially cut the carbon footprint of commercial vehicles.
This analysis, performed by PE International and Five Winds Strategic Consulting, is the most comprehensive and transparent comparative LCA ever conducted on aluminum and steel truck wheels, according to Alcoa. It analyzed the entire “cradle-to-grave” production process of commercial vehicle wheels—from bauxite mining to wheel manufacturing, through a truck wheel’s use phase and end-of-life, including recycling and land filling. The study incorporated the latest available information on energy and material consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental releases.
TfL Board approves production order for 600 new hybrid buses for London
September 25, 2012
The Board of Transport for London (TfL) approved a production order for up to 600 of New Bus for London vehicles over the next four years. (Earlier post.) This will create the largest fleet of hybrid buses in Europe, according to TfL.
The 600 buses represent a 200% increase in the current hybrid bus fleet which is set to grow by a further 180 vehicles already on order. When the final batch of new bus for London vehicles is delivered in 2016, more than 1,000 hybrid buses will be in service on the streets of London.
Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics trailer cuts air resistance by 18%, fuel consumption between 4–5%; new Aerodynamics rig truck
September 18, 2012
|Model of the Aerodynamics trailer in the wind tunnel. Click to enlarge.|
At the 64th IAA Commercial Vehicles Show, Daimler is unveiling the latest result of its “Aerodynamics Truck & Trailer” initiative, the new Mercedes-Benz Aerodynamics trailer and separate Aerodynamics rigid truck.
Trailer. Designed and developed by Mercedes-Benz, the new trailer lowers the air resistance of the entire tractor/semitrailer combination by approximately 18%. According to the engineers’ experience, this results in a fuel consumption reduction on long-haul journeys of approximately four to five percent in real conditions. Intensive measurements in the wind tunnel with a 1:2.5-scale model confirmed the arithmetic assumptions.
Demonstration series hydraulic hybrid transit bus yields fuel economy of 6.9 mpg, 110% better than conventional diesel, 30% better than electric hybrids
September 16, 2012
|The series hydraulic transit bus. Click to enlarge.|
The BUSolutions demonstrator LCO-140H (Low Cost of Ownership–1st 40-foot Hybrid) series hydraulic hybrid transit bus yields fuel economy of 6.9 mpg (34 l/100km) on the industry-standard ADB duty cycle—110% better than conventional diesel buses on the road today and 30% better than the best-in-class electric hybrid buses available today, according to the final report on the project published by the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA).
More importantly, according to the report written by a team from Altair ProductDesign, which led the project, such a bus will cost more than 20% less than a conventional diesel bus to own and operate over its life and more than 30% less than an electric hybrid.
Allison Transmission and Dana Holding license rights to NuVinci CVP technology from Fallbrook; to cooperate on engineering, manufacturing of next-gen transmissions
September 13, 2012
Allison Transmission Holdings Inc., Dana Holding Corporation have formed separate strategic relationships with Fallbrook Technologies Inc. to develop, manufacture, and commercialize high-efficiency transmissions for passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, and off-highway equipment. These next-generation transmissions will be designed to increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and improve overall vehicle performance.
Under the partnerships, Fallbrook will license its NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) technology (earlier post)—which enables designers to reduce the complexity of transmissions, superchargers (earlier post), and other powertrain systems and allows the engine to operate at more efficient speeds—to Allison and Dana.
NREL study finds Class 8 hybrid trucks delivered 13.7% higher fuel economy than conventional diesels in comparable usage
September 12, 2012
|Laboratory and in-use fuel economy comparison. Source: NREL. Click to enlarge.|
A performance evaluation of Class 8 hybrid electric tractor trailers (Kenworth T370 hybrid tractors) compared with similar conventional vehicles (Freightliner M2106 standard diesel tractors) by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that hybrid tractors demonstrated 13.7% higher fuel economy than the conventional tractors, resulting in a 12% reduction in fuel costs for the hybrids.
The study also highlighted the importance of route selection and vehicle placement to optimize hybrid advantage—i.e., the hybrid advantage is optimized in routes which include high start-stop density.
Renault Trucks introducing medium- and heavy-duty Euro VI engines at IAA
|Euro VI-compliant DTI 11. Click to enlarge.|
Renault Trucks will present its Euro VI compliant engines at the IAA show in Hanover. These will equip its trucks when the new standard becomes compulsory in January 2014 (January 2013 for new homologations).
To comply with the new regulation, the manufacturer is using different technologies, choosing the most appropriate and efficient in regards to the engine’s size and future application. This strategy will enable Renault Trucks to pursue a number of different aims: supply its customers with Euro VI compliant engines, while at the same time offering competitive fuel economy , reliability and maintainability similar or superior to the previous Euro V engines.
Volvo Trucks launches new FH heavy-duty truck; I-Torque and I-See cut fuel consumption by up to 10%
September 06, 2012
|The I-Torque driveline combines the new I-Shift 2 gearbox with a D13 Euro 6 engine. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks has launched a new version of the FH, its flagship heavy-duty truck model for almost 20 years. The FH is critically important to Volvo, accounting for more than 60% of total sales. Since the launch of a new version of the Volvo FH in 1993, more than 650,000 units have been sold.
The new Volvo FH, developed over the past five years, features new solutions for fuel efficiency with the new I-Torque driveline. The new truck also features a new safety cage and new warning systems, and the cab is now up to one cubic meter bigger. Both the driver’s environment and the relaxation area have been optimized to function in the best possible way, according to the company.
Pike Research forecasts 14% and 19% CAGR worldwide for natural gas trucks and buses
September 04, 2012
|Annual sales of NG trucks and buses by segment, world markets: 2012-2019. Source: Pike. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research expects the global market for natural gas (NG) trucks to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14% between 2012 and 2019, reaching 111,319 sales in 2019. Pike expects medium-duty (MD) trucks to be the largest of the truck markets, growing to 85,848 vehicle sales; heavy-duty (HD) truck sales will reach 25,471 vehicles.
The company expects the market for NG buses to grow at a CAGR of 19% during the same period. Asia Pacific is the largest NG bus market, accounting for 86% of NG bus sales by 2019, according to Pike. While the North American and Western European markets will see strong NG bus growth (10% CAGR), Asia Pacific will see growth rates of 21% with India, China, and Thailand leading the region in NG bus sales.
Toyota developing external power supply system and V2H for fuel cell buses
August 31, 2012
|FC Bus Power Supply System and the V2H System. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has developed an external power supply system that uses electricity generated within a fuel cell bus (FC bus) to supply electrical power to devices such as home electrical appliances. An FC bus—based on the FCHV-BUS (Fuel cell hybrid vehicle-bus)—equipped with the new power supply system has two electrical outlets (AC 100 V, 1.5 kW) inside the cabin that can supply a maximum output of 3 kW and potentially power home appliances continuously for more than 100 hours.
As part of the emergency power-supply training section of the disaster-control training to be conducted by Aichi Prefecture and Toyota City on 2 September, the system is to power approximately 20 information display monitors inside a disaster control headquarters tent.
Study finds clear trend of increasing NOx with higher biodiesel blends with CARB diesel; NOx neutrality achieved by blending in renewable or GTL diesel
August 30, 2012
|NOx emissions results of biodiesel, renewable, and GTL diesel fuel blends, and CARB diesel fuel for 2006 Cummins ISM. Credit: ACS, Hajbabaei et al. Click to enlarge.|
A study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s College of Engineering – Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) and colleagues at the California Air Resources Board (ARB) found a relatively clear trend of increasing NOx emissions with increasing biodiesel blend level at levels of B20 and above for CARB-like/high cetane diesel fuels. The study is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
They also found that increasing renewable diesel (Neste Oil’s NExBTL) and gas-to-liquids (GTL) diesel blends showed NOx reductions with rising blend level. Blending GTL or renewable diesel fuels with various levels of biodiesel or by using di-tert-butyl peroxide (DTBP) can achieve NOx emissions neutrality with the CARB diesel, according to their results. The study is part of a larger program conducted by ARB in conjunction with UC Riverside, UC Davis and others to develop diesel formulations with higher levels of renewable biofuels.
J.D. Power and Associates study finds EPA emission-compliant heavy-duty engines yielding increase in engine problems, decline in satisfaction
August 23, 2012
Technology changes related to revised emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks are causing an increase in heavy-duty truck engine problems and a decrease in overall satisfaction with the powertrain, according to the JD Power and Associates 2012 US Heavy-Duty Truck Engine and Transmission Study.
Now in its 16th year, the study measures satisfaction with engines and transmissions among primary maintainers of heavy-duty (Class 8) trucks that are one model-year old. Satisfaction is measured based on eight key factors: engine reliability and dependability; engine warranty; acceleration when fully loaded; electronic control module; accessibility to components for service or maintenance; vibration at idle; maintaining speeds on grades; and average fuel economy.
UK to provide more than £11M to £23M alternative & dual-fuel heavy-duty vehicle demonstration program; more than 300 vehicles
The UK government will provide more than £11 million (US$17.5 million) in support to a £23 million (US$36.6 million) demonstration program to encourage road haulage operators in the UK to buy and use lower carbon commercial vehicles.
The Government funding will help operators establish and run fleets of alternative & dual-fuel heavy-goods vehicles by meeting part of the difference in capital cost between traditional vehicles and their lower carbon equivalents. More than 300 low-carbon commercial vehicles will be involved in the demonstration program. The funding will also help meet the cost of the refueling points for use by the trial fleets, including the provision of 11 new public access refueling stations around the country, which will be available for use by other operators.
Pike forecasts 26.4% CAGR for electric-drive buses to 2018; hybrid, battery-electric and fuel cell
August 20, 2012
Pike Research forecasts that the global market for all electric-drive buses—including hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell buses—grow steadily over the next 6 years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.4% from 2012 to 2018.
In a new report, “Electric Drive Buses”, Pike finds that China market will constitute the majority of global electric drive bus sales, while some of the more developed markets will see fluctuations in electric bus uptake. This latter development is due as much to the fact that developed bus markets may experience a general slowdown, due to austerity measures and the end of stimulus funding, as to any changes in demand for electric drive buses.
Scotland greenlights £3.3M for clean energy hub with 10 hydrogen buses in first phase
August 15, 2012
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond gave the green light for a pioneering clean energy hub in Scotland, including Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet, as he announced funding of up to £3.3 million (US$5.2 million) for the EU-backed project.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise funding will enable Aberdeen City Council, supported by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, to start the project’s first phase with an order for 10 hydrogen fuel-cell buses. They will be operated on First and Stagecoach bus routes in the city by early 2014 and refueled at Scotland’s first large hydrogen refueling station, which will also be able to refuel hydrogen-powered passenger cars, as they become available.
New Detroit DT12 transmission contributes to enhanced fuel efficiency and performance for heavy-duty trucks
August 10, 2012
|Cutaway of the DT12. Click to enlarge.|
Detroit Diesel Corporation, a Daimler company, is showcasing its DT12 automated manual transmission for heavy duty trucks. Part of the Detroit complete powertrain offering, the DT12 combines the operational ease of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission, resulting in enhanced fuel economy, vehicle performance and safety.
The Detroit DT12 is a 12-speed, non-synchronized transmission with shorter gear steps, and was designed with a number of efficiency features to achieve optimal fuel economy. Adding to the transmission’s overall economy is its lightweight design, which offers additional payload because of its aluminum housing and single counter shaft. Available in the Freightliner Cascadia, the DT12 maximizes fuel efficiency for line-haul/long haul operations.
ETI announces £2.5M lower drivetrain HDV efficiency project
July 27, 2012
The UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) has launched a three-year, £2.5-million (US$3.9-million) project to improve the efficiency of Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV) by cutting the amount of parasitic losses in the lower drivetrain system by 50%. The ETI is a public-private partnership between global energy and engineering companies—BP, Caterpillar, EDF, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell—and the UK Government.
Parasitic losses caused by the churning of the lubricating oil and component friction in HDVs and off-road vehicle drivetrains can account for more than 10% of overall vehicle energy losses. This project will look to improve the overall system design, with a synergistic focus on gears, bearings, surface treatments, lubricant flow and lubricant composition.
Battelle, COTA demonstrating connected vehicle applications on buses
July 17, 2012
Engineers from Battelle Memorial Institute, working with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) as part of the United States Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Connected Vehicle research program, have developed and are demonstrating a forward-collision-avoidance system for buses. Battelle is also working on similar connected commercial vehicle safety applications for Class 8 trucks (Connected Commercial Vehicle program).
Forward collision warning is one of five connected vehicle applications Battelle will demonstrate on buses as part of the US Department of Transportation (DOT)-sponsored Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor, Michigan, said Battelle transportation researcher and project manager Matt Burt. The Model Deployment will be a large-scale test of various safety applications on a variety of vehicle types driven by members of the public on public roads. (Earlier post.)
Advanced synchronizers from Oerlikon Graziano provide fuel savings and easier gear shifting on heavy trucks
July 13, 2012
|New generation synchronizers from Oerlikon Graziano featuring integrated activation system with optimized clearances to give smoother shifting and reduce drag. Click to enlarge.|
Oerlikon Graziano has developed a family of advanced synchronizers for heavy-duty truck transmissions. The first application of the technology, on new 9-speed and 14-speed premium gearboxes, has contributed to transmission efficiency improvement, helping to fuel saving and emission reduction.
The new synchronizers save fuel in two ways: by optimizing the shift to minimize torque interruption and by reducing steady-state drag torque in the transmission. They combine the high durability and high performance of Oerlikon Graziano’s existing Long Life synchronizers with a new internal activation system, the use of optimized clearances and lubricant paths for higher efficiency.
CALSTART study concludes zero-emission I-710 freight corridor achievable; hybrid truck with catenary or in-road power most feasible option
July 12, 2012
|I-710 Corridor Study Area. Click to enlarge.|
A study by CALSTART, an independent California-based organization that evaluates and works to commercialize clean transportation technology, has concluded that the development of a heavy-duty vehicle or vehicle system (truck and infrastructure power source) that can move freight through California’s busy I-710 Corridor with zero emissions (ZE) with a 2035 horizon year has no major technological barriers. In fact, the report suggests, there are several technical approaches that can achieve the desired outcome.
Of the possibilities, CALSTART determined that a “dual mode” or “range extender” hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) with some EV-only capability was seen as the most feasible solution for achieving the ZE corridor, particularly if combined with an infrastructure power source such as catenary or in-road, which would allow for smaller battery packs aboard the vehicles. The most significant barriers would be a sustainable overall economic and business case and corridor market mechanisms.
Navistar to adopt SCR technology to meet 2010 EPA requirements; “In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+)”
July 06, 2012
Perforce shifting from its advanced EGR-based strategy, Navistar International Corporation will introduce engines combining advanced in-cylinder management with urea-based aftertreatment (selective catalytic reduction, SCR) to meet 2010 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions regulations and to position the company to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) rules in advance of 2014 and 2017 requirements. Navistar expects the In-Cylinder Technology Plus (ICT+) technology to be available beginning early 2013.
Navistar said it will continue to build and ship current model trucks in all vehicle classes using appropriate combinations of earned emissions credits and/or non-compliance penalties (NCPs) during the transition to ICT+. In June, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated the EPA’s interim final rule on the use of non-conformance penalties (NCPs) in order to sell diesel engines with emissions levels above 0.20g NOx.
Volvo Trucks introducing new Euro 6 engine
July 05, 2012
|Volvo D13 Euro 6 with EGR and aftertreatment system. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Trucks is introducing a Euro-6-compliant heavy-duty engine, with NOx emissions lowered by 77% and PM emissions halved compared to Euro 5. The first implementation of the new engine is the D13 460 hp (343 kW) unit.
The Volvo D13 for Euro 6 is based on Volvo’s Euro 5 engine. Just like that unit, the new engine is an in-line six cylinder engine with unit injectors and catalytic exhaust treatment (SCR). In order to meet the new emission requirements, exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is also used, as well as a diesel particulate filter (DPF)—systems that Volvo Trucks has already been using for several years in the US and Japan.
Göteborg Energi orders two Opbrid Bůsbaar ultra-fast bus charging stations for HyperBus project
July 03, 2012
|The Opbrid Bůsbaar stations will be located at the ends of the #60 route. Click to enlarge.|
Göteborg Energi, the electricity provider for the City of Gothenburg, awarded a contract to Opbrid SL (Granada, Spain) to provide two Opbrid Bůsbaar ultra-fast bus charging stations (earlier post) for the HyperBus (Hybrid and Plug-in Extended Range) demonstration project in Gothenburg City. This project will consist of three new Volvo plug-in hybrid buses running in traffic and charging for 5-8 minutes at each end of the #60 bus line.
The plug-in hybrid bus is based on the existing Volvo 7900 hybrid bus design, but with the addition of a larger, energy-optimized battery and the ability to connect to the Opbrid Bůsbaar ultra-fast charging station. Use of the Bůsbaar extends the all-electric range of the hybrid bus to a predicted 75% or more of the route.
Axion supplying PbC batteries to Norfolk Southern for all-battery switcher and working on line-haul hybrid locomotives; micro-hybrid and stationary expansion
June 25, 2012
|The battery-electric NS-999, “under the long hood”. Source: NS. Click to enlarge.|
In April, Axion Power International Inc received an order from Norfolk Southern Corp (NS) for PbC lead-carbon batteries for use in an all-battery-powered switcher locomotive. (Earlier post.) Axion Power said this first $400,000 purchase order is part of a $475,000 total purchase order, that will be used in the commissioning of Norfolk Southern’s NS-999 (earlier post). To date, this is the largest single PbC battery order that Axion has received.
The contract marked a milestone in Axion’s 2.5 year involvement with NS, which also includes the parallel development of a hybrid system for line-haul locomotives, noted Axion Power Chairman & CEO Thomas Granville. This larger, more powerful unit will require approximately twice the number of batteries as contained in the electric yard switcher. The contract is also a milestone in NS’ quest for a battery/hybrid locomotive, which reaches back a number of years to the Green Goat effort. (Earlier post.)
FTA to award $400K for pedestrian/cyclist collision warning system on buses
June 10, 2012
The US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will award (FTA-2012-010-TRI) up to $400,000 for one or more pilot projects to increase pedestrian/cyclist safety through demonstration of advanced pedestrian warning system on transit buses.
As background for the award, FTA notes that pedestrians represent a considerable portion of traffic-related (cars, trucks and transit) injuries and deaths on our nation’s highways. In 2008, 4,378 pedestrians were killed and 69,000 were injured in traffic crashes in the United States. This represents 12% and 3% of all the traffic fatalities and injuries, respectively. The majority of these fatalities occurred in urban areas (72%) where pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicular traffic, including transit buses, commingle.
Prototype electric New Flyer transit bus powered by 120 kWh MHI MLiX Li-ion pack in operational testing in Manitoba, Canada
June 08, 2012
An all-electric, battery-powered prototype demonstration bus under joint development by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI), the government of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, Red River College and New Flyer Industries Canada ULC has been completed and was recently unveiled in Manitoba, Canada. (Earlier post.) The bus will be demonstrated on the streets of Winnipeg over the next two years.
The 40-foot “E-Bus” is based on New Flyer’s 40-foot Xcelsior heavy-duty transit bus and is powered by a 120 kWh lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack developed by MHI. The $3-million electric bus project costs are split equally between the Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Westport and Caterpillar to co-develop natural gas technology for off-road equipment
June 05, 2012
Westport Innovations Inc. has signed agreements with Caterpillar Inc. to co-develop natural gas technology for off-road equipment, including mining trucks and locomotives.
Caterpillar and Westport will combine technologies and expertise, including Westport High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology and Caterpillar’s off-road engine and machine product technology, to develop the natural gas fuel system. Caterpillar will fund the development program. When the products go to market, Westport expects to participate in the supply of key components.
Government of Québec unveils $2.7B climate change action plan; 63% of spending targeting transport
The Premier of Québec, Jean Charest; the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Pierre Arcand; and the Minister of Transport Pierre Moreau unveiled the Canadian province’s 2013-2020 Action Plan on Climate Change (PACC 2020).
The action plan and strategy adaptation represent a total investment of nearly C$2.7 billion (US$2.6 billion). The PACC 2020 is self-financed from the carbon market and the extension until 2014 of the fuel levy and fossil fuels. Almost 63% (C$1.7 billion) of the funding of the action plan will finance measures in the transport sector—specifically developing public transportation, supporting the purchase of equipment that reduces consumption of fossil fuels, and encouraging the use of hybrid trucks and conversion to natural gas.
Eaton enhances commercial vehicle hybrid electric system to improve fuel efficiency, performance and system payback
June 01, 2012
Eaton Corporation has introduced a number of enhancements to increase the fuel economy, performance and payback of its hybrid electric power system for commercial vehicles (earlier post) including a new high-capacity battery; a new single-phase 115-volt AC Auxiliary Power Generator (APG); a higher capacity clutch to expand applications up to 860 lb-ft (1,093 N·m) of torque; and a new remanufactured battery for aftermarket purchase.
Eaton hybrid electric power systems employ parallel-type diesel-electric hybrid architecture that incorporates a 44 kW peak / 26 kW continuous electric motor/generator between the output of an automated clutch and input of the transmission. (The company also offers hydraulic launch assist systems. (Earlier post.)
California Energy Commission awards more than $35M for green transportation in California
The California Energy Commission unanimously approved funding of $35,031,310 to projects that will accelerate the development of green fuels and technology in California. This set of awards supports a diversity of alternative fuel and vehicle types, including biodiesel production, natural gas vehicle technologies and incentives, hybrid and plug-in vehicles, and E85 fueling stations.
These awards are provided through the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The program, created by Assembly Bill 118, provides approximately $100 million annually to encourage the development and use of new vehicle technologies and alternative fuels to help the state fulfill its pioneering climate change policies.
Volvo launching 13-liter heavy-duty LNG engine with Westport HPDI injection in 2014; CNG and DME potential
May 18, 2012
Volvo Trucks plans to launch a 13-liter heavy-duty liquefied natural gas (LNG) engine featuring Westport high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology for the North American market in 2014. (Earlier post.)
The engine’s advanced high pressure diesel ignition technology will provide significant fuel efficiency gains compared with current natural gas products, according to Volvo. Combined with its previously announced offering of compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Volvo VNM and VNL model daycabs, the new engine will provide customers with a range of natural gas-powered transportation solutions for different applications. Volvo is also testing another promising fuel that can be produced from natural gas, DME (dimethyl ether).
NHTSA proposes federal rule requiring electronic stability control systems on large commercial trucks and buses
May 17, 2012
The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new federal motor vehicle safety standard to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on large commercial trucks, motorcoaches, and other large buses (gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 11,793 kg / 26,000 lbs) for the first time.
ESC systems use engine torque control and computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver in maintaining control of the vehicle and maintaining its heading in situations in which the vehicle is becoming roll unstable (i.e., wheel lift potentially leading to rollover) or experiencing loss of control (i.e., deviation from driver’s intended path due to understeer, oversteer, trailer swing or any other yaw motion leading to directional loss of control).
Delphi develops new high-pressure common rail systems for heavy-duty and light-duty engines; Euro VI and beyond
May 01, 2012
Delphi Automotive has developed a common rail fuel system technology for heavy-duty diesel engines that combines proven hardware with an innovative architecture, allowing vehicle manufacturers to meet Euro VI emissions standards without significant modification to their base engines.
Delphi presented the work in a technical paper “Development of High-Pressure Common Rail Systems Incorporating Advanced Electronic Control Strategies for Future Heavy-Duty Vehicles,” at the 33rd Vienna Motor Symposium last week. At the same event, Delphi also revealed a new common rail system for small, one- to four-cylinder diesel engines, including non-automotive applications. This concept system is expected to be ideal for heavily downsized applications and developing markets.
C40 Cities releases interim results from Latin America Hybrid & Electric Bus Test; renewable diesel evaluated as well
April 24, 2012
The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) has released interim results from its Hybrid & Electric Bus Test Program, developed in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, and supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). The results come from test segments run in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; additional segments will take place there in Q2 and Q3 2012. In Bogotá and Curitiba, new segments will take place in Q2 and Q3 2012. Participating bus companies include Eletrabus, Volvo Bus Corporation, TATSA, and BYD.
The transportation sector is the largest and fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Latin American cities. Road transportation accounts for 90% of transportation emissions in Latin America, half of which are produced by passenger traffic. The C40-CCI Latin America Hybrid & Electric Bus Test Program aims to reduce the carbon footprint of public transportation in the region through three steps:
Canada proposes regulations to reduce GHG emissions from new on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines; harmonization with US rules
April 13, 2012
The Government of Canada has proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines. The Canadian regulations are aligned with the US fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles announced in August 2011. (Earlier post.)
These proposed regulations would reduce emissions from the whole range of on-road heavy-duty vehicles and engines, including large pick-up trucks, short/long-haul tractors, cement and garbage trucks, buses, and more, for the 2014 model year and beyond.