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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

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

July 26, 2016

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

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

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

July 16, 2016

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

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

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BMW introduces its trio of 7 Series plug-in hybrids

July 15, 2016

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

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

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

July 13, 2016

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

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

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

July 12, 2016

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

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

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

July 04, 2016

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

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

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

June 30, 2016

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

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

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

June 29, 2016

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

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

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Kiessling Transit orders 32 more Lightning Hybrids hydraulic hybrid buses

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

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

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

June 15, 2016

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

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

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

June 13, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 09, 2016

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

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

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2017 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV boosts total range to 610 miles

May 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 25, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 24, 2016

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

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

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

May 22, 2016

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

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

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

May 20, 2016

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

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

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Peapod adds two LH hydraulic hybrids delivery trucks to fleet

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 18, 2016

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

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

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Acura reveals Gen2 autonomous driving development vehicle

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

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

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Scania delivering 51 hybrid buses to Madrid

May 12, 2016

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

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

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

May 11, 2016

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

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

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

May 09, 2016

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

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

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

May 03, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 02, 2016

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

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

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

April 30, 2016

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

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

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

April 25, 2016

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

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

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

April 24, 2016

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

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

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Adgero introducing ultracap-based KERS for semi-trailers

April 22, 2016

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

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

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PHEVLERs are the Zero CO2 Clean Green Machines of the Future

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

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

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

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Edmunds.com: EV and hybrid loyalty falls to all-time low

April 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 20, 2016

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

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

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

April 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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GKN supplying eAxle to plug-in hybrid Volvo S90

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

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

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GM details 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid powertrain design and operation

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

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

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

April 14, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 13, 2016

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

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

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

April 09, 2016

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

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

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FEV showcasing 48V technology at 2016 SAE World Congress

April 08, 2016

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

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

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

April 07, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 01, 2016

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

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

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

March 31, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 25, 2016

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

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

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

March 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 23, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 22, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 21, 2016

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

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

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Pi Innovo and GaN Systems collaborate to offer electronics design services for auxiliary systems for multi-voltage, hybrid and electric vehicles

Controls engineering firm Pi Innovo and gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor manufacturer GaN Systems are collaborating to offer automakers a pathway to the efficient and effective electrification of auxiliary systems for multi-voltage conventional, hybrid-electric, and pure electric vehicles.

GaN devices offer a number of benefits compared to silicon-based devices, including high dielectric strength; high current density; high switching speeds; low on-resistance; and the ability to withstand higher operating temperature. Compared to silicon, gallium nitride has ten times higher electrical breakdown characteristics, three times the band gap, and exceptional carrier mobility.

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Series production of next-generation Acura NSX hybrid supercar begins in April at new Performance Manufacturing Center

March 17, 2016

Acura’s Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) will begin series production of the next-generation Acura NSX hybrid supercar (earlier post) in late April, with customer deliveries to commence thereafter.

The PMC is constructing the Acura supercar entirely in-house and, like the NSX itself, is a clean-sheet development—a manufacturing facility designed around the NSX’s unique Multi-Material Body and aluminum-intensive space-frame design and optimized for low-volume production of high-performance specialty vehicles.

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MIT Energy Initiative report on transforming the US transportation system by 2050 to address climate challenges

March 16, 2016

A new MIT Energy Initiative report spearheaded by John Heywood, Sun Jae Professor of Mechanical Engineering Emeritus at MIT, identifies three important paths forward reducing light-duty vehicle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions: improve the existing system and technologies for shorter-term benefits; conserve fuel by changing driver habits for nearer- to longer-term benefits; and transform the transportation system into one that is radically less carbon-intensive for longer-term benefits.

According to the report, “On the Road Toward 2050: Potential for Substantial Reductions in Light-Duty Vehicle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” each element is separately important, but must collectively be pursued aggressively to achieve necessary emissions reductions. More research, development, and demonstration studies are needed to lay the foundation for such a long-term transformation.

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GKN Driveline introducing eAxle for mass-market C-segment vehicles

March 14, 2016

GKN Driveline has developed an eAxle module—derived from the technology used in cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8—that will enable C-segment vehicles to offer buyers a plug-in hybrid option with improved performance and a reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 50%.

The new eAxle is an evolution of the system GKN designed for the Porsche 918 Spyder. The single-speed design minimizes weight to just 20.9 kg (46 lbs) while optimizing efficiency, installation space and costs for mass-market vehicle applications. A two-staged geartrain with a gear ratio of 12.5 provides up to 2000 N·m torque and 65 kW power for a dynamic pure-electric mode and balanced wheel torques for all-wheel drive mode.

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DOE to award $12.5M to improve efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks as part of new tech track for US-China initiative

March 13, 2016

The US Department of Energy is soliciting applications (DE-FOA-0001542) for the formation of a Consortium to pursue five identified R&D topic areas related to improving the operating efficiency of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Consortium that is funded through this solicitation will form a new technical track under the US-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral initiative to encourage R&D collaboration and accelerate technology development and deployment in both countries.

Funding available is $12.5 million, and will support the US Consortium. In parallel, and with equivalent resources, Chinese funding will support a collaborative counterpart Chinese Consortium. The US consortium will pursue five topics; responsive application will address all five. These are:

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Mercedes-Benz launches new E-Class; new engines, PHEV, driver assistance systems; DRIVE PILOT

March 09, 2016

Mercedes-Benz has launched the new tenth-generation E-Class, introduced at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this January. (Earlier post.) The new generation features technology innovations in a number of areas, including driver assistance and powertrains, with new efficient engines and a plug-in hybrid version.

Initially, the E 200 d models of the new E-Class will be available with an all-new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine (earlier post), while the E 200 will be powered by a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 350 d by a six-cylinder diesel.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan EPA-rated at 28 mpg highway, 22 mpg combined; stop/start and PHEV still to come

March 08, 2016

The gasoline-powered version of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan has earned a highway-cycle fuel-economy rating of 28 mpg US (8.4 l/100km) from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—a benchmark unsurpassed by any minivan on the US market and 12% better than the vehicle Pacifica replaces.

The Chrysler brand’s all-new minivan also has a calculated lifecycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) 9% less than the outgoing vehicle. GWP considers the environmental impact of fuel production and delivery, along with the implications of its consumption. FCA US LLC engineers used industry-standard software to calculate and compare the all-new Pacifica’s GWP with that of the outgoing vehicle over 124,274 miles (200,000 km) of operation.

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Juniper forecasts HEV & EV sales to total 17M by 2020; Tesla ranked leading EV manufacturer

A new study from Juniper Research forecasts that nearly 17 million hybrid and electric vehicles will be on the road by 2020, up from an estimated 12 million last year.

Juniper believes that stakeholders primarily need to establish the viability and desirability of electric vehicles with consumers, and adopt an aggressive market strategy including the rolling out of a wide-scale public charging infrastructure that is seen as both ongoing and committed; improving vehicle battery life and range per charge; and conducting effective consumer education campaigns, with attractive incentives to change.

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Fuji Heavy outlines next-gen “Subaru Global Platform”; improved performance, adaptable to electrification

March 07, 2016

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, outlined the Subaru Global Platform which is currently under development as the architecture to be used for all the company’s next-generation vehicles.

The next-generation platform looks ahead to 2025. The main features include Subaru’s biggest-ever enhancement in overall vehicle performance, with an emotionally engaging “dynamic feel” that goes beyond high performance; the highest levels of safety; and a single design concept for development of all models, adaptable to electrification in the future.

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Loop Energy wins $7.5M from SDTC to support battery/fuel cell powertrains for heavy-duty trucks

March 04, 2016

Loop Energy—formerly known as PowerDisc Development—has been awarded a $7.5-million grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to accelerate deployment of the company’s new zero-emission powertrain for heavy-duty trucks.

The Loop heavy­duty powertrain combines an electric battery with a hydrogen fuel cell designed around its patented eFlow technology. eFlow addresses unequal current distribution in the fuel cell by improving the flow of oxygen, fuel and water within a fuel cell and avoiding degradation of the fuel cell membrane and stack materials.

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NHTSA proposes updating electrical safety requirements for fuel cell and mild hybrid vehicles; alignment with int’l standards

The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to update electrical safety requirements for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and mild hybrid vehicles.

The NPRM proposes adding an optional method for post-crash electrical safety into the standard, FMVSS No. 305, that involves physical barriers to prevent electric shock due to direct or indirect contact of high voltage sources. This proposed optional method affords the same level of electric shock protection as the other methods for electrical safety currently in FMVSS No. 305 and would enable innovative powertrain technologies. The proposed updates to FMVSS No. 305 align the standard with international regulations and the latest version of the voluntary industry standard, SAE J1766, “Recommended Practice for Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Systems Crash Integrity Testing”.

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Škoda showcases MQB-based plug-in hybrid VisionS concept at Geneva; production PHEV in 2019, followed by BEV

March 02, 2016

Volkswagen Group company Škoda is showcasing its VisionS plug-in hybrid concept SUV at the Geneva Motor Show. The Škoda VisionS incorporates the brand’s new design language, carrying it over into the SUV segment. The plug-in hybrid drive system is a preview of a similar drive system being tested for production cars, said Škoda CEO Bernhard Maier.

Based on Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB), this is Škoda’s first vehicle to feature six seats across three rows.

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China R&D company introduces micro-turbine range extender technology at Geneva

March 01, 2016

Techrules, a new China-based automotive R&D company, made its global debut at the 2016 Geneva International Motor Show with the unveiling of a Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) series hybrid system applied in a 6-motor, all-wheel drive supercar concept.

TREV is a range extender system that uses a micro-turbine (fueled either by liquid or gaseous fuels) to generate electricity that charges a battery pack. The battery powers the motors that drive the wheels. In 2010, Jaguar introduced a similar concept, the C-X75 extended range electric vehicle that used twin gas micro-turbines from Bladon Jets to power two switched reluctance generators from SR Drives. (Earlier post.)

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Daimler invests €500M in new Li-ion battery factory in Germany

Daimler is investing €500 million (US$544 million) to build a second battery factory in Germany to produce lithium-ion batteries for Mercedes-Benz and smart hybrid and electric vehicles.

This will triple the production space of Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, located in Kamenz. As a first step, the full Daimler subsidiary has purchased about 20 hectares of land adjacent to the existing battery factory.

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Volkswagen launches new luxury flagship Phideon at Geneva; plug-in hybrid drive planned; first VW brand car based on MLB

Volkswagen unveiled the new Volkswagen Phideon luxury sedan ahead of the Geneva International Motor Show 2016. The future of Volkswagen’s premium segment will go into production in China initially for the China market in the third quarter of 2016.

The new Phideon was developed in Germany with the assistance of VW’s Chinese partner SAIC Volkswagen. The sedan will be offered with high-efficiency turbocharged gasoline TSI engines, and a plug-in hybrid drive is also planned.

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Chevrolet to offer small number of 2016 Silverados pickups with e-Assist mild-hybrid technology; 13% better city cycle fuel economy

February 25, 2016

Chevrolet will offer a small number—initially approximately 500 through California dealers—MY 2016 Silverado pickup trucks equipped with eAssist mild-hybrid technology. Based on feedback from these initial customers, Chevrolet may adjust production for 2017 model year.

The new mild-hybrid electrical system leverages many of the technologies and components from Chevrolet’s lineup of electrified vehicles, including battery cells from the Malibu Hybrid and software controls developed for the Volt. As a result, Chevrolet can deliver a low-volume, affordably priced hybrid pickup that delivers uncompromised capability and up to 13% better fuel economy in city driving.

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Volvo sells 11 electric hybrid buses with 2 ABB automated fast-chargers to Namur, Belgium

Volvo has received an order for 11 electric hybrid buses and 2 ABB automated electric bus fast-chargers to the city of Namur in Belgium with public transport authority and operator TEC. This is the largest order to date for the company’s electric bus system.

TEC is buying the bus system as a turn-key solution. Volvo takes full responsibility for vehicle servicing, battery maintenance as well as maintenance of the standard-based charging stations for a fixed monthly cost. Start in-service is planned towards the end of 2016. Every year the TEC Group transports more than 250 million passengers.

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Hyundai unveiling full IONIQ line at Geneva: HEV, PHEV and BEV

February 24, 2016

Hyundai will unveil all the members—hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric—of its IONIQ range at the Geneva Motor Show next week. In January, Hyundai released initial details on the new IONIQ dedicated hybrid—the first version of the platform to come to market. (Earlier post.)

The IONIQ Hybrid and IONIQ Plug-in both feature the new Kappa 1.6 GDI, gasoline direct injection, four-cylinder engine featuring a thermal efficiency of 40% and 104 hp (77 kW) and 147 N·m (57 lb-ft) of torque. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with a six-speed double clutch transmission to enable a more dynamic driving experience than some other hybrids. The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension enhances driving dynamics.

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Honda targeting 2/3 of unit sales from PHEVs, HEVs and ZEVs by ~2030; PHEVs the core of electrification

At a press event in Tokyo to lay out his future vision and direction for the company, Honda Motor President & CEO Takahiro Hachigo said that the company will strive to make two-thirds of its overall unit sales from plug-in hybrid/hybrid vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles such as fuel cell vehicles and battery EVs by around 2030.

Hachigo said that Honda will will position plug-in hybrids at the core of electrification in the future and will introduce an all-new plug-in hybrid model in North America by 2018. After that, Honda will make a plug-in hybrid type available for the major models and increase the number of models sequentially.

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GM’s new RWD PHEV system for Cadillac CT6 designed for fun-to-drive high performance as well as efficiency; Volt on steroids

February 19, 2016

In a preview of three detailed papers to be presented at the SAE World Congress in April, Tim Grewe, GM’s General Director of electrification, and Pete Savagian, GM General Director of electric drives and systems engineering, provided a technical overview of the new rear-wheel drive PHEV propulsion system for the Cadillac CT6 (earlier post) at the recent SAE 2016 Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in Anaheim.

The efficient and very fun-to-drive system, with 335 kW (449 hp) combined system power, propels the CT6 from 0-100 km in 5.6 seconds; delivers an all-electric range of more than 60 km (37 miles) and an all-electric top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph); and features combined fuel consumption of less than 2.0 L/100 km (117.7 mpg US).

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New Multi Stage Hybrid System in Lexus LC 500h; hybrid drive + 4-speed automatic

February 18, 2016

Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500, Lexus is introducing the new LC 500h, featuring the first Multi Stage Hybrid System, the next-generation of hybrid powertrains specifically designed for performance vehicles. The LC 500h delivers total system output of 264 kW (354 hp), with a targeted 0-100 km/h time of below 5 seconds. below 5

The Multi Stage Hybrid System (MSHS) was developed with opposing goals in mind: to create a hybrid with a more sporting and engaging driving experience by closely aligning engine speed with throttle inputs, and to achieve the best possible balance of power and fuel consumption. The new MSHS combines the elements of a Toyota/Lexus traditional full hybrid powertrain—including a 220 kW, 348 N·m 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine, electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack—with a 4-speed automatic gearbox mounted at the rear of the hybrid transmission.

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Automakers testing new GKN electric torque vectoring technology; “eTwinster”

Automakers are test-driving a new torque-vectoring electric drive system by GKN Automotive. The “eTwinster” technology is part of a range of new hybrid electric technologies GKN is showcasing to customers at its Wintertest proving ground in Arjeplog, Northern Sweden.

The eTwinster is a plug-in hybrid module that makes it simpler for vehicle platforms to offer electric all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. The driveline combines eAxle technologies proven in the Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine, Porsche 918 Spyder and BMW i8 plug-in hybrids and the twin-clutch torque vectoring technology that features in the Ford Focus RS and Range Rover Evoque.

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Volvo Cars reveals new V90 wagon; PHEV model with ~31-mile electric range

Volvo unveiled its new Volvo V90 wagon in Stockholm, Sweden. The V90 is the latest in the premium car maker’s top-of-the-line 90 series sitting alongside the award winning XC90 SUV (earlier post) and the recently-launched S90 premium sedan.

The 90 series vehicles are built on the company’s specially-designed and fully modular Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). (Earlier post.) The V90, like the XC90 and the S90, offers the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrain, delivering up to around 410 hp.

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Daimler managers to drive PHEV company cars

February 16, 2016

As policy, Daimler managers will be driving electrified company cars—mainly its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. Furthermore, Daimler this year will invest a further €30 million (US$34 million) into extending the company’s own charging infrastructure across many of its sites. This will also benefit employees, who have access to a growing range of vehicles with alternative drive systems.

The agreement applies to the company’s senior levels of management and focuses on plug-in hybrids. Daimler AG believes that the technology offered by these vehicles provides a key to zero-emission driving and is therefore expanding its product portfolio with plug-in hybrid drive systems. The models already presented and mostly already introduced to the market are the S 500 e in sedan, the C 350 e in sedan, wagon and extended-wheelbase versions, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC and the new E 350 e sedan.

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CPT invests £1M to industrialize switched-reluctance 48V mild hybrid technology; new durability test cells

UK-based Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification technology, has invested £1 million (US$1.4 million) to further industrialize its CO2 and NOx reduction capabilities for the global automotive and transport industries.

CPT specializes in the safe low-voltage application of switched-reluctance machines (SRMs) to a vehicle powertrain and driveline, providing intelligent electrification of the propulsion system with near full hybrid vehicle capability. (Earlier post.) The £1-million spend will support seven projects at the company’s new technical center in Coventry and at its headquarters in Laindon. A significant proportion of the funding targets product and manufacturing process maturity by capital expenditure in new durability test cells at Laindon and a low volume manufacturing facility in Coventry.

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CMU study finds that coal retirement is needed for EVs to reduce air pollution

February 12, 2016

Electric vehicles charged in coal-heavy regions can create more human health and environmental damages from life cycle air emissions than gasoline vehicles, according to a new consequential life cycle analysis by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. However, the anticipated—albeit now possibly delayed, per the recent Supreme Court decision—retirement of coal-fired power plants will make electric vehicles more competitive on an air emissions basis, the researchers found.

Among the findings of the study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters, was that battery electric vehicles with large battery capacity can produce two to three times as much air emissions damage as gasoline hybrid electric vehicles, depending on charge timing.

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BMW introduces iPerformance designation, starting with three 7-Series plug-ins

At the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, BMW will officially introduce the new iPerformance model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles starting in July 2016, as a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.

In order to make BMW’s electrification strategy visible from the outside, all iPerformance models will display a BMW i logo on the front side panel, BMW i-style blue elements in the kidney grille and wheel hubs, and an eDrive logo on the C-pillar. BMW iPerformance will celebrate its premiere in the new BMW 7 Series luxury sedan through the plug-in hybrid members of the line-up: the new BMW 740e iPerformance, BMW 740Le iPerformance and BMW 740Le xDrive iPerformance.

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Kia introduces 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle, Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-in Hybrid at Chicago

Kia unveiled three major hybrid offerings at the Chicago Auto Show: the 2017 Niro Hybrid Utility Vehicle; the new Optima Hybrid; and the new Optima Plug-in Hybrid. While the Niro Hybrid was preceded by clean mobility products such as the Optima Hybrid and Soul EV, Niro is the first Kia to make use of an all-new, dedicated eco-car platform and is an important next step on the path to nearly tripling the brand’s global green car line-up by 2020.

The Niro features an all-new, advanced Kappa 1.6-liter GDI four-cylinder engine, engineered specifically for hybrid applications. Making 103 horsepower, the new engine marks the first combination of the Atkinson Cycle, cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), GDI and a long-stroke-narrow-bore specification to maximize efficiency.

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UC Riverside reinforcement-learning-based real-time energy management system can improve PHEV efficiency by almost 12%

February 09, 2016

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have demonstrated that a new, data-driven, reinforcement-learning-based, real-time energy management system (EMS) can improve the efficiency of current plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by almost 12% compared to the standard, binary mode control strategy. The UCR EMS optimizes the power-split control in real time while learning the optimal decisions from historical driving cycles.

Further, the ~12% improvement does not factor in charging opportunities. An 8% fuel saving—again, compared to the standard binary mode EMS—can be achieved when charging opportunities are considered, the researchers said in a paper describing the system in the journal Transportation Research Record.

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Schaeffler P2 high-voltage hybrid module expected in North American light-duty truck by 2020; also 48V applications

February 01, 2016

In September 2015, Schaeffler showcased its new P2 (parallel, two-clutch) high-voltage hybrid module at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, and announced that the new module will be put into volume production for the first time at the start of 2017.

Schaeffler has developed a variation on the P2 hybrid module for the US market with an integrated torque converter, resulting in further improvements in space utilization. Schaeffler expects this high-voltage solution to be in use in a North American light-duty truck by 2020.

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Study of eco-driving in hybrids finds need for systems that facilitate energy-efficient behaviors

January 30, 2016

A study of eco-driving behavior in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) by a team from Technische Universität Chemnitz (Germany) and the University of Southampton (UK) has found that simply providing drivers with a technology that has the potential for high energy savings—i.e., a hybrid—is not sufficient to result in high energy savings; systems must be developed in a way that facilitates energy efficient behaviors.

Put another way, they found that eco-driving motivation does not guarantee ecodriving success. Their study showed that even among drivers who were highly motivated for eco-driving, the individual differences in applied ecodriving strategies were still substantial. Building on the results, the team presented a number of suggestions for the design of systems that facilitate ecodriving. A paper on their study is published in the journal Applied Ergonomics.

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ALABC: 48V mild hybrids can meet emission targets with CO2 reductions of 15-20%

January 27, 2016

Current mild-hybrid vehicle projects, in partnership with Ford and Hyundai/Kia, that utilize advanced 48V lead-carbon batteries, can reduce CO2 emissions by 15-20%, according to the latest data from the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC), presented at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (25-28 January, Mainz).

The T-Hybrid (based on a Kia Optima) (earlier post) and the ADEPT (based on a Ford Focus) (earlier post) both utilize an advanced 48V lead-carbon battery system with bolt-on electrical components that allow for significant engine-downsizing without loss in performance.

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Toyota hybrid sales in Europe up 17% in 2015, representing 24% of total TME sales

January 14, 2016

Despite the lowest gasoline prices in Europe in 5 years, Toyota Motor Europe’s (TME) sales of hybrid vehicles continued their 5-year increase to reach 209,000 units for the full year 2015, up 17% year-on-year. Sales of Toyota and Lexus-branded hybrid vehicles now represent 24% of the group’s sales on the continent, up from 20% a year ago. In Western Europe only, sales of hybrid represent a third of total sales. Overall sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles were 874,000 units in 2015, a drop of 1.5% year-on-year.

Within those hybrid sales, the Yaris hybrid recorded sales of 72,000 in 2015, up 23% versus last year, showing that hybrid technology is accessible even on a B-segment vehicle. More than one in three Yaris sold in Europe is a hybrid.

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PwC: electrified vehicle sales on the rise in Europe, continued growth expected

January 13, 2016

PwC’s Autofacts group estimates sales of pure electric, plug-in mild and full hybrids will grow 433% to 2.2 million units by 2021, driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressure. While alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)—including hybrids and pure electric—are gaining consumer acceptance in the European Union (EU), even in the face of decreased fuel prices, these reduced emission offerings are still a comparatively low%age of overall vehicle sales in this critical market.

Pure electric and plug-in hybrids vehicle sales grew 82.2% from September 2014 to September 2015, as opposed to mild and full hybrids which increased 22% during the same period. The significant EV growth can be attributed to several factors, according to PwC, including consumer desire for more emission-friendly vehicles, the maturation of pure electric technologies and their positive perception among consumers, and continued government incentives.

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Mercedes-Benz introduces new E-Class with PHEV version coming

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Mercedes-Benz introduced the 10th generation of its E-Class. The new sedans feature the world premiere of a number of technical innovations including additional driver assistance, infotainment and control systems.

The new E-Class will come with a choice of two engines at market launch: the E 200 with a four-cylinder gasoline engine and the E 220 d with an all-new four-cylinder diesel engine. Further model variants will be added to the range after the market launch, including the E 350 e plug-in hybrid. The E 350 e will deliver some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) of all-electric range.

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Chrysler introduces Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivan; 80 mpge city, 30-mile AER

January 11, 2016

Chrysler unveiled the all-new 2017 Pacifica minivan in both conventional and plug-in hybrid versions at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The PHEV is the minivan segment’s first.

The Pacifica Hybrid will deliver an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles from a 16-kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. In city driving, it is expected to achieve an efficiency rating of 80 MPGe based on US Environmental Protection Agency standards.

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