[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.]
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid PHEV averages 4.4 l/100 km (53.4 mpg US) during test drives
May 24, 2013
|Panamera S E-Hybrid PHEV on the road. Click to enlarge.|
During an international press event in Germany, in which more than 42 test drives were conducted with journalists in the Panamera S E-Hybrid (earlier post) covering a total distance of more than 1,200 kilometers (746 miles), the new plug-in hybrid model consumed 4.4 l/100 km (53.4 mpg US) averaged over all drives.
The lowest fuel consumption value recorded on the circuit course for the Panamera plug-in hybrid was 2.8 l/100 km (84 mpg US). NEDC testing indicates combined cycle fuel consumption of 3.1 l/100 km (75.9 mpg US) for the PHEV, with accompanying CO2 emissions (combined) of 71 g/km. Electrical consumption (combined) is rated at 162 Wh/km.
National Academies issues interim report on overcoming barriers to PEV deployment
May 22, 2013
The National Academies has issued a pre-publication version of an interim report on Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment. A final, comprehensive report will be published in late summer 2014.
Given recognized technical, social, and economic barriers to widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles), Congress had asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to commission a study by the National Academies to address market barriers that are slowing the purchase of electric vehicles and hindering the deployment of supporting infrastructure. As a result, the National Research Council (NRC)—a part of the National Academies—appointed the Committee on Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment.
Porsche introduces 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid sports car
May 16, 2013
|The 918 Spyder. Click to enlarge.|
Porsche has introduced the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid sports car, the first of six or more plug-in hybrids coming from the Volkswagen Group. (Earlier post.) Porsche had unveiled the concept version of the 918 Spyder Plug-in Hybrid at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. (Earlier post.)
The 918 Spyder features a novel all-wheel drive concept with a combination of a 608 hp (453 kW) V8 combustion engine, 115 kW electric motor on the rear axle and ~95 kW electric motor on the front axle. Combined system power is 887 hp (661 kW). It is based on knowledge gained by Porsche during motor races with the 911 GT3 R flywheel Hybrid (earlier post).
Lexus begins sales of new IS 300h hybrid in Japan along with new IS lineup
|IS 300h. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus has begun sales of the new IS sports sedan lineup in Japan with the introduction of the redesigned IS 350 and IS 250, and the introduction of the IS 300h hybrid. Monthly sales target for the hybrid model in Japan is 800 units. Lexus unveiled the new 2014 IS sport sedan at the North American International Auto Show in January. (Earlier post.)
The IS 300h achieves fuel economy of 23.2 km/L (54.6 mpg US, 4.3 l/100 km) and CO2 emissions of 100 g/km under the Japanese MLIT JC08 test cycle. This performance exceeds the 2015 fuel efficiency standards by 20% and the 2005 standards of the MLIT approval system for low-emission vehicles by 75%.
Mercedes-Benz launches new S-Class with hybrid, diesel, gasoline models; 59 mpg PHEV model to come
|New S 400 HYBRID. Click to enlarge.|
Mercedes-Benz’s new generation flagship S-Class, introduced at an elaborate event at Airbus in Finkenwerder, marks a number of technology firsts in numerous areas from comfort, to driver control, to efficiency. As one example of the last, the new S-Class is the first car in the world to completely dispense with conventional electric bulbs, making exclusive use of energy-saving LED technology both inside and outside.
On a larger efficiency scale, the new S-Class in its first year will offer two hybrid versions, a gasoline model and a diesel variant: the S 400 HYBRID, S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, S 500, and S 350 BlueTEC. The models offer up to 20% lower fuel consumption than the outgoing model series. These soon will be followed by the S 500 Plug-In HYBRID—the first S-Class with a fuel consumption lower than 4l/100 km (59 mpg US). All the engines already meet the requirements of the Euro-6 emissions standard.
Volvo plug-in hybrid bus with Bůsbaar rapid charging to begin field testing in Gothenburg; 75-80% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2
May 14, 2013
|7900 Volvo Plugin Hybrid Charging at Redbergsplatsen in Gothenburg. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Buses’ new plug-in hybrid buses will begin field tests in Gothenburg, Sweden this month. Volvo Buses has already sold more than 1,000 of its conventional hybrid units; the plug-in version will facilitate the reduction of fuel consumption and carbon dioxide by 75 to 80%, compared with current diesel buses, the company said.
The plug-in hybrids are based on the Volvo 7900 Hybrid, Volvo Buses’ second series-produced hybrid bus model. The plug-in hybrids have been further developed, and enable rapid recharging from electricity grids via the Opbrid Bůsbaar pantograph on the roof (earlier post).
GM recalling certain eAssist models; up to 42,904 vehicles potentially affected by GCM issue
May 06, 2013
General Motors (GM) is recalling certain model year 2012 and 2013 Buick LaCrosse and Regal, and model year 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco vehicles equipped with the eAssist light electrification system. (Earlier post.) Some of these vehicles have a condition in which the Generator Control Module (GCM) may not function properly. This could cause a gradual loss of battery charge and the illumination of the malfunction indicator light, GM said in its notice to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If these warnings are ignored, eventually the engine may stall and/or the vehicle may not start. In addition, there may be a burning or melting odor, smoke, and possibly a fire in the trunk. Potentially up to 42,904 MY 2012 and MY2013 vehicles may be affected.
Renault adapts F1 KERS system for electric Twizy F1 Sport Concept
April 26, 2013
|The Twizy Renault Sport F1 concept. Click to enlarge.|
Renault engineers have built an “F1” concept version of the Twizy EV featuring a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) based on the solution used by Renault-powered Formula 1 race cars.
Twizy Renault Sport F1 is consequently equipped with two electric motors—i.e. the original motor (17 hp/13 kW) onto which the F1-style KERS with its own motor has been grafted. When the KERS is activated, Twizy Renault Sport F1’s power output climbs instantly by a factor of six, from 17 to 97 horsepower (72 kW). This boost is available for approximately 14 seconds, just as it is in the case of a Formula 1 car. Thanks to this additional power, the concept car is capable of accelerating from standstill to 100 km/h in the same time as Mégane R.S.
Winterkorn says Volkswagen developing 10-speed DCT and high-performance diesel; plug-in hybrids offer great potential
|Volkswagen’s view of powertrain technologies to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, Executive Director Volkswagen Group Research. Click to enlarge.|
At the International Vienna Motor Symposium Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, gave a forecast of future drive system technologies. Areas of work being focused on by Volkswagen include the development of a high-performance diesel engine delivering 100 kW (134 hp) per liter of displacement and a new 10-speed dual clutch gearbox that reduces fuel consumption.
The high performance diesel engine features a variable valve-train assembly, a high-pressure injection system at up to 3,000 bar and combined charging with an innovative e-booster. Among alternative drive systems, plug-in hybrids in particular offer great potential, Winterkorn said. (The Volkswagen Group intends to launch at least 6 new plug-in hybrid models starting in 2014 and beyond. Earlier post.)
Volvo Cars’ tests of flywheel technology confirm fuel savings of up to 25%
April 25, 2013
|Volvo Car’s flywheel KERS system. Click to enlarge.|
Results of Volvo Car Group’s testing of kinetic flywheel technology on public roads during 2012 show that the flywheel technology combined with a four-cylinder turbo engine has the potential to reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% compared with a six-cylinder turbo engine at a comparable performance level, according to Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group. (Earlier post.)
If the energy in the flywheel is combined with the combustion engine’s full capacity, it will give the car an extra 80 horsepower. Combined with the swift torque build-up, this translates into rapid acceleration, cutting 0 to 100 km/h figures by seconds. The experimental car, a Volvo S60, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds.
ALABC and CPT to introduce 48V LC Super Hybrid demonstrator at Vienna Motor Symposium
April 24, 2013
|12V and 48V LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrators. Click to enlarge.|
The Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) and Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) will introduce a low-carbon 48 volt LC Super Hybrid technology demonstrator at the International Vienna Motor Symposium this week. The 48V LC Super Hybrid aims to demonstrate CO2 emissions of 120 g/km, combined with 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in less than nine seconds, in a family-sized sedan.
Employing cost-effective low-voltage micro-mild hybrid technology, the LC Super Hybrid, which is based on a 1.4-liter VW Passat, will make its global debut at the 34th annual powertrain conference. The 48-volt version of the LC Super Hybrid complements the existing 12 volt technology demonstrator unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 2012. (Earlier post.)
IEE forecasts electric-drive LDVs could constitute between 2 to 12% of US vehicle stock by 2035
April 22, 2013
|Forecast by LDV scenario (millions). Source: IEE. Click to enlarge.|
Under its most conservative of scenarios, more than 5 million light-duty electric-drive vehicles will be on the road in the US by 2035, according to a new forecast by IEE, an institue of the Edison Foundation. According to the report, “Forecast of On-Road Electric Transportation in the US (2010-2035)”, this figure could increase to as high as 30 million EVs depending on advances in battery technology.
IEE developed three general scenarios for electric transportation: low, medium, and high. These scenarios provide projections based on EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2012 Reference Case, advances in battery technology (e.g., improved battery chemistry that allows for faster and deeper charging and reductions in battery cell and other component costs), and oil prices increasing to $200 per barrel:
Johnson Controls to supply AGM batteries to Chery Jaguar Land Rover in China; introducing 48V micro hybrid system
April 19, 2013
Johnson Controls will provide its Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) advanced lead-acid battery technology to power the Chery Jaguar Land Rover Start-Stop and other vehicles made in China to serve the China market. Start-Stop systems help reduce fuel consumption as the engine shuts off when the vehicle comes to a stop in traffic or at a red light. The battery restarts the engine when the driver’s foot releases the brake pedal or engages the clutch.
Separately, the company will debut to the China market its 48-volt Micro Hybrid battery demonstration module (earlier post) at the 15th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition (Auto Shanghai 2013). Leveraging a dual voltage architecture, the Micro Hybrid battery system involves a low voltage lead-acid battery and a 48 volt Lithium-ion battery that enable optimization of energy generation and consumption, thus saving fuel.
Volkswagen unveiling CrossBlue Coupé concept plug-in hybrid in Shanghai
|CrossBlue Coupé. Click to enlarge.|
At the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show, Volkswagen will introduce the “CrossBlue Coupé” concept plug-in hybrid SUV. The automaker introduced the “CrossBlue SUV” concept—developed specifically for the US and Canada—at the North American International Auto Show earlier this year. (Earlier post).
The CrossBlue Coupé is powered by a plug-in hybrid system comprising a V6 turbo direct gasoline injection engine (TSI) and two electric motors; maximum system power is as much as 305 kW (409 hp). The Volkswagen accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, and its maximum speed is 236 km/h (147 mph). The CrossBlue Coupé has a combined fuel consumption of 3.0 l/100 km (78 mpg US) in the new European driving cycle (NEDC).
Linamar introduces Agilit-e rear axle hybrid power unit for OEMs; FWD Cadillac SRX converted to AWD plug-in hybrid as demo
April 18, 2013
|The Linamar Agilit-e unit contains the two motors, gears, power electronics, and cooling. The ECU, which is discrete in this first demo application, will be subsequently integrated into the main unit. Click to enlarge.|
Global automotive supplier Linamar Corporation has developed a fully-integrated, compact, modular and scalable twin-motor bolt-on rear axle unit to enable hybrid all-wheel drive applications: the Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit. The company presented the unit, applied in a conventional front-wheel drive Cadillac SRX now converted to an AWD plug-in hybrid, at the 2013 SAE World Congress in Detroit.
The demonstration unit features twin independent 75 kW motors (150 kW total output), each coupled with a single-speed reduction gear (8.4 ratio), which is bolted to its respective half shaft. Coupled with a 330V, 9 kWh Li-ion battery pack in the SRX, the system enables an all-electric range of up to 30 km (18.6 miles) with a maximum all-electric speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).
IEA: carbon intensity of global energy supply has barely changed in last 20 years; “window of opportunity in transport”
|The ESCII, along with projections for three scenarios. To meet 2DS targets, the index needs to decline by 5.7% by 2020, and 64% by 2050. Source: IEA. Click to enlarge.|
In a fairly bleak assessment of global progress towards low-carbon energy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that, despite a few bright spots such as the rapid expansion of renewable technologies and the growth of hybrid and EV sales, the progress is far below that required to achieve a 2 °C pathway—i.e., to hold warming to 2 °C as outlined in the IEA Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP) 2 °C Scenario (2DS). The assessment came in an annual report to the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM).
To illustrate this inertia, the report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, introduced the Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII), which shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted, on average, to provide a given unit of energy. The global energy supply became 6% cleaner from 1971 to 1990,in response to the oil shocks of the 1970s. Since 1990, however, the ESCII (2010 = 100) has remained essentially static, changing by less than 1%. In 1990 the underlying carbon intensity of supply was 57.1 tCO2/TJ (2.39 tCO2/toe); in 2010 it was 56.7 tCO2/TJ (2.37 tCO2/toe).
Honda details development of powertrain components for Accord plug-in hybrid
April 17, 2013
At SAE World Congress in Detroit, Honda engineers presented several papers on the development of the new Accord plug-in hybrid, describing work on the new gasoline engine (which will also be featured in the coming full hybrid version of the Accord), and the development of the new two-motor system. Through the end of March, Honda has sold 45 units of the new plug-in, which went on limited sale earlier this year.
The Accord plug-in hybrid has an all-electric range of 13 miles (21 km); charge depleting (EV mode) combined fuel economy of 115 MPGe; charge sustaining (hybrid mode) combined fuel economy of 46 MPGe; and meets California LEV3-SULEV20 emissions standards.
Toyota cumulative global hybrid sales pass 5M, nearly 2M in US
|Cumulative global sales of TMC hybrid models as of 31 March 2013. Click to enlarge.|
Cumulative global sales of Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TMC’s) hybrid vehicles—including plug-in hybrids—topped the 5 million unit mark as of 31 March 2013, reaching 5.125 million units. Of the global total, sales in the US have accounted for nearly 2 million units (1,951,243).
Last year, hybrid vehicles accounted for 14% of TMC’s global vehicle sales and 40% of its vehicle sales in Japan. As of this month, TMC sells 19 hybrid passenger car models and one plug-in hybrid model in approximately 80 countries and regions around the world. Between now and the end of 2015, Toyota will introduce 18 new hybrid models and expects global sales of its hybrids to be at least 1 million units a year in the same period. TMS forecasts that about one-third of those will be sold in the United States.
Toyota wraps up 3-year Strasbourg Prius PHV demo project; average 46% reduction in fuel consumption compared to gasoline ICE vehicles
April 13, 2013
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has completed its three-year plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV) demonstration project jointly carried out with Électricité de France (EDF) and the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg in France.
The partners revealed the final conclusions collected from this large-scale demonstration, in which approximately 70 units of the Prius PHV were provided to Strasbourg. Data was accumulated by utilizing the 145 dedicated charging stations installed in the city by EDF to identify vehicles and exchange information. The vehicles travelled more than a total of 4 million kilometers (2.485 million miles) during the project. Among the findings were:
Tesla likely Q1 US PEV leader with 4,750+ sales in North America; Nissan surges with LEAF in March in US
April 04, 2013
With the US sales numbers for the first quarter of 2013 in, Tesla appears to be the leading seller of plug-in vehicles for that period, with more than 4,750 units of the model S sold in North America. (Earlier post.) (Tesla doesn’t break out sales by country at this time, so there are no US-specific figures from the company.)
GM posted sales of 4,244 Volt extended range electric vehicles in the US in the second quarter, representing an 8.4% increase year-on-year. March sales of the Volt in the US were weaker in March, with 1,478 units, compared to 2,289 units in March 2012, a decrease of 35.4%. (In Canada, GM sold 177 Volts in Q1, and 82 in March.)
Porsche introducing first plug-in hybrid with second generation of the Panamera
April 03, 2013
|2014 Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Porsche is introducing its first plug-in hybrid and two new extended wheelbase variants with the second generation of the Panamera. The new Panamera S E-Hybrid produces 416 total system horsepower (310 kW) and is joined by Panamera 4S Executive and Panamera Turbo Executive models in the revised Panamera lineup.
The new Panamera S E-Hybrid improves upon the hybrid powertrain offered by the previous Panamera S Hybrid (earlier post)—which is not listed in the new generation Panamera line-up—with a more powerful electric motor, and a higher-performance battery that supplies more energy and is able to be recharged from home or public vehicle charging stations.
Subaru introduces XV Crosstrek Hybrid, its first production hybrid
March 28, 2013
|Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Subaru of America, Inc. unveiled its first production hybrid vehicle, the Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. Based on the XV Crosstrek crossover introduced for 2013, the 2014 XV Crosstrek Hybrid model arrives in Subaru dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2013.
The Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid combines a 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer engine with a 13.4-hp electric motor integrated into the Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). A 100V, 13.5 kW nickel-metal hydride battery is located under a revised rear floor area, and the engine uses an integrated starter/generator for the automatic start/stop feature. EPA fuel economy ratings are 28 mpg/34 mpg/31 mpg (8.4, 6.9 and 7.6 l/100km) city/highway/combined.
Nissan introduces 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid SUV with FF hybrid system; 24% improvement in fuel economy over conventional
March 27, 2013
|2014 Pathfinder Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan introduced the 2014 Pathfinder Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show. The new hybrid—which uses Nissan’s new FF hybrid system (earlier post)—will be available in three fully equipped trim levels when it joins the lineup in late summer 2013. It is expected to be priced at around $3,000 more than Pathfinder 3.5-liter V6 models.
Fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg (9.0 l/100 km) combined, an increase of 24% over the standard Pathfinder. Estimated city fuel economy is 25 mpg (9.4 l/100 km), while highway mileage is estimated at 27 mpg (8.7 l/100km). With the Pathfinder Hybrid’s 19.5-gallon fuel tank, the same as non-hybrid models, driving range is estimated at more than 526 miles (847 km).
Navigant forecasts global sales of LDV electric drive motors to hit 3.7M by 2020
|Electric vehicle drive motor revenue by region, world markets: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.|
Unit sales of electric drive motors for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) will reach 3.7 million by 2020, growing from 1.5 million in 2013, according to a new report from Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research). Total global market revenue will grow from just less than $1 billion in 2013 to more than $2.8 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6%.
The market for electric traction motors is determined by the demand for electric and electrically assisted vehicles, which varies across the three major automotive market regions in the world (North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific), Navigant notes. While sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are increasing, the growth is slow and steady rather than exponential. Cost remains the main barrier in the short term, with the battery pack being by far the most expensive component.
Audi introduces 2015 Audi A3 and S3 sedans; A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV confirmed for US
|A3 Sedan. Click to enlarge.|
Audi of America, Inc. announced that the all-new 2015 Audi A3 sedan will arrive in US showrooms in the first quarter of 2014. Audi of America also confirmed that it will offer the A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in gasoline electric hybrid (PHEV) model in the US market later in 2014. Audi recently revealed the A3 Sportback e-tron at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. (Earlier post.)
At launch, the engine line-up will consist of four four-cylinder engines: 170 hp (127 kW) 1.8 TFSI; low- and high-output versions of the 2.0 TFSI; and 150 hp (112 kW) 2.0 TDI clean diesel. Completely redesigned, the engines bring together direct fuel injection, turbocharging, innovative thermal management and the start-stop-system. The line-up of engines and transmissions will grow further, and will include two new basic engines.
Ionova Technologies says ZIP-Cap ultracapacitors can offer 5x increase in energy density and 25x reduction in build cost (updated with graphic)
March 25, 2013
|Sketch describing the ZIP-Cap architecture and how it differs from that of the EDLC. Source: Ionova. Click to enlarge.|
Ionova Technologies, Inc. reports that its zinc-ion-based ZIP-Cap asymmetric ultracapacitor is expected to provide a 25-fold reduction in build cost and a 5-fold increase in energy density (up to 35Wh/L) without the ultra-pure materials or expensive “dry-room” facilities that are necessary to build today’s ultracapacitors.
Asymmetric ultracapacitors achieve greater energy density versus today’s Electric Double Layer Capacitors (EDLCs) by combining one activated carbon EDLC ion-adsorption electrode with one ion-insertion (battery-like) electrode. ZIP-Cap is based on Ionova’s metal/ion pseudo-capacitor (MIP-Cap) architecture and 3-D Nanofilm technology developed under research programs with the US Department of Energy, NASA and the Naval Research Lab.
PHEV powertrain company ALTe in new commercial vehicle JV in China with Henan Benma; target 10K units/year
March 21, 2013
ALTe Powertrain Technologies (ALTe), developer of a range-extended plug-in electric hybrid vehicle (PHEV) powertrain for light commercial fleet vehicle applications (earlier post), will establish a new commercial vehicle manufacturing Joint Venture with the Henan Benma Company (Benma) in the Henan province of China.
Henan Benma was originally part of a $200-million “mega JV”—MESA Industrial Technology Corporation—announced in August 2012, which would have seen the opening of four factories in 4 provinces in China. (Earlier post.) However, that structure with became unwieldy, explained John Thomas, ALTe Chairman, President and CEO. Two investors split off from the original 4 entity investor group. MESA is still moving forward as a powertrain entity with just one lead investor based in Beijing, Thomas said, while Henan Benma, which was part of the original MESA deal, moved out to do a specific and higher level vehicle OEM deal with ALTe in their province.
Study finds technology cost of achieving European 2020 LDV CO2 targets more than offset by resultant fuel savings
March 19, 2013
|Provisional 2030 economic impact of achieving the 2020 targets in the two Phase I scenarios—Current Policy Initiatives and Tech 1— compared to baseline. Source: Cambridge Econometrics.Click to enlarge.|
A report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA concludes that overall, the cost of technologies required to meet proposed European 2020 CO2 regulations for vehicles (95 g/km for cars and 147 g/km for vans) will be more than offset by the resultant fuel savings. The technical and macro-economic study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, focuses on light-duty vehicles.
The project is taking a phased approach. This first report (Phase I) examines only the impact of improving the efficiency of fossil-fueled vehicles, in which efficiency gains are delivered by the improvement of the internal combustion engine vehicle, including lightweighting, engine downsizing and hybridization. The Phase II report, to be presented mid-2013, examines the impact of the gradual penetration of advanced powertrains, such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with increasing levels of indigenous energy resources, such as electricity and hydrogen.
Torotrak acquires 20% of Flybrid Automotive Ltd, with option for remainder by end of year; accelerating adoption of flywheel hybrids; Allison investment
|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.
NRC report concludes US LDVs could cut oil consumption and GHGs by 80% by 2050; reliance on plug-ins, biofuels and hydrogen; strong policies mandatory
March 18, 2013
|Projected rates of fuel consumption improvement under different scenarios relative to past experience and the 2016 and 2025 CAFE standards. Source: NRC. Click to enlarge.|
Light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in the US may be able to reduce petroleum use by 50% by 2030, and by 80% by 2050; and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2050, according to the newly published results of a two-year study by a committee convened by the National Research Council.
Achieving those goals will will be difficult—but not impossible to meet—and will necessitate a combination of more efficient vehicles; the use of alternative fuels such as biofuels, electricity, and hydrogen; and strong government policies to overcome high costs and influence consumer choices. Given the importance of policy as a driver, the committee was also asked—somewhat unusually for a study of this kind—to explore policies, noted Douglas M. Chapin, principal of MPR Associates, and chair of the committee that wrote the report.
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.
An open letter to Ford from a customer
March 11, 2013
I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a returning Ford buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been OK with low 40’s...but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark.
This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales. Ford’s “47MPG” marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the roll-out of a truly remarkable vehicle, the CMAX.
Scania and Siemens to develop heavy-duty hybrid vehicles with trolley-assist; enabling the eHighway
|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.)
Volkswagen Group planning to launch 6 or more plug-in hybrids from 2014; the role of the MQB in the Group’s electrification plans
As part of its approach to e-mobility, the Volkswagen Group intends to launch at least 6 new plug-in hybrid models starting in 2014 and beyond, said Oliver Schmidt, General Manager Engineering and Environmental Office, Volkswagen Group of America, at the recent SAE 2013 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium. He was careful to note that “launch” referred to the global launch dates for global product—i.e., not the launch in a particular market.
Currently, Volkswagen has 5 hybrids in production—the VW Touareg, the Porsche Cayenne S, the Audi Q5, the Porsche Panamera S and the VW Jetta—with the hybrid versions of the Audi A6 and A8 on the way, Schmidt noted, adding:
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.
DOE to award more than $50M for new plug-in vehicle technology research projects
The US DOE has released the final version of a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000793) that will award more than $50 million in funding for new projects intended to accelerate the development of advanced plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies to increase vehicle fuel economy and improve performance. DOE had earlier requested public comment on a draft of the solicitation. (Earlier post.) The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will select new research projects—an anticipated minimum of 30 and maximum of 50—that focus on lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of PEV components, as well as the development of models and tools to predict these vehicles' performance and help improve fuel economy. The Department will fund projects across five major areas of research and development that cover 12 areas of interest (AOIs), including:
Infiniti to introduce hybrid version of 2014 QX60 crossover; first application of new FF-Hybrid system
March 08, 2013
|QX60 Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Infiniti Motor Company Ltd. will introduce a new gasoline-electric hybrid version of the QX60 crossover into the US lineup this summer, following its world debut at the upcoming New York International Auto Show. The hybrid QX60, which will offer front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions, will be the first application of Nissan’s new FF-Hybrid (front-engine, front-wheel drive) one-motor, two-clutch hybrid system. (Earlier post.)
The new Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is projected to realize fuel economy of 26 mpg US (9.0 l/100 km) combined city/highway driving—a 24% increase over non-hybrid QX60 models and is projected to have best 7-passenger fuel efficiency in the segment. The new Infiniti QX60 Hybrid is projected to be priced about US$3,000 above the non-hybrid models.
Subaru VIZIV diesel plug-in hybrid concept debuts at Geneva; independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD
March 06, 2013
|VIZIV Concept. Click to enlarge.|
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, introduced the VIZIV (“Vision for Innovation”) hybrid crossover concept at the Geneva Motor Show.
The powertrain is a plug-in hybrid system that combines a 2.0-liter Subaru Boxer diesel engine and high-torque-compatible Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with a single front motor that provides both vehicle drive and power generation, and two independent rear motors for vehicle drive only. The 100% motor-driven rear wheels eliminate the need for a propeller shaft, creating a lower floor that offers ample legroom for rear seat occupants despite its compact size.
Bosch offers more details on the light-duty hydraulic-hybrid drive developed with PSA
March 05, 2013
|The concept and layout of the hydraulic hybrid system. Click to enlarge.|
Bosch, in collaboration with PSA Peugeot Citroën, is developing a hydraulic full-hybrid powertrain to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in light-duty vehicles. (Earlier post.) PSA is applying the technology in “Hybrid Air” vehicles from both Citroën and Peugeot (earlier post, earlier post), showcased at the Geneva Motor Show.
The hydraulic hybrid is system is designed to enable a boost effect that would normally be offered only by more complex electric drives. A conventional internal-combustion engine combines with hydraulic units and an accompanying gas (e.g., nitrogen) pressure accumulator and a reservoir to provide a brief boost to acceleration. Like electric hybrids, the hydraulic hybrid system is able to support gasoline and diesel engines in ranges where they do not work at optimum efficiency.
Mitsubishi reveals diesel-electric hybrid and battery-electric concepts at Geneva: GR-HEV and CA-MiEV
|Concept GR-HEV. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) unveiled the MITSUBISHI Concept GR-HEV (Grand Runner-HEV) diesel-electric hybrid pickup truck and the MITSUBISHI Concept CA-MiEV (Compact and Advanced-MiEV) concept models at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show. The company also showcased the production Outlander PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), which is scheduled for release starting this July.
The Concept GR-HEV is a Sport Utility Truck (SUT) concept is equipped with an FR (front-engine, rear-wheel drive)-based diesel-hybrid system comprising a 2.5-liter diesel, automatic gearbox, electric motor and battery (which is located and protected within the ladder frame). The GR-HEV delivers CO2 emissions levels of 149 g/km or below. The drivetrain is a next-generation 4WD system that combines the Super Select 4WD (SS4) system and the S-AWC system.
Audi showcases A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid at Geneva; 157 mpg US, 50 miles electric range
March 04, 2013
|A3 Sportback e-tron drivetrain - hybrid components. Click to enlarge.|
Audi is providing more details on the coming A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. (Earlier post.) The A3 Sportback e-tron, with 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and 350 N·m (258 lb-ft) of system torque, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds on its way to a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph). In electric mode, the A3 Sportback e-tron has a range of about 50 km (31 miles).
According to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid automobiles, the five-door model consumes on average just 1.5 liters of fuel per 100 km (157 mpg US), which corresponds to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per km (56 g/mile). In purely electric mode, the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron achieves a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) with a range of up to 50 km (31 miles).
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
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.
XL Hybrids enters installation and distribution partnership with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products; expands hybrid drive system to Ford E-series vans
February 28, 2013
|XL Hybrids hybrid drive unit in place. Click to enlarge.|
XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for class 1 to 3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), signed a non-exclusive installation partnership and distribution agreement with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), one of the top commercial vehicle upfitters. Leggett & Platt CVP will incorporate XL Hybrids’ hybrid powertrain directly into its existing ship-thru process, thus providing a one-stop shopping experience for commercial fleets.
The two companies will display a hybrid cargo van upfitted with XL Hybrids’ parallel hybrid powertrain technology at the Leggett & Platt CVP Booth at the 2013 NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana next week.
McLaren to introduce P1 production-ready 900hp plug-in capable hybrid supercar at Geneva
February 24, 2013
|Powertrain of the McLaren P1. Click to enlarge.|
McLaren Automotive will unveil the production-ready version of its P1 plug-in capable hybrid supercar at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. (McLaren had introduced a design study version of the P1 at the 2012 Paris Motor Show.) Deliveries are expected to commence in late 2013—the year of McLaren’s 50th anniversary.
The McLaren P1 combines a substantially revised mid-mounted 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 gasoline engine and a low-weight electric motor to deliver combined output of 903 bhp (673 kW) and a maximum torque figure of 900 N·m (664 lb-ft). Combined cycle emissions are under 200 g/km; an all-electric mode offers up to 10 km (6.2 miles) in range.
Volkswagen to produce XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid at Osnabrück; 261 mpg US
February 21, 2013
|The XL1. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has confirmed that its XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle, featuring fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km (approx. 261 mpg US), will go into limited production at the company’s Osnabrück factory in Germany. The plug-in diesel-electric hybrid, which Volkswagen will showcase at the Geneva show, can cover a distance of up to 50 km (31 miles) in all-electric mode.
The XL1 is low weight (795 kg), aerodynamic (Cd 0.189) and with a low center of gravity (1,153 mm high). This gives it the ability to cruise on the road at a constant speed of 100 km/h (61 mph) using just 6.2 kW / 8.3 hp, Volkswagen says. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover a driving distance of more than one kilometer.
Audi to show the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid at Geneva
|A3 e-tron. Click to enlarge.|
Audi will showcase the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The Audi A3 e-tron delivers 150 kW (204 hp) of system power and 350 nm (258 lb-ft) of system torque; projected fuel consumption is 1.5 liters per 100 km (157 mpg US), according to the ECE standard for plug-in hybrid automobiles. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 35 grams per km (56 g/mile).
The A3 e-tron accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds, and has a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph). In electric mode, the Audi A3 e-tron reaches a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and has a maximum range of 50 km (31 miles).
Update on Nissan’s new front-engine, front-wheel drive hybrid system
February 20, 2013
At the SAE 2013 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technology Symposium in Anaheim this week, Owen Thunes, Senior Project Engineer, Zero Emissions Research Group at Nissan, provided an updated overview of the company’s development efforts on the upcoming FF (Front-engine, Front-wheel drive) hybrid system.
As background, in 2010, Nissan introduced the FR-Hybrid system, a front-engine, rear-wheel drive one-motor, two clutch powertrain offered in the Infiniti M. (Earlier post.) The FF-Hybrid is the front-wheel drive successor to FR-Hybrid. Like the FR-Hybrid, FF-Hybrid also uses Nissan’s one-motor, two-clutch configuration, which Nissan calls Intelligent Dual Clutch control.
Toyota Racing reveals updated TS030 Hybrid for 2013
February 19, 2013
|2013 TS030 Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Racing unveiled the revised TS030 Hybrid car which will run in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this season. The TS030 made its debut in the WEC in 2012, and notched up three victories in six races. (Earlier post.) Toyota Racing begins the first full test of the 2013-specification TS030 Hybrid at Paul Ricard in southern France tomorrow.
The team will again utilize the Toyota Hybrid System - Racing powertrain, developed exclusively for motorsport by Toyota’s Motor Sport Division in Higashifuji. A supercapacitor-based hybrid system delivers 300 hp (224 kW) of boost automatically, on top of the 530 hp (395 hp) generated by a 3.4-liter, normally-aspirated V8 gasoline engine.
Peugeot to show 2008 HYbrid Air at Geneva show; more detail on operation
February 18, 2013
|Peugeot 2008 HYbrid Air. The energy tank can be seen in the central tunnel, and the low-pressure tank at the rear. Click to enlarge.|
The new hybrid combines a 3-cylinder gasoline engine with a compressed air/hydraulic motor/pump system comprising an energy tank containing pressurized air installed under the body in the central tunnel; a low-pressure tank at the rear suspension cross member acting as an expansion bottle; and a hydraulic unit consisting of a motor and a pump installed under the hood on the transmission.
Qoros premieres first production vehicle, hybrid concept at Geneva
February 15, 2013
|Qoros 3 sedan. Click to enlarge.|
Qoros Automotive, an equal joint venture partnership founded in 2007 between China-based Chery Automobile and Israel Corporation, is presenting the world premiere of its first series production vehicle, the C-segment Qoros 3 Sedan, at the Geneva International Motor Show. In addition, the automaker is presenting two concepts based on the Qoros 3: the Cross Hybrid Concept and the Estate Concept.
The Qoros 3 Sedan, which is entering a pre-production development phase after two summers and two winters of testing at locations around the world, is due to be launched in China in the second half of 2013, with first European sales following later in the year. The launch of further Qoros models is then planned at intervals of approximately six months. Rapid expansion of the model range is possible due to a modular vehicle architecture developed in-house, the company said.
California Energy Commission awards more than $17M to support alternative fuel and infrastructure projects
February 14, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $17,223,593 for eight projects including alternative fuel production, plug-in truck demonstrations, EV charging station deployment, and infrastructure planning. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. This program is slated to invest approximately $90 million during this fiscal year to develop new transportation technologies, as well as alternative and renewable fuels. It is paid for through surcharges on vehicle and boating registrations, and smog check and license plate fees.
These awards also assist in fulfilling Governor Brown’s executive order directing state government to support the rapid commercialization of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in California, with a 2025 target of having 1.5 million ZEVs on the state’s roads. The order also requires the installation of sufficient infrastructure to support 1 million ZEVs in California by 2020. (Earlier post.)
Mitsubishi Motors to showcase “electro-mobility engineering palette” at Geneva show: diesel hybrid pickup and new EV concepts, European spec Outlander PHEV
February 13, 2013
At the upcoming 83rd Geneva International Motor Show in March, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will showcase its full electro-mobility engineering palette—Pure Electric (EV), Hybrid Electric (HEV), and Plug-in Hybrid Electric (PHEV)—through two world-premiere concept cars next to the New Outlander PHEV. MMC has set an objective of 20% of EV-based cars by 2020.
The Concept GR (Grand Runner)-HEV Concept and the CA (Compact and Advanced technology)-MiEV models will share the stand with the European spec Outlander PHEV (earlier post), which recently went on sale in Japan.
Ford increasing EV-certified dealerships in US to 900; 3,405 plug-in vehicles sold in total so far
February 06, 2013
Ford will have one-third of its US dealers in all 50 states—more than 900—certified to sell the Focus Electric battery electric vehicle (BEV) and C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by spring. The 900 dealers represent about one-third of all Ford dealers in the US—triple Ford projections for the time frame—and are an increase up from 200 in November 2012, the second full month the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids were available.
For January 2013, Ford reported sales of 81 Focus Electric battery-electric vehicles and 338 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Cumulative sales since market introduction for the Focus Electric (June 2012, except for 2 units delivered in January 2012) are 693 units; cumulative sales for the C-MAX Energi (October 2012) are 2,712 units, bring the total sales of plug-in vehicles to 3,405 units.
€4.6M eNterop project for PEV-charging point interoperability kicks off
January 28, 2013
The eNterop project, the goal of which is to to ensure the smooth interoperation of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) and charging points from different manufacturers, recently had its kick-off meeting in Berlin. Funding for the €4.6-million (US$6.2-million) project is split 50/50 between the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) and industry parters: Continental, Fraunhofer, TU Dortmund, BMW, VW, Daimler, RWE, and Siemens.
The International standard ISO/IEC 15118 defining communication between vehicle and charging stations was recently established to guarantee this interoperability between vehicle and charging point. For manufacturers of control equipment and charging points, however, the implementation of the standard involves elaborate testing with a wide range of different product types and in all kinds of different use cases.
PSA Peugeot Citroën developing 48V mild hybrid solution for 2017
January 23, 2013
|Elements of the PSA mild Eco Hybrid system. Click to enlarge.|
At its Innovation Day in Paris—at which the company described its Air Hybrid technology and rollout plans (earlier post)—PSA Peugeot Citroën aso showcased a next-generation mild-hybrid technology that significantly reduces fuel consumption, by 10% to 15% for an equivalent engine, and CO2, by 15 g/km, compared with its e-HDi technology.
The Group’s Eco Hybrid system is compatible with gasoline and diesel engines and will be fitted on its vehicles starting in 2017.
PSA Peugeot Citroën and Bosch developing hydraulic hybrid powertrain for passenger cars; 30% reduction in fuel consumption in NEDC, up to 45% urban; B-segment application in 2016
January 22, 2013
|Elements of the “Hybrid Air” hydraulic hybrid powertrain under development for B, C, and D vehicles. Click to enlarge.|
Following the introduction of the Bosch electric axle-split hybrid in PSA Peugeot Citroën diesel vehicles (earlier post), the two companies are now planning to develop a hydraulic hybrid powertrain for passenger cars. The hydraulic system, which uses compressed air for energy storage, basically comprises two hydraulic units and their pressure accumulators. PSA says the technology—called “Hybrid Air”—will be fitted on B-segment models starting in 2016.
The hydraulic components (motor and pump) recover and store the energy generated by the internal combustion engine and by braking and deceleration (kinetic energy); kinetic energy from braking that would otherwise be lost as heat is converted into hydraulic energy and stored in a pressure accumulator. This energy can then be used to drive the car.
Chinese automakers bring hybrids and plug-ins to Detroit, Geneva auto shows
January 19, 2013
|The E-JET concept range extended electric vehicle from GAC. Click to enlarge.|
At least two Chinese automakers are bringing some of their new energy vehicles—hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric—to two of the major international auto shows in the first quarter of this year.
Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd. (GAC) brought three to the 2013 North American International Auto Show (2013 NAIAS) in Detroit this month: a 4x4 Hybrid Version of the Trumpchi Sedan; a battery-electric version of the Trumpchi GS5 SUV; and the Compact NEV E-JET range-extended electric vehicle. Qoros Auto Co. Ltd.—a partnership between Chery Automobile, China’s largest independent car manufacturer, and Israel Corporation—is bringing its Cross Hybrid Concept to the Geneva Motor Show in March.
Lexus unveils new IS sport sedan and first-ever IS hybrid; IS 300h targeting 217 hp and 55 mpg US
January 15, 2013
|Lexus IS F SPORT onstage at the Detroit Auto Show. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus unveiled the all-new 2014 IS sport sedan at the North American International Auto Show. IS will be available in rear- and all-weather drive versions of the IS 250 and IS 350; in a hybrid version, the 300h, for Europe, Japan, and select international markets; and with a further evolution of F SPORT available across the entire model range, including the hybrid. The 300h is the first hybrid for the IS line; the all-new Lexus IS will go on sale in mid-2013.
Every aspect of the IS was engineered with a renewed focus on engaging performance, agile handling, accurate response to driver input and highly communicative feedback.
Cadillac introduces the 2014 ELR extended range electric vehicle
|2014 Cadillac ELR Click to enlarge.|
Cadillac unveiled the anticipated 2014 ELR extended range electric (EREV) vehicle (based on the Converj concept, earlier post) at the North American International Auto Show. (Earlier post.) ELR production begins in the US in late 2013 in limited numbers, said Bob Ferguson, Cadillac global vice president. Sales start early in 2014 in North America, expanding to global markets including China and Europe.
The EREV technology, proven in the Chevrolet Volt, is uniquely tuned for Cadillac in the ELR; the powertrain delivers 295 lb-ft of torque (400 N·m)—about 12% more than the 3.6L V-6 in the SRX. (The 2012 Chevrolet Volt produces 273 lb-ft/370 N·m.)
Volkswagen unveils mid-size SUV plug-in diesel-electric hybrid concept at Detroit Show
January 14, 2013
|Powertrain of the CrossBlue SUV PHEV concept. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen unveiled the CrossBlue SUV concept at the North American International Auto Show. Developed specifically for US and Canada, the six- to seven-seat midsize crossover CrossBlue is targeted at the rapidly growing mid-size SUV segment, and would sit in the Volkswagen SUV lineup above the Tiguan and below the premium Touareg.
Built off of the MQB Modular Transverse Matrix components set (earlier post), the CrossBlue offers a manufacturer-estimated 35 mpg (6.72 l/100km) combined (37 mpg highway and 33 mpg city), 89 mpge (2.64 l/100km equivalent) in electric mode, and an all-electric range of up to 14 miles (22.5 km).
Infiniti unveils Q50 sports sedan; conventional and hybrid powertrains
|2014 Infiniti Q50. Click to enlarge.|
Infiniti unveiled the all-new 2014 Infiniti Q50 luxury sports sedan at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The Q50 will be available at US launch with a choice of a 3.7-liter V6 or new Q50 Hybrid featuring Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid System with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control. Other powertrains will be added as part of global market launch rollout.
Two new performance technologies make their debuts in the Q50: Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering technology and Active Lane Control.
NHTSA proposes new minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles
January 08, 2013
As required by the bipartisan Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010 (PSEA), the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed minimum sound standards for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The proposed standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 141, would fulfill Congress’ mandate in the PSEA that hybrid and electric vehicles—including passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, low speed vehicles (LSVs), and motorcycles—produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard.
ORNL researcher explores impact of motor/generator and battery pack sizing on medium-duty PHEV; optimization framework
January 04, 2013
|GHG emissions in PHEV post-transmission configuration as an example of the optimization study output. Source: A.A. Malikopoulos. Click to enlarge.|
Using a new optimization framework, Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos of the Energy & Transportation Science Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has explored the impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions of varying the size of the motor/generator and battery pack in pre- and post-transmission hybrid configurations of a medium-duty PHEV. The paper is currently in press in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology.
Broadly, he found that for the PHEV pre-transmission configuration, there is a trade-off between fuel economy and GHG emissions when the motor/generator and battery size increases. In post-transmission PHEV configurations, however, a combination of a big motor/generator size with a big battery size appears to be beneficial both in terms of fuel economy and GHG emissions as it enhances energy recovery during brake regeneration as a result of the physical location of the motor/generator.
GM and Nissan lead in US plug-in sales in December; GM and Toyota for the year
|2012 US sales of plug-in vehicles by major OEMs. Click to enlarge.|
GM was the US sales leader among the major OEMs for plug-in vehicles in December, and for 2012. GM sold 2,633 units of the Volt extended range electric vehicle in December, up 72.2% by volume from 1,529 units in December 2011. For the year, GM posted sales of 23,461 Volts, up 205.8% from the 7,671 units in 2011, giving it a dominant lead among the major OEMs in the nascent plug-in vehicles market for the year.
Nissan North America, Inc. (NNA) posted sales of 1,489 units of the LEAF in December, up 56.1% from the 954 units the year before; calendar year sales for the LEAF were 9,819 units, up 1.5% from the 2011 results. While Toyota took second place for the year, with 12,750 units of the Prius PHV plug-in hybrid, it dropped to third place in December with 1,361 units of the PHV.
Pike Research forecasts hybrids and plug-ins to grow to 4% of European market in 2020
January 02, 2013
|Pike’s projected vehicle sales by electrified drivetrain, European markets: 2012–2020. Click to enlarge.|
Pike Research forecasts that electric vehicles—conventional hybrids (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery-electrics (BEVs)—will grow from 0.7% of the market in Europe in 2012 to 4% in 2020. While that is still a small portion of the market, it represents more than 827,000 vehicles per year, Pike notes. The biggest growth is expected in BEVs followed by PHEVs, with HEVs lagging behind.
Pike Research forecasts that by 2020 more than 1.8 million BEVs will be on Europe’s roadways, along with 1.2 million PHEVs and 1.7 million HEVs.
Polk expects 2013 US new vehicle registrations to grow 6.6% to 15.3M; only slight improvement in hybrid category
|Polk light vehicle forecast through 2016. Data: Polk. Click to enlarge.|
New light vehicle registrations in the US in 2013 are expected to rise 6.6% over 2012 levels to 15.3 million vehicles, according to Polk, a global automotive market intelligence firm. At the same time, Polk analysts forecast North American production volumes to increase to the 15.9 million unit range (an anticipated 2.4% increase from 2012), driven by an improving economy and capacity expansion in the region.
According to Polk’s analysis, new vehicle introductions in 2013 will escalate significantly, with 43 new vehicle introductions in the US planned for the year, up nearly 50% over 2012 levels, along with 60 vehicle redesigns. While the number of available hybrid models in the US will also increase this year, Polk anticipates only a slight improvement in this category from its current level of approximately 2.9% of the overall market.
Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid sedan EPA-rated at 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined; Ford projects best hybrid sales quarter ever
December 29, 2012
|2013 Fusion Energi. Click to enlarge.|
The US Environmental Protection Agency has rated the new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid (earlier post) at up to 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined (2.2, 2.6 and 2.4 l/100km-equivalent, respectively).
Fusion Energi is the Ford brand’s fifth electrified vehicle to launch in the past year—and its second plug-in hybrid after the C-MAX Energi. Ford expects the Fusion Energi to accelerate its record hybrid sales pace, including its highest monthly hybrid sales month ever in November. Ford projects 19,000-plus hybrid/electric vehicle sales in the fourth quarter of this year, making it the company’s best quarter for hybrids ever and besting its own previous hybrid vehicle sales record by more than 50%; Ford expects more than half of hybrid sales this year to come in this quarter.
Mitsubishi Motors Outlander PHEV to go on sale in Japan in January
December 26, 2012
|Plug-in hybrid drive system. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will begin the sales of the new Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) at dealerships throughout Japan from 24 January 2013. The Outlander PHEV made its global debut at the Paris Motor Show earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
Powered by a Plug-in Hybrid EV System powertrain combining two 60 kW independent electric motors (one on each axle); a 12 kWh Li-ion battery pack; and a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder MIVEC gasoline engine, Outlander PHEV features an EV range of 60.2 km (37.4 miles); combined fuel efficiency of 67.0 km/l (178 mpg US, 1.5 L/100km); and hybrid fuel efficiency of 18.6 km/l (44 mpg US, 5.4 l/100km), all under the Japanese JC08 test cycle.
Toyota launches new Crown series sedans in Japan, including new hybrid models
December 25, 2012
|Crown Royal Saloon G (Hybrid model, rear-wheel drive with options). Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) launched in Japan the redesigned Crown Royal and Crown Athlete sedans; production of a new hybrid version of the sedan will begin in late January 2013. The original Crown made its debut in 1955; the new release represents the 14th generation.
Toyota, which had originally introduced a mild-hybrid version of the Crown in 2001, first introduced a full-hybrid model based on a THS (Toyota Hybrid System) II system in 2008. (Earlier post.) All major components in the Crown series have been updated, including a new 2.5-liter hybrid system, a matured suspension, and new technology and devices such as the Toyota Multi-Operation Touch, which consolidates various vehicle functions into one touch panel.
Cumulative global sales of Lexus hybrids pass half-million mark
December 21, 2012
From the sale of the first RX 400h in 2005 through to the end of November this year, Lexus has sold more than 506,000 of its hybrid vehicles. In 2005, 26,000 Lexus hybrids were sold; by 30 November this year the annual total was at 113,000. Today, hybrids account for about 25% of all Lexus sales. Cumulative global sales of all Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC)-produced hybrid vehicles—i.e., including the Lexus brand—since 1997 topped 4.60 million units at the end of October. (Earlier post.)
The RX 400h, launched in 2005, was the world’s first production full hybrid luxury SUV. Succeeded by the RX 450h in 2009, it has claimed the largest share of Lexus hybrid sales (51.2%), with 259,000 units sold through to November this year.
Pike Research updates xEV forecasts; projects Ford to lead US PEV market, followed by GM
Pike Research has published an update to its earlier forecasts on xEVs: hybrid (HEVs); plug-in hybrid (PHEVs); and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). As a result of new assumptions, Pike Research has slightly reduced its forecasts for plug-in vehicles (PEVs: PHEVs and BEVs combined) from past forecasts.
This reduction was driven largely by the slow growth of BEVs in the United States (the largest market for PEVs) in 2012 and the postponement of some vehicle launches, the research firm noted. However, Pike still anticipates 39% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2012 and 2020. In contrast, the CAGRs for HEVs and the total vehicle market are estimated at 6% and 2%, respectively. Highlights of the forecast include:
Pike Research makes 10 electric vehicle predictions for 2013
December 18, 2012
Sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in 2013 will continue to outpace the first years of hybrid vehicle sales as more than 210,000 PEVs will be sold globally and more than three dozen PEV models will debut, according to a year-end free whitepaper published by Pike Research, that makes 10 specific predictions about electric vehicles in 2013.
More broadly, Pike envisions PEV sales in California—the leading market for such in the US—expanding into smaller urban and suburban regions with more dealers beginning to offer the vehicles. Pike also anticipates forward momentum with PEVs in China. The research company also projects that several startup electric vehicle (EV) companies are likely to be absorbed or discontinue operations during the year. Within that context of accelerating sales growth, the 10 specific predictions are:
Ford’s math on hybrid fuel economy; standing by the C-MAX EPA ratings, acknowledging large real-world variance
December 15, 2012
|Raj Nair outlining factors affecting real-world fuel economy in hybrids. Click to enlarge.|
At Friday’s event unveiling the new Transit commercial vehicle family for North America (earlier post), Ford’s Raj Nair, group vice president global product development, spent some time addressing the issue of the large discrepancy between real-world fuel economy results for the C-MAX hybrid and its EPA fuel economy ratings—47 mpg (5.0 l/100km) city, highway and combined—earlier highlighted in detail by Consumer Reports. (Earlier post.)
Basically, Ford is standing by the ratings as determined by the current testing protocols, Nair said, but added that “we absolutely agree with EPA that hybrids are far more variable in the test cycle compared to real world driving conditions in conventional vehicles. We are working closely with the agency to determine if any changes are needed for the industry relative to hybrid vehicle testing.”
SAE publishes standards for first responders to hybrid, EV accidents; FEMA awards $1M to NAFTC for first responder training
December 13, 2012
SAE International’s Hybrid Technical Committee has completed the technical standard “J2990—Hybrid and EV First and Second Responder Recommended Practice,” which offers recommended practices for emergency personnel responding to incidents involving hybrid or electric vehicles.
Separately, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded a new grant for nearly $1 million to the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC) at West Virginia University for a program to educate the nation’s first responders on the best ways to handle accidents involving alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. (Earlier post.)
IDTechEx forecasts $18B market for electric vehicle inverters in 2023
December 08, 2012
The market for electric vehicle inverters, including converters, for both hybrid and pure electric vehicles—land, water and air—will grow to $18 billion in 2023 according to a new report from IDTechEx, “Inverters for Electric Vehicles 2013-2023”.
The demand for inverters and electric power conversions is already well established in the automation and industrial control industries which are also growing at considerable pace. The addition of a significant complimentary emerging market will create new sectors for existing inverter and power electronic component suppliers as well as create opportunities for new players, particularly those with specialist electric vehicle knowledge and those able to develop added value through highly integrated electric powertrain systems, the report suggests.
EIA Energy Outlook 2013 reference case sees drop in fossil fuel consumption as use of petroleum-based liquid fuels falls; projects 20% higher sales of hybrids and PHEVs than AEO2012
December 05, 2012
|Transportation sector gasoline demand declines. Click to enlarge.|
The US Energy Information Administration released its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case (the Early Release), which highlights a growth in total US energy production that exceeds growth in total US energy consumption through 2040.
Among its many findings, the Reference case suggests that US primary energy consumption will grow by 7% from 2011 to 2040 to 108 quadrillion Btu. However, energy use per capita declines by 15% from 2011 through 2040 as a result of improving energy efficiency (e.g., new appliance standards and CAFE) and changes in the way energy is used in the US economy. Further, the fossil fuel share of primary energy consumption falls from 82% in 2011 to 78% in 2040 as consumption of petroleum-based liquid fuels falls, largely because of the incorporation of new fuel efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles.
Ford sold 1,259 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids, 179 Focus Electrics in November
December 04, 2012
Ford reported selling 1,259 units of the C-MACX Energi plug-in hybrid in November, with cumulative sales of 1,403 units including 144 units from October, when the vehicle went on sale. Ford also reported its best month yet for the Focus Electric, with 172 units sold, bring the total for the year through November to 518 units.
Those results place Ford, with total plug-in vehicle sales for the month of 1,431 units, behind Toyota, Nissan and GM—respectively first (1,766 units of Prius PHV); second (1,539 LEAFs); and third (1,519 Volts)—in plug-in vehicle sales for November. (Earlier post.)
Xtrac developing hybridized AMT for luxury vehicles; up to 1,000 N·m torque
|The Xtrac 1010 hybridized AMT features a 60kW electric motor. Click to enlarge.|
Xtrac has designed a hybridized automated manual transmission (H-AMT), designated 1010, targeted at enabling future premium luxury road vehicles (supercars and limos) to meet the 95 g/km CO2 emission requirement being introduced by European legislators for 2020.
The 1010 H-AMT fits the same compact transmission envelope as the company’s 1007 gearbox with its high torque carrying capability and transverse gear cluster orientation, as supplied to Pagani for the mid-engine Huayra supercar. Xtrac believes its distinctive transverse transmission configuration lends itself particularly well to hybridization and offers a solution to the supercar sector’s preference for retaining high power, multi-cylinder engines while meeting 2020 emission targets. The transmission can handle engine torque capacities ranging from 800 to 1,000 N·m (590 to 738 lb-ft) dependent on vehicle gross weight and the particular application.
Toyota takes the lead in US November plug-in vehicle sales; LEAF in second, Volt third
December 03, 2012
With Ford not having yet released the break-out of its C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid sales for the month, Toyota is in the lead for plug-in vehicle sales from the major automakers in November in the US, posting 1,766 units of the Prius PHV plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. From January through November, Toyota has sold 11,389 units of the Prius PHV in the US.
For November, the Nissan LEAF edged past GM’s Volt, posting 1,539 units (up 129% from November 2011) to the Volt’s 1,519 (up 33.4% from November 2011). January-November sales of the LEAF are 8,330, down 4.5% from 8,720 for the same period last year. January-November sales of the Volt are 20,828 units, up 239.1% from 6,142 units for the same period last year.
Efficient Drivetrains launches inline, triple-function, plug-in vehicle drivetrain; announcement on commercial contract coming
December 01, 2012
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) systems and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) co-founded by Professor Andy Frank from UC Davis (a key figure in the development of the PHEV concept and technology) in 2006, has completed the development and initial functional testing of an inline Parallel-Series-Electric powertrain system that it says is less complex, more efficient, less costly, and lighter than the competition.
The new EDI drivetrain, which incorporates components from GM, A123 Systems, and UQM, was integrated into a light-duty GM pickup truck to create the demonstrator vehicle. The drivetrain, which is scalable to light-, medium-, and heavy-duty applications, utilizes no power split gears and features special clutching systems.
2014 Honda Accord PHEV EPA-certified at 115 MPGe, on sale 15 Jan with MSRP of $39,780; LEV3/SULEV20 compliance
November 30, 2012
|2014 Accord PHEV. Click to enlarge.|
Although Honda’s presence at the Los Angeles Auto Show was dominated by the debut of the 2013 Civic, the company also announced that the 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid, featuring Honda’s new two-motor system (earlier post) earned an EPA-certified 115 MPGe rating and will go on sale in New York and California on 15 January with an MSRP of $39,780.
Separately, the Accord Hybrid, also featuring Honda’s new two-motor hybrid system, will launch nationwide next summer with anticipated fuel economy ratings of 49/45/47 city/hwy/combined (4.8/5.2/5.0 l/100km respectively). The revised 2013 Honda Crosstour and 2013 Honda CR-Z also made their auto-show debuts.
GM and U Mich receive patent on plug-in series hybrid/extended range electric vehicle powertrain using multiple free piston linear alternator engines
November 25, 2012
|The GM/U Mich patent envisages using multiple free-piston engines (240A through 240D in the patent drawing). Click to enlarge.|
GM Global Technology Operations LLC and the Regents of the University of Michigan recently were awarded a US patent (Nº 8,261,860) for a plug-in series hybrid or range-extended electric vehicle powertrain using multiple free piston linear alternator (FPLA) engines.
The powertrain system—the patent application for which was filed in 2009—includes an electrical energy storage system—such as a Li-ion battery pack—and an electric traction motor. The covered hybrid powertrain uses the multiple reciprocating free-piston linear alternator engines to generate electric power for the battery pack or the traction motor.
Honda boosts performance and fuel economy on 2013 CR-Z Sport Hybrid Coupe using new Li-ion pack
November 19, 2012
|2013 Honda CR-Z. Click to enlarge.|
The 2013 Honda CR-Z goes on sale 21 November with a number of powertrain, styling and feature upgrades, including a new Li-ion battery pack that replaces the NiMH pack in the MY 2012 CR-Z hybrid and delivers more power and improved fuel economy.
The new, more powerful Lithium-ion battery pack helps boost EPA-rated fuel economy figures by 1 mpg city for CVT equipped models, and 1 mpg highway for CR-Z models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission.
GM will focus its electrification strategy on light electrification, extended range, and battery-electric vehicle technologies; major focus on the plug; preview of the Spark EV
November 16, 2012
|GM will focus its vehicle electrification strategy on eAssist-type systems and the plug. Source: Larry Nitz, GM. Click to enlarge.|
GM will focus its vehicle electrification efforts on three main technologies: light electrification, currently manifested in the eAssist systems; extended range electric vehicles (EREVs) such as the Chevrolet Volt; and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), such as the soon-to-be-introduced Spark EV.
In a vehicle electrification symposium for the media, GM Senior Vice President, Global Product Development Mary Barra noted that until recently, GM’s strategy had essentially been to “cover the waterfront” in terms of pursuing as many technologies as possible. “That’s not how GM is doing business today,” she said. “We need to refine our strategy and do focused work. We need to make educated bets on which technologes hold the most potential for creating value for our customers and our company.”
BMW i features i8 Concept Roadster and BMW i3 at Manhattan stop on “Born Electric” World Tour
November 13, 2012
|The i3. Click to enlarge.|
At the Manhattan stop on its year-long “Born Electric” World Tour, BMW i featured the BMW i8 Concept Roadster—shown for the first time in North America—and the BMW i3 Concept. The i3 and i8 will become the first purpose-built electric and hybrid-electric production vehicles to be made primarily from carbon fiber when they come to market in 2013 and 2014 respectively. (Earlier post, earlier post.)
Also at the event, Mitchell L. Moss, director of New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, revealed the results of a new NYU-BMW i study which finds that, in the coming years and decades, fundamental changes in the demographic makeup of cities will profoundly alter the way people travel. (Post.)
Honda develops new compact one-motor hybrid system; joins two-motor and three-motor systems in new hybrid systems lineup
November 12, 2012
|The three Honda SPORT HYBRID systems. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a new lightweight and compact one-motor hybrid system optimized for small-sized vehicles: the Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive system. This new hybrid system will be the latest addition to the Earth Dreams Technology series of next-generation powertrain technology (replacing the current IMA hybrid system), and was previewed by Honda Motor Co. CEO Takanobu Ito in September. (Earlier post.)
The new Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive will join the two-motor hybrid system optimized for mid-sized vehicles (earlier post) (Intelligent Multi Mode Drive) and three-motor hybrid system optimized for large-sized vehicles enabling independent control of torque distribution to both right and left rear wheels (Super Handling - All Wheel Drive, SH-AWD) (earlier post) to constitute the lineup of three different Honda hybrid systems, each accommodating different vehicle characteristics.
Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid heading to select US showrooms
November 09, 2012
|Overview of the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Ford began production of the 2013 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle (earlier post) at Michigan Assembly in October, and the vehicles are heading for showrooms. Ford has tripled to more than 200 the number of dealers certified to sell its lineup of plug-in electrified vehicles, including the C-MAX Energi that is on sale now. (Earlier post.)
Ford’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle on the market offers EPA-rated 108 mpg equivalent city, 92 mpge highway and 100 mpge combined;the all-electric range is up to 21 miles. Starting MSRP is $29,995 (after a federal tax credit). The EPA estimates that driving C-MAX Energi saves almost $7,000 in fuel costs over the course of five years compared with the average new vehicle.
Ford’s EV+ feature learns frequent destinations and adjusts hybrid powertrain to deliver more electric-only driving
November 08, 2012
Ford has developed EV+, a patent-pending feature that helps hybrids and plug-in hybrids learn frequent destinations, and then deliver more driving time in electric-only mode. EV+ is part of SmartGauge and is a standard feature on the Ford plug-in hybrids, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi, along with the hybrid versions of Fusion and C-MAX.
EV+ combines the built-in GPS of Ford SYNC with proprietary software algorithms developed by Ford engineers to learn frequent destinations. Once frequent destinations have been learned—such as home parking locations—EV+ adjusts how the electric power stored in the vehicle’s high-voltage battery is used to power the vehicle. If EV+ determines the vehicle is nearing a frequent destination, it has the capability to remain in electric-only mode.
Cumulative sales of Toyota Motor hybrids top 2M units in Japan, 4.6M worldwide; 1.02M from Jan to Oct. (corrected)
|Global annual sales of TMC hybrids. Data: TMC. Click to enlarge.|
Cumulative sales in Japan of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) hybrid vehicles—including plug-in hybrids—reached 2.04 million units as of 31 October. Globally, cumulative sales of TMC-produced hybrid vehicles since the first was launched in 1997 have now topped 4.60 million units, with 1.02 million selling from January 1 through October 31 this year.
Of the global 4.6 million units, the Prius family accounts for 3.3 million (71.5%): 2,804.9 million Prius; 224,000 Prius α (Prius v); 259,700 Aqua (Prius c). The hybrid model with the next highest cumulative sales is the Camry (317,200)—6.9% of the global total—followed by the RX 400h/RX 450h with 256,600 units (5.6%).
GM, Toyota continue to lead plug-in market in US
November 04, 2012
The Volt remained the top-selling plug-in vehicle in the US in October. GM delivered a record 2,961 Volts—a 167% increase by volume from October 2011. From January through October 2012, GM has delivered 19,309 Volts—an increase of 286% from the same period in 2011. Overall, GM reported its highest October sales in the US since 2007, with deliveries up 5% versus a year ago to 195,764 vehicles. Year-on-year sales to retail customers were up 7% and sales to fleet customers were down 2%.
Toyota maintained its second place position with 1,889 units sold of the Prius PHV in October. Year-to-date, Toyota has sold 9,623 units of the Prius plug-in hybrid. Prius family sales in October were 16,774 units, up 52.4% year-on-year. The Prius Sedan accounted for 8,788 units; the Prius c, 3,328 units; and the Prius v, 2,769 units. Overall, Toyota sales were up 15.8% to 155,242 units.
Ford C-MAX Hybrid posts 3,182 units in first full month of sales, outpacing Prius v
November 02, 2012
Ford’s new C-MAX Hybrid (earlier post) sold 3,182 units in October in its first full month of sales, outselling the Prius v’s 2,769 units. (Sales of the entire Prius family were 16,774 units, with the sedan accounting for 8,788 of those.) The C-MAX Hybrid also led Ford in achieving its best October hybrid sales month ever with a total of 4,612 sales, up 142% over October 2011.
The C-MAX Hybrid is EPA-rated at 47 mpg US city, highway and combined. C-MAX Hybrid sales also helped Ford deliver its best October for small car sales in 11 years. Ford sales of Focus, C-MAX and Fiesta were up 54% to 25,493 units year over year.
Volkswagen targeting 5% of Jetta sales in US with new sporty Hybrid model; expected 45 mpg combined
November 01, 2012
|The 2013 Jetta Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen is holding media drive events this week for the sporty new 2013 Jetta Turbo Hybrid (earlier post), which features the second version of a Volkswagen gasoline-electric hybrid drive system: a 1.4L turbocharged EA211 engine; a hybrid module featuring a 20 kW electric motor and a disengagement clutch; a 7-speed DSG transmission; and a 1.1 kWh Li-ion battery pack.
Volkswagen, seeing the hybrid as complementary to the Jetta TDI diesel in attracting different, yet equally fuel-economy-conscious buyers, is initially targeting 5% of Jetta sales in the US for the new hybrid model. The company anticipates EPA-rated combined mileage of around 45 mpg US (5.2 l/100 km). The Jetta Hybrid can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, and has a top track speed of 125 mph (201 km/h), electronically governed in the US.
CMU/Ford study assesses optimal mix of conventional, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles for minimizing GHG and cost
October 31, 2012
|Breakdown of (a) equivalent annualized life cycle cost and (b) life cycle GHG emissions for four independently cost-optimized vehicle designs. Traut et al. Click to enlarge.|
In a new study, a team from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Ford Research and Advanced Engineering set out to determine the optimal mix for the fleet of mid-size personal vehicles in the US—while maintaining current driving patterns—with the goals of minimizing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) or cost. They also addressed the question of GHG or cost reduction with and without a workplace charging infrastructure.
Their study, they suggested in a paper analyzing the best possible outcomes and published in the journal Energy Policy, is a step towards understanding what should be incentivized by policy makers.
Pike Research US consumer survey finds decreasing fundamental interest in plug-in electric vehicles
October 29, 2012
|US consumer interest in PEVs, 2012. Source: Pike Research. Click to enlarge.|
A new Pike Research survey assessing US consumer demand, preferences, and price sensitivity for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and electric vehicle charging equipment (EVCE) has found a decline in the fundamental interest in PEVs among survey participants between 2011 and 2012.
In 2012, 35% of respondents stated that they would be extremely or very interested in purchasing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) or battery electric vehicle (BEV) with a range of 40 to 100 miles and an electricity cost equivalent to $0.75 per gallon. In 2011, 40% stated they were extremely interested or very interested in this type of vehicle.
CMU study finds small battery PHEVs and gasoline hybrids the least-cost policy solution to reducing gasoline consumption
In an new study analyzing the cost-effectiveness of policies subsidizing electric-drive vehicle battery capacity and charging infrastructure installation to reduce gasoline consumption in the US, Scott Peterson and Jeremy Michalek of Carnegie Mellon University found that, under a wide range of scenarios, the least-cost solution is for more drivers to switch to low-capacity plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) or gasoline-powered hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
Comparing the subsidy necessary to achieve lifetime cost parity with the least-cost option for each vehicle class in the base case, they found that the maximum cost per gallon saved for increased all electric range (AER) is 5%–40% less than the minimum cost per gallon saved when installing charging infrastructure, depending on vehicle class. Looking forward as battery prices decrease and the AER resulting in maximum life-time cost savings increases, the relative value of plugging in multiple times throughout the day will also decline, they suggest. Their paper is available online in the journal Energy Policy.
Damen launches its first hybrid tug
October 24, 2012
|The inaugural ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards has launched its first hybrid tug—the ASD Tug 2810 Hybrid; Iskes Towage & Salvage will be the launching customer. The signing ceremony took place at the Offshore Energy conference in Amsterdam. The Dutch shipyard group is building hybrid tugs for stock; the second hybrid vessel will be available from stock end-2013.
Depending on the operating profile of a tug, the ASD 2810 Hybrid, which has a combination of diesel-direct and diesel-electric propulsion, facilitates average fuel savings of between 10% and 30% and cuts local emissions by 20 to 60%. The vessel has a bollard pull of 60 tonnes. Established in 1928, Iskes, which is based in IJmuiden near Amsterdam, has been operating a conventional Damen ASD Tug 2810 since November 2011.
Audi’s €36M e performance research project closes; electric F12 e Sport with split voltage battery packs and 3 motors
October 16, 2012
|The F12 electric sports car research vehicle looks like an R8 but features a new electric powertrain. Click to enlarge.|
Audi’s e performance research project has wrapped up. (Earlier post.) In addition to the development of a technology platform for electromobility and a drivable F12 e Sport research car, the three-year, €36-million (US$47-million) project spawned 20 degree theses and 50 doctoral theses.
Audi—collaborating with Bosch, RWTH Aachen University, and others— launched the e performance project at the Audi Electronics Venture GmbH (AEV) on 1 October 2009 with the objective of developing a scalable systems architecture for electric-powered cars that also included a plug-in hybrid drive. The platform was intended to be suitable for use in everything from a sports car (“e Sport”) to a sedan to a city car.
Cumulative worldwide sales of Honda hybrids passes 1 million units
October 15, 2012
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that its cumulative worldwide sales of hybrid vehicles surpassed 1 million units as of the end of September 2012. This milestone was reached 12 years and 11 months after the start of sales of the first generation Insight in Japan November 1999, which realized fuel economy of 35 km/liter (82.3 mpg US, 2.86 L/100k m) on the 10･15 mode with a 5-speed MT vehicle—at the time the world’s highest fuel economy among all mass-production gasoline-powered vehicles.
Toyota hit the 1-million mark for cumulative global hybrid sales at the end of May 2007 (earlier post), and has since rocketed past 4 million cumulative units. (Earlier post.) Toyota unveiled the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) in March 1997, then launched its first hybrid production vehicle (the Coaster) in Japan that August, followed by the first-generation Prius in December 1997.
Simulation study suggests ORC waste heat recovery system could deliver potential 7% improvement in fuel consumption in a PHEV on highway
October 10, 2012
A simple Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) waste heat recovery system could recover up to 10% of engine waste heat under highway driving conditions, corresponding to a potential 7% improvement in fuel consumption in a light-duty plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), with low penalization of the added weight to the vehicle electric range, according to a simulation study by researchers from the University of Stuttgart and the Ohio State University.
Their paper was presented at the ASME Internal Combustion Engine Division 2012 Fall Technical Conference by Marcello Canova, assistant professor at OSU; lead author was Philipp Skarke, from the University of Stuttgart Institute for Internal Combustion Engines and Automotive Engineering.
Pike report ranks Chevrolet as current leader in the plug-in vehicle market
October 03, 2012
|Pike Pulse grid of the PEV market. Click to enlarge.|
A new report by Pike Research assessing the plug-in vehicle (PEV) strategy and execution of 16 leading vendors ranks Chevrolet as the current leader in the PEV market, due to its high ratings in both strategy and execution, closely followed by Renault. Pike rates Toyota and Nissan as very close contenders for leadership, though both have either product portfolio or pricing issues that limited their scoring in Pike’s evaluation. Pike calls Ford is the “sleeping giant” of the PEV market, with a strong strategy but unproven products that have yet to launch.
Pike Research forecasts that despite robust growth in the PEV market, sales will fall short of expectations set by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and politicians in 2010 and 2011. Globally, Pike Research anticipates the market for PEVs will grow from 137,950 vehicles in 2012 to 1.75 million in 2020. Pike expects the US to remain the largest single market through the forecast period, with annual sales reaching 400,073 vehicles by 2020.