[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.]
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.
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.
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.
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. 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 is the first commercial car that almost qualifies as a PHEVLER.
PHEVLERs 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.
Edmunds.com: EV and hybrid loyalty falls to all-time low
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 Edmunds.com. 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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:
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%.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
Pi Innovo and GaN Systems collaborate to offer electronics design services for auxiliary systems for multi-voltage, hybrid and electric vehicles
Controls engineering firm Pi Innovo and gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor manufacturer GaN Systems are collaborating to offer automakers a pathway to the efficient and effective electrification of auxiliary systems for multi-voltage conventional, hybrid-electric, and pure electric vehicles.
GaN devices offer a number of benefits compared to silicon-based devices, including high dielectric strength; high current density; high switching speeds; low on-resistance; and the ability to withstand higher operating temperature. Compared to silicon, gallium nitride has ten times higher electrical breakdown characteristics, three times the band gap, and exceptional carrier mobility.
Series production of next-generation Acura NSX hybrid supercar begins in April at new Performance Manufacturing Center
March 17, 2016Acura’s Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) will begin series production of the next-generation Acura NSX hybrid supercar (earlier post) in late April, with customer deliveries to commence thereafter.
The PMC is constructing the Acura supercar entirely in-house and, like the NSX itself, is a clean-sheet development—a manufacturing facility designed around the NSX’s unique Multi-Material Body and aluminum-intensive space-frame design and optimized for low-volume production of high-performance specialty vehicles.
MIT Energy Initiative report on transforming the US transportation system by 2050 to address climate challenges
March 16, 2016
A new MIT Energy Initiative report spearheaded by John Heywood, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at MIT, identifies three important paths forward reducing light-duty vehicle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: improve the existing system and technologies for shorter-term benefits; conserve fuel by changing driver habits for nearer- to longer-term benefits; and transform the transportation system into one that is radically less carbon-intensive for longer-term benefits.
According to the report, “On the Road Toward 2050: Potential for Substantial Reductions in Light-Duty Vehicle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” each element is separately important, but must collectively be pursued aggressively to achieve necessary emissions reductions. More research, development, and demonstration studies are needed to lay the foundation for such a long-term transformation.
GKN Driveline introducing eAxle for mass-market C-segment vehicles
March 14, 2016
GKN Driveline has developed an eAxle module—derived from the technology used in cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8—that will enable C-segment vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50%.
The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimizes weight to just 20.9 kg (46 lbs) while optimizing efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications. A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2000 N·m torque and 65 kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel drive mode.
DOE to award $12.5M to improve efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks as part of new tech track for US-China initiative
March 13, 2016
The US Department of Energy is soliciting applications (DE-FOA-0001542) for the formation of a Consortium to pursue five identified R&D topic areas related to improving the operating efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Consortium that is funded through this solicitation will form a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral initiative to encourage R&D collaboration and accelerate technology development and deployment in both countries.
Funding available is $12.5 million, and will support the US Consortium. In parallel, and with equivalent resources, Chinese funding will support a collaborative counterpart Chinese Consortium. The US consortium will pursue five topics; responsive application will address all five. These are:
Mercedes-Benz launches new E-Class; new engines, PHEV, driver assistance systems; DRIVE PILOT
March 09, 2016
Mercedes-Benz has launched the new tenth-generation E-Class, introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this January. (Earlier post.) The new generation features technology innovations in a number of areas, including driver assistance and powertrains, with new efficient engines and a plug-in hybrid version.
Initially, the E 200 d models of the new E-Class will be available with an all-new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine (earlier post), while the E 200 will be powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 350 d by a six-cylinder diesel.
2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan EPA-rated at 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined; stop/start and PHEV still to come
March 08, 2016
The gasoline-powered version of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan has earned a highway-cycle fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg US (8.4 l/100km) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—a benchmark unsurpassed by any minivan on the US market and 12% better than the vehicle Pacifica replaces.
The Chrysler brand’s all-new minivan also has a calculated lifecycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) 9% less than the outgoing vehicle. GWP considers the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery, along with the implications of its consumption. FCA US LLC engineers used industry-standard software to calculate and compare the all-new Pacifica’s GWP with that of the outgoing vehicle over 124,274 miles (200,000 km) of operation.
Juniper forecasts HEV & EV sales to total 17M by 2020; Tesla ranked leading EV manufacturer
A new study from Juniper Research forecasts that nearly 17 million hybrid and electric vehicles will be on the road by 2020, up from an estimated 12 million last year.
Juniper believes that stakeholders primarily need to establish the viability and desirability of electric vehicles with consumers, and adopt an aggressive market strategy including the rolling out of a wide-scale public charging infrastructure that is seen as both ongoing and committed; improving vehicle battery life and range per charge; and conducting effective consumer education campaigns, with attractive incentives to change.
Fuji Heavy outlines next-gen “Subaru Global Platform”; improved performance, adaptable to electrification
March 07, 2016
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, outlined the Subaru Global Platform which is currently under development as the architecture to be used for all the company’s next-generation vehicles.
The next-generation platform looks ahead to 2025. The main features include Subaru’s biggest-ever enhancement in overall vehicle performance, with an emotionally engaging “dynamic feel” that goes beyond high performance; the highest levels of safety; and a single design concept for development of all models, adaptable to electrification in the future.
Loop Energy wins $7.5M from SDTC to support battery/fuel cell powertrains for heavy-duty trucks
March 04, 2016
Loop Energy—formerly known as PowerDisc Development—has been awarded a $7.5-million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to accelerate deployment of the company’s new zero-emission powertrain for heavy-duty trucks.
The Loop heavyduty powertrain combines an electric battery with a hydrogen fuel cell designed around its patented eFlow technology. eFlow addresses unequal current distribution in the fuel cell by improving the flow of oxygen, fuel and water within a fuel cell and avoiding degradation of the fuel cell membrane and stack materials.
NHTSA proposes updating electrical safety requirements for fuel cell and mild hybrid vehicles; alignment with int’l standards
The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update electrical safety requirements for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and mild hybrid vehicles.
The NPRM proposes adding an optional method for post-crash electrical safety into the standard, FMVSS No. 305, that involves physical barriers to prevent electric shock due to direct or indirect contact of high voltage sources. This proposed optional method affords the same level of electric shock protection as the other methods for electrical safety currently in FMVSS No. 305 and would enable innovative powertrain technologies. The proposed updates to FMVSS No. 305 align the standard with international regulations and the latest version of the voluntary industry standard, SAE J1766, “Recommended Practice for Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Systems Crash Integrity Testing”.
Škoda showcases MQB-based plug-in hybrid VisionS concept at Geneva; production PHEV in 2019, followed by BEV
March 02, 2016
Volkswagen Group company Škoda is showcasing its VisionS plug-in hybrid concept SUV at the Geneva Motor Show. The Škoda VisionS incorporates the brand’s new design language, carrying it over into the SUV segment. The plug-in hybrid drive system is a preview of a similar drive system being tested for production cars, said Škoda CEO Bernhard Maier.
Based on Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), this is Škoda’s first vehicle to feature six seats across three rows.
China R&D company introduces micro-turbine range extender technology at Geneva
March 01, 2016
Techrules, a new China-based automotive R&D company, made its global debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show with the unveiling of a Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) series hybrid system applied in a 6-motor, all-wheel drive supercar concept.
TREV is a range extender system that uses a micro-turbine (fueled either by liquid or gaseous fuels) to generate electricity that charges a battery pack. The battery powers the motors that drive the wheels. In 2010, Jaguar introduced a similar concept, the C-X75 extended range electric vehicle that used twin gas micro-turbines from Bladon Jets to power two switched reluctance generators from SR Drives. (Earlier post.)
Daimler invests €500M in new Li-ion battery factory in Germany
Daimler is investing €500 million (US$544 million) to build a second battery factory in Germany to produce lithium-ion batteries for Mercedes-Benz and smart hybrid and electric vehicles.
This will triple the production space of Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, located in Kamenz. As a first step, the full Daimler subsidiary has purchased about 20 hectares of land adjacent to the existing battery factory.
Volkswagen launches new luxury flagship Phideon at Geneva; plug-in hybrid drive planned; first VW brand car based on MLB
Volkswagen unveiled the new Volkswagen Phideon luxury sedan ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show 2016. The future of Volkswagen’s premium segment will go into production in China initially for the China market in the third quarter of 2016.
The new Phideon was developed in Germany with the assistance of VW’s Chinese partner SAIC Volkswagen. The sedan will be offered with high-efficiency turbocharged gasoline TSI engines, and a plug-in hybrid drive is also planned.
Chevrolet to offer small number of 2016 Silverados pickups with e-Assist mild-hybrid technology; 13% better city cycle fuel economy
February 25, 2016
Chevrolet will offer a small number—initially approximately 500 through California dealers—MY 2016 Silverado pickup trucks equipped with eAssist mild-hybrid technology. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet may adjust production for 2017 model year.
The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of electrified vehicles, including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13% better fuel economy in city driving.
Volvo sells 11 electric hybrid buses with 2 ABB automated fast-chargers to Namur, Belgium
Volvo has received an order for 11 electric hybrid buses and 2 ABB automated electric bus fast-chargers to the city of Namur in Belgium with public transport authority and operator TEC. This is the largest order to date for the company’s electric bus system.
TEC is buying the bus system as a turn-key solution. Volvo takes full responsibility for vehicle servicing, battery maintenance as well as maintenance of the standard-based charging stations for a fixed monthly cost. Start in-service is planned towards the end of 2016. Every year the TEC Group transports more than 250 million passengers.
Hyundai unveiling full IONIQ line at Geneva: HEV, PHEV and BEV
February 24, 2016
Hyundai will unveil all the members—hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric—of its IONIQ range at the Geneva Motor Show next week. In January, Hyundai released initial details on the new IONIQ dedicated hybrid—the first version of the platform to come to market. (Earlier post.)
The IONIQ Hybrid and IONIQ Plug-in both feature the new Kappa 1.6 GDI, gasoline direct injection, four-cylinder engine featuring a thermal efficiency of 40% and 104 hp (77 kW) and 147 N·m (57 lb-ft) of torque. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a six-speed double clutch transmission to enable a more dynamic driving experience than some other hybrids. The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension enhances driving dynamics.
Honda targeting 2/3 of unit sales from PHEVs, HEVs and ZEVs by ~2030; PHEVs the core of electrification
At a press event in Tokyo to lay out his future vision and direction for the company, Honda Motor President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that the company will strive to make two-thirds of its overall unit sales from plug-in hybrid/hybrid vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles and battery EVs by around 2030.
Hachigo said that Honda will will position plug-in hybrids at the core of electrification in the future and will introduce an all-new plug-in hybrid model in North America by 2018. After that, Honda will make a plug-in hybrid type available for the major models and increase the number of models sequentially.
GM’s new RWD PHEV system for Cadillac CT6 designed for fun-to-drive high performance as well as efficiency; Volt on steroids
February 19, 2016
In a preview of three detailed papers to be presented at the SAE World Congress in April, Tim Grewe, GM’s General Director of electrification, and Pete Savagian, GM General Director of electric drives and systems engineering, provided a technical overview of the new rear-wheel drive PHEV propulsion system for the Cadillac CT6 (earlier post) at the recent SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in Anaheim.
The efficient and very fun-to-drive system, with 335 kW (449 hp) combined system power, propels the CT6 from 0-100 km in 5.6 seconds; delivers an all-electric range of more than 60 km (37 miles) and an all-electric top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph); and features combined fuel consumption of less than 2.0 L/100 km (117.7 mpg US).
New Multi Stage Hybrid System in Lexus LC 500h; hybrid drive + 4-speed automatic
February 18, 2016
Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500, Lexus is introducing the new LC 500h, featuring the first Multi Stage Hybrid System, the next-generation of hybrid powertrains specifically designed for performance vehicles. The LC 500h delivers total system output of 264 kW (354 hp), with a targeted 0-100 km/h time of below 5 seconds. below 5
The Multi Stage Hybrid System (MSHS) was developed with opposing goals in mind: to create a hybrid with a more sporting and engaging driving experience by closely aligning engine speed with throttle inputs, and to achieve the best possible balance of power and fuel consumption. The new MSHS combines the elements of a Toyota/Lexus traditional full hybrid powertrain—including a 220 kW, 348 N·m 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack—with a 4-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission.
Automakers testing new GKN electric torque vectoring technology; “eTwinster”
Automakers are test-driving a new torque-vectoring electric drive system by GKN Automotive. The “eTwinster” technology is part of a range of new hybrid electric technologies GKN is showcasing to customers at its Wintertest proving ground in Arjeplog, Northern Sweden.
The eTwinster is a plug-in hybrid module that makes it simpler for vehicle platforms to offer electric all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. The driveline combines eAxle technologies proven in the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 plug-in hybrids and the twin-clutch torque vectoring technology that features in the Ford Focus RS and Range Rover Evoque.
Volvo Cars reveals new V90 wagon; PHEV model with ~31-mile electric range
Volvo unveiled its new Volvo V90 wagon in Stockholm, Sweden. The V90 is the latest in the premium car maker’s top-of-the-line 90 series sitting alongside the award winning XC90 SUV (earlier post) and the recently-launched S90 premium sedan.
The 90 series vehicles are built on the company’s specially-designed and fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). (Earlier post.) The V90, like the XC90 and the S90, offers the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, delivering up to around 410 hp.
Daimler managers to drive PHEV company cars
February 16, 2016
As policy, Daimler managers will be driving electrified company cars—mainly its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. Furthermore, Daimler this year will invest a further €30 million (US$34 million) into extending the company’s own charging infrastructure across many of its sites. This will also benefit employees, who have access to a growing range of vehicles with alternative drive systems.
The agreement applies to the company’s senior levels of management and focuses on plug-in hybrids. Daimler AG believes that the technology offered by these vehicles provides a key to zero-emission driving and is therefore expanding its product portfolio with plug-in hybrid drive systems. The models already presented and mostly already introduced to the market are the S 500 e in sedan, the C 350 e in sedan, wagon and extended-wheelbase versions, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC and the new E 350 e sedan.
CPT invests £1M to industrialize switched-reluctance 48V mild hybrid technology; new durability test cells
UK-based Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification technology, has invested £1 million (US$1.4 million) to further industrialize its CO2 and NOx reduction capabilities for the global automotive and transport industries.
CPT specializes in the safe low-voltage application of switched-reluctance machines (SRMs) to a vehicle powertrain and driveline, providing intelligent electrification of the propulsion system with near full hybrid vehicle capability. (Earlier post.) The £1-million spend will support seven projects at the company’s new technical center in Coventry and at its headquarters in Laindon. A significant proportion of the funding targets product and manufacturing process maturity by capital expenditure in new durability test cells at Laindon and a low volume manufacturing facility in Coventry.
CMU study finds that coal retirement is needed for EVs to reduce air pollution
February 12, 2016
Electric vehicles charged in coal-heavy regions can create more human health and environmental damages from life cycle air emissions than gasoline vehicles, according to a new consequential life cycle analysis by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. However, the anticipated—albeit now possibly delayed, per the recent Supreme Court decision—retirement of coal-fired power plants will make electric vehicles more competitive on an air emissions basis, the researchers found.
Among the findings of the study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, was that battery electric vehicles with large battery capacity can produce two to three times as much air emissions damage as gasoline hybrid electric vehicles, depending on charge timing.
BMW introduces iPerformance designation, starting with three 7-Series plug-ins
At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, BMW will officially introduce the new iPerformance model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles starting in July 2016, as a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.
In order to make BMW’s electrification strategy visible from the outside, all iPerformance models will display a BMW i logo on the front side panel, BMW i-style blue elements in the kidney grille and wheel hubs, and an eDrive logo on the C-pillar. BMW iPerformance will celebrate its premiere in the new BMW 7 Series luxury sedan through the plug-in hybrid members of the line-up: the new BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance.
Kia introduces 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle, Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-in Hybrid at Chicago
Kia unveiled three major hybrid offerings at the Chicago Auto Show: the 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle; the new Optima Hybrid; and the new Optima Plug-in Hybrid. While the Niro Hybrid was preceded by clean mobility products such as the Optima Hybrid and Soul EV, Niro is the first Kia to make use of an all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and is an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand’s global green car line-up by 2020.
The Niro features an all-new, advanced Kappa 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 103 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiency.
UC Riverside reinforcement-learning-based real-time energy management system can improve PHEV efficiency by almost 12%
February 09, 2016
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have demonstrated that a new, data-driven, reinforcement-learning-based, real-time energy management system (EMS) can improve the efficiency of current plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by almost 12% compared to the standard, binary mode control strategy. The UCR EMS optimizes the power-split control in real time while learning the optimal decisions from historical driving cycles.
Further, the ~12% improvement does not factor in charging opportunities. An 8% fuel saving—again, compared to the standard binary mode EMS—can be achieved when charging opportunities are considered, the researchers said in a paper describing the system in the journal Transportation Research Record.
Schaeffler P2 high-voltage hybrid module expected in North American light-duty truck by 2020; also 48V applications
February 01, 2016
In September 2015, Schaeffler showcased its new P2 (parallel, two-clutch) high-voltage hybrid module at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, and announced that the new module will be put into volume production for the first time at the start of 2017.
Schaeffler has developed a variation on the P2 hybrid module for the US market with an integrated torque converter, resulting in further improvements in space utilization. Schaeffler expects this high-voltage solution to be in use in a North American light-duty truck by 2020.
Study of eco-driving in hybrids finds need for systems that facilitate energy-efficient behaviors
January 30, 2016
A study of eco-driving behavior in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) by a team from Technische Universität Chemnitz (Germany) and the University of Southampton (UK) has found that simply providing drivers with a technology that has the potential for high energy savings—i.e., a hybrid—is not sufficient to result in high energy savings; systems must be developed in a way that facilitates energy efficient behaviors.
Put another way, they found that eco-driving motivation does not guarantee ecodriving success. Their study showed that even among drivers who were highly motivated for eco-driving, the individual differences in applied ecodriving strategies were still substantial. Building on the results, the team presented a number of suggestions for the design of systems that facilitate ecodriving. A paper on their study is published in the journal Applied Ergonomics.
ALABC: 48V mild hybrids can meet emission targets with CO2 reductions of 15-20%
January 27, 2016
Current mild-hybrid vehicle projects, in partnership with Ford and Hyundai/Kia, that utilize advanced 48V lead-carbon batteries, can reduce CO2 emissions by 15-20%, according to the latest data from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), presented at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (25-28 January, Mainz).
The T-Hybrid (based on a Kia Optima) (earlier post) and the ADEPT (based on a Ford Focus) (earlier post) both utilize an advanced 48V lead-carbon battery system with bolt-on electrical components that allow for significant engine-downsizing without loss in performance.
Toyota hybrid sales in Europe up 17% in 2015, representing 24% of total TME sales
January 14, 2016
Despite the lowest gasoline prices in Europe in 5 years, Toyota Motor Europe’s (TME) sales of hybrid vehicles continued their 5-year increase to reach 209,000 units for the full year 2015, up 17% year-on-year. Sales of Toyota and Lexus-branded hybrid vehicles now represent 24% of the group’s sales on the continent, up from 20% a year ago. In Western Europe only, sales of hybrid represent a third of total sales. Overall sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles were 874,000 units in 2015, a drop of 1.5% year-on-year.
Within those hybrid sales, the Yaris hybrid recorded sales of 72,000 in 2015, up 23% versus last year, showing that hybrid technology is accessible even on a B-segment vehicle. More than one in three Yaris sold in Europe is a hybrid.
PwC: electrified vehicle sales on the rise in Europe, continued growth expected
January 13, 2016
PwC’s Autofacts group estimates sales of pure electric, plug-in mild and full hybrids will grow 433% to 2.2 million units by 2021, driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressure. While alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)—including hybrids and pure electric—are gaining consumer acceptance in the European Union (EU), even in the face of decreased fuel prices, these reduced emission offerings are still a comparatively low%age of overall vehicle sales in this critical market.
Pure electric and plug-in hybrids vehicle sales grew 82.2% from September 2014 to September 2015, as opposed to mild and full hybrids which increased 22% during the same period. The significant EV growth can be attributed to several factors, according to PwC, including consumer desire for more emission-friendly vehicles, the maturation of pure electric technologies and their positive perception among consumers, and continued government incentives.
Mercedes-Benz introduces new E-Class with PHEV version coming
At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz introduced the 10th generation of its E-Class. The new sedans feature the world premiere of a number of technical innovations including additional driver assistance, infotainment and control systems.
The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market launch: the E 200 with a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 220 d with an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine. Further model variants will be added to the range after the market launch, including the E 350 e plug-in hybrid. The E 350 e will deliver some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of all-electric range.
Chrysler introduces Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan; 80 mpge city, 30-mile AER
January 11, 2016
Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2017 Pacifica minivan in both conventional and plug-in hybrid versions at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The PHEV is the minivan segment’s first.
The Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 MPGe based on US Environmental Protection Agency standards.
Volkswagen unveils Tiguan GTE plug-in hybrid concept SUV at Detroit show; MQB-based SUV
Volkswagen is unveiling the Tiguan GTE Active Concept plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The five-seat concept is based on the completely redeveloped second-generation Tiguan—the first SUV to be based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB)—which will arrive in the US market in 2017 with a longer wheelbase and available seven-seat functionality. For Volkswagen, the new Tiguan marks the kickoff of an SUV product offensive that will significantly expand the range of vehicles offered, especially in North America.
The Tiguan GTE Active Concept is equipped with a turbocharged and direct-injection TSI gasoline engine that produces 148 hp (110 kW) and 184 lb-ft (201 N·m) of torque, mated to two electric motors: 40 kW on the front axle and 85 kW on the rear. The total system power of 221 hp (165 kW) can supply all four wheels with propulsive force under off-road conditions and the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system also boosts traction and contributes to active safety on normal pavement.
Hyundai releases initial details on the coming IONIQ hybrid
January 07, 2016
Hyundai’s new IONIQ range will feature a choice of electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid powertrains, a world first for a single model. (Earlier post.) At an unveiling in Korea, Hyundai released some initial details on the new IONIQ dedicated hybrid—the first version of the platform to come to market.
The powertrain combines a new high thermal efficiency (40%) 1.6-liter Kappa GDi engine developed exclusively for Hyundai Motor’s hybrid engines with a permanent magnetic electric motor to deliver maximum outputs of 105ps (77 kw) and 47ps (35 kW), respectively.
Lux: micro-hybrids will provide the most economical path for automakers to meet 2025 fuel efficiency targets
January 06, 2016
While battery-electric vehicles, super-light carbon fiber composites, and hydrogen fuel cells will all be available, a new report from Lux Research has concluded that micro-hybrids will provide the most economical route—$1,700 additional average vehicle cost—to meet aggressive fuel efficiency targets in 2025: 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) in the US and 95 g CO2/km in Europe.
The Lux report—Building the Car of 2025: How to Cost-Effectively Get to 54.5 MPG Using the Right Mix of Advanced Technologies—concluded that nearly half of the improvements required to meet the targets will come from improvements in micro-hybrid technology, notably through improved batteries, while lighter structural materials will contribute 39% and improved fuels will add 13%.
Gen 2 low-cost flywheel-based Torotrak KERS for buses en route to production in mid-2016
January 05, 2016
Torotrak Group and Wrightbus have completed the in-service trial of a Wrightbus StreetLite midi bus fitted with Torotrak’s Flybrid mechanical kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). The trial was made possible by and conducted with Arriva, one of the largest bus operators in the UK.
The trial, conducted on a standard bus route in Gillingham, Kent from March 2015, successfully demonstrated the performance of the Flybrid KERS under real-world operating conditions including the capture, storage and release of energy from the brakes and the drivability of the system. The learnings from the trial have already proven invaluable in selecting the operating strategy for the volume production system, which will be a second generation design, the partners said.
Dalian team proposes jet controlled compression ignition to control PCCI phasing in a hybrid pneumatic engine
December 30, 2015
Researchers at the Dalian University of Technology have proposed a novel method to control premixed charge compression ignition (PCCI) phasing in internal combustion engines in all load operations. High-pressure air jet controlled compression ignition (JCCI) is based on a compound thermodynamic cycle and is implemented in a hybrid pneumatic engine (HPE) as proposed by Schechter in 1999.
The application of HPE is also beneficial to the fuel consumption and emissions because of its several flexible operation modes. A paper on the use of JCCI is published in the ACS journal Energy & Fuels.
Mercedes-Benz publishes lifecycle analysis of its first PHEV SUV: GLE 500 e
December 22, 2015
The GLE 500 e 4MATIC burns 3.7–3.3 liters of fuel for every 100 km (63.5 to 71.2 mpge), equating to CO2 emissions of 84–78 g/km; electric power consumption is 16.7 kWh per 100 km. All-electric range is up to 30 km (18.6 miles), and all-electric top speed is 130 km/h (81 mph)—corresponding to the recommended speed on German autobahns.
Navigant forecasts global light duty electrified vehicle sales to exceed 6.0M in 2024; PEVs to account for roughly half
December 21, 2015
In a new report, Electric Vehicle Market Forecasts, Navigant research projects that under its base scenario, global sales of light duty electrified vehicles (i.e., vehicles that use electricity for traction, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electrics) will grow from 2.6 million vehicle sales in 2015 to more than 6.0 million in 2024.
Under a conservative scenario, Navigant forecasts more than 5.8 million electrified vehicles by 2024, while the aggressive scenario sees more than 6.4 million. Navigant estimates that sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) accounted for roughly 19% of electrified vehicle sales in 2015; in 2024, Navigant expects light duty PEVs to capture between 47% and 51% of the electrified vehicle market.
Hyundai and Kia license Paice’s hybrid vehicle technology, ending litigation
December 13, 2015
Paice has reached an agreement to license all of its hybrid vehicle technology to Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. Paice has now licensed all or part of its hybrid vehicle technology portfolio to Toyota, Hyundai/Kia, and Ford. These three companies currently account for 90% of all hybrid vehicle sales in the United States.
The confidential licensing agreement with Hyundai and Kia brings an end to all litigation between the companies. Paice and the Abell Foundation, a Baltimore-based non-profit organization that invested in Paice, filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia in US District Court in 2012. After an eight-day jury trial earlier this year, the jury sided with Paice and Abell, awarding $28,915,600.
FEV-developed plug-in hybrid battery pack moves into series production
December 11, 2015
A plug-in hybrid vehicle has gone into series production with technology provided by FEV. In addition to using an innovative transmission concept based on a FEV patent, the PHEV also uses an FEV-developed battery pack. The pack offers a capacity of 10 kWh and yields an all-electric range of about 50 kilometers (30 miles).
FEV was responsible as a turn-key partner for the development of the battery hardware and software, throughout the development of the overall concept, as well as for testing and validation. Future production will be undertaken by suppliers in the Asian market.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid to start at $28,645; 47 mpg combined
The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid LT (earlier post) will be available this spring with a starting price of $28,645. With an all-new, hybrid powertrain that uses a slightly modified drive unit and electric motors used in the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, the Malibu Hybrid offers a GM-estimated 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway, and 47 mpg combined (4.9, 5.2 and 5.0 l/100 km, respectively)—leading figures in the mid-size car segment. Official EPA estimates are pending.
The Malibu Hybrid powertrain uses a new Ecotec 122 hp, 129 lb-ft (175 N·m) 1.8L hybrid-optimized naturally-aspirated direct-injected engine mated with a two-motor electric drive unit and a 1.5 kWh Li-ion battery. Motor B (motoring) delivers 76 kW; Motor A (generating) delivers 55 kW. System horespower is 182 hp @ 5000 rpm; system torque is 277 lb-ft (376 N·m) @ 4750 rpm.
Ford investing additional $4.5B to add 13 new electrified vehicles by 2020; new fast-charging Focus Electric next year
December 10, 2015
Ford is investing an additional $4.5 billion to add 13 new electrified vehicles to its portfolio by 2020, when more than 40% of the company’s global nameplates will come in electrified versions. Although Ford is currently the second-largest vendor of electrified vehicles in the US, having sold more than 450,000 units since the introduction of its first hybrid (the Escape Hybrid) in 2004 (earlier post), it has not brought a new electrified vehicle model to its US showrooms since the Focus Energi plug-in hybrid in February 2013.
The new $4.5B infusion is Ford’s largest-ever electrified vehicle investment in a five-year period.
Ford expanding global electrified vehicle battery R&D
Ford is expanding its electrified vehicles research and development program in Europe and Asia this year, creating a “hub-and-spoke” system that allows the global team to further accelerate battery technology and take advantage of market-specific opportunities.
The global expansion also allows Ford’s Electrified Powertrain Engineering teams to share common technologies and test batteries virtually, in real time, to develop new technology faster while reducing the need for costly prototypes.
Hyundai introduces IONIQ: compact car with BEV, PHEV or HEV powertrains
December 07, 2015
Hyundai Motor announced the name of its advanced, alternative-fuel compact vehicle due for launch in 2016: the Hyundai IONIQ. The car will be available with battery-electric electric (BEV), plug-in gasoline/electric hybrid (PHEV), or gasoline/electric hybrid (HEV) powertrains—the first car from any manufacturer to offer customers these three powertrain options in a single body type.
Based on an exclusive new platform, made specifically for the car’s multi-powertrain options, the IONIQ chassis is optimized to deliver responsive handling while remaining efficient in each of its three powertrain configurations.
Volvo to introduce new S90 sedan with plug-in hybrid version at Detroit show in January
December 02, 2015
Volvo Cars will publicly unveil its new S90 premium sedan at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit in January. The new Volvo S90 comes equipped with an advanced semi-autonomous drive feature, Pilot Assist. The system gives gentle steering inputs to keep the car properly aligned within lane markings up to motorway speeds of around 130 km/h and no longer needs to follow another car. Pilot Assist is another step towards full autonomous drive—a key innovation area for Volvo.
The S90 will also offer a T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain. (Earlier post.)
New Audi R18 makes its debut; fundamental redesign of diesel hybrid racer with Li-ion battery storage
November 29, 2015
The new Audi R18 made its world premiere on the occasion of the Audi Sport Finale at the Audi Training Center Munich on Saturday. Audi Sport has fundamentally re-designed the Audi R18 for the 2016 season.
The LMP1 race car that will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2016 features innovative aerodynamics; represents the next stage in lightweight design; and has a modified hybrid system with lithium-ion batteries for energy storage, plus an efficiency-optimized TDI engine. The 2015 R18 e-tron quattro racer featured an encapsulated WHP flywheel energy storage system that sat in the cockpit alongside the driver. (Earlier post.)
Audi of America targeting 25% of sales to be plug-ins by 2025; national network of 150 kW fast chargers
November 19, 2015
Flanked by the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron (earlier post) on one side and the Audi concept e-tron quattro (earlier post) on the other, Audi of America president Scott Keogh used his press conference speech at the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday to declare that the brand is targeting at least 25% of its US sales to be e-tron—i.e., plug-in hybrid or full electric—models by 2025.
Further, Keogh said, Audi will support the broad adoption of EV technology in the US by developing a nationwide 150 kW fast charging network that would charge the 95 kWh battery pack of the e-tron quattro to 80% in only 30 minutes—enough for 200 miles worth of driving in the battery-electric SUV. The network will be in place for the launch of the fully electric SUV in 2018.
Toyota anticipates 2016 Prius at 52 mpg combined, 56 mpg with Eco grade
November 18, 2015
Toyota anticipates that the 2016 Prius (earlier post) will deliver fuel economy ratings of 54 MPG city / 50 MPG highway / 52 MPG combined. (Final EPA figures pending.) A new Eco grade model is expecting ratings of 58 MPG city / 53 MPG highway / 56 MPG combined thanks to lighter weight and further optimized aerodynamics.
As in the third-generation Prius, the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the output of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 2016 Prius uses smaller, lighter hybrid components, including a new lithium-ion hybrid battery that replaces the nickel-metal hydride battery (excluding the Prius Two non-Eco grade) in most models. The new battery’s smaller size and flatter shape allow it to be packaged under the rear seat, rather than beneath the luggage area, yielding more cargo space.
More details on the coming new Kia Optima hybrid and plug-in hybrid
November 17, 2015
Kia Motors has provided a few more details on the new hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains planned for the all-new Optima, as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to broaden its global range of low-emission vehicles. (Earlier post.)
A new addition to the Kia model line-up, the Optima Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) will be Kia’s first plug-in hybrid for global markets when it goes on sale in the second half of 2016, offering increased battery capacity and pure electric range. Meanwhile, the new Optima Hybrid (HEV) will offer buyers substantial improvements over the existing Optima Hybrid, with a larger battery pack, more powerful electric motor and revised transmission. These changes are expected to contribute to a 10% improvement in fuel economy over earlier versions of the Optima Hybrid.
Audi highlights its range of electrification efforts; Q7 diesel PHEV, A7 fuel cell PHEV, BEV, 48V and more; 750 Wh/l by 2025
Audi presented a range of its ongoing work on electromobility and efficiency—from fuels and systems to full vehicles—under the “Future Performance Days 2015” banner.
On the full vehicle side, Audi put forward the Audi Q7 e-tron 3.0 TDI quattro plug-in hybrid (earlier post); the Audi A7 h-tron quattro fuel cell vehicle (earlier post); the Audi e-tron quattro concept battery-electric SUV (earlier post); the Audi TT clubsport turbo concept (earlier post); the Audi RS 5 TDI competition concept (earlier post); and the Audi R18 e-tron quattro (earlier post). On the systems and fuels side, Audi discussed battery technology; wireless charging; 48 V electrification (earlier post); Audi fuel cell technology; and Audi e-fuels (earlier post).
Ford offering 3 years’ complimentary public charging to C-MAX Energi customers in California and Maryland with EV 1-2-3 Charge
Ford Motor Company will offer three years of complimentary charging to California and Maryland customers who purchase or lease a 2016 C-MAX Energi with its pilot EV 1-2-3 Charge program. EV 1-2-3 Charge will provide unlimited, complimentary charging sessions of four hours each at more than 500 NRG EVgo and SemaConnect public stations across the nation. C-MAX Energi is capable of being fully charged in approximately 2.5 hours with the 240-volt charging stations that are included in the program.
Beginning in December, Ford will make it easy for customers to find these charge stations with MyFord Mobile, which will identify participating stations with a pink-colored icon. The MyFord Mobile app and website are integrated with the vehicle’s in-car communications and entertainment system – SYNC 3.
Kia outlines 5-year plan for more green vehicles; Optima PHEV, Niro hybrid, FCV; $10.2B investment
November 16, 2015
Kia Motors outlined its mid- to long-term plans for the development of a greatly increased range of environmentally friendly vehicles, with the goal of becoming a leader in the low-emissions car market by 2020. Kia said it intends to expand its green car line-up from four current models to 11 by 2020, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicles.
The five-year development plan will see Kia further increase its investment in research and development (R&D) into fuel-efficient technologies and new products, with a range of all-new models and highly advanced powertrains for global markets.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid coming to market with EPA-estimated 27-mile electric range; starts at $34,600
November 13, 2015
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is arriving in select dealerships in 10 states this week with an EPA-estimated 27-mile (43.5-kilometer) All-Electric Range (AER). At the Sonata PHEV’s launch in January, Hyundai had estimated a 22-mile AER (earlier post), which it later bumped up to around 24 miles (earlier post).
The 2016 Sonata Plug-in is EPA-rated at 99 MPGe combined, with 34 kWh/100 miles, and 40 mpg combined for charge sustaining (conventional hybrid) operation. Pricing (without factoring in incentives) starts at $34,600 for the base model and $38,600 for the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Limited model.
Toyota announces expected fuel economy and pricing for RAV4 Hybrid: 33 mpg combined, entry at $28,370
November 06, 2015
Toyota anticipates that the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid—unveiled earlier this year at the New York International Auto Show (earlier post) and the eighth hybrid in Toyota’s line-up—will receive EPA ratings of 34 mpg city / 31 mpg highway / 33 mpg combined (6.9, 7.6 and 7.1 l/100 km, respectively) for both 2016 RAV4 Hybrid models. The RAV4 Hybrid comes in two premium grades: XLE and Limited. The RAV4 gasoline version comes in four grades: LE, XLE, Limited and the new SE.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2016 RAV4 Hybrid will be $28,370 for the AWD XLE and $33,610 for the AWD Limited. MSRP for the 2016 RAV4 gasoline models will range from $24,350 for the LE 2WD to $32,910 for the AWD Limited.
First drive: US spec Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid; 83-86 MPGe with 16-17 mile EV range
November 02, 2015
More than two and one-half years after the car was first announced (earlier post) and more than one year after sales began in Germany and Central Europe (earlier post), the US-spec version of the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid will begin arriving in US showrooms in the next few weeks.
Although the EPA has not as of this writing released the final fuel economy numbers for the US A3 e-tron, Filip Brabec, Director, Product Management, Audi of America, said that the figures will be around 83 to 86 MPGe combined (depending on the equipment level), with 35 to 39 mpg gasoline only and 16-17 miles of EV range. The A3 e-tron can cruise at up to 80 mph in all-electric mode; a spec we confirmed—with enjoyment—last week during a media drive in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Audi using Alstom H3 plug-in hybrid shunting locomotive at Ingolstadt
October 30, 2015
Audi has begun using a new 1,000 horsepower plug-in hybrid shunting locomotive manufactured by Alstom in daily operations at the Audi plant in Ingolstadt, Germany. The new locomotive runs without any emissions inside the plant buildings and can operate for up to two hours at a time in purely electric mode. Its battery is plugged in during breaks for recharging with CO2‑free electricity, or is supported while in motion by a diesel engine.
The three-axle Alstom H3 hybrid locomotive is significantly quieter than its conventional counterparts, and can deliver up to a 50% reduction in diesel fuel use, with a concomitant reduction in CO2emissions. This means that the plug‑in‑hybrid locomotive emits up to 60 tons less CO2 each year. For the Ingolstadt plant, this is another stage on the way to the CO2‑neutral factory.
Acura provides more technical detail on NSX sports hybrid AWD powertrain, body
October 28, 2015
Acura unveiled the production model of the next-generation NSX at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this past January (earlier post), and now has provided more technical detail on the high-performance hybrid sports car and its new Sport Hybrid-AWD power unit.
At the core of this new hybrid power unit is a bespoke, mid-mounted twin-turbocharged, 75-degree 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with dry sump lubrication, mated to an all-new 9-speed dual clutch transmission (9DCT) and Direct-Drive Motor. This is augmented by the front Twin Motor Unit (TMU) driving the front wheels. The NSX Sport Hybrid power unit offers exceptional horsepower and torque with a broad powerband for tremendous throttle response and acceleration. Total system peak output is estimated at 573 horsepower—500 horsepower from the gasoline engine and 73 horsepower from the front TMU.
JRC report finds electric vehicles in Europe on the way to full-scale commercialization
October 23, 2015
The European Union appears to be undergoing a transition from the testing of and experimentation with electric vehicles to full-scale EV commercialization, according to a new report from the EU’s Joint Research Center (JRC). This report covers battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), range extended electric vehicles (REV), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
The number of sold electric vehicles of all types rose from 760 in 2010 to more than 70,000 in 2014, with the trend continuing in the first half of 2015, according to the report. The choice of models went from 3 to nearly 30 in the same period. The share of electric vehicles produced in the EU has also expanded, increasing from 30% (of EV registered in the EU) in 2011 to 65% in 2014.
2016 Prius c hybrid gets big safety boost with Safety Sense-C system
October 17, 2015
Toyota gave its Prius c—the smallest of the brand’s eight hybrid models—a major styling and interior upgrade for 2015; for 2016 the big enhancement is the available Toyota Safety Sense C (TSS-C), which equips the car with an array of driver-assist technologies: Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Assist, and Automatic High Beams.
In adapting Toyota’s hybrid technology to the Prius c platform, each of the system’s major components benefitted from a design focus to reduce weight and size while improving efficiency. Toyota’s hybrid technology integrates a gasoline engine, an electric motor within a Continuously Variable Transaxle, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a power control unit (inverter), a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter and a hybrid control computer.
Volvo Cars introduces new compact architecture; expects electrified vehicles to be 10% of total sales by 2020
October 15, 2015
Volvo Cars will extend its range of compact cars into new segments based on its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA)—a smaller version of Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) (earlier post). The company’s first car on CMA is expected to be launched in 2017. CMA’s introduction in 2017 means that all future Volvo cars will be built on just two fully scalable and wholly modular vehicle architectures.
The company also announced its electrification strategy in which plug-in hybrids will be introduced across its entire range. Volvo Cars will also develop an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars and build a fully electric car for sale by 2019.
Toyota announces aggressive environmental targets through 2050; cutting new vehicle CO2 by 90% compared to 2010
October 14, 2015
Addressing key global environmental issues such as climate change, water shortages, resource depletion, and degradation of biodiversity, the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 aims to reduce the negative impact of manufacturing and driving vehicles as much as possible. The challenge comprises six individual challenges across three areas: Ever-better cars, quantified as reducing global average new-vehicle CO2 emissions by 90% by 2050 compared to Toyota’s 2010 global average; ever-better manufacturing (zero CO2 emissions at all plants by 2050); and enriching the lives of communities.
As a key step toward achieving these long-term targets, Toyota is announcing its Sixth Toyota Environmental Action Plan, which will be enacted between April 2016 and the end of March 2021.
Volkswagen: reorienting diesel strategy, new Modular Electric Toolkit, MQB push on PHEVs, electric Phaeton
October 13, 2015
The newly-formed Volkswagen Brand Board of Management has made a number of major strategic product decisions, including a reorientation of the diesel strategy to use the most advanced emission aftertreatment technologies; the development of a standardized electric architecture (Modular Electric Toolkit, MEB) for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles; and an electric next-generation Phaeton.
Further, Volkswagen will accelerate its efficiency program and cut spending by some €1 billion per year.