[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.]
Hitachi Automotive Systems supplying 5 kW/kg high power density prismatic Li-ion cells for MY 2016 Malibu Hybrid
May 20, 2015
Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. will supply 5,000 W/kg high power density prismatic lithium-ion battery cells for the new MY 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (earlier post). Featuring a new full-hybrid powertrain which leverages technology from the Chevrolet Volt, the 2016 Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg (5.22 l/100 km).
The Hitachi Li-ion cells employ heat resistant separators to ensure the ionic conductivity between the electrodes, achieving not only a high output power density of 5,000W/kg, but also a high level of safety. In addition to this, the battery’s ability to maintain its high output power density in GM evaluations, even under extremely low temperatures such as the -30 ˚C cold region test, led to its adoption.
First drive: Volvo XC90 T8 Drive-E Twin Engine PHEV sets a high bar for full-size luxury SUV plug-ins in US
May 17, 2015
With the 2016 XC90 (earlier post) heading to dealerships across the US, Volvo Cars gave media an opportunity to experience the next generation of its full-size luxury SUV—in both its conventional T6 and plug-in hybrid T8 Drive-E Twin Engine forms—in and around Los Angeles. Volvo also brought in members of its engineering and design teams, including Michael Fleiss, VP of Powertrain Engineering, to provide more technical details on the car.
The XC90 is a critical car for Volvo’s revitalization worldwide and especially in the US market. Combining Volvo’s new design language, advanced safety and in-car connectivity technologies, and the new strategic Drive-E powertrains, the XC90 is the first product based on Volvo’s new strategic Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). (Earlier post.) The XC90 T8 Twin Engine will be the first 3-row, 7-passenger, plug-in hybrid electric light-duty vehicle in the US when it arrives in showrooms toward the end of 2015, but will soon be joined by—at least—the Audi Q7 e-tron quattro diesel PHEV (earlier post), the Mercedes-Benz GLE 550e PHEV (earlier post), and the BMW X5 xDrive 40e (earlier post).
Volkswagen unveils Golf GTE Sport PHEV concept: 0-100 km/h in 4.3s and 118 mpg
May 14, 2015
|Golf GTE Sport PHEV concept. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen used the annual Wörthersee festival in Austria as the venue to unveil the Golf GTE Sport concept plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Featuring a carbon fiber body and a three power unit, all-wheel drive system, the 295 kW (396 hp) Golf GTE Sport accelerates from 0 - 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds, has a top speed of up to 280 km/h (174 mph), yet offers fuel consumption of just 2.0 l/100 km/h (118 mpg) on the NEDC cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles. All-electric range is up to 50 km (31 miles).
The 1.6 liter TSI (turbocharged direct-injection engine) adapted from the engine used in the Polo R WRC (World Rally Car) is fitted in the engine compartment at the front. The delivers 220 kW (295 hp) and maximum torque of 400 N·m (295 lb-ft). Volkswagen has already won the World Rally Championship twice with this engine. In the Golf GTE Sport, the four-cylinder unit is assisted by two electric motors, each producing 85 kW.
BMW will launch plug-in hybrid version of refreshed 3 Series in 2016: BMW 330e
May 07, 2015
As part of its introduction of the lifecycle freshening for all 3 Series Sedans and Sports Wagons, BMW announced that it will launch the BMW 330e plug-in hybrid in 2016. The BMW 330e will be powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system with a combined output of around 250 hp (186 kW) and 310 lb-ft (420 N·m) (preliminary).
The BMW 330e will accelerate from 0–60 mph in approximately 6.1 seconds (preliminary) and have a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h) (preliminary). The new BMW 330e is also capable of traveling up to 22 miles (35 km) in all-electric mode.
OEMs shifting towards onboard chargers > 6 kW for EVs; lower output chargers to remain dominant through 2020
May 05, 2015
Most battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) manufacturers in Europe and the US have been adopting onboard chargers with a power output between 3 to 3.7 kilowatts (kW). Now, EV manufacturers are moving towards onboard chargers with a power output greater than 6.6 kW to reduce charging time.
While high-end PHEVs are contributing to this trend, lower-end models in this segment are still using 3.7 kW onboard chargers. Consequently, onboard chargers with power ratings between 3 to 3.7 kW are expected to remain dominant, accounting for 62% of sales even in 2020, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.
Volkswagen Group to offer more than 20 electric vehicle models in China “in near future”
The Volkswagen Group plans to offer more than 20 electric vehicle models—from small cars to large sedans and SUVs, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles—to Chinese customers “in the near future,” according to Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, Member of the Group Board of Management with responsibility for China, in a special essay published in the Environment section of the company’s newly released sustainability report.
The Chinese government has set guidelines to reduce CO2 emissions in China to a fleet fuel consumption of 5 l/100 km (47 mpg US) as measured on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) by 2020. The expected fleet average this year is 6.9 l/100 km (34 mpg US). Thus, the government is requiring an overall reduction of about 28%, or 6.2% per year, between 2015 and 2020. Meeting this target will be even more challenging than meeting the 95 g/km target for 2020 set by the European Union, writes Dr. Heizmann, explaining:
Wrightspeed unveils new turbine range extender for medium- and heavy-duty electric powertrains; 30% more efficient than current microturbine generators
May 04, 2015
Wrightspeed Inc., a developer of range-extended electric vehicle powertrains for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (earlier post), has unveiled the Fulcrum, a new proprietary turbine generator for use in its Route family of electric powertrains (Route for Class 3-6, Route HD for Class 7-8). The new 80 kW Fulcrum is a radial inflow, axial turbine, intercooled and recuperated. Fulcrum is a single shaft machine, the generator runs at turbine speed (~100,000 rpm). Weighing in at 250 lbs (113.4 kg), the Fulcrum is approximately 1/10th the weight of its piston generator counterparts and it is designed to have a 10,000-hour lifetime.
The Route extended range electric powertrains incorporate a range-extending genset designed to recharge the high-power battery pack (currently from A123 Systems) and Wrightspeed’s own geared traction drive (GTD) (earlier post). Wrightspeed, founded by Ian Wright, one of the original co-founders of Tesla Motors, has used a 65 kW Capstone microturbine in earlier Route powertrains. The 65 kW Capstone unit weighs 300 lbs (136.1 kg), for a power-to-weight ratio of 478 W/kg; by comparison, Wrightspeed’s new Fulcrum microturbine offers a power-to-weight ratio of 750 W/kg. With Fulcrum, on which the company has been working for about 3 years, Wrightspeed now owns 100% of the Intellectual Property of its powertrain products.
GM provides technical details of the Gen 2 Voltec propulsion system used in the 2016 Volt
April 23, 2015
The second-generation “Voltec” extended range electric powertrain applied in the MY2016 Chevy Volt (earlier post) marks a significant evolution in the electric drive technology platform from its first-generation origins. After proving a initial look at the design and capability of the different components (earlier post) late last year, GM is now providing deeper technical insight into the second-generation platform.
At the SAE 2015 World Congress in Detroit this week, GM engineers are presenting four papers on the technology of the Gen 2 Voltec propulsion system: an overview of the system and the realized improvements in efficiency and performance; a paper on the significantly re-engineered traction power inverter module (TPIM); a paper on the design and performance of the new electric motors used in the propulsion system; and a paper on the selection and design of the optimized gasoline-fueled 1.5-liter range extender engine.
Emissions testing shows Lighting Hybrids hydraulic hybrid drive delivers significant reduction in NOx, up to 18% improved fuel consumption
April 21, 2015
|The LH gasoline hydraulic hybrid shows an extreme reduction in NOx compared to a diesel baseline. Source: Lightning Hybrids. Click to enlarge.|
Lightning Hybrids (LH), a provider of hydraulic hybrid drive systems for fleet vehicles such as shuttle buses, delivery vehicles and work trucks (earlier post), has released some results from its ongoing emissions testing with SGS Environmental Testing Corporation. Broadly, the test results show significant reductions in NOx, particularly against a non-hybrid diesel baseline, and fuel economy improvements of up to 18% for the vehicle and under the drive cycles tested.
By design, LH noted, a hybrid drive system provides benefits during a vehicle’s braking and subsequent acceleration phases, so not all drive cycles will take equal advantage of the system. For example, an urban delivery truck which stops many times per mile will benefit strongly, whereas a truck that spends most of its time on the highway would not be a good candidate for any form of hybridization.
Volkswagen introduces high-end plug-in hybrid C Coupé GTE concept in Shanghai
April 20, 2015
At Auto Shanghai, Volkswagen is presenting the world premiere of the C Coupé GTE, which illustrates a new design approach for future top-end sedans at Volkswagen. This four-door concept car for the Chinese market—which is more than five meters in length—is powered by a plug-in hybrid drive system, the drive sources of which combine to produce 500 N·m of system torque.
The front-wheel drive C Coupé GTE can be powered all-electrically up to a speed of 130 km/h (81 mph); this mode enables driving with zero local emissions and a range of 50 kilometers (31 miles). The car’s combined fuel consumption (NEDC for plug-in hybrid vehicles) is 2.3 liters per 100 kilometers. This figure equates to CO2 emissions of 55 grams per kilometer. The car’s total driving range is over 800 kilometers.
Cadillac announces CT6 plug-in hybrid for China
April 19, 2015
Cadillac will add a Plug-In Hybrid Electric (PHEV) propulsion system to its upcoming range-topping CT6 sedan, to be manufactured at the new Shanghai GM Cadillac plant, Pudong Jinqiao, China. The new PHEV version of the CT6 will be capable of greater than 60 km (32.4 miles) of all-electric range, and pairs with Cadillac’s 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder gas engine to offer estimated fuel efficiency of approximately 2.0L per 100 km (141 mpg US) based on China testing standards. CT6 PHEV will qualify for China new energy vehicle regulations and incentives, and is planned to be onsale in 2016. The CT6 PHEV may come subsequently to the US, according to Cadillac spokesman Dave Caldwell as quoted in the Detroit News.
The CT6 Plug-In Hybrid system is designed to provide all-electric driving for most daily commutes, while maximizing fuel efficiency by providing blended power from the engine and battery at higher speeds and higher loads, even when there is energy stored in the battery. (By comparison, in the GM taxonomy the Cadillac ELR and its cousin the Chevy Volt are extended-range electric vehicles with all-electric drive, augmented by a range-assisting engine. ELR is not offered in the Chinese market.)
Peugeot unveils 308 R HYbrid plug-in with 500 hp and four-wheel drive
April 17, 2015
Peugeot has unveiled the Peugeot 308 R HYbrid, a plug-in hybrid version of the compact family hatchback boasting a combined 500 bhp and four-wheel drive. The Peugeot 308 R HYbrid was developed by Peugeot Sport, the brand’s in-house engineering and racing division. The car’s plug-in gasoline hybrid powertrain delivers 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.0 seconds, yet with CO2 emissions of 70g/km.
The powertrain combines three sources of power, each capable of moving the vehicle independently of the others: a four-cylinder 1.6-liter THP 270 S&S gasoline engine, plus two 85 kW electric motors mounted one on each axle. The front one is linked to the six-speed gearbox.
Audi unveiling two new production plug-in hybrids in Shanghai, new prologue allroad PHEV show car
April 16, 2015
Audi is introducing two new models with plug-in hybrid drive systems to the market in China in 2016, both of which are having their world premier at Auto Shanghai 2015: the Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro and the Audi A6 L e tron. In addition, Audi is unveiling the Audi prologue allroad show car, providing a glimpse into the future of Audi’s design language, at the show.
Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro. With the Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro, the company is combining a TFSI plug‑in hybrid with quattro drive for the first time. (The earlier announced Q7 e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid features a 6-cylinder, 3.0-liter TDI diesel. Earlier post.) Audi has developed this newest Q7 model especially for the Asian markets China, Singapore and Japan. The Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than six seconds and consumes 2.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (94 mpg US), according to the measuring method prescribed in China for plug‑in hybrid vehicles.
Cadillac boosts performance of ELR plug-in hybrid for MY2016, cuts MSRP by $9K; $58,495 net after Fed credits
April 15, 2015
Cadillac has greatly enhanced the performance of its ELR extended range electric vehicle (plug-in hybrid) (earlier post) for the 2016 model year, and is also cutting the MSRP by $9,005, bringing the starting price down to $58,495 net after the $7,500 US federal tax credit (MSRP = $65,995). MSRP for MY2014 was $75,000, with a net price of $67,500 after the Federal credit. (Cadillac sold 1,310 units of the ELR in the US in calendar year 2014, and sold 311 units in the first quarter of 2015.)
Major product upgrades include a more than 25% boost in power and torque; faster acceleration that improves 0-60 mph by 1.5 seconds; higher top speed; retuned chassis and steering for better handling; more responsive brakes and a new Performance equipment package.
Volvo Cars introducing production S60L T6 Twin Engine PHEV at the Shanghai Motor Show; on sale next week
Volvo Cars will introduce the production version of the S60L T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid sedan at the 2015 Shanghai Motor Show; the plug-in sedan first made its appearance as a concept car at the Beijing auto show in 2014. (Earlier post.) Sales of the S60L T6 Twin Engine begin next week in China.
The new S60L Twin Engine is manufactured in Volvo Cars’ Chengdu Plant. The car is powered by a Drive-E four-cylinder 2–liter gasoline engine, linked to rear-axle drive 50 kW electric motor, powered by an energy-optimized 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This combination delivers 306 hp (238 + 68 hp) and 350 + 200 N·m with emissions of 49 g/km (NEDC, mixed driving cycle for certification). The S60L T6 Twin Engine also delivers a full 53 km (33 km) of all-electric range.
Efficient Drivetrains develops PHEV SUV for Asian market
April 13, 2015
Efficient Drivetrains, Inc. (EDI), a developer of plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and continuously variable transmission (CVT) technologies spanning light- to heavy-duty classes (earlier post), has developed a new energy plug-in hybrid electric SUV for the Asian marketplace. Based on EDI’s proprietary drivetrain technology, the SUV offers the highest performance for a PHEV in its class, the company said.
The vehicle is a full-size Chinese SUV with a 2.4-liter engine that has been converted into a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). The vehicle offers an affordable price point for a PHEV in its class with full electric capability for more than 50 km (31 miles), making it eligible for government incentives.
Citroën introducing new plug-in hybrid SUV concept at Shanghai Motor Show
April 08, 2015
Citroën will introduce a new plug-in hybrid SUV concept, the Aircross, at the upcoming Shanghai Motor Show. The company said that Aircross illustrates its international ambitions, rolling out its positioning initiated with the C4 Cactus with a body style intended for sale around the world.
Citroën Aircross is powered by a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid system. An electric motor on the rear axle develops power of 95 bhp (70 kW) and torque of 200 N·m (148 lb-ft). The motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries that charge up in just three and a half hours via a 16A domestic socket. The electric motor is combined with a 1.6 THP gasoline engine developing 218 bhp (160 kW) and torque of 275 N·m (203 lb-ft).
Nissan launches new X-Trail Hybrid in Japan
April 07, 2015
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. launched the new Nissan X-Trail Hybrid, which goes on sale on 13 May 2015 at Nissan dealers throughout Japan. Equipped with an optimized 2.0-liter MR20DD engine and Nissan’s one-motor-two-clutch hybrid system (earlier post), the new X-Trail Hybrid delivers performance eclipsing those of typical 2.5-liter gasoline engines, Nissan said. All the grades will achieve fuel economy-based tax exemptions in Japan.
In addition, the new X-Trail Hybrid will have Forward Emergency Braking as standard equipment, expanding its safety technology features. Nissan is planning to introduce Forward Emergency Braking as standard on major models in Japan, by the end of autumn 2015.
Toyota unveils 2016 RAV4 Hybrid; 8th hybrid in Toyota line-up
April 02, 2015
|The RAV4 Hybrid makes its debut in New York. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota unveiled the new RAV4 Hybrid at the New York International Auto Show, along with refreshed versions of the conventional RAV4. The eighth hybrid in the Toyota lineup, the RAV4 Hybrid offers more power as well as better fuel economy than the conventional RAV4, according to Toyota Group Vice President and General Manager Bill Fay. (Toyota has yet to release specific performance and fuel economy numbers.)
The hybrid system consists of a 4-cylinder, 2.5-liter gasoline engine and eCVT transmission along with an All-Wheel-Drive System with Intelligence (AWDi) featuring a rear motor that operates independently from the front motor. This additional electric motor delivers instant torque to the rear wheels only when additional traction is needed, thereby automatically helping prevent wheel spin.
U Toronto LCA suggests that with CNG as primary vehicle energy source, EVs best targeted at non-attainment areas
April 01, 2015
A team at the University of Toronto has examined the life cycle air emissions (climate change and human health) impact benefits and life cycle ownership costs of compressed natural gas (CNG) use directly in conventional vehicles (CV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), and natural gas-derived electricity (NG-e) use in plug-in battery electric vehicles (BEV), using a gasoline-fueled conventional vehicle as a reference.
Among their findings, published in a paper in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, are that policies should for the foreseeable future focus on the niche adoption of plug-in vehicles in non-attainment regions, as CNG vehicles are likely more cost-effective at providing overall life cycle air emissions impact benefits.
Lexus unveils 2016 RX at New York show; RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid
|2016 RX 450h. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus unveiled the new fourth-generation Lexus RX at the 2015 New York Auto Show. The RX is the best-selling model in the brand’s 26-year history, with global sales of more than 2.1 million units—three out of ten vehicles ever sold by Lexus. Since 2005, the RX has maintained about 25% of the sales of the mid-size luxury crossover market, said Jeff Bracken, Group Vice President and General Manager, Lexus Division. The new RX lineup—the RX 350 and the RX450h hybrid—feature safety technologies that include the Lexus Safety System+ (earlier post).
Under the RX 350’s hood is an upgraded and more powerful 3.5-liter V6 aiming to deliver 300 hp (224 kW) with direct injection, mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Based on this enhanced powertrain is the RX 450h’s Atkinson-cycle 3.5-liter V6. When combined with the electric motor generator, the combined output also results in around 300 hp. All RX engines have been tuned in anticipation of high fuel economy ratings and low carbon emissions.
New Fairchild automotive SuperFET II MOSFETs and HV Rectifiers for power electronics in electrified vehicles
Fairchild, a leading global supplier of high-performance power semiconductor solutions, has introduced the automotive-qualified SuperFET II MOSFET and High Voltage Rectifier product families, both of which enable cleaner and smarter vehicles overall and are suited for increasing the power ratings of onboard chargers and DC-to-DC converters used in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
“A chief goal for plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers is keeping on-board battery chargers and DC-DC converters as light and small as possible while increasing power levels. With the broad portfolio of new SuperFET II MOSFETs and High Voltage Rectifiers, Fairchild is enabling manufacturers to maximize efficiency, power density and reliability of these units, which is key to reducing their size and weight and is of course in line with the environmental, economic and energy benefits inherent in electric vehicle development,” said Fabio Necco, Director, Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Segment at Fairchild.
Chevrolet introduces 2016 Malibu; full hybrid option; 8-speed auto
Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2016 Malibu—the ninth generation of the midsize sedan which made its debut in 1964. The completely restyled midsize sedan is engineered to offer more efficiency, connectivity and advanced safety features, and features the option of a new full-hybrid powertrain, which leverages technology from the Chevrolet Volt. (Earlier post.) The Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg (5.22 l/100 km). When equipped with the standard 1.5L turbo engine option, Malibu is projected to offer 37 mpg (6.35 l/100 km) highway.
The 2016 Malibu is also longer and lighter, with more interior space and improved fuel efficiency. Its wheelbase has been stretched close to four inches (101 mm), and it is nearly 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the current model.
Millbrook joins APC-funded consortium to develop fuel cell range-extended electric LCVs
March 30, 2015
Millbrook, one of Europe’s leading independent test and technology centers for vehicles and vehicle systems, will join a UK industry consortium to develop a new class of light commercial vehicle (LCV) combining fuel cell technology with battery electric vehicles to provide significantly improved range and rapid refueling. The consortium, led by Intelligent Energy (earlier post), will receive a £6.3-million ($9.3-million) grant from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) for the £12.7-million ($19-million) project. The other partners are Frost Electronics, Frost EV, CENEX, British Gas and DHL.
The three-year project will develop validated systems and vehicle conversion expertise ready for volume manufacture. The goal is also to provide fleet operators with a solution that enables vehicle operation for extended periods while being emissions-free at the tailpipe.
Toyota progress report on TNGA; half of vehicles sold in 2020 to feature new platforms
March 27, 2015
In 2012, Toyota Motor introduced its new development framework, the Toyota New Global Architecture. (Earlier post.) Designed to balance product advances with cost reductions, TNGA supports the grouping of the development of new vehicles to promote strategic sharing of parts and powertrain components. One goal is the reduction of resources required for development by 20% or more.
Toyota recently provided an update and an outlook on its progress with TNGA, focusing on new vehicle development (powertrain components and vehicle platforms) as well as production systems.
Porsche presents more efficient Gen 2 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer for 2015
Porsche has presented the second generation of its Le Mans Prototype 919 Hybrid race car. (Earlier post.) The new racer will compete in the 8 MJ category (8 MJ of recovered energy per race lap)—the highest of the current four energy categories in the LMP1 class. (The amount of liquid fuel that may be used in a lap decreases in proportion to the amount of electrical energy a driver is able to employ.)
Although the basic concept of the Class 1 Le Mans Prototype (LMP1)— a downsized turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine and two different energy recovery systems—was retained in the second generation, virtually every component was refined. System power now totals nearly 1,000 hp (746 kW). The goals for the next evolutionary stage were to make the vehicle more efficient, more rigid, easier to handle, lighter and yet more robust.
Mercedes-Benz introduces its first plug-in hybrid SUV: the GLE550 e
March 26, 2015
Keeping pace with its announced intention to roll out 10 plug-in hybrids by 2017 (earlier post), Mercedes-Benz introduced the new GLE550 e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid (PHEV) along with the other members of the new GLE family of full-size SUVs. The GLE550 e is Mercedes-Benz’ first plug-in hybrid SUV. The high-performance SUV models, the Mercedes-AMG GLE63 4MATIC and the GLE63 S 4MATIC, will also celebrate their world premieres at the same time at the New York International Auto Show.
With full system output of 436 hp (325 kW), the GLE550 e 4MATIC delivers European cycle CO2 emissions of just 78 g/km (3.3 l/100 km, 71 mpg US). (EPA estimated fuel consumption for the US is still TBD.) With a power consumption of 16.7 kWh/100 km, the PHEV model is capable of up to 30 km (18.6 mi) of all-electric driving.
GM to introduce strong hybrid version of Malibu; combined fuel economy above 45 mpg; leverages Volt
March 25, 2015
GM will introduce a strong hybrid version of the next-generation Malibu. Using technology from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt propulsion system (earlier post), Malibu Hybrid will offer an estimated combined fuel economy rating exceeding 45 mpg (5.22 l/100 km), higher than the combined cycle mileage ratings of the Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata hybrid variants and a significant boost over the 29 mpg combined of the MY 2015 Malibu with 2.5L engine with start/stop.
An all-new direct-injection 1.8L 4-cylinder engine mated to a two-motor drive unit slightly modified from the 2016 Chevrolet Volt drive unit powers the Malibu Hybrid. The drive unit provides additional power to assist the engine during acceleration, for 182 horsepower (136 kW) of total system power.
New UK Energy & Fuels 2050 transportation roadmap highlights important role of drop-in fuels and power-to-gas
March 23, 2015
Professor Neville Jackson, Ricardo’s chief technology and innovation officer, presented the results of a research project carried out by the Automotive Council UK to establish a long-term (to 2050) transition from current gasoline and diesel fuels to a majority renewable energy portfolio. Inputs to the new Energy & Fuels Roadmap included recent UK & EU studies on automotive technologies, as well as roadmaps for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and internal combustion engines previously published by the Automotive Cuncil.
The research, presented at last week’s Open Forum organized by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in London, aimed to create a high level consensus view for the future of transport energy in the UK. Chaired by Professor Jackson of Ricardo, the research team that produced the report was made up of representatives drawn from a wide range of industry stakeholder organizations including BP, Shell, Jaguar LandRover, Caterpillar, the Energy Technologies Institute, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, E4tech, Element Energy and Associated British Foods.
Audi revamps 2015 R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans diesel hybrid racer; 4MJ class
In the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and in the Le Mans 24 Hours as the season’s pinnacle event, Audi will compete with a thoroughly revised R18 e-tron quattro diesel hybrid racer in the 4-megajoule class. (Earlier post.) A two-fold quantity of hybrid energy, fundamentally revised aerodynamics, the next step in lightweight design and detailed optimization work characterize the fifth generation of the Audi R18.
Audi, the only manufacturer to date to have won the Le Mans 24 Hours with hybrid racers, has doubled the amount of energy recovered per race lap from 2 to 4 megajoules (MJ). During braking, energy is recovered which the system subsequently feeds back to the front axle on acceleration. The electrical machine that performs this task now delivers an output of more than 200 kW (272 hp)—a significant increase compared to last year. Therefore, Audi has increased the capacity of the energy storage system as well.
Daimler putting ~€1B into Stuttgart-Untertürkheim to make it the center of competence for efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and fuel cell system production
March 21, 2015
Daimler is investing about €1 billion (US$1.07 billion) in the Mercedes-Benz plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim and is transforming it into a center of competence for highly efficient engines, hybrid powertrains and the production of fuel cell systems.
From 1 June, Untertürkheim will assume responsibility for a facility in Nabern in the greater Stuttgart area where assembly of the fuel cell system will take place. The Nabern facility will remain the center of competence for the overall development of fuel cell drive systems under the direction of Daimler AG.
Obama orders GHG cuts for Federal Agencies; 50% of all new agency vehicles to be ZEV or PHEV by 2025
March 19, 2015
President Obama today signed a wide-ranging executive order mandating cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for Federal agencies. Through more efficient Federal operations, agency direct greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by at least 40% over the next decade, the order suggests. The order has operational directives for building and fleet management, electricity generation, water use, waste management and purchasing.
As an initial outcome, within 90 days the head of each agency sis to propose to the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) percentage reduction targets for agency-wide reductions of scope 1 and 2 and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms by the end of fiscal year 2025 relative to a fiscal year 2008 baseline.
Mercedes-Benz to introduce 10 plug-in hybrids by 2017; GLE PHEV coming soon
March 18, 2015
Mercedes-Benz is making a strategic push on plug-in hybrids: the Stuttgart-based automaker will introduce 10 new plug-in hybrid models by 2017. The company said that the main emphasis as regards alternative drives in years to come will be on plug-in hybrids.
The announcement follows the market introduction of the C 350 e (earlier post, earlier post), the company’s second plug-in hybrid model following the S 500 Plug-In Hybrid (earlier post). At the Geneva Motor Show, the company showcased the new MPV plug-in hybrid Concept V-ision e study. (Earlier post.) As the plug-in hybrid comes into its own especially in larger vehicles and with mixed distance profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this drive concept from the C-Class upwards—the technology will make its entry soon into the SUV segment with the new Mercedes-Benz GLE.
Mercedes-Benz C 350 e PHEV can reduce full lifecycle CO2 emissions up to 41% compared to gasoline-engined C 250
Compared to the gasoline-engined C 250, the Mercedes-Benz C 350 e plug-in hybrid (earlier post) can reduce full life-cycle (manufacture, use over 200,000 km and recycling) CO2 emissions by some 26% (9.6 tonnes) when charging with the European electricity mix and by up to 41% (15.1 tonnes) when charging with renewable power.
The analysis is outlined in the plug-in’s newly release “Life Cycle” brochure, the results of which have also been confirmed by TÜV Süd, a branch of the German Technical Inspection Agency. The new plug-in hybrid satisfies all criteria of an environmentally responsible product development pursuant to ISO standard TR 14062.
BMW brand’s first production PHEV: the BMW X5 xDrive40e
March 16, 2015
The first plug-in hybrid production car from the BMW core brand is a Sports Activity Vehicle: the BMW X5 xDrive40e. With a total system output of 230 kW/313 hp generated by a four-cylinder gasoline engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, a synchronous electric motor integrated in the 8-speed Steptronic transmission, and a 9.0 kWh, 96-cell high-voltage Li-ion battery pack, the BMW X5 xDrive40e achieves a combined fuel consumption of 3.4 – 3.3 liters per 100 kilometers (69 - 71 mpg US) and a combined electricity consumption of 15.4 – 15.3 kWh over the same distance.
CO2 emissions come in at 78 – 77 grams per kilometer (figures according to EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles, may vary depending on the tire format specified).
Audi to have a plug-in hybrid in every model series; new BEV in 2018
March 11, 2015
Audi will have a plug-in hybrid in every model series in the coming years as part of its efforts in efficiency and sustainability, said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management at Audi AG for Technical Development, during his speech at Audi’s Annual Press Conference in Ingolstadt.
Plug-in hybrids, natural gas vehicles and battery-electric drive systems will have a key role to play in achieving CO2 targets, Hackenberg said. Audi already launched the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid (earlier post) and the Audi A3 g-tron (earlier post) on the market in 2014. Both of these already have siblings: the Audi Q7 e-tron plug-in hybrid (earlier post) and a future Audi A4 g-tron based on the second generation of the modular longitudinal platform (MLB 2).
Hyundai showcasing new Tucson 48V Hybrid Concept and diesel Plug-in-Hybrid Concept at Geneva
March 08, 2015
Hyundai Motor is showcasing a range of innovative fuel efficiency and connectivity technologies at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, among them a 48V Hybrid concept and a plug-in hybrid vehicle concept, both based on the all new Tucson platform.
The 48V Hybrid combines a 2.0-liter diesel model with 134 hp (100 kW) and a six-speed manual transmission along with a 14 hp (10 kW) electric motor; combined system performance is 148 hp (110 kW) and 413 N·m (305 lb-ft) of torque. This boosts system power by 10% while emitting only 109 g/km CO2. Compared to a full hybrid system, the 48V system delivers similar efficiency, for only a quarter of the cost.
Lightning Hybrids secures order for 35 hydraulic hybrid systems from Kiessling Transit
March 05, 2015
Lightning Hybrids, developer and manufacturer of hydraulic hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses (earlier post), announced an agreement with Kiessling Transit to supply 35 hydraulic hybrid systems. The sale marks Lightning Hybrids’ largest order to date. The company’s system demonstrated improvements of 30% in fuel efficiency and significantly reduced NOx emissions during a year-long pilot program with the leading Massachusetts-based transportation company.
Kiessling Transit’s vehicles, featuring new 2015 and 2016 model year Ford E450 chassis and Elkhart Coach bodies, will have the Lightning Hybrids patented parallel hybrid system installed prior to delivery this summer. The technology, which has no electric batteries, applies a hydraulic system to the driveline of a vehicle to regenerate braking energy. Hydraulic pumps and a lightweight accumulator store braking energy and use the stored energy to power the wheels. The application of this technology will result in improved emissions, less fuel use, longer brake life, better low-end torque, and lower maintenance and operational costs.
Toyota introduces facelifted Auris; revamped powertrains including new Otto/Atkinson 1.2L gasoline engine
March 04, 2015
At the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota introduced the facelifted Auris. With the launch of the Auris Hybrid in 2010, Toyota became the first manufacturer to offer a choice of three powertrains (gasoline, gasoline-electric hybrid, and diesel) in the C-segment.
Reflecting both changes in the highly-competitive C-segment market and Toyota customer feedback, the 2015 Auris range features significant improvements in five key areas: Design; Sensory Quality; the Hybrid model; Safety; and, improving the model’s segment coverage by some 40%, Powertrains. As part of the change, an all-new, 1.2 liter direct injection turbocharged engine from Toyota’s new family of efficient engines announced last year (earlier post) joins the existing gasoline line-up.
DOE to award up to $35M to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies; fuel cell range extenders
March 03, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced (DOE-FOA-0001224) up to $35 million in available funding to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, and to enable early adoption of fuel cell applications, such as light duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). (Earlier post.)
As FCEVs become increasingly commercially available, the Energy Department is focused on reducing the costs and increasing technical advancements of critical hydrogen infrastructure including production, delivery, and storage. This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) covers a broad spectrum of the Fuel Cell Technology Office (FCTO) portfolio with areas of interest ranging from research and development (R&D) to demonstration and deployment projects.
Mercedes-Benz unveils V-Class concept plug-in hybrid MPV at Geneva; 78 mpg US
At the Geneva International Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Concept V‑ision e: a plug-in hybrid concept version of its V-Class MPV (earlier post). The plug-in hybrid van utilizes the same advanced drive system as in the new Mercedes-Benz C 350 e plug-in hybrid (earlier post) and offers NEDC fuel consumption of 3.0 liters per 100 km (78 mpg US), corresponding to CO2 emissions of 71 g/km. The MPV concept can travel up to 50 km in the all-electric mode if driven at a maximum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).
The four-cylinder gasoline engine has an output of 155 kW (210 hp) and develops a maximum torque of 350 N·m (258 lb-ft), while the electric motor delivers 90 kW and 340 N·m (250 lb-ft) of torque. This results in a system output of 245 kW (333 hp) and a system torque of up to 600 N·m (443 lb-ft).
Volkswagen introduces the Sport Coupé Concept GTE PHEV at Geneva; 118 mpg US
Volkswagen is unveiling the Sport Coupé Concept GTE plug-in hybrid at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show, ushering in a new and progressive Volkswagen brand design language. “Evolution and revolution come together in the Sport Coupé Concept GTE. This concept is based on Volkswagen design DNA, which has been visibly sharpened even more. It shows how the highest-volume brand of our Group is shaping the immediate future,” said Walter de Silva, Head of Design of Volkswagen AG.
The GTE designation indicates a plug-in hybrid drive system (earlier post). Equipped with a V6 TSI engine, two electric motors and externally chargeable 10.7 kWh battery pack, the 279 kW / 374 hp Sport Coupé Concept GTE plug-in hybrid delivers the long-distance properties of a Gran Tourismo while enabling zero-emission driving. The concept car, with a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), has an average combined fuel consumption (NEDC combined) of 2.0 l/100 km (118 mpg US), or 46 g CO2/km.
Audi introduces Q7 e-tron quattro diesel PHEV SUV at Geneva; 138 mpg US
March 02, 2015
Audi introduced the Q7 e-tron quattro plug-in hybrid (earlier post) at the Geneva show. The Q7 e‑tron quattro is Audi’s second vehicle featuring a plug‑in hybrid drive system, and the first diesel plug-in hybrid with quattro drive in its segment.
Powered by the 17.3 kWh, liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack, the large SUV covers up to 56 kilometers (34.8 mi) on electric power alone. Together with the diesel engine, the car can cover a total distance of 1,410 kilometers (876.1 miles). According to the ECE standard for plug‑in hybrid vehicles, the Audi Q7 e‑tron quattro needs only 1.7 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers (138.4 US mpg) and has a CO2 emission level of less than 50 grams per kilometer (80.5 g/mi).
Volvo Cars unveils new V60 D5 Twin Engine Special Edition diesel PHEV in Geneva
Volvo Cars has unveiled a D5 Twin Engine Special Edition of its V60 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid, which went on sale in 2012. (Earlier post.) The V60 D5 Twin Engine will deliver 120 kW (161 hp) via the combustion engine and about 50 kW (67 hp) from its 11.2 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack using the same proven configuration used in the V60 D6 Twin Engine.
This translates to a maximum driveline power output of approximately 230 hp when the electric motor and diesel engine are working simultaneously. The V60 D5 Twin Engine offers 50 km of all-electric range, and fuel consumption of 1.8 l/100 km (131 mpg US).
TM4 receiving $3.7M to develop low-cost wheel motors
February 28, 2015
TM4, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, is receiving $3.7 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech Fund, through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, to develop low-cost wheel motors for electric and hybrid vehicles.
The objective of this project is to design an in-wheel motor electric drive system with one of the highest power densities in the world, and at the lowest possible cost. This system will consist of one or more power converters and electric machines, to be assembled and bench tested, and then tested on the road in an electric vehicle.
Magna unveiling lightweight plug-in hybrid sportscar at Geneva show
February 27, 2015
Global automotive supplier Magna International Inc. will debut MILA Plus, an two-seat plug-in hybrid sports car, at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. The lightweight (1,520 kg, 3,351 lb) concept vehicle, the latest member of the MILA family of concept vehicles (earlier post), offers an all-electric range of 75 km with reduced CO2 emissions of 32g/km.
System power output is 200 kW (272 hp), with 580 N·m of peak torque. The MILA Plus accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 4.9s; electric acceleration from 0-80 km/h takes 3.6s. The performance of the three-cylinder gasoline engine is enhanced by the addition of two electric motors—one between the internal combustion engine and transmission to drive the rear axle, and one on the electric front axle. This arrangement results in an electric all-wheel-drive system which transmits more torque to the road and results in improvement of vehicle maneuverability and dynamics.
Mitsubishi Motors to unveil new small crossover PHEV concept at Geneva; headed for production
February 25, 2015
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will stage the global debut of the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show. The Concept XR-PHEV II is a small crossover powered by a new plug-in hybrid EV (PHEV) system. Mitsubishi said it expects the Concept XR-PHEV II to become MMC’s second production PHEV following the Outlander PHEV launched in January 2013. (Earlier post.) (The Outlander PHEV was Europe’s top-selling plug-in vehicle in 2014, with 19,980 units sold.)
The new PHEV system presented in the Concept XR-PHEV II is a lightweight, compact and high-efficiency front-engine/front-drive system suited for an urban crossover. The system is estimated to achieve very low CO2 emissions of below 40 g/km, while also delivering performance and response with its 120 kW electric motor.
Audi introducing Audi prologue Avant diesel plug-in hybrid show car at Geneva; 147 mpg, wireless charging
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Audi presented the Audi prologue concept car, featuring a mild hybrid powertrain with a 48V electrical subsystem. (Earlier post.) At the upcoming Geneva show, Audi will show a new variant of the prologue—the Audi prologue Avant—featuring a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Both prologue variants provide a view into coming Audi design language, as well as the technology experience inside and outside.
The Audi prologue Avant uses technology which is close to series production. It is equipped with the plug‑in diesel hybrid drive from the Audi Q7 e‑tron quattro (earlier post)—which achieves even higher performance in the show car.
French Post Office and Renault Trucks testing electric truck with fuel cell range extender
February 24, 2015
|Maxity Electric with fuel cell range extender. Click to enlarge.|
Renault Trucks and the French Post Office (La Poste) will introduce on an experimental basis, and as a first in Europe, an electric truck equipped with a hydrogen-powered range extender. The range-extended 4.5-ton Maxity Electric model doubles th electric truck range to 200 kilometers (124 miles) and will be tested for one year under actual operating conditions in the city Dole (Jura Department), allowing Renault Trucks to explore all potential avenues of hydrogen technology under actual operating conditions.
For La Poste, which at present owns the world's largest fleet of electric vehicles, this experiment is part of a continuous effort underway to extend the range of its fleet. For nearly a year, in the Franche-Comté Region, the Post Office has been testing, during carriers’ collection and distribution of mail and packages, Renault Kangoo Z.E. mail delivery vehicles with fuel cell range extenders. (Earlier post.)
Making the Mirai fuel cell vehicle
In Japan, Toyota Motor held a production ceremony at the Motomachi Plant, which first began production in 1959, to mark the production of the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which the company launched in November 2014, and began selling in Japan in December 2014. (Earlier post.)
Motomachi has been home to some of Toyota’s most notable models, including the Publica, Corona, Cresta, Soarer, Supra, RAV4, and the Lexus LFA supercar. The former “LFA Works”—where craftspeople hand-built each of the 500 series limited Lexus supercars—is now the home of the Mirai. Toyota released a set of 5 short videos giving an overview of Mirai production, which delivers an estimated 3 units per day.
CMU, Ford, Drexel study suggests Chinese more receptive to adopting BEVs than Americans, regardless of subsidies
February 23, 2015
Results from a study by a team from Carnegie Mellon University, Ford and Drexel University suggest that Chinese consumers are more receptive to adopting battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) than their American counterparts, regardless of subsidies. The study is published in the journal Transportation Research Part A.
The team modeled consumer preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for conventional, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), and battery electric (BEV) vehicle technologies in China and the US using data from choice-based conjoint surveys fielded in 2012–2013 in both countries. They found that find that gasoline vehicles continue to be most attractive to consumers both countries, and that American respondents have significantly lower relative willingness-to-pay for BEV technology than Chinese respondents. Although plug-in subsidies in the US and Chinese subsidies both favor vehicles with larger battery packs, differences in consumer preferences lead to different outcomes, they found.
Lightning Hybrids introducing hydraulic hybrid system on walk-in box truck
February 16, 2015
|Morgan Olson walk-in van with Lightning Hybrids hydraulic drive system installed for AmeriPride. Click to enlarge.|
Lightning Hybrids, developer and manufacturer of hydraulic hybrid systems for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses (earlier post), will introduce the application of its first emission-reducing brake regeneration technology on a walk-in box truck. The debut will take place during the South Shore Clean Cities annual meeting in Merrillville, Indiana, on 17 February.
Lightning Hybrids’ hydraulic hybrid system on the vehicle, featuring a Ford F59 chassis and Morgan Olson Route Star walk-in van body, enhances fuel efficiency while significantly reducing emissions.
Mitsubishi introduces Concept GC-PHEV SUV to North America
February 13, 2015
|Concept GC-PHEV. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi staged the North American debut of its Concept GC-PHEV (“Grand Cruiser”)—a next-generation full-size crossover plug-in hybrid. (Earlier post.) The Concept GC-PHEV features a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine paired with a high-output electric motor; 12 kWh lithium-ion battery; 8-speed automatic transmission; and Mitsubishi Motors’ advanced full-time Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel drive. The PHEV drivetrain offers high performance (335 bhp/250 kW) combined with excellent fuel economy.
For additional power optimization with reduced exhaust emissions, the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine benefits from the latest iteration of Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) variable valve timing.
Porsche names GKN Driveline “Technology Partner” for eAxle system in 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar
February 12, 2015
Porsche has awarded GKN Driveline “Technology Partner” status for its development of the high-performance eAxle for the 918 Spyder, an advanced plug-in hybrid supercar. (Earlier post.) GKN Driveline’s eAxle module—used for the 918 Spyder’s front axle—supports full-electric mode, all-wheel drive and provides a boost function.
The eAxle that supplements the 918 Spyder’s hybridized 4.6-liter V8 is an evolution of the company’s innovative eAxle drive. (Earlier post.) The module has maximum power of 95 kW and can deliver up to 1500 N·m (1,106 lb-ft) of torque to the front wheels via a fixed gear ratio. A specially developed compact differential engages the torque seamlessly, giving the 918 Spyder optimum power distribution at all times. The differential also disengages the module to minimize drag losses and maximize efficiency. At speeds above 265 km/h (164 mph), a clutch isolates the electric motor to prevent it from over-spinning.
Kia unveils Soul-based e-AWD Trail’ster Concept; through-the-road hybrid
Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled the Trail’ster e-AWD concept at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The Trail’ster, based on Kia’s Soul urban passenger vehicle, is primarily powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine delivering 185 horsepower (138 kW) and 185 lb-ft (251 N·m) of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission, matched to an electric all-wheel-drive system on the rear axle intended for low-speed assist, enhanced launch acceleration and improved traction in inclement weather or off-road situations. In addition, this approach helps mitigate turbo lag by providing instant torque.
The system also improves fuel economy over standard all-wheel-drive setups by operating only when needed and serving as an energy recovery mechanism. Further defining the near future perspective of Soul as a capable and efficient all-wheel-driver runner, the Trail’ster arrives as a “Through-the-Road” hybrid—i.e., the two power sources (front gasoline engine and rear electric motor) meet “through the road,” as opposed to inside the transmission with a common mechanical driveline connection.
ALABC showcased three 48V hybrid demonstrators at AABC featuring advanced lead-carbon batteries
February 10, 2015
The Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) last month showcased three hybrid electric concept vehicles resulting from its R&D program that demonstrate the real-world potential of lead-carbon batteries in 48V architectures. The cars, two of which were produced in association with major OEMs (Ford and Hyundai/Kia), exhibit substantial environmental and fuel-efficient benefits through low-cost hybridization. The vehicles were part of the ALABC display at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC Europe 2015) held at the Rheingoldhalle in Mainz, Germany.
All three vehicles feature advanced lead-carbon batteries, also known as carbon-enhanced lead-acid batteries. The batteries, Exide’s spiral-wound Orbital AGM and East Penn Manufacturing’s UltraBattery (the latest model of which was also on display at the ALABC stand), are some of the most effective lead-carbon designs for 48V hybrid electrification, ALABC said.
Bosch CEO: 15% of new cars by 2025 to be at least a hybrid; batteries to deliver 2x energy density for 1/2 current cost by 2020
February 04, 2015
Speaking at the 15th CAR Symposium in Bochum, Germany, Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, said that that Bosch expects roughly 15% of all new cars built worldwide to have at least a hybrid powertrain by 2025. Denner, whose responsibilities on the board of management include research and advanced development, believes that by 2020 batteries will deliver twice as much energy density for half the present cost.
The EU has set strict fleet CO2 targets for 2021. For this reason alone, Bosch expects hybrid powertrains to become the standard for SUVs. This will give diesel and gasoline engines an extra boost.
ESKAM finishing electric drive axle module for commercial vehicles, new production technologies; vehicle testing this year
February 02, 2015
|Electric drive axle module with two motors and integrated power electronics. Groschopp AG. Click to enlarge.|
The ESKAM (Electric Scalable Axle Module, Elektrische SKalierbare AchsantriebsModule) consortium in Germany, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is completing the development of an optimized electric drive axle module for commercial vehicles, consisting of two motors, transmissions and power electronics. All components fit neatly and compactly into a shared housing, which is fitted in the vehicle using a special frame construction also developed by the project engineers.
The individual modules developed by the various partners are complete, as are new manufacturing techniques developed by the partners. The consortium is now putting the individual parts together to make a demonstrator. After that, they want to fit the axle module into a real vehicle for testing by the end of 2015.
Nissan unveils front-engined, front-wheel drive hybrid GT-R LM NIMSO Le Mans challenger
Nissan revealed its Le Mans challenger, the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, during a commercial break for Super Bowl XLIX. Nissan interpreted the sport’s technical regulations in an innovative way, producing a front-engined, front-wheel-drive car that is powered by a V6 3.0-liter twin turbo gasoline engine and a kinetic energy recovery system.
The front tires are wider than those in the rear (14" vs 9") due to the way that mass is distributed in the car. Nissan moved the weight bias forwards to provide traction for the front-engined, front-wheel drive. The aero is also moved forward; hence, Nissan moved the capacity of the tires forward to match the weight distribution. The aero center of pressure, the mass center of gravity and the tire capacity are all in harmony, said Ben Bowlby, Nissan’s LM P1 Team Principal and Technical Director. That means bigger tires at the front than the rear.
Lux Research: despite cheap oil, niche plug-in vehicle sales will be resilient; conventional hybrids to be hardest hit
The current plunge in oil prices will likely negatively affect plug-in and hybrid vehicle sales in the short term; automakers such as BMW are already warning of lower sales of plug-in vehicles given the market context. However, an analysis by Lux Research suggests that despite some decrease in sales, sales of plug-in vehicles will likely be resilient, and rebound as oil prices rise back to the prior higher levels over time.
In the likely case of only a gradual return to previous higher prices—which Lux calls the “cheap oil” scenario in its analysis—then electric vehicle (EV) sales will dip by 20% for a number of years, while plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sales will dip by about 14% during that same period, the research firm found. The forecast declines are relative to the other forecasted scenario, in which oil prices rebound much more quickly—the “stable oil” scenario.
Mercedes AMG PETRONAS unveils 2015 F1 W06 Hybrid
February 01, 2015
The Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team unveiled its 2015 Formula One World Championship challenger, the F1 W06 Hybrid, ahead of the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain.
An intensive design phase combining incremental gains and targeted innovation has produced the F1 W06 Hybrid, a car which delivers mechanical, structural, aerodynamic and weight saving developments over its predecessor, the F1 W05 Hybrid. As the age of F1 hybrid power evolves, the requirements for improved safety, reliability, efficiency and performance increase, the team said.
Toyota beginning on-road testing of new SiC power semiconductor technology; hybrid Camry and fuel cell bus
January 29, 2015
|SiC PCU under the hood of the Camry hybrid test vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota will begin the on-road testing of silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors in Japan this year, using a Camry hybrid prototype and a fuel cell bus. The tests will evaluate the performance of the SiC technology, which could lead to significant efficiency improvements in hybrids and other electric-drive vehicles. (Earlier post.)
Power semiconductors are found in power control units (PCUs), which are used to control motor drive power in hybrids and other vehicles with electric powertrains. PCUs play a crucial role in the use of electricity, supplying battery power to the motors during operation and recharging the battery using energy recovered during deceleration. At present, power semiconductors account for approximately 20% of a vehicle’s total electrical losses; raising the efficiency of the power semiconductors is a promising way to increase powertrain efficiency.
Renault Sport F1 introduces revamped 2015 hybrid power unit
January 28, 2015
|Renault Energy F1-2015 Power Unit. Click to enlarge.|
Renault Sport F1 has unveiled its 2015 power unit for Formula 1 racing, which incorporates a number of changes compared to its 2014 predecessor (earlier post). 2015 is the second year of competitive use for the power units that feature a V6 turbocharged internal combustion engine coupled to energy recovery systems.
In introducing the new unit, Renault Chief Technical Officer Rob White noted that the second year of a new engine “is always difficult. The 2015 power unit project was started six months before the 2014 units took to the track, ie. before we had any significant experience of the technology. Then we also needed to consider the issues arising during the season. It creates a need to be both forward thinking and reactive. Splitting resources between projects is therefore a delicate balancing act, in the short, mid and long term. While certain decisions can be taken upstream, a number of design decisions were taken quite late in the day, in order to benefit from the experience of the 2014 power unit. The result is a power unit that is very different to its predecessor,” he said.
Navigant forecasts 29.3% CAGR growth for electric-drive and electric-assisted commercial vehicles to nearly 160K units in 2023
In a new report, Navigant Research forecasts that global sales of electric drive and electric-assisted medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles (MHDV, Classes 3 to 8) will grow from less than 16,000 in 2014 to nearly 160,000 in 2023, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29.3%. Powertrain type included in the report are hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and battery electric. Onboard energy storage can be achieved via batteries, ultracapacitors, or a combination of both.
The medium and heavy duty vehicle (MHDV) market includes all highway-capable vehicles in excess of 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Navigant Research defines medium duty (MD) vehicles as between 10,000 lbs and 26,000 lbs (11,793 kg) and heavy duty (HD) vehicles as greater than 26,000 lbs.
IHS: automotive semiconductor market up 10% in 2014 to $29B; hybrids, connectivity and ADAS major drivers
January 26, 2015
The automotive semiconductor market did exceptionally well in 2014, according to new analysis from IHS. Strong growth in vehicle production together with increased semiconductor content in cars resulted in 10% growth year over year to reach $29B. IHS reported that the fastest growing segments for automotive semiconductors are hybrid-electric vehicles, telematics and connectivity and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
The semiconductor revenue in these applications is forecast to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2013–2018) of 20%, 19% and 18%t respectively. The outlook for 2015 is also promising and the automotive semiconductor market is forecast to reach $31B, a strong 7.5% improvement over 2014.
Dana offering Spicer PowerBoost hydraulic-hybrid system for off-highway field testing; demonstrated fuel savings of 20-25%
January 25, 2015
Dana engineers have conducted extensive field tests of the Spicer PowerBoost system integrated with a dual-motor hydrostatic transmission in a series configuration. These functional evaluations include more than 1,000 hours on a 16-tonne (17.5-ton) front-end loader and more than 500 hours on a telescopic boom handler powered by an 83 kW (111 hp) engine. These tests of typical duty cycles have verified fuel savings of more than 20% for the front-end loader and more than 25% on the telescopic boom handler, with an expected payback in under 18 months for both applications.
DOE to issue $35M funding opportunity for hydrogen and fuel cell technology; Class 1-2 fuel cell plug-in hybrids
January 24, 2015
The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to issue a $35-million funding opportunity (FOA DE-FOA-0001224) (earlier post) covering a broad spectrum of its Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) portfolio with topics ranging from research and development (R&D) to demonstration and deployment projects.
In particular, the R&D areas of interest for this FOA will include hydrogen production via microbial biomass conversion; low PGM (Platinum Group Metal) catalyst development for PEM fuel cell applications; development of an integrated intelligent hydrogen dispenser; and fuel cell and hydrogen manufacturing R&D focusing on hydrogen delivery pipeline manufacturing R&D. This FOA also includes demonstration topic areas that will help to accelerate adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies with specific interest in mobile hydrogen refuelers; fuel cell powered range extenders for light duty hybrid electric vehicles; and a Communities of Excellence topic featuring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
BYD Tang SUV PHEV available for pre-orders starting at $48.3K before incentives; twice that for performance model
January 23, 2015
|Tang. Click to enlarge.|
BYD has begun taking pre-orders for the Tang plug-in hybrid SUV (earlier post) in China with a starting price of 300,000 RMB (US$48,306) before EV incentives. (The higher-performance top end model goes for twice that.) BYD said that demand for the BYD Tang, originally introduced at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show, is high; BYD expects orders for the Tang quickly to surpass those for the Qin plug-in hybrid (earlier post)—at 14,747 units, the best-selling plug-in in China in 2014.
The Tang uses BYD Auto’s second-generation DM (Dual-Mode) 2.0 PHEV platform, and the first of its much-touted 5-4-2 platform models: 5: standing for 0-100km/h (0-60 mph) in less than 5 seconds; 4: standing for 4-wheel drive; 2: standing for less than 2 liters average consumed over 100 km (117.5 mpg US).
UQM Technologies granted patent on permanent magnet electric motor design using non-rare earth magnets
January 20, 2015
UQM Technologies Inc. has been granted a US patent (8,928,198, “Brushless PM machine construction enabling low coercivity magnets”) for an electric and hybrid electric vehicle motor design using non-rare earth magnets. The patent covers the unique magnet geometry and the method of manufacturing the motor.
The majority of electric and hybrid electric vehicles produced today use permanent magnet (PM) motors with rare-earth magnet materials because of the high coercivity of the rare earth materials. Coercivity is a measure of the reverse field needed to drive magnetization to zero after being saturated—i.e., it is a measure of the resistance to demagnetization. The new UQM design enables the use of low coercivity magnets, such as Aluminum Nickel Cobalt (AlNiCo) or Iron Cobalt Tungsten (FeCoW), in PM machines.
DARPA awards Phase 2 SBIR contract for hybrid-electric motorcycle prototype
January 19, 2015
|SilentHawk hybrid-electric motorcycle. Click to enlarge.|
Logos Technologies recently received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to continue development of the SilentHawk military motorcycle in partnership with California’s Alta Motors (formerly BRD). The prototype would combine Alta’s existing RedShift MX electric motocross bike with Logos Technologies’ proven quiet, multi-fueled hybrid-electric power system, developed for a separate unmanned aerial vehicle program.
When fully matured, SilentHawk would allow small, distributed military teams to move long distances quickly and stealthily across harsh terrain, meeting DARPA’s expectations for high performance, efficiency and military utility.
Ford puts the pedal down on performance … but not with electric drive technology right now
January 14, 2015
|The new Ford GT on display in the Ford stand at NAIAS. Click to enlarge.|
In December, Ford President and CEO Mark Fields said Ford would focus on five key areas of innovation, one of them being performance. He said that more than 12 new performance vehicles would be introduced through 2020. (Earlier post.) At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this week, Ford delivered first proof of that focus with the reveal of the new Ford GT carbon-fiber supercar, as well as the new F-150 Raptor based on the new aluminum F-150 and the Shelby GT350R Mustang.
The stunning Ford GT—which received the EyesOn Design Award at NAIAS for best production vehicle—serves as a technology showcase for top EcoBoost engine performance, aerodynamics and lightweight carbon fiber construction. Beginning production late next year, the GT will the road in select global markets in honor of the 50th anniversary of Ford GT race cars placing 1-2-3 at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, unlike today’s hybrid drive Le Mans racers, or the new Acura NSX hybrid supercar, also revealed at NAIAS (earlier post), the GT—nor any of the other Ford performance vehicles unveiled at NAIAS—makes no use of electric drive technology.
Acura unveils new NSX high performance hybrid sports car
January 13, 2015
|NSX at the reveal. Click to enlarge.|
Acura unveiled the production model of the next-generation NSX at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The high performance hybrid features a new twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine with an Acura-designed 9-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three-electric motor Sport Hybrid system, all integrated with an ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material body with world’s-first material applications and manufacturing processes.
The NSX was introduced at the auto show under the theme of “Precision Crafted Performance.” The theme was the original tagline for the Acura brand, a guiding force behind the development of the original NSX and a critical component of its launch.
Hyundai introduces hybrid version of new Sonata; 10% improvement in fuel economy over predecessor
Hyundai introduced the Hybrid version of the seventh-generation Sonata at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Sonata Hybrid continues to visually differentiate itself from other Sonata models with purposefully unique wheels and front and rear fascias that improve aerodynamics while highlighting Sonata Hybrid’s advanced technology and efficiency. Hyundai expects the 2016 Sonata Hybrid to improve fuel economy more than 10%. Sonata Hybrid will be built at Hyundai’s Asan, South Korea assembly plant and will go on sale early this summer.
The 2016 Sonata Hybrid features a downsized 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a more powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. Sonata Hybrid’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) delivers the same responsive, engaging driving characteristics Sonata owners expect while improving fuel economy through the use of the larger electric motor.
Hyundai launches Sonata PHEV; 22-mile electric range
January 12, 2015
Hyundai lanched the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle—Hyundai’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle—along with the hybrid version of the seventh-generation Sonata, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The PHEV is fitted with a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack—roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery—and is expected to travel up to 22 miles (35 km) on electric power alone. Recharging takes as little as two and a half hours with a Level 2 charger. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will go on sale in select markets later this year.
Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32% more powerful than the motor used the in regular Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher speeds. A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. Sonata PHEV’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower (115 kW) and 140 lb-ft (190 N·m) of torque; total system output is 202 horsepower (151 kW) at 6,000 rpm.
Mercedes-Benz introduces C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID; on sale in March
Mercedes-Benz introduced the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID, in both sedan and wagon versions, at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Following the C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, the C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID is the second hybrid model in the new C-Class and the second Mercedes-Benz model (following the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID) to feature PLUG-IN HYBRID technology. Its four-cylinder gasoline engine, in conjunction with 60 kW electric motor, gives it a total system output of 205 kW (279 hp) and torque of 600 N·m (443 lb-ft).
The all-electric range is 31 kilometers (19 miles); fuel consumption figures is 2.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers both versions. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 48 grams (49 grams for the wagon) per kilometer. Both models are also equipped as standard with AIRMATIC air suspension plus a Pre-Entry Climate Control system that can be controlled via the internet. The C 350 PLUG-IN HYBRID will be at dealerships from March 2015.
VW unveils Cross Coupe GTE plug-in hybrid concept SUV at Detroit show; 70 mpge; previewing 7-seater SUV in 2016
|Cross Coupe GTE. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen is unveiling a five-seater Cross Coupe GTE plug-in hybrid at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as a preview to its new seven-seater mid-size SUV due to enter production at the end of 2016. The Cross Coupe GTE plug-in hybrid system has a maximum output of 355 hp (265 kW) and features an all-wheel-drive system that uses an “electric driveshaft”. The hybrid has a manufacturer-estimated fuel economy rating of 70 MPGe.
The GTE acronym generally applies to all sporty Volkswagen models with a high-tech plug-in hybrid drivetrain. They offer the driving characteristics of a grand tourer (Gran Turismo or GT) and, with one or more electric motors and a battery (E as in Electric), they also offer zero-emissions driving. (E.g., the Golf GTE, earlier post.) The Cross Coupe has a zero-emissions range of up to 20 miles (32 km) and can reach 60 mph from rest in just 6.0 seconds. The car has five operating modes: E-Mode, GTE, Hybrid, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery Charge.
Next-gen Chevy Volt EREV is more efficient, with 50-mile electric range
|The new Chevy Volt has a decidedly more sculpted look than its predecessor. Click to enlarge.|
Chevrolet unveiled the second-generation Volt extended range EV at the North American International Auto Show. With a sportier design and an entirely new drive system (earlier post), the 2016 Volt electric car features a higher capacity battery pack and 50 miles of all-electric range (MY 2015 = 38 miles); greater efficiency; and stronger acceleration. GM estimates fuel economy to be 41 mpg combined (MY 2015 = 37 mpg) with 102 mpge (MY 2015 = 98 mpge). The 2016 Volt goes on sale in the second half of 2015.
The new propulsion system will offer a General Motors’-estimated total driving range of some 420 miles and with regular charging, owners are expected to travel more than 1,000 miles on average between gas fill-ups. Currently, drivers of the first-generation Volt are averaging more than 900 miles between fill-ups. Put another way, drivers of the first gen Volt drive electric about 80% of the time, said Andrew Farah, chief vehicle engineer for both generations of the Volt. Farah suggested that the new Volt may be able to boost that figure to nearly 90% in moderate climates.
Mercedes-Benz unveils self-driving fuel cell hybrid luxury concept at CES; novel body structures
January 06, 2015
In a world premiere, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the self-driving fuel cell hybrid electric F 015 Luxury in Motion concept at the CES. In addition to its autonomous driving capability, a key aspect of the research vehicle is the continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers, and the outside world.
The drive system is based on the pioneering F-CELL PLUG-IN HYBRID system seen in the F 125! research vehicle from 2011 (earlier post), and combines on-board generation of electricity with an exceptionally powerful and compact high-voltage battery. The pressure tank made from CFRP is designed to store the hydrogen. (The drive system in the 2011 F 125!, which generated a continuous output of 170 kW (231 hp) and a peak output of 230 kW (313 hp), featured the latest Mercedes-Benz stack, a 10 kWh Li-sulfur battery, four wheel motors and structure-integrated hydrogen storage with MOFs.)
The stack in the F 125!, which is further improved with respect to performance, consumption and practical suitability, provides the power for four electric motors installed near the wheels. The modular e4MATIC system, which also uses improved drive components from the SLS AMG E-CELL, . This accelerates the F 125! to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 220 km/h (137 mph).
Cambridge team successfully tests hybrid light aircraft; 30% fuel savings
December 23, 2014
|Hybrid in flight. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in association with Boeing, have successfully tested a light aircraft powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system, in which an electric motor and gasoline engine work together to drive the propeller. The demonstrator aircraft—based on a single-seat, ultralight Song motor glider—uses up to 30% less fuel than a comparable plane with a gasoline-only engine. The aircraft is also able to recharge its batteries in flight, the first time this has been achieved.
The hybrid system was designed and built by engineers at Cambridge with Boeing funding support. The hybrid aircraft uses a combination of a ~7 kW Honda 4-stroke piston engine and a 10 kW electric motor/generator, coupled through the same drive pulley to spin the propeller. The hybrid system delivers approximately the same power as the standard engine for the Song—a 15 kW Bailey V5 single-cylinder 4-stroke.
ORNL, UT Austin team proposes optimization framework for hybrids; balancing fuel consumption, motor efficiency, battery capacity and life
December 22, 2014
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Texas at Austin have developed an optimization framework for hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs and PHEVs) including fuel consumption, motor efficiency, and battery capacity and lifetime. The approach, detailed in a paper accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions On Control Systems Technology, is intended to enhance the understanding of the associated tradeoffs among the HEV subsystems—e.g., engine, motor, battery—and to investigate the related implications for fuel consumption and battery capacity and lifetime.
With the framework, the performance of the subsystems can be tailored according to consumer preferences, such as reducing fuel consumption or extending battery life. Further, the ability to control battery performance indices—e.g., temperature—enables operating the battery at a higher target SoC (state of charge) without incurring safety concerns. As a result, the results of such analyses could have significant implications for the related HEV and PHEV ownership and warranty costs.
Volvo’s new Electric Hybrid (PHEV) buses with overhead fast charging enter scheduled service in Hamburg for first time; Innovation Route 109
December 19, 2014
New Volvo Bus 7900 Electric Hybrid (plug-in hybrid) buses (earlier post) began scheduled operation in Hamburg on 18 December, coinciding with the opening of the Innovation Route 109. The public transport company in Hamburg, the Hamburger Hochbahn AG, is using the route to run comparative tests of innovative drive technologies under the strict everyday conditions of scheduled services. The city of Hamburg intends to acquire only emission-free buses from 2020 on.
Alongside three Volvo 7900 Electric Hybrid buses, Volvo’s diesel hybrid buses in both 18 m articulated and 12 m versions will also be tested on the route, as well as battery fuel cell buses and fuel cell buses from other manufacturers.
Scania to test wirelessly charged plug-in hybrid city bus for the first time in Sweden
December 17, 2014
|Starting June 2016 a prototype for a new Scania plug-in hybrid bus (based on Scania Citywide Low Entry) will go into daily operation in Södertälje. Click to enlarge.|
Scania is undertaking intensive research into various types of electrification technologies that could replace or complement combustion engines. Inductive charging is among the options the company is exploring and would enable vehicles wirelessly to recharge their batteries via electrified roads.
Now, for the first time in Sweden, Scania and the Stockholm based Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) plan to test the wireless charging technology in real-life conditions. Starting June 2016, a prototype for a new Scania plug-in hybrid bus (based on Scania Citywide Low Entry) will go into daily operation in Södertälje as part of a research project into sustainable vehicle technology.
Hyundai launches all-new Sonata Hybrid with GDI engine; plug-in hybrid variant coming next year
Hyundai Motor Company unveiled the all-new Sonata Hybrid in Seoul, Korea. The new Sonata Hybrid features an upgraded powertrain incorporating a new hybrid system with a new gasoline direct injection engine that delivers fuel economy of 18.2 km/l (43 mpg US or 5.5 l/100 km). A plug-in hybrid variant—to be Hyundai Motor’s first PHEV—will join the lineup next year. The company also plans to introduce its first dedicated Hybrid model in the second half next year.
The all-new Sonata Hybrid, the result of 27 months of development and an investment of approximately 180 billion Won (US$167 million), is scheduled to launch in major markets outside Korea starting in the first half of 2015. Hyundai Motor targets to sell a total of 55,000 units (Korea: 18,000 / Overseas: 37,000) next year.
Renault & partners show research prototypes: 2-cyl. 2-stroke diesel, 48V mild-hybrid diesel, delivery EV
December 13, 2014
|POWERFUL two-cylinder, two-stroke diesel. Click to enlarge.|
At its recent Innovations@Renault event, the France-based automaker presented three research prototypes developed in tandem with its partners as cooperative projects: a mild-hybrid diesel produced as part of the HYDIVU (Hybrid Diesel for LCVs); a two-cylinder, two-stroke diesel from the POWERFUL (POWERtrain for FUture Light-duty vehicles) project (earlier post); and an electric light commercial van developed as part of the du VELUD (Electric Vehicle for Sustainable Urban Logistics) project.
HYDIVU is a 48V mild-hybrid diesel solution to bring down consumption and emissions in LCVs. The objective of this project is to reduce the consumption of LCVs for business customers who travel long distances. Developed on the base of the Renault Master, this prototype is fitted with a powertrain that integrates an electric motor (mild hybridization), Twin-turbo technology and a downspeeding design. The combination of these three technologies results in a in a fuel consumption saving of up to 10% when used over long distances.
Audi introducing 2nd-gen Q7 SUV at NAIAS; e-tron quattro diesel PHEV model; 2nd gen MLB
December 12, 2014
|The new Q7. Click to enlarge.|
Audi will present the new second-generation Audi Q7 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January. In addition to other advances in drivetrain, chassis, lightweight construction, assistance systems and infotainment systems, the new Q7 will also offer an e-tron quattro version: the first plug-in hybrid with a six-cylinder diesel engine and quattro all-wheel drive. The new Audi Q7 also marks the debut of the second-generation modular longitudinal platform (MLB), the Audi technology matrix for models with longitudinally mounted engines, said Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi Board Member for Technical Development.
The Audi Q7 e-tron quattro all-wheel drive diesel plug-in hybrid will consume just 1.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (138.4 mpg US), corresponding to less than 50 grams CO2 per kilometer (80.5 g/mi). The lithium-ion battery pack in the Q7 e-tron quattro stores 17.3 kWh of energy, enabling a range of up to 56 kilometers (34.8 mi) in all-electric mode.
DOE issues FY 2015 SBIR/STTR Release 2 funding opportunity, including hydrogen fuel cells, electric drive batteries
December 09, 2014
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued its FY 2015 Phase I Release 2 Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001227) for the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs. Technical topics for this FOA—which span the range of DOE interests from fossil to nuclear to renewable and low-carbon energies—include two hydrogen- and fuel-cell-related topics: fuel cell-battery electric hybrid trucks and in-line quality control devices for polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
Also included are electric drive vehicle batteries, power electronics, on-board reformers, and advanced crank and ignition mechanisms for combustion engines.
Volvo XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid 7-seater SUV delivers 59 MPGe; more powertrain details
December 08, 2014
|XC90 T8. Click to enlarge.|
Volvo Cars’ new XC90 T8 plug-in 7-seater hybrid SUV delivers total system output of 400 hp (298 kW) and 640 N·m (472 lb-ft) of torque combined with ultra-low emissions (59 g/km) and high fuel efficiency (2.5 l/100km). The fuel economy according to the US driving cycle is 59 MPGe. Volvo earlier this year had suggested the fuel economy rating on the US drive cycle would be around 60 MPGe. (Earlier post.)
The XC90 T8 builds on Volvo’s new modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and successful Drive-E gasoline powertrain. The XC90 T8 can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds. The car has five different driving modes that deliver a range of performance and efficiency-enhancing characteristics. Using either a scroll wheel on the centre console or a touchscreen on the dashboard, drivers can choose from:
Oerlikon Graziano showcasing hybrid and electric transmission systems at CTI; new 2-speed AMT
December 05, 2014
Transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano is showcasing its range of hybrid and electric transmission systems, including the OGeco torque infill unit that integrates a 6-speed automated manual with a 120 kW electric motor through a 2-speed epicyclic transmission, as well as a new 2-speed automated manual drive system, at the the 2014 CTI Symposium and Transmission Expo in Berlin next week.
The OGeco unit provides torque infill, electric boost, regeneration, electric drive and engine cranking. A prototype unit has been installed in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG by Oerlikon Graziano and its UK partner, Vocis. The packaging is so effective that the OGeco with integrated electric motor fits into the same space as the 7-speed DCT normally fitted to the car.
Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID can cut lifecycle CO2 by up to 56% compared to S 500
December 01, 2014
|Comparison of CO2 emissions for the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID and the S 500 [t/car]. Source: TÜV SÜD. Click to enlarge.|
The Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID (earlier post) can cut CO2 emissions by some 43% when recharged using the European electricity mix and by up to 56% when using hydroelectricity compared to the conventional S 500 model on a full lifecycle basis, according to the environmental certificate awarded by TÜV SÜD.
TÜV SÜD awarded the life cycle assessment environmental certificate in accordance with ISO TR (technical report) 14062. (ISO/TR 14062:2002 describes concepts and current practices relating to the integration of environmental aspects into product design and development, and is applicable to the development of sector-specific documents. It is not applicable as a specification for certification and registration purposes.)
Honda begins sales of new Grace Hybrid in Japan; 4WD option
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has begun sales of the all-new Grace hybrid sedan at dealerships across Japan. The Grace is equipped with Honda’s Sport Hybrid i-DCD one-motor hybrid system that enables the driver to start in EV mode and realizes fuel economy of 34.4 km/L (81 mpg US or 2.9 l/100 km) under the JC 08 mode—best among all hybrid sedan models in the Japanese market. The Sport Hybrid i-DCD is also applied in the Fit and Vezel hybrids, and earlier had been the subject of three recalls due to separate problems with its &-speed DCT. (Earlier post.)
Also, for the first time as a compact hybrid sedan in this size category, the all-new Grace offers a 4WD version in its lineup. Honda’s monthly sales target in Japan is 3,000 units.
Calls for an international 48V electrical standard for vehicles; looming WLTP implementation
At the 2nd International Conference Automotive 48 V Power Supply Systems, held last week in Düsseldorf, Germany, Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), a major sponsor of the event, together with leading car makers and Tier 1 suppliers, argued the need for an internationally agreed 48V electrical standard. Such a standard will be necessary for the global automotive industry to achieve the economies of scale demanded by original equipment manufacturers.
CPT, together with other sponsors of the event, including AVL and Ricardo, is in the vanguard of 48V mild hybrid developments intended to address the ever-tightening European CO2 regulations and potentially a new and more aggressive test cycle—i.e., the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP).
MHI completes development of next-generation LNG carrier; apple-shaped tanks and hybrid propulsion
November 29, 2014
|Sayaringo STaGE. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed development of the “Sayaringo STaGE,” a next-generation LNG (liquefied natural gas) carrier. The Sayaringo STaGE was developed as a successor to the Sayaendo (earlier post), the company’s LNG carrier evolved from carriers with Moss-type spherical tanks that offer a high level of reliability. (Moss-type LNG carriers use independent spherical cargo tanks supported by a cylindrical skirt integrated with the hull and covered with a hemispherical steel cover attached to the main deck.)
While the Sayaendo (sayaendo = peas in a pod in Japanese) features a peapod-shaped continuous cover for the Moss spherical tanks that is integrated with the ship’s hull, in lieu of a conventional hemispherical cover, the new Sayaringo (ringo being the Japanese word for “apple”) STaGE adopts apple-shaped tanks, resulting in nearly a16% increase in LNG carrying capacity without changing the ship’s width. Further, a hybrid propulsion system has boosted fuel efficiency by more than 20% compared to the Sayaendo (and more than 40% vis-à-vis earlier carriers).
BMW reveals 3 Series Plug-in hybrid prototype with 117.5 mpg; next-gen Power eDrive: 2x current capacity, electric AWD
November 27, 2014
|BMW 3 Series Plug-in hybrid prototype. Click to enlarge.|
BMW has unveiled a 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype. Combining a four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine from the new Efficient Dynamics engine family with an electric motor, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype offers performance on a par with a conventionally powered BMW 3 Series six-cylinder model, combined with a significant reduction in fuel consumption.
In addition, BMW outlined its work on Power eDrive next-generation electrification platforms—an effort to deliver “highly electrified” plug-in hybrids with higher-powered electric motors and batteries with twice the capacity of present versions. Future plug-in hybrid concepts, said BMW, will use the electric motor—the main source of power for everyday driving—to drive the rear wheels, while a second electric motor driving the front wheels will create an all-electric road-coupled all-wheel-drive system. At the same time, an internal combustion engine will also supply power to the front axle.
Bus maker Alexander Dennis to fit GKN Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid systems to 250 buses; partners on international development
November 24, 2014
|Gyrodrive. Click to enlarge.|
Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), Britain’s biggest bus and coach manufacturer, has chosen GKN Hybrid Power as a preferred partner and committed to the purchase of 250 of its Gyrodrive electric flywheel hybrid systems (earlier post). ADL will focus initially on the introduction of the low emission technology to bus fleets in London and Oxford but anticipates rapid deployment across the UK in the next few years. It will also be working closely with GKN to develop the technology for international markets.
Instead of a battery, the Gyrodrive system uses a magnetically loaded high-speed carbon-fiber flywheel to store the energy generated by a bus as it slows down to stop. It then utilizes the stored energy to power a GKN EVO electric motor which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating significant fuel savings of up to around 25% at a considerably lower cost than battery-hybrid alternatives.
Lux Research: fuel cell vehicles lag other drivetrains in terms of cost of ownership; ICE and HEV lowest cost
Based on an analysis of various cost of ownership scenarios for various drivetrains, including internal combustion engine (ICE) gasoline and diesel; hybrid (HEV); battery-electric (EV); plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV); and fuel cell vehicles, Lux Research concludes that fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are “solidly in a laggard position.”
The Lux analysts ran scenarios associated with operation and ownership, broken out into fuel cost alone; fuel cost plus operation, but excluding purchase or lease; and fuel cost plus operation, including purchase or lease (total ownership cost). When looking at fuel cost only, EVs lead the way due to the relatively low price of electricity, followed by various types of hybrids (HEVs and PHEVs). Fuel cell vehicles can match EV fuel costs at $3/kg dispensed H2—a price highly unlikely in near-term, Lux said.
Mitsubishi shows XR-PHEV concept at LA Show
November 20, 2014
|Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV on stage in LA. Click to enlarge.|
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) gave the Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV (earlier post) plug-in hybrid its North American debut at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Mitsubishi said that the Concept XR-PHEV crossover hints at its future design direction for production vehicles in North America and further reaffirms the automaker’s commitment to the US market.
The powertrain features a front engine/front-wheel drive gasoline-powered 1.1-liter inline-3-cylinder turbocharged engine (134 hp/100 kW) paired with a compact electric motor (161 hp/121 kW) with a high-boost converter and a main drive lithium-ion battery pack with storage capacity of 14 kWh (located beneath the floor of the cabin). The new converter raises the MiEV system to 700 volts and helps to further improve energy output and efficiency from both the electric motor as well as the generator.
EALABC paper outlines approach to 48V hybrid systems with advanced lead-carbon batteries
November 19, 2014
The European Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (EALABC) is delivering a paper this week outlining the consortium’s approach to 48V hybridization at the 2nd International Conference on Advanced Automotive 48V Power Supply Systems in Düsseldorf. The EALABC focus is on the environmental and cost benefits of current and future advanced lead-carbon batteries for 48V hybrid vehicles.
The state-of-charge (SoC) of current lead-carbon batteries is typically maintained at between 30 and 50%, with the voltage and amperage meeting VDA requirements by not exceeding 54V at 150A when recovering joules of energy from vehicle deceleration (kinetic energy recovery) and exhaust gas energy recuperation (thermal energy recovery), also dropping not less than 38V at 180A when discharging energy for engine starting and torque assist. Advanced lead-carbon batteries for vehicles currently under development will be capable of operating in the 30 to 70% SoC range at 12.5kW.
Volkswagen outlines a range of near-term technologies for reducing fuel consumption and emissions; stop-start 2.0, 10-speed DSG
November 11, 2014
Volkswagen presented its latest technologies for reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions—which includes the first 10-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG)—in an Innovation Workshop for the media at the Ehra-Lessien test track facility near Wolfsburg.
Volkswagen AG has set the goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable carmaker by the year 2018. Compared to baseline figures for 2010, the Group wants to reduce energy and water consumption, waste generation and emissions (including CO2 emissions) by 25% in all of its business areas. (I.e., VW’s “Strategy 2018”, earlier post.) To achieve this, the Volkswagen brand—the highest volume brand of the Group—is counting on electric mobility (zero-emission and plug-in hybrid models); on continually more fuel-efficient combustion engines and gearboxes; progressive lightweight design; aerodynamics; and efficiency “in every conceivable area”.
Honda beginning sales of Legend with 3-motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system in January; V6 with cylinder deactivation
November 10, 2014
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. will begin sales of the all-new Legend flagship sedan (its cousin is already on sale in the US as the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) at dealerships across Japan on 22 January 2015. The fifth-generation Legend features the 3-motor Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system also offered in the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (earlier post).
Positioned at the front of the vehicle is a newly developed V6 3.5L direct injection i-VTEC engine and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with an integrated 35 kW electric motor. The rear-mounted TMU (Twin Motor Unit) contains two 27-kilowatt motors that dynamically distribute electric-motor torque to the rear wheels. Both the front and rear motors capture kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration and braking and convert it to electricity to supply the Intelligent Power Unit’s 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located behind the rear seatback. Teaming up with a high-output lithium-ion battery, the control unit coordinates the operation of the engine and three motors.
GKN Land Systems ramping up production of electric flywheel hybrid technology for buses
November 06, 2014
|GKN Gyrodrive bus. Click to enlarge.|
Gyrodrive uses a high-speed composite flywheel paired with an innovative GKN EVO electric motor to regenerate the energy normally lost during braking. When the driver brakes, a traction motor on one of the axles slows the vehicle and generates electricity simultaneously. The electricity charges the flywheel, spinning it at up to 36,000 rpm.