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[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.]

Continental puts first 48V hybrid assist system into production with Renault diesels

October 21, 2016

From the end of 2016, diesel variants of the Renault Scénic and Grand Scénic models will be equipped with Continental’s 48-volt hybrid drive—the first application of the 48V “Hybrid Assist” in production vehicles.

The first production solution combines an efficient, water-cooled induction motor with an integrated inverter. The electric motor transmits power via a belt drive directly to the crankshaft of the combustion engine—an arrangement referred to as “P0 topology.” Further production ramp-ups are soon to be set in motion on the basis of a modular system for 48-volt drives.

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Geely launches Lynk & Co; a new electrified and connected global car brand

China-based automaker Geely has launched Lynk & Co—a new global car brand designed and engineered in Sweden; every model will feature an electrified powertrain.

First in the range will be the Lynk & Co 01—an SUV featuring full premium specifications and characteristics as standard. Full mobile connectivity will also be standard, working in partnership with Ericsson. (Each vehicle will be a Wi-Fi hub, with the cellular data plan included in the price.) Geely claims that the SUV will be the most connected car to date, built around an open API and inviting developers’ creative ideas to enrich the automotive experience. (This open approach sounds similar to Volkswagen’s open-platform approach it is taking with MEB for its electric vehicles. Earlier post.)

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Toyota to produce hybrid transaxle and new gasoline engines in Poland; adjusting to shrinking diesel share in Europe

October 20, 2016

Toyota Motor Europe will start production of a hybrid transaxle in 2018 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) in Walbrzych, and add two gasoline engines—a 1.5L in 2017 and a 2.0L in 2019—at Toyota Motor Industries, Poland (TMIP) in Jelcz-Laskowice. Combined, the new projects represent an additional investment of approximately €150 million (US$165 million), bringing the total investment to-date of Toyota’s manufacturing operations in Poland to more than €950 million (US$1 billion) since operations started in 2002.

The hybrid transaxle to be produced at TMMP is a key part of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain, and will be fitted with the 1.8L ZR engine. This hybrid engine equips all Toyota Auris and Auris Touring Sports Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe, and will equip the new crossover Toyota C-HR when it starts production at the end of this year.

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MINI management previews coming plug-in hybrid model, the brand’s first

October 17, 2016

Head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen and Head of MINI series management Peter Wolf previewed the brand’s coming first plug-in hybrid model; series development process for this car has almost been completed.

AUTO eDRIVE standard mode permits all-electric speeds of up to 80 km/h (50 mph), while in MAX eDRIVE mode, speeds of up to 125 km/h (78 mph). are possible. Said head of MINI brand management Sebastian Mackensen, this is a question of character: “In a hybrid MINI model, driving electrically must also be an exhilarating experience. This means that entirely electric driving is not limited to speeds of 30 or 40 km/h, but to speeds well beyond city traffic pace.

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BMW plans hydrogen fuel cell offering “early in next decade”

October 13, 2016

Speaking on the future of powertrains at the Aachen Colloquium, Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management at BMW AG, Development, said that BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs.

Fröhlich noted that at least until 2025 costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. However, he added, “by the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers.

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BMW unveils Gen7 5 Series; more efficient gasoline and diesel units; plug-in hybrid 530e in 2017

BMW has unveiled the seventh generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan, which will go on-sale in markets around the world in February 2017. The 5 Series has been a major hit for BMW, selling 7.6 million units since its first introduction in 1972. Further enhanced dynamics, assistance systems, connectivity and a new and innovative operating system are important new features in the latest generation, in addition to the new, more efficient powertrains.

The new 5 Series features TwinPower Turbo gasoline and diesel engines from the modular BMW EfficientDynamics family of power units. Two diesel engines and two gasoline variants will be available from launch, working in tandem with either rear-wheel drive or BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. In March 2017, a BMW 5 Series Sedan with plug-in hybrid drive system—the BMW 530e iPerformance—will join the line-up, offering extremely low CO2 emissions of just 46 g/km (2.0 l/100 km), based on the EU test cycle. System output is 185 kW/252 hp.

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Maxwell Technologies unveils 51-Volt ultracapacitor module for hybrid buses

October 12, 2016

Maxwell Technologies, a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor-based energy storage and power delivery solutions, has introduced a 51-volt (51V) module, the newest addition to its ultracapacitor product offerings for rugged applications. The 51V module uses Maxwell’s leading 2.85V, 3,400-farad (F) ultracapacitor cell to deliver the company’s highest available energy and power density.

As durable and efficient energy storage solutions are in strong market demand, Maxwell’s 51V module provides a self-cooling system solution that helps to optimize the performance of hybrid buses and other high-duty cycle applications.

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UPS adding 200 more series hybrid delivery trucks

October 11, 2016

UPS will add 200 new series hybrid electric delivery trucks to the company’s growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. The vehicles have the same 650cc 2-cylinder engine and E-GEN chassis as the 125 vehicles UPS announced earlier this year. (Earlier post.)

Equipped with lithium ion batteries and a range-extender engine, these trucks will deliver significant fuel economy equivalency gains, approximately four times the fuel economy of a gasoline powered vehicle. A cloud-based, real time telematics performance monitoring system provides feedback for energy monitoring and route efficiency.

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2017 Mercedes-Benz S550e PHEV will offer wireless charging system built using Qualcomm Halo inventions

With the facelift of the Mercedes-Benz S550e plug-in hybrid in 2017, Daimler AG plans to launch a wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC) system, manufactured by a Tier 1 power electronics supplier, which has licensed Qualcomm Halo inventions. The commercial application of WEVC will be a first among hybrid vehicles. Drivers of the S550e (badged S500 in Europe) equipped with the wireless charging option will simply park atop a special pad and charging will begin.

Qualcomm Halo uses high-power, resonant magnetic inductive wireless energy transfer and supports a relatively wide air gap between base charging unit (BCU) and vehicle charging unit (VCU). The charging pad’s multi-coil design (“Double “D” Quadrature”) delivers high energy-transfer efficiency and high power even if the pads are misaligned. The high degree of tolerance in both the vertical (z) and lateral (x,y) planes means drivers do not have to park accurately or need complex and expensive on-board alignment systems.

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CPT showcases full range of 48V systems at Aachen

October 10, 2016

Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) is showcasing its range of 48V systems at the Aachen Colloquium this week: its Cobra electric compressor, SpeedStart belt-integrated starter-generator, SpeedTorq drivetrain motor-generator, and TIGERS exhaust energy recovery system.

Two of the technologies feature in the ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) demonstrator vehicle (in which program CPT was a consortium partner), which makes its first appearance in Germany following its debut at the recent Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event in the UK. (Earlier post.)

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Schaeffler presents high-performance 48V concept mild hybrid vehicle at Aachen

As part of the 25th Aachen Colloquium this week in Germany, Schaeffler is unveiling the “Schaeffler High Performance 48 Volt” concept vehicle. The 48V mild hybrid, based on an Audi TT, features an electric rear axle equipped with a 20 kW motor complementing the internal combustion engine which drives the front axle (P4 architecture). In the demonstrator vehicle, the engine is connected to a 48V belt-driven starter generator.

The Schaeffler electric axle produces a starting torque of up to 2,000 N·m. This provides purely electric driving up to 35 km/h (21.75 mph) as well as active sailing at speeds of more than 70 km/h (43.5 mph).

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Prius Prime PHEV pricing to start at $27,100; on sale later this year

October 07, 2016

The Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto Show in March (earlier post), features a larger 8.8 kWh battery pack for twice the electric range of its predecessor, as well as some enhancements to its powertrain, including a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system. This uses both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance.

The 2017 Prius Prime offers an EPA-estimated 133 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent)—a substantial 26% enhancement over its predecessor model, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, as a result of greater battery capacity and the improved hybrid system. The EPA-estimated all-electric range is up to 25 miles at up to 84 mph. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime exceeds all competitors’ fuel economy ratings with EPA-estimated 55 city/53 highway/54 combined MPG. Pricing starts at $27,100.

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Valeo introduces new 48V e4Sport hybrid system; all-wheel drive

October 04, 2016

At the Paris Motor Show, Valeo introduced another 48V hybrid system, the 48V e4Sport. The new system, which can be applied across all vehicle segments, to both gasoline and diesel engine models, recovers a maximum amount of braking energy and stores it in a 48V battery for various uses, such as increasing engine torque, via the starter-generator, or maximizing engine power during acceleration and boost phases, using the electric supercharger.

The system also supports driving in all-electric mode and, when on low-grip surfaces, improving performance by connecting the rear axle to the 48V eRAD electric rear axle drive, effectively transforming the vehicle into a four-wheel drive.

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Porsche launches new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid with new gen hybrid module; more e-range, better performance

October 01, 2016

Porsche unveiled the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid (earlier post)—the fourth model in the Panamera line—at the Paris Motor Show. The vehicle generates some 340 kW (462 hp) of system power and delivers fuel consumption figures of 2.5 l/100 km (94 mpg US) in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for plug-in hybrid models, with up to 50 km (31 miles) all-electric range. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 56 g/km. Energy consumption is 15.9 kWh/100 km.

Porsche views “hybrid” as being as synonymous with performance as with sustainability, pointing to the victory of the 919 Hybrid in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2015 and 2016. The same philosophy defines the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid; the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid features a hybrid strategy based on the 918 Spyder (earlier post).

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Toyota introduces C-HR hybrid at Paris

September 30, 2016

Toyota introduced the C-HR—or Coupe High-Rider—crossover at the Paris Motor Show. Fitted with the latest-generation hybrid power plant, the C-HR generates CO2 emissions as low as 82 g/km, with combined-cycle fuel consumption of only 3.5 l/100 km (67.2 mpg US).

Delivering 90 kW/122 DIN hp, this new hybrid powertrain is not only more efficient and lighter than the previous system, but also offers sharper performance. Detailed design changes to the gasoline engine have resulted in a thermal efficiency of 40%. Other hybrid system components have been made lighter and smaller, and have been repositioned for optimum packaging, further contributing to the car’s low center of gravity.

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UPS places 50 advanced hydraulic hybrids in its fleet in time for holiday rush

United Parcel Service, Inc., the world’s largest package delivery company and a provider of supply chain management solutions, placed 50 Lightning Hybrids hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks in the Chicago metro area. The hybrid systems were partially funded by Drive Clean Chicago, a program that aims to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure in Chicago.

The first of the hydraulic hybrid systems were commissioned last week. The hybrid systems are converting Freightliner MT-55s with gasoline engines into cleaner and more fuel efficient delivery trucks and will reduce harmful emissions in Chicago as soon as they are deployed.

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Toyota Motor Europe hybrid sales up 45% year-to-date; targeting 50% hybrid take-rate by 2020

September 27, 2016

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) reported that sales of hybrids have increased 45% so far this year compared with the same period in 2015—which was already a record year. The company is tracking to sell close to 300,000 hybrids this year, said Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice President of TME.

31% of Toyota Motor Europe’s customers have opted for a hybrid powertrain in 2016; 41% in Western Europe alone. Toyota’s target is to reach 50% of its European sales with hybrid vehicles by 2020, with a hybrid version in every major market segment.

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Rolls-Royce MTU introduces new hybrid power pack for rail systems; up to 25% fuel savings

September 26, 2016

At Innotrans in Berlin, Rolls-Royce Power Systems’ MTU brand introduced the new MTU EnergyPack battery system for rail as a product that is now available for ordering. The Hybrid PowerPack is a market-ready advanced development based on a test version that has demonstrated its reliability in an intensive test program consisting, among other things, of test runs covering no less than 15,000 km.

The Hybrid PowerPack combines a diesel engine with an electric machine, which can be used either as an electric motor or generator, and the MTU EnergyPack battery system, which stores the energy recovered during braking. The battery system has been significantly improved by MTU engineers since the completion of the trials with the hybrid test vehicle.

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Silicon Mobility introduces OLEA T222 for hybrid and electric powertrain control

September 19, 2016

France-based semiconductor fabless company Silicon Mobility has introduced OLEA T222, its new solution dedicated for hybrid and electric powertrain control. OLEA T222 is a new member of the OLEA family, the first automotive microcontrollers with embedded, robust and secured programmable logic.

Silicon Mobility says that OLEA T222’s flexibility, hard-real time parallel processing and safe architecture makes it suited to control all flavors of hybridization—micro-, mild- or full-, including Integrated Belt Starter Generator (i-BSG); Crankshaft Motor driven Generator (CMG); Gearbox Motor driven Generator (GMG); in-wheel Motor or in-axle Motor; DC/DC converter; as well as full electric powertrains.

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Delta Motorsport introduces Micro Turbine Range Extender

At the LCV 2016 event in the UK last week, Delta Motorsport unveiled a new low-cost micro-turbine applied as a range-extended in an electric car. The company developed the E-4 Coupe extended-range electric electric vehicle in a £3.1-million (US$4-million) collaborative R&D project. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK co-funded the project.

The new system, dubbed MiTRE (Micro Turbine Range Extender), is specifically designed for use as a range extender for electric vehicles. Delta has produced two complete MiTRE prototype systems with 17 kW power output; one is fitted into the E-4 Coupe for further development.

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NC State team develops new SiC inverter; 12.1 kW/L & greater efficiency in a smaller, lighter package

September 15, 2016

Researchers at the Future Renewable Electric Energy Distribution and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center at North Carolina State University have developed an inverter for hybrid and electric vehicles using off-the-shelf components made of the wide-bandgap semiconductor material silicon carbide (SiC).

The new SiC-based inverter has a power density of 12.1 kW/L—close to the US Department of Energy’s target of 13.4 kW/L by 2020. By way of comparison, a 2010 electric vehicle could achieve only 4.1 kW/L. Further, says Iqbal Husain, ABB Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State and director of the FREEDM Center, the silicon carbide prototype inverter can transfer 99% of energy to the motor—about two percent higher than the best silicon-based inverters under normal conditions.

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GKN Driveline develops new e-drive system for PHEVs; starts production on global platform in 2019

September 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed a new, complete electric drive system for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). The system will start production in 2019 on a global platform from a European vehicle manufacturer.

Tighter integration of electric drivelines improves system efficiency and gives automakers more packaging and assembly options. The new module integrates a water-cooled electric motor and inverter with a single speed eAxle reduction gearbox. The system generates a maximum 65 kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000 N·m (1,475 lb-ft) of torque to the rear wheels.

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Final testing confirms ADEPT 48V diesel hybrid reduces fuel consumption 10-12% at low incremental cost

September 13, 2016

The three-year ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) project (earlier post) in the UK set the target of developing and validating a range of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V “intelligent electrification” utilizing an advanced lead carbon battery. These have been applied to a Ford Focus project demonstrator which, for the first time, will be made available for public ride and drive evaluation by delegates at the Low Carbon Vehicle event (LCV2016), at Millbrook, UK.

Final testing has confirmed ADEPT’s key achievement of 10-12% reduction in fuel consumption (NEDC)—equivalent to sub-80g/km of CO2 emissions. According to the latest updated analysis of the potential cost of production implementation of ADEPT—conducted independently by Ricardo—the system would represent an incremental cost of in the region of €60 per gram/km of CO2 reduction. This is a result that makes the ADEPT powertrain architecture very competitive with other fuel economy solutions such as full hybridization, where costs of implementation can be significantly higher.

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Rome study finds Prius hybrids have zero tailpipe emissions for 74.2% of commuting journey time

September 12, 2016

A study from the University of Rome commissioned by Toyota Motor Italy has found that the new, fourth-generation Prius hybrid operates with zero emissions for most of the time and distance covered on a typical city commute in Rome.

Data gathered from more than 2,200 km (1,367 miles) of driving on a typical Rome commuting journey revealed that the test Prius cars spent an average 73.2% of the journey time (62.5% of the journey distance) producing no tailpipe emissions. These figures included periods when the car was stationary, with the engine automatically switched off.

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Nissan introducing Rogue Hybrid model for 2017; one-motor, two-clutch system

September 10, 2016

The newly announced 2017 Nissan Rogue Hybrid, the latest addition to the popular Rogue crossover lineup, offers a second powertrain choice for Rogue buyers for the 2017 model year in both FWD and AWD applications. Like the MY2017 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder gasoline engine-equipped standard Rogue models, the Rogue Hybrid offers freshened exterior and interior styling, additional safety, security and driving aid technology and a wide range of standard and available comfort, convenience and utility features. Rogue Hybrid will join the lineup by the end of 2016.

The 2017 Rogue Hybrid produces projected fuel economy of 33 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined (estimated) (7.12, 6.71 and 6.91 l/100km respectively) for the front-wheel drive model. Rogue Hybrid all-wheel drive models are projected at 31 mpg city, 34 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined (estimated) (7.58, 6.91 and 7.12 l/100km, respectively). Rogue Hybrid does so with virtually no compromise of performance, interior roominess or cargo space (compared to standard Rogue models).

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Porsche introducing new Panamera 4 E-hybrid PHEV at Paris Show

September 09, 2016

Porsche will unveil the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with controlled all-wheel drive and an electric range of 50 kilometers (31 miles) at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. The plug-in hybrid will be the fourth model in the Panamera line.

The vehicle generates some 340 kW (462 hp) of system power and delivers fuel consumption figures of 2.5 l/100 km (94 mpg) in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) for plug-in hybrid models. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 56 g/km. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is available to order now, with prices starting at €107,553 (US$122,000) including VAT in Germany.

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BMW introduces X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance plug-in hybrid; China market only

September 06, 2016

BMW unveiled the new BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance plug-in hybrid at the Chengdu Motor Show 2016 as the latest addition to BMW’s family of new energy vehicles (NEVs) and the first plug-in hybrid in the compact luxury SUV segment. Manufactured by BMW Brilliance, the new PHEV model is only available for the Chinese market.

The new BMW X1 xDrive25Le iPerformance was developed simultaneously with the new BMW X1 Series launched some time ago and borrows the innovative eDrive technology from the BMW i line-up. The gasoline engine and electric motor power the front and rear wheels, respectively, with the intelligent energy management system taking care of on-demand power response and maximizing energy efficiency.

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Audi ups A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV technology offerings for US MY2017; virtual cockpit

August 30, 2016

For MY 2017, Audi has updated its A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the US with improved technology offerings such as the available Audi virtual cockpit and standard driver assistance systems including Audi pre sense front.

The A3 Sportback e-tron continues to feature a 1.4-liter TFSI engine and a permanent magnet-driven electric motor to produce 204 hp (152 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 N·m) of torque. The e-tron accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 7.6 seconds. 2017 EPA estimates not a available yet; the base 2016 model is EPA-rated at 83 MPGe, with up to 16 miles of all-electric range.

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XL Hybrids awarded DOE Small Business Vouchers Pilot; testing of first diesel/XL3 combo at Argonne

XL Hybrids, Inc. has been awarded test funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) Small Business Vouchers Pilot (SBV). Testing validation and analysis of its XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive System for Reach walk-in commercial vans will be performed at Argonne National Laboratory. The goal of the SBV-funded project is to overcome specific technical challenges, the company said.

The Reach van from Utilimaster is a high-roof Class 3 delivery van that comes with a standard 151.4 inch wheelbase and the high efficiency 3.0L, 150 hp, Isuzu DOHC I-4 diesel engine. The XL3 hybrid system is available on the Reach van with 2,500 pounds payload capacity with the XL3 system installed. (Hybrid system weight is 385 lbs / 175 kg.)

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Honda begins taking orders for NSX hybrid supercar in Japan; starting at US$236,000

August 25, 2016

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. began accepting applications in Japan for custom orders of the all-new NSX hybrid supercar (earlier post), which underwent a full redesign for the first time in 26 years since the introduction of the original NSX. Customer delivery will begin on 27 February 2017. Pricing starts at ¥23,700,000 (~US$236,000). Honda is targeting sales of 100 units in the first year.

The all-new NSX was created to be true to the “human-centered supercar” heritage of NSX and to bring the “New Sports eXperience” for this new era by integrating Honda’s original and advanced electrification technologies that have evolved with the times.

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Kenworth receives $8.6M in grants for low-emission T680 Day Cab drayage truck projects in California; hybrids, CNG hybrid and fuel cell

August 20, 2016

Kenworth has been awarded three government grants totaling $8.6 million that will support low emissions projects involving Kenworth T680 Day Cabs targeted for use as drayage tractors in Southern California ports.

The first two projects are funded at $1.9 million each by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), with Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) as the prime applicant. Kenworth will build two, proof-of-concept T680 Day Cab drayage tractors to transport freight from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to warehouses and railyards along the I-710 corridor in the Los Angeles basin.

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Survey: Norwegian PHEVs drive electrically 55% of time, BEVs driven more in total and in everyday traffic

August 16, 2016

Norway leads the European market for plug-in vehicles, with more than 105,000 units registered through May 2016. A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners in Norway by Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics found that plug-in hybrids there drive electrically with power from the grid 55% of the time (and 63% on work trips), while battery electric vehicles are driven more in total and in everyday traffic.

The survey also found that buyers of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have different transport needs but both are motivated by economy of use and environment; battery electric vehicle owners are also motivated by a free toll road incentive. Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners.

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2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance PHEV going on sale in US starting at $89,100

August 11, 2016

The 2017 BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance plug-in hybrid (earlier post) is in production and will arrive at US dealerships in August starting at $89,100 plus $995 Destination and Handling. With its eDrive technology, the BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance can be driven in all-electric mode up to 75 mph (120.7 km/h). Combined fuel economy of 64 MPGe and an all-electric range of 14 miles is possible (EPA official figures).

The BMW eDrive technology in the BMW 740e xDrive iPerformance ensures its greenhouse potential (CO2e) is approximately 30% lower than that of the gasoline powered 740i over the full lifecycle of the car. The BMW Group defined the sustainability targets for the new BMW 7 Series to include the vehicle’s entire life cycle since the beginning of development. The “greenhouse potential” is measured on the basis of the CO2e emissions produced by everything from the extraction of raw materials through the entire manufacturing, the actual usufruct of the vehicle and finishes with the recycling at the end of the vehicle’s life.

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BMW says electrified models exceeding sales expectations, especially in Europe

BMW said that its electrified models continue to exceed expectations, especially in Europe. While 4% of all BMW sales in Western Europe in July were electrified vehicles, that percentage increases significantly in markets where innovative electric mobility is supported through financial and infrastructure measures.

In the Netherlands, 43% of BMW 3 Series registrations are for the plug-in hybrid BMW 330e model and 26% of 2 Series Active Tourer registrations are for the BMW 225xe. In Scandinavia, those figures are even higher, with the plug-in hybrid versions accounting for 45% of all BMW 3 Series sales and 55% of all BMW 2 Series Active Tourer sales.

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Urban Drive Cycle Testing shows a 26% mpg improvement on Ford Transits with XL Hybrids drive system

August 10, 2016

XL Hybrids announced vehicle testing results showing a 26% improvement in miles per gallon on the EPA UDDS (Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule) drive cycle for Ford Transit vans upfitted with XL3 Hybrid Electric Drive Systems. (earlier post) The fuel economy improvement on the EPA UDDS drive cycle also includes a more than 50% reduction in NOx emissions.

Conducted at an independent, EPA-certified chassis dynamometer testing lab, the test results mirror earlier EPA UDDS chassis dyno performance for Chevrolet and GMC 2500 Express and Savana vans equipped with XL Hybrids’ technology.

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Audi developing electromechanical rotary dampers; potential for energy recuperation from suspension; 48V

Audi is developing a prototype electromechanical rotary dampening system called “eROT,” in which electromechanical rotary dampers replace the hydraulic dampers used today for an even more comfortable ride. The eROT system also offers the potential for energy recuperation from the suspension.

Every pothole, bump, and curve in the road induces kinetic energy during compression and rebound of the car’s suspension, observes Dr.-Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG. “Today’s dampers absorb this energy, which is lost in the form of heat. With the new electromechanical damper system in the 48-volt electrical system, we put this energy to use. It also presents us and our customers with entirely new possibilities for adjusting the suspension.

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Sales of Ford Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi jump in LA in June; up 35% and 40% y-o-y respectively

July 26, 2016

Ford Fusion electrified vehicle retail sales spiked in the Los Angeles market during the month of June, the first month of availability for the new 2017 model. Based on Ford June sales figures, Fusion Energi (the plug-in hybrid variant) sales jumped nearly 40% in LA compared to June 2015. During the same time period, Fusion Hybrid sales jumped 35%. Both of these numbers are retail sales and do not include fleet sales.

By comparison, the total midsize sedan segment is down nearly 5% in LA through May, according to IHS Automotive data. Consumer demand for trucks and SUVs continues to rise in Los Angeles and across the country, but sales of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford Fusion Energi plug-in are moving ahead.

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DOE to issue funding opportunity to support Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines initiative

July 16, 2016

The US DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends (DE-FOA-0001623) to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technology Office (BETO) and Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled “Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines.” The FOA (DE-FOA-0001461) will be restricted to US institutions of higher education and non-profit research institutions.

This FOA will support the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Engines (Co-Optima) initiative (earlier post), a collaborative initiative being pursued by BETO and VTO to accelerate the introduction of affordable, scalable, and sustainable high-performance fuels for use in high-efficiency, low-emission engines.

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BMW introduces its trio of 7 Series plug-in hybrids

July 15, 2016

BMW has introduced its three 7 Series plug-in hybrid luxury sedans: the 740e iPerformance, 740Le iPerformance, and the 740Le xDrive iPerformance. (Earlier post.) The trio source their power from a latest-generation four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology and an electric motor. Together, they deliver a system output of 240 kW/326 hp.

The new BMW 740e iPerformance with standard wheelbase and the new BMW 740Le iPerformance with long wheelbase offer combined cycle average gasoline consumption of 2.2–2.0 liters per 100 kilometers (106.8–117.5 mpg US) and CO2 emissions of 50–45 grams per kilometer (BMW 740Le iPerformance: 51–45 g/km). The new BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance delivers 2.5–2.1 l/100 km (94-111.9 mpg US) with CO2 emissions combined of 56 –49 g/km). Intelligent all-wheel drive distributes the combined power of the combustion engine and electric motor permanently and as required between the front and rear wheels.

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Nissan’s ProPILOT autonomous drive technology debuts in new Serena; autonomous drive first for Japanese automakers

July 13, 2016

Nissan Motor’s new Serena, scheduled to go on sale in Japan in late August, will come equipped with the company’s ProPILOT autonomous drive technology. ProPILOT is designed for highway use in single-lane traffic. Nissan is the first Japanese automaker to introduce a combination of steering, accelerator and braking that can be operated in full automatic mode, easing driver workload in heavy highway traffic and long commutes.

Employing advanced image-processing technology, the car’s ProPILOT system understands road and traffic situations and executes precise steering enabling the vehicle to perform naturally.

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Daido Steel & Honda develop neodymium magnet free of heavy rare earth elements; Honda Freed hybrid first to adopt resulting new motor

July 12, 2016

Daido Steel Co., Ltd. and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have developed a practical hot deformed neodymium magnet containing no heavy rare earth elements (REE) that still delivers the high heat resistance properties and high magnetic performance required for the use in the driving motor of a hybrid vehicle.

Honda will first apply this hot deformed neodymium magnet with absolutely no heavy rare earth elements to the Honda Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system, a system Honda will use in the all-new Freed scheduled to go on sale this fall. Honda will continue expanding application of this technology to new models in the future.

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First public flight of Siemens 260kW electric motor; to be used in development of hybrid-electric aircraft

July 04, 2016

Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts—five times more than comparable drive systems. (Earlier post.) This record-setting propulsion system successfully completed its first public flight at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, where it powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane.

The new drive system made its maiden flight on 24 June 2016. Siemens will be contributing this technology to the cooperative project that Siemens and Airbus agreed to in April 2016 for driving the development of electrically powered flight. (Earlier post.)

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Navigant: N. American PEV sales to hit almost 200K units this year; ~62% growth y-o-y

June 30, 2016

In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales in the US and Canada in 2016 will near 200,000 unit sales, growing by around 62% year-over-year. Navigant further expects significant growth in the North American PEV market over the next few years.

In 2016, Navigant Research expects growth to come from expanding sales of the Tesla Model X and the second-generation Volt, as well as the introduction of the Chevrolet Bolt 200-mile range battery electric vehicle (BEV), the Prius Prime PHEV, the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV later in the year.

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Advanced ADEPT 48V affordable mild hybrid on path to meet future ultra-low vehicle emissions

June 29, 2016

Following almost three years of testing, development and validation of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V electrification applied to a Ford Focus project demonstrator, the ADEPT (advanced diesel-electric powertrain) (earlier post) consortium partners have announced that the project is on course to meet the stringent air quality and ultra-low emission requirements expected of near-term next-generation vehicles.

The ADEPT project is led by Ricardo in a research partnership including the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC); Controlled Power Technologies (CPT); Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies UK Ltd; Ford Motor Company and the University of Nottingham. The final results will be presented at the UK’s LCV2016 event on 14-15 September.

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Kiessling Transit orders 32 more Lightning Hybrids hydraulic hybrid buses

Kiessling Transit, a Massachusetts-based transportation company, is ordering 32 more hydraulic hybrid buses equipped with Lighting Hybrids’ Energy Recovery System (ERS) for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses.

This order for 32 units follows an order last year from the Boston-area transit company for 35 units that were commissioned in September 2015. (Earlier post.) Those vehicles have recorded close to a total of one million miles. The ERS has demonstrated improvements of 25% in fuel efficiency, and significantly reduced tailpipe emissions. In addition, Lightning Hybrids has identified ways to reduce vehicle idle time by up to 30%.

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Honda launches 2017 Accord Hybrid; 2nd generation two-motor hybrid powertrain

June 15, 2016

Honda has launched the 2017 Accord Hybrid (earlier post) at its dealers in the US. Featuring an advanced second-generation two-motor hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid midsize sedan delivers peak total system output of 212 hp, best-in-class EPA fuel economy ratings of 49/47/48 mpg US (4.8/5.0/4.9 l/100 km) (city/highway/combined), and a starting MSRP of $29,605.

In addition to the more powerful and fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, the 2017 Accord Hybrid benefits from the extensive upgrades made to the Accord lineup for 2016 including new styling, sportier driving performance and increased levels of standard and available equipment including the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, offered as standard equipment on all models.

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Mercedes-Benz expands plug-in hybrid rollout with 2 models this year; new battery tech in S 500 e in 2017

June 13, 2016

Later this year, Mercedes-Benz will add the seventh and eighth plug-in hybrids to its line up. (Earlier post.) The new GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e will join the S 500 e; C 350 e (Sedan, Wagon and long version for China); the GLE 500 e 4MATIC; and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC. The hybrid (plug-in and conventional) portfolio from Mercedes-Benz currently comprises 13 models.

The E 350 e will use the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors to deliver top rankings in fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamism. The E 350 e is also the first hybrid from Mercedes-Benz with a high trailer towing capacity of up to 2,100 kg.

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Daimler investing >€7B in next 2 years in green tech; fuel cell plug-in, BEV architecture; 48V

At its TecDay event in Stuttgart, Daimler said it will invest more than €7 billion (US$7.9 billion) in green technologies in the next two years alone. Shortly, smart will be the only automaker worldwide to offer its entire model range both powered by internal combustion engines or operating on battery power. Mercedes-Benz will put the first fuel-cell-powered vehicle with plug-in technology into series production: the GLC F-CELL. In addition, the company is developing a dedicated vehicle architecture for battery-electric motor cars.

Following the company’s recent introduction of the new OM 654 diesel family (earlier post), Daimler will introduce a new family of gasoline engines in 2017, which will again set efficiency standards and will be the first ever to be equipped with a particulate filter (earlier post). The 48-volt on-board power supply will be introduced at the same time and starter-generators will become part of the standard specification. The 48V system will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology.

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US DRIVE releases comprehensive cradle-to-grave analysis of light-duty vehicle GHGs, cost of driving and cost of avoided GHGs

June 09, 2016

The US DRIVE Cradle-to-Grave Working Group has published the “Cradle-to-Grave Lifecycle Analysis of US Light-Duty Vehicle-Fuel Pathways: A Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economic Assessment of Current (2015) and Future (2025–2030) Technologies” Argonne National Lab Report.

The study provides a comprehensive lifecycle analysis (LCA), or cradle-to-grave (C2G) analysis, of the cost and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of a variety of vehicle-fuel pathways, as well as the levelized cost of driving (LCD) and cost of avoided GHG emissions. The study also estimates the technology readiness levels (TRLs) of key fuel and vehicle technologies along the pathways. The study only addresses possible vehicle-fuel combination pathways—i.e., no scenario analysis.

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2017 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV boosts total range to 610 miles

May 27, 2016

Ford’s 2017 Fusion Energi—incorporating enhancements announced earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show (earlier post)—can travel 610 miles (982 km) on a full tank of gas and battery charge according to EPA estimates to be posted to—the highest combined range of any plug-in hybrid sold in the US. The 2016 model of the Fusion Energi has a combined range of 550 miles (885 km).

The 2017 Fusion Energi’s all-electric range is an estimated 21 miles (33.8 km). If there is gas in the tank, the car will then operate for about a mile using both battery and gas. After that, the gas engine kicks in for another 588 miles (946 km) of range, according to EPA estimates. The 2016 Fusion Energi has an EPA-estimated all-electric range of 19 miles (30.6 km).

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Bosch develops 48V electric powertrain for motorsport kart prototype with FIA and DMSB; new boost recuperation system

FIA Electric, the New Energy Commission, and the German Motorsport Association (DMSB) presented an electric racing kart prototype—the “e-kart”—in Berlin. Bosch Motorsport developed the powertrain system together with these motorsport organizing bodies, as well as with Germany’s largest kart manufacturer Mach 1 Kart.

For this application, Bosch motorsport engineers developed a new boost recuperation system (BRS), the first generation of which will go into production at the company starting in 2017. The electrical components of the BRS support the internal-combustion motor in compact vehicles with up to 10 kW of additional power, which reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 15% on the street. It also provides the internal combustion engine with an additional 150 N·m (111 lb-ft) of torque during acceleration.

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PSA Group outlines electrification solutions for future hybrid and electric vehicles; 4 EVs, 7 PHEVs by 2021

May 25, 2016

At its Innovation Day event, PSA Group presented its new electrification strategy. PSA Group is consolidating the development of its models on two global modular platforms—CMP and EMP2—allowing it to offer a wide range of internal combustion, electric and plug-in hybrid gasoline models from 2019.

Both platforms are optimized and lighter (25kg for EMP2 and 40kg for CMP) than current platforms, and offer greater modularity in terms of length, width, height and wheel diameter. Both platforms will be compatible with the manufacturing resources put in place as part of the Plant of the Future program. (Earlier post.)

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PSA Group outlines powertrain production strategy: gasoline PHEVs, EVs and next-gen diesel and gasoline engines

As part of the energy transition process and in line with the technological offensive spelled out in its Push to Pass strategic plan (earlier post), PSA Group will focus on diversifying its offerings with plug-in hybrid gasoline systems and next-generation electric powertrains. The latter will be used in particular to equip e-CMP, its future electric platform developed in partnership with Dongfeng Motors. (Earlier post.) At the same time, the Group will continue to develop next-generation internal combustion engines, both gasoline and diesel.

For strategic reasons, PSA Group will manufacture the main electric powertrain components in France, signalling its determination to develop high-tech operations in profitable niche markets. The electric powertrain will be produced at the Trémery/Metz centre of excellence, while the gear systems will be manufactured at the Valenciennes plant.

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GKN launches new e-axle all-wheel drive technology on global C-segment vehicle platform with BMW

May 24, 2016

GKN is launching electric all-wheel drive technology on a global vehicle platform. A series of new C-Segment vehicles will offer the option of adding plug-in electric all-wheel drive using GKN Driveline’s latest electric axle drive (eAxle) technology.

GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV. (Earlier post.)

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Geely raises $400M via Green Bonds sale to develop and produce TX5 range-extended electric London taxis

May 22, 2016

China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (ZGH) has raised $400 million through the first Green Bond sale on the offshore market from a Chinese automobile company to support the design, development and production of range-extended electric vehicles by its UK subsidiary, the LondonTaxi Company (LTC), manufacturer of the iconic London Black Cab. The plug-in hybrid TX5 London Cab will be launched in the UK at the end of 2017 and in international markets in 2018.

ZGH is investing £300 million (US$435 million) in LTC’s new research and production facility in Ansty in the West Midlands region of the UK to develop the next-generation TX5. The new model was unveiled last October in London in the presence of the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his state visit to the UK. In addition to a new light-weight aluminium body structure and composite paneling, the TX5 benefits from a range-extended battery-electric vehicle system.

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Worldwide sales of Toyota hybrids surpass 9 million units; Prius family accounts for 63%

May 20, 2016

Toyota Motor Corporation announced that the cumulative figures for global sales of its hybrid vehicles reached 9.014 million units as of 30 April. This latest million-unit milestone was achieved in just nine months.

The Prius family still accounts for the majority of sales: 5.691 million units, or 63% of the total global cumulative number. (Prius: 3.733 million; Prius α, Prius v, Prius +: 0.634 million; Aqua, Prius c: 1.249 million; Prius PHV: 0.075 million). As of the end of April 2016, Toyota is selling 33 hybrid electric passenger car models (HEVs) and one plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model in more than 90 countries and regions.

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Peapod adds two LH hydraulic hybrids delivery trucks to fleet

Peapod, the leading online grocer in the US, took delivery of its first two hydraulic hybrid delivery trucks this month. The vehicles, existing Workhorse walk-in vans with GM gasoline engines and equipped with the Lightning Hybrids Energy Recovery System (ERS), are in service on the streets of Chicago and were partially paid for by the Drive Clean Chicago voucher program for clean vehicles.

The trucks, the first hydraulic hybrids in Peapod’s fleet of approximately 130 vehicles in the Midwest, are expected to reduce fuel consumption, reduce brake maintenance costs and cut emissions significantly in Peapod service neighborhoods.

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Cummins unveils SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses; diesel, hybrid and near-zero NOx engines

Cummins Inc. unveiled the SmartEfficiency initiative for transit buses, which focuses on improved uptime and reliability. As part of the SmartEfficiency initiative, Cummins revealed the 2017 L9 diesel and 2017 B6.7 hybrid engine systems; the ISL G Near Zero (NZ) NOx natural gas engine (earlier post); the isolated engine coolant loop system for the 2017 L9 and ISL G; and a new SmartSupport service program.

Available in 2017, the L9 for transit applications will continue to use the modular aftertreatment architecture. A SmartEfficiency-driven improvement is the isolated coolant loop for transit buses using an L9 or ISL G powertrain, which improves reliability and reduces downtime.

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Volvo Cars unveils CMA-based 40 series concepts; battery-electric and PHEV versions; first production in 2017

May 18, 2016

Volvo Cars unveiled two new 40 series concept cars, marking the official launch of its global small car strategy. The first new 40 series car is expected to go into production in 2017.

The new concept cars will be the first built around Volvo’s new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post), which has been specially created for smaller cars. Volvo’s new global small car range will include a pure battery electric vehicle as well as Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain variants, in line with the company’s commitment to the electrification of its entire portfolio. Volvo plans to have sold a total of up to 1 million electrified cars by 2025 globally. (Earlier post.)

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Acura reveals Gen2 autonomous driving development vehicle

Acura revealed its second-generation autonomous driving development vehicle in California, a modified version of the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD luxury performance sedan.

The RLX has been fitted with a new suite of radar, LiDAR, camera and GPS sensors, complemented by higher performance CPUs and GPUs, and improved cabling, heat management and circuitry. These enhancements have been combined with new, more intelligent software algorithms to support more complex testing scenarios.

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Scania delivering 51 hybrid buses to Madrid

May 12, 2016

In June, Scania, part of Volkswagen Truck & Bus GmbH, will begin delivering 51 hybrid Scania Citywide buses to Madrid. These complete buses feature cost-saving and emission-reducing hybrid technology that meets the EU suburban and short distance Class II regulations.

The City of Madrid recently enforced tough temporary measures to tackle pollution, including limiting speed limits and banning passenger car access to the city center if NOx levels exceed acceptable levels. In parallel, the Madrid transport authorities have required bus operators to gradually switch to greener technology; conventional diesel has not been permitted in new bus acquisitions since 2010.

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Infineon presents latest power modules for hybrid and electric vehicles; compact and higher power density

May 11, 2016

Infineon Technologies AG is presenting its latest power module family for hybrid and electric vehicles—HybridPACK Double Sided Cooling (DSC)—at the PCIM 2016 tradeshow. The new power modules have extremely small dimensions of only 42 mm x 42.4 mm x 4.77 mm. They target HEV applications such as main inverters and generators with a typical power range of 40 to 50 kW. In order to support higher power, they can be used in parallel configurations.

With only 15 nH, the stray inductance is very low while blocking voltage was increased to 700 V. Both factors support the development of inverter systems with reduced switching losses of about 25% and very high efficiency.

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Project FEVER to develop 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle technology; SRM-based e-axle

May 09, 2016

Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification based on state-of-the-art switched-reluctance machines (SRMs), has partnered with Ricardo, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Provector to develop a 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle system and demonstrate it in a B-segment city car.

The Forty-Eight Volt Electrified Rear-axle (FEVER) project will apply CPT’s SpeedTorq technology to an ultra-lightweight rear axle module to significantly improve the fuel economy of the target car. The objective of the two-year project is to achieve a CO2 reduction of up to 15% over the regulatory cycle while offering significant savings (around $1,400) in manufacturing cost compared to a full HEV.

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UPS updates 125 Workhorse E-GEN series hybrid electric step vans with smaller genset engine for better fuel economy

May 03, 2016

UPS announced an update to 125 Workhorse E-GEN series hybrid electric delivery trucks that improve fuel economy as part of the company’s broader Rolling Laboratory approach.

A compact, quiet-running 650cc 2-cylinder engine replaces the previous 2.4L 4-cylinder engine; charging capability remains the same, as does the electric range. The smaller engine will improve fuel economy, however. The updated trucks, which were originally purchased in September 2015, deliver up to four times the fuel economy of a gasoline-powered vehicle, UPS said. The trucks will be deployed in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio and Texas later this year.

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Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA to integrate self-driving technology into 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan

The Google Self-Driving Car Project and FCA announced will collaborate to integrate Google’s self-driving technology into all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans (earlier post) to expand Google’s existing self-driving test program. This marks the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.

Engineering responsibilities will be shared based on each company’s respective expertise. FCA will initially design and engineer around 100 vehicles uniquely built for Google’s self-driving technology. Google will integrate the suite of sensors and computers that the vehicles will rely on to navigate roads autonomously.

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Efficient Drivetrains now offering OEM developer kit for plug-in hybrid solutions

May 02, 2016

Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of advanced hybrid and electric drivetrain solutions, has expanded its product portfolio to include the EDI PowerDrive electrification kit and developer support program for vehicle manufacturers moving to create a PHEV offering.

The EDI PowerDrive kit offers OEMs a comprehensive framework for rapid PHEV vehicle solution development. Electrification kits include a high-efficiency drivetrain (EDI PowerDrive); vehicle control and telematics software (EDI PowerSuite); and the training and support infrastructure to enable OEMs to drive quicker time to market in offering PHEV and EV vehicles.

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Roland Berger study outlines integrated vehicle and fuels roadmap for further abating transport GHG emissions 2030+ at lowest societal cost

April 30, 2016

A new study by consultancy Roland Berger defines an integrated roadmap for European road transport decarbonization to 2030 and beyond; the current regulatory framework for vehicle emissions, carbon intensity of fuels and use of renewable fuels covers only up to 2020/2021.

The study was commissioned by a coalition of fuel suppliers and automotive companies with a view to identifying a roadmap to 2030+ to identify GHG abatement options at the lowest cost to society. The coalition comprises BMW, Daimler, Honda, NEOT/St1, Neste, OMV, Shell, Toyota and Volkswagen. Among the key findings of the study were:

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Volkswagen unveils T-Prime Concept GTE AWD plug-in hybrid SUV at Auto China 2016

April 25, 2016

Volkswagen unveiled the T-Prime Concept GTE all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid in a world premiere at Auto China 2016 in Beijing. The concept fulls-size SUV previews the future Volkswagen SUV.

The T-Prime Concept GTE features Volkswagen’s new Curved Interaction Area—a new digital display and control concept. The innovative curved infotainment display merges with the interactive displays and controls, resulting in a new human-machine interface (HMI) that is intuitive, precise, and fun-to-use.

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Toyota to launch two new plug-in hybrid models in China; Corolla and Levin

April 24, 2016

On the eve of the 2016 Beijing International Automobile Exhibition, Toyota announced that it will launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin—two mass-market models, both of which have conventional hybrid variants—in China during 2018.

In 2005, based on long-term plans to encourage the widespread use of environmentally-friendly vehicles in the country, Toyota selected China as the first location for production of its hybrid flagship, the Prius, outside of Japan.

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Adgero introducing ultracap-based KERS for semi-trailers

April 22, 2016

French transport tech developer Adgero will unveil the regenerative braking-powered UltraBoost ST—an ultracapacitor-based kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) installed on a curtainsider semi-trailer—that aims to cut fuel and carbon emissions by up to 25% at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham, UK.

Adgero’s hybrid technology consists of an electrically-driven axle-mounted unit under the semi-trailer, powered by a bank of ultracapacitors, and controlled by intelligent management software that automatically controls regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

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PHEVLERs are the Zero CO2 Clean Green Machines of the Future

by Professor Andrew Alfonso Frank, CTO Efficient Drivetrains Inc. and UC-Davis Emeritus,
Bruce R. Thomas and Catherine J DeMauro

Abstract. The Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle with Long Electric Range (PHEVLER - pronounced “fevler”) is a new category emerging in the electric vehicle marketplace. PHEVLERs are defined as PHEVs with sufficient battery capacity for all electric driving of twice the average daily distance.[1] The average daily driving distance in the USA is 30 miles (48 km), so PHEVLERs are vehicles with at least 60 miles (97 km) of electric range. The 2016 Chevrolet Volt with an electric range of 53 miles[2] is the first commercial car that almost qualifies as a PHEVLER.

PHEVLERs[3] are a disruptive technology that will help revolutionize both the clean transportation and the clean stationary energy sectors of our economy. These vehicles are the green machines that will provide a critical part of the renewable and sustainable society that we need for the future.[4]

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April 21, 2016

Only 27.5% of all hybrid and electric vehicle trade-ins in the US in 2016 have been applied to the purchase of another hybrid or EV, according to a new analysis from car shopping destination The rate is a sharp drop from the 38.5% of hybrid and EV trade-ins in 2015, and the findings reinforce a trend first identified last year by Edmunds that owners of alt-fuel vehicles are returning to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles in greater numbers than ever before.

Edmunds’ analysis found that a hybrid or electric trade-in is more likely to go toward the purchase of a SUV (33.8%) than another hybrid or EV. The trend is even more apparent when looking only at EV trade-ins—25.7% of EV trade-ins went toward the purchase of a SUV, compared to just 4.8% that went toward another EV.

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Honda to add battery-electric, plug-in hybrid variants to Clarity platform; new 2017 Accord Hybrid

Honda announced that the upcoming Clarity Fuel Cell (earlier post) will be joined by two additional electrified variants, the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid, launching in the US in 2017. In addition to the Clarity series, a reengineered 2017 Accord Hybrid will go on-sale this spring. On a global basis, Honda is aiming to have electrified vehicles account for two-thirds of its vehicles sales around 2030.

Clarity. The addition of two new Clarity vehicles, based on the same platform underpinning the new Clarity Fuel Cell, makes Clarity the first vehicle in the industry to offer fuel cell, electric and plug-in hybrid technology on one model platform. (Hyundai’s IONIQ platform comes with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric variants. Earlier post.)

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Volvo Cars sets target of 1M electrified cars sold by 2025

Volvo Cars aims to sell a total of up to one million electrified cars by 2025. The Swedish company plans to achieve this aim by offering at least two hybrid versions of every model in its range and releasing the first all-electric car in 2019.

Volvo Cars has been readying itself for the emergence of electrified vehicles for the last five years. It has developed two all new vehicle architectures for larger and smaller cars—Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) (earlier post) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) (earlier post)—that can incorporate either hybrid or fully electric car technology.

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Wrightspeed in $30M deal to provide range-extended electric powertrains to NZ Bus

Wrightspeed Inc. announced a US$30M deal with Infratil-owned NZ Bus, New Zealand’s largest operator of urban bus services. Under the terms of the deal, Wrightspeed will provide its Route 500 heavy-duty range-extended electric powertrain technology to NZ Bus. The move marks Wrightspeed’s first expansion beyond refuse and delivery applications into mass transit, signaling multinational and multimodal demand for the company’s powertrain technology.

The Wrightspeed Route is a Range-extended Electric Vehicle (REV) replacement powertrain that can be customized to fit a variety of heavy-duty platforms, replacing both the engine and the transmission. The Route electric powertrain drives more low-end torque to the wheels than conventional diesel engines, with less fuel, less emissions, and less noise. The on-board turbine generator, the Fulcrum, eliminates range anxiety.

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Tsinghua team evaluates impact of types and arrangements of electric traction motors in fuel cell hybrid buses

April 20, 2016

Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the performance of two different powertrains for fuel cell hybrid buses. Both buses use 50 kW PEM fuel cell stacks (from different manufacturers) as the primary power source, with LiMn2O4 battery packs as secondary power sources. A significant difference between the two powertrains lies in the types and arrangements of the electrical motor.

One powertrain employs a single induction motor (IM) to drive the vehicle via a reduction gearbox and differential (Powertrain A), while the other powertrain adopts two permanent magnetic synchronous motors (PMSMs) for near-wheel propulsion (Powertrain B). A further difference between the proposed powertrains is the supply path for the fuel cell accessories. A paper on their study is published in Journal of Power Sources.

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Buick LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle makes global debut in Shanghai; uses Malibu Hybrid powertrain

April 18, 2016

The all-new Buick LaCrosse Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) made its global debut at the 2016 Buick Day event in Shanghai, where the award-winning Buick Avista concept was also shown for the first time in China. Both models will be appearing on the Buick stand at Auto China 2016 in Beijing, which begins on 25 April.

A major component of SAIC-GM’s Drive to Green strategy, the LaCrosse HEV adopts the same design language and technological advances as the recently introduced all-new LaCrosse. The advanced hybrid powertrain is basically the same as that used in the 2016 Malibu Hybrid, with the exception of some minor calibration and final drive ratio changes to better suit local and segment preferences. (Earlier post.)

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Siemens and Valeo to form joint venture in high-voltage electric powertrains

Siemens and Valeo have signed an agreement to form a joint venture in high voltage powertrains for the entire range of electric vehicles including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. Building upon the complementary scope and portfolio of the partners, the joint venture will provide substantial synergies in manufacturing and sourcing and create a base for sustained growth and profitability.

Siemens said that the electric vehicle components market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% until 2020. According to the agreement, Siemens and Valeo will each hold a 50% stake in the joint venture, have joint control and account for their respective stake using the equity method.

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GKN supplying eAxle to plug-in hybrid Volvo S90

GKN Driveline, which works as a development partner on all-wheel drive and plug-in hybrid systems for Volvo Cars, is producing an eAxle system for the new Volvo S90 plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.) The eAxle system fits in the same space as a standard rear drive module, enabling Volvo Cars to offer customers a plug-in hybrid as a simple, high-performance upgrade.

GKN’s eAxle takes power from a 65 kW, 240 N·m electric machine with a nominal maximum input speed of 13,000 rpm and, via a two-stage single speed gearbox with a ratio of 10:1, delivers a nominal output torque of 2400 N·m.

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GM details 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid powertrain design and operation

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (earlier post) is EPA-rated at 46 mpg (5.11 l/100 km) combined, 47 mpg city and 46 mpg highway; the powertrain shares the transmission architecture with the 2016 Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle (EREV), but includes changes to optimize the system for engine-driven charge-sustaining operation in the range of conditions represented by the US EPA 5 cycle fuel economy tests.

At the 2016 SAE World Congress, GM engineers presented a paper describing the development of the new hybrid powertrain for the popular mid-size sedan. Development was guided by four main objectives:

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Toyota Motor Europe hybrid sales up 38% in first quarter; 30% hybrid mix

April 14, 2016

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) reported a 38% increase in its Q1 2016 hybrid sales (Toyota and Lexus brands) versus the same period last year, representing 30% of total sales, compared to 24% for the full calendar year 2015. The Toyota brand hybrids accounted for 59,608 units (+43% year-on-year) for a hybrid mix of 27%; Lexus brand hybrids posted 12,141 units (+15% year-on-year), for a hybrid mix of 67%.

Total TME sales for the first quarter of 2016 were 241,600 Toyota and Lexus vehicles, an increase of 5.1% from Q1 2015, in a European market still split between growth in the West and Central Europe (+7.9%) and further decline in the East (-10%). Total market share for the group stood at 4.8%.

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Adgero signs €3.5M deal with ultracap manufacturer Skeleton for road freight KERS

Adgero has signed a €3.5-million (US$4-million) distribution agreement to ensure modules from ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies, are part of its Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) for road freight. (Earlier post.) Under the agreement, the French transport technology developer will now source SkelMod 160V modules exclusively for the Adgero hybrid system pioneered to increase efficiency for the truck transport industry.

The Adgero KERS unit consists of a bank of five high-power Skeleton Technologies SkelMod 50F 160V ultracapacitors, working alongside an electrically driven axle to capture energy loss and use this energy to re-power the vehicle.

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Audi summarizes electric driving utilization from 4-year Electric Mobility Showcase; 1.4M km for A1 e-tron and A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi gained a wealth of experience from the 1.4 million kilometers (869,919.7 mi) driven as part of the four-year Electric Mobility Showcase in Germany. (Earlier post.) Ahead of the closing conference in Leipzig today, Audi revealed some of the electric driving results for its two models involved: the A1 e-tron prototype and the production A3 Sportback e-tron.

The Electric Mobility Showcase program is a joint initiative of the German government and the automotive industry. Four ministries lent their support to 90 individual measures in four regions of Germany. Audi was one of the first vehicle manufacturers to sign up to the program; when Audi entered in 2012, it was involved in six projects for which it provided a fleet of 80 Audi A1 e-tron prototypes.

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Delphi unveils new 48V mild hybrid system; working with two OEMs toward production within 18 months

April 13, 2016

Delphi Automotive PLC unveiled a 48-volt mild-hybrid vehicle solution; the company confirmed it is working with two global automakers and could see production within 18 months.

Showcased in a Honda Civic 1.6-liter diesel vehicle at the company’s annual investor update in London, Delphi’s 48-volt, mild hybrid technology uses the 48-volt electrification to minimize the demand on the engine, improving performance while lowering CO2 emissions by more than 10%.

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CMU county-level study shows plug-ins have larger or smaller lifecycle GHG than gasoline ICE depending on regional factors

April 09, 2016

A US-wide county-level study comparing lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from several light-duty passenger gasoline and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has found that PEVs can have larger or smaller carbon footprints than gasoline vehicles depending on regional factors and the specific vehicle models being compared.

The team from Carnegie Mellon University led by Dr. Jeremy Michalek accounted for regional differences in emissions due to marginal grid mix; ambient temperature; patterns of vehicle miles traveled (VMT); and driving conditions (city versus highway). Their open-access paper is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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FEV showcasing 48V technology at 2016 SAE World Congress

April 08, 2016

FEV will showcase some of its 48-Volt technology capabilities at the 2016 SAE World Congress next week in Detroit. FEV says it believes that 48V technology will be the next evolution in in-vehicle power.

The proliferation of components and systems that require electrical power in today’s vehicle are pushing the standard 12-Volt battery to its limits. Under idle conditions and especially under low-temperature conditions, current 12V electrical systems can account for the entire power output of a conventional alternator, FEV notes.

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Cummins-led team awarded $4.5M to develop Class 6 PHEV that reduces fuel use by 50%

April 07, 2016

Cummins Inc. has been awarded a $4.5-million grant from the US Department of Energy to develop a Class 6 commercial plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% over conventional Class 6 vehicles. (Earlier post.) When fully loaded, Class 6 vehicles weigh between approximately 19,000 and 26,000 pounds; typical examples include school buses or single-axle work trucks.

With their expertise in internal combustion engines and related products, Cummins researchers will optimize the powertrain by selecting the engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, using the engine to manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack.

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Airbus Group and Siemens sign long-term agreement to develop hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft

Airbus Group and Siemens have signed a collaboration agreement in the field of hybrid electric propulsion. In doing so, the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of both companies, Tom Enders and Joe Kaeser, have launched a major joint project towards the electrification of aviation with the goal of demonstrating the technical feasibility of various hybrid/electric propulsion systems by 2020.

Airbus Group and Siemens plan to develop prototypes jointly for various propulsion systems with power classes ranging from a few 100 kilowatts up to 10 and more megawatts, i.e. for short, local trips with aircraft below 100 seats, helicopters or UAVs up to classic short and medium-range journeys.

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Borgward picks SAP, LG and Bosch as strategic partners in electric mobility; PHEVs and EVs

April 01, 2016

Borgward Group AG, the reincarnation of the German automaker that ceased operations in 1961, has formed a long-term strategic partnership with the SAP, LG Electronics and Robert Bosch GmbH to support its plan to launch sales in Europe with plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The agreements govern the development and delivery of various parts and components, particularly those related to electric mobility.

The strategic partnership with LG Electronics encompasses the joint development and delivery of high-performance batteries for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Moreover, Borgward and LG will jointly develop electric vehicle components such as electric air-conditioning compressors.

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Schaeffler shows micro-mobility bio-hybrid concept; 4-wheel pedelec with roof

March 31, 2016

Automotive supplier Schaeffler introduced a new micro-mobility concept during the “auto motor und sport” conference. This study shows how the company envisages a solution for urban individual forms of mobility.

The Schaeffler concept combines the advantages of stability and weather protection with the energy consumption and space utilization of a pedelec. A pedelec is a vehicle that supports the rider with electric power only while he or she is pedaling. With the electrically-assisted drive system (up to 25 km/h / 15.5 mph) with a minimum range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), the driver of what Schaeffler calls a “bio-hybrid” can travel in a sporty and comfortable manner. The new vehicle platform with two front and rear wheels provides increased safety and driving stability.

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Saft to supply marine Li-ion battery system to Rolls Royce Marine for hybrid multi-application vessel

Saft won a major contract from Rolls Royce Marine to supply the specialized marine lithium-ion (Seanergy) battery system for an innovative hybrid multi-application vessel under construction in Denmark for Kystverket, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA).

It is Saft’s second major contract signed since the end of last year in the marine segment. The high energy battery system onboard the OV Bøkfjord will help Kystverket meet its ambitious climate and environmental targets, reduce maintenance and deliver 25% fuel savings.

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Damen delivers hybrid tugboat to Royal Netherlands Navy; up to 30% lower fuel consumption, 40% fewer emissions

March 25, 2016

International shipyard group Damen recently delivered the first of a series of three hybrid tugboats (ASD TUGs 2810 Hybrid) to the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN). This 28.67-meter hybrid tug is named Noordzee and is the first standard hybrid tug supplied by Damen that the RNLN will employ. Compared with other tugs, hybrid versions use up to 30% less fuel and produce 40% fewer exhaust emissions.

Currently, the RNLN has four conventional tugs in Den Helder. However, these older vessels do not have sufficient power to tug new ships such as the HNLMS Karel Doorman (logistic support ship, 28,246 t full load); HNLMS Rotterdam (landing platform dock, 14,000 t full load); and the HNLMS Johan de Witt (landing platform dock, 16,800 t full load). Furthermore, the old vessels still make use of normal propellers with rudders with a restricted maneuverability and no longer fit the vision of sustainability that the RNLN has for the future.

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Toyota GAZOO Racing introduces TS050 hybrid racer for 2016 WEC season; moves up to 8MJ class with Li-ion battery

March 24, 2016

Toyota GAZOO Racing revealed the all-new TS050 HYBRID LMP1 racer—Toyota’s third new car since joining WEC in 2012—for the 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition. Following an unsuccessful defense of its World Championship titles in 2015, Toyota set itself tough performance targets in order to compete once again at the front of the field, featuring fellow LMP1-Hybrid manufacturers Porsche and Audi.

The TS050 HYBRID features a significant change in powertrain concept. A 2.4-liter, twin-turbo, direct injection V6 gasoline engine is combined with an 8MJ hybrid system, both of which are developed by Motor Sport Unit Development Division at Higashi-Fuji Technical Center.

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Hyundai unveils Ioniq HEV, PHEV and EV for US market at New York show

Hyundai Motor America introduced the Ioniq Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, and Electric models for the US market at the New York International Auto Show; the full line of three electrified variants made their global debut earlier this year at the Geneva show. (Earlier post). Ioniq is the first to offer three distinct electrified powertrains on a single, dedicated vehicle platform.

The Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid both feature a new Kappa 1.6 direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with a thermal efficiency of 40%, delivering an estimated 104 horsepower (78 kW) and an estimated 109 lb-ft (148 N·m) of torque. This engine has been specifically tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a smooth shifting six-speed double-clutch transmission—intended to differentiate Ioniq from its key competitors with a more dynamic and engaging driving experience.

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Refreshed 2017 Acura MDX SUV debuts in New York with Sport Hybrid Powertrain; 26 mpg combined

Acura unveiled the restyled and refreshed 2017 MDX luxury SUV at the New York International Auto Show, adding available Sport Hybrid Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain technology as a model option. Acura expects the MDX Sport Hybrid will receive EPA fuel economy ratings of 25/26/26 mpg (city/highway/combined) (9.4/9.04/9.04 l/100 km), an estimated 7-mpg city fuel economy rating increase over the (non-hybrid) MDX with SH-AWD.

The 2017 Acura MDX will be equipped with AcuraWatch on all grades, making MDX the first luxury SUV in its class to offer these advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, including automatic emergency braking, as standard features. The 2017 MDX is slated to go on sale at Acura dealerships nationwide this summer and will be joined by the MDX Sport Hybrid later in the year.

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Porsche presents new 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer; 800V battery technology

March 23, 2016

Two days before the official Prologue for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Paul Ricard, France, Porsche presented its new 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car for the 2016 season.

This season, Porsche will fully exploit the WEC regulations by deploying three different aerodynamic packages to make the car best suited to the respective race tracks. (Three aerodynamic specifications are the maximum allowed.) The weight of the four-cylinder turbo engine, as well as its fuel consumption, was further reduced, while the efficiency of the two energy recovery systems of the hybrid drive have been improved. For 2016, the components of the electric drive have also become more powerful and efficient.

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Toyota doubles the electric range in the new version of Prius PHEV with 8.8 kWh pack

Toyota unveiled the new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Toyota expects the Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 120 or above MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) to be the highest MPGe rating of any current plug-in hybrid. It also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor, the Prius PHV, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback.

Toyota also expects the Prius Prime, equipped with an 8.8 kWh battery pack, to offer an estimated 22 miles (35.4 km) of all-electric range—twice the electric range of the previous model with its 4.4 kWh pack—and to drive at speeds up to 84 mph (135 km/h).

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BMW prices 330e iPerformance PHEV in US starting at $44,695; 14 miles AER

March 22, 2016

BMW is bringing its new 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid (earlier post) to US dealers this summer starting at $44,695 including Destination and Handling.

The BMW 330e iPerformance offers a system output of 248 hp and peak torque of 310 lb-ft (420 N·m), allowing a sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h). All-electric driving is possible at speeds of up to 75 mph (121 km/h) and with a range (AER) of around 14 miles (22.5 km).

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Audi unveils redesigned R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans racer for 2016 season

Audi unveiled its redesigned R18 diesel hybrid Le Mans racer for the 2016 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season. Among the new features in the R18 are a more radical aerodynamics concept, including a new safety cell; a Li-ion battery replacing the flywheel energy storage system; and a revised V6 TDI diesel engine. As a result, Audi’s LMP1 sports car is more powerful and more efficient than its predecessor; the new R18 consumes less fuel than any of the generations before it.

The new hybrid TDI powertrain delivers power output of more than 1,000 hp (746 kW), along with 10% less consumption that its immediate predecessor. The current V6 TDI consumes 32.4% less fuel than the first generation did in 2011.

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GM 5-year growth strategy for China; 10 New Energy Vehicles in the coming mix

March 21, 2016

Between now and 2020, GM and its joint ventures plan to roll out more than 60 new and refreshed models in China, including 13 this year, with a strong focus on SUVs, MPVs and luxury vehicles.

During the period, GM and its joint ventures will roll out more than 10 new energy vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and Baojun brands. They will include the Shanghai-built Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (earlier post), which will go on sale later this year.

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