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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.]

Bosch subsidiary Buderus Guss introduces brake disc that generates up to 90% less brake dust

November 22, 2017

According to the Baden-Württemberg state environmental agency, brakes and tires are responsible for 32% of driving-related particulate emissions—roughly half of which is brake dust. Significantly reducing brake dust is therefore essential to improving the air, especially in cities.

Now, the Bosch subsidiary Buderus Guss has developed the iDisc, a brake disc that generates up to 90% less brake dust than a conventional brake disc. The iDisc is scheduled to go into production for a European manufacturer in November 2017.

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Federal-Mogul Powertrain acquires Controlled Power Technologies; adds electrification capability; 48V

November 16, 2017

Federal-Mogul Powertrain has completed the acquisition of UK-based Controlled Power Technologies Ltd (CPT). The purchase provides a timely route for Federal-Mogul Powertrain to expand into the development and manufacture of powertrain technologies for electrification and hybridization that complement the company's existing capabilities.

Headquartered in Laindon, Essex and with a further site in Coventry (UK), CPT specializes in the development of 12V and 48V electric motor-generators for start-stop applications, mild hybridization, exhaust-driven electrification technologies, e-boosting for combustion engines, e-compressors for fuel cells and similar products. (Earlier post.)

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Researchers developing free-piston linear generator for exhaust waste heat recovery

October 28, 2017

Researchers in China have developed a novel free-piston linear generator (FPLG) to recover exhaust waste heat efficiently from a vehicle engine. The FPLG can be used in a small-scale organic Rankine cycle (ORC) system and can directly convert the thermodynamic energy of working fluid into electricity.

In a paper published in the journal Applied Thermal Engineering, the team from Beijing University of Technology, Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in Beijing, and Datong North Tianli Turbocharging Technology Co., Ltd. reports that the energy conversion efficiency of the FPLG can reach up to 45.82% with an intake pressure of 2.6 bar.

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DOE to award up to $3M for R&D to improve efficiency of off-road fluid-power systems

October 18, 2017

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will provide up to $3 million of new funding (DE-FOA-0001815) for fluid-power systems research for off-road vehicles. Construction, mining, and agriculture equipment represent the majority of fuel consumption in off-road vehicles, and this equipment relies heavily on fluid-power systems (i.e. hydraulics) to actuate most of their functions. They are preferred over electric motors because of their high specific power density and ability to tolerate shock and harsh environments. However, current fluid-power systems have poor efficiency. Research in this area can provide decreased operating costs for these key domestic industries.

Opportunities exist to improve the efficiency of fluid-power systems through research. On 12 September 2017, a public workshop on fluid power systems for off-road vehicles was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to identify early-stage research and development needs. The space is challenging—off-road, mobile fluid power spans a wide range of equipment, with large variance in operational requirements. Low production volumes for individual equipment types makes the economics of R&D challenging for OEMs, and for customer payback periods.

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GENIVI Alliance introduces Vehicle Domain Interaction Strategy; open standard, interfaces and code

October 10, 2017

The GENIVI Alliance, an open, collaborative software development community of automakers and their suppliers, is introducing a Vehicle Domain Interaction Strategy focused on developing open standard interfaces and code that will define the necessary paths bridging multiple car software domains.

Announced during its All Member Meeting in Seoul, the new GENIVI Vehicle Domain Interaction Strategy is primarily based on a key market trend of system-on-a-chip (SOC) consolidation that has created the need to bridge the auto software domains (e.g., safety, infotainment and consumer electronic). Cross-domain bridging is essential to ensure information or data generated in one domain is displayed and managed in another.

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Mazda, Denso, and Toyota jointly to develop EV structural technologies; new company as joint development center

September 28, 2017

Mazda Motor Corporation, Denso Corporation, and Toyota Motor Corporation will jointly develop basic structural technologies for electric vehicles. The three companies have also decided to establish a new company consisting of selected engineers from the three companies to ensure the efficient implementation of the joint technological development projects.

Mazda, Denso, and Toyota jointly will develop basic structural technologies for EVs capable of covering a wide variety of vehicle segments and types to ensure flexible and rapid response to market trends. This agreement covers a diverse range of models, from minivehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks, and aims to innovate the development process by combining the strengths of each company, including Mazda’s bundled product planning and prowess in computer modeling-based development, Denso’s electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform.

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Meritor developing electric solutions platform for commercial vehicles

September 27, 2017

Meritor, a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets, is developing a platform of electric drive axles and suspensions as well as supporting systems to position Meritor as a leader in electric solutions for the commercial vehicle market.

Essentially, we’re focusing on integrating an electric motor into the differential carrier,” said Jay Craig, CEO and president for Meritor. “As we look to future emissions regulations and our customers’ desire for more efficiency, we’re developing new and innovative solutions to expand our product portfolio.

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ArcelorMittal S-in motion seat study cuts weight by up to 18.3% with AHSS; introduction later this year

September 21, 2017

In 2010, leading global steelmaker ArcelorMittal launched its S-in motion range of lightweight steek solutions. (Earlier post.) Since then, the company has steadily expanded the range of solutions, which now cover many other types of vehicles and vehicle parts, including hybrid and electric vehicles, pick-up trucks, mid-size sedans and SUVs.

Front seats are the latest vehicle component to be examined as part of the ongoing development of lightweight S-in motion solutions, with a reduction in weight of up to 18.3%. The S-in motion Front Seats project identified where advanced high strength steels (AHSS) could be used to optimize and lightweight components while maintaining safety and performance. The scope of the study was a typical front seat for a C-segment passenger vehicle.

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Freudenberg Sealing showcasing range of e-mobility solutions at the 2017 Battery Show North America

September 11, 2017

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, a global developer of engineered sealing solutions, will showcase a portfolio of e-mobility products at this week’s 2017 North American Battery Show in Novi (US). The company will display components that assist with thermal management, power efficiency, friction reduction, weight reduction and compact installation spaces, among others.

Some of the company’s solutions for lithium-ion batteries, for example, include the Curve Gasket, Offset Seals, O-Rings and Large Format Gaskets. As in standard internal combustion systems, these Freudenberg components help reduce friction, emissions and weight in the lithium-ion batteries used electric vehicles. They also offer easy handling and assembly.

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Audi partners with Alta Devices on thin-film solar cells in panoramic glass roofs; first prototype this year

August 23, 2017

Audi and Alta Devices, a wholly-owned US subsidiary of the Chinese solar-cell specialist Hanergy, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Cooperation in thin film solar cell technology. Through this cooperation, the partners aim to generate solar energy to increase the range of electric vehicles. The first prototype is to be built by the end of 2017.

As the first step in the joint Audi/Hanergy thin film solar cell research and development project, the partners will integrate Alta Devices’ GaAs thin-film solar cells into a panoramic glass roof. The system will extend EV range by feeding solar energy into the internal vehicle electrical system—supporting air conditioning and other electrical appliances.

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Continental introduces electric Active Purge Pump (APP) to meet stricter hydrocarbon evaporation legislation around the globe

August 22, 2017

Continental has developed an electrified solution to further reduce hydrocarbon evaporative emissions: the Active Purge Pump (APP). The APP actively pulls HC-laden air from the canister used to control evaporative HC emissions. The pump used for this action is a very compact and light-weight radial pump, driven by a highly efficient brushless DC motor.

The APP can be use on-demand, activated any time when necessary. The APP thus makes canister purging available independent from the engine operation point and vacuum availability. Further, APP’s main function can be extended by integrating algorithms to provide additional functions that either require stand-alone products today or are not even currently available. Start of production is planned for end of 2019.

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Continental introduces novel aluminum wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles

August 11, 2017

Continental has developed a new wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles. The “New Wheel Concept” wheel rim consists of two aluminum (Al) parts: an inner Al carrier star with an Al brake disk and an outer Al rim well with the tire. In contrast to conventional wheel brakes, the New Wheel Concept brake engages the Al disk from the inside. This allows it to have a particularly large diameter, which benefits the braking performance.

To increase the vehicle’s range, deceleration in the EV generates as much electricity as possible through recuperation (= braking using the electric motor), so the wheel brake is used less frequently. The corrosion-free Al brake disk also prevents the formation of rust (as is normal on cast-iron disks) which can impair the braking effect.

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WUSTL study finds use of air conditioning reduces in-car pollution

Traffic is a major source of harmful pollutants; daily peak exposures tend to occur near roadways or while traveling—or being stuck—on them. For example, a team at the University of Surrey found that particulate pollution levels inside cars are up to 40% higher when the vehicle is stuck in a traffic jam or stopped at a red traffic light compared to free-flowing traffic conditions. (Earlier post.)

A team at the University of Washington in St Louis has now measured simultaneous real-time particulate matter (particle numbers, lung-deposited surface area, PM2.5, particle number size distributions) and CO concentrations outside and in-cabin of an on-road car during regular commutes to and from work. Data was collected for different ventilation parameters (windows open or closed, fan on, AC on), while traveling along different road-types with varying traffic densities. They found that car drivers can expect their highest exposures when driving with windows open or the fan on, and their lowest exposures during windows closed or the AC on. Their paper is published in Atmospheric Environment.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica wins Altair Enlighten Award for weight reduction in full vehicle category; Toyota, Faurecia and AP&T module, technology winners

July 31, 2017

Altair and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) announced the winners of the 5th annual Altair Enlighten Award, which strives to promote and celebrate innovation in automotive lightweighting. The winner of the Full Vehicle category was the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, which is 249 pounds (113 kilograms) lighter than its predecessor.

Toyota’s carbon fiber closure panels for the 2017 Prius Prime and Lexus LC500 (earlier post), and Faurecia’s Adaptive Valve for exhaust systems employed on the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado took the top honors for the module category. Swedish metal forming specialist AP&T claimed the Enabling Technology category for its innovative aluminum forming technology used on several European vehicles.

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Four new LightMAT projects to advance lighter weight vehicle components

The US DOE has selected four new projects designed to overcome technical hurdles in reducing the weight of vehicle components. The projects are part of a first round of industrial assistance opportunities supported by the Department of Energy’s LightMAT, the Lightweight Materials Consortium (earlier post).

DOE will provide $1.2 million to advance lightweight vehicles through research on materials and processing. Over the next two years, three DOE national laboratories will provide technical assistance to five industry partners. Each industry partner will match DOE’s investment dollar for dollar at a minimum to boost lightweight materials technology.

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Audi A8 features new dynamic all-wheel steering, AI active suspension

July 17, 2017

Audi’s new A8 is a technology showcase for the brand, from powertrains (earlier post) and materials (earlier post) to autonomous driving and advanced driver assistance systems (earlier post).

The A8 also features two new technologies for the suspension. New dynamic all-wheel steering combines direct, sporty steering with unshakable stability. The steering ratio for the front wheels varies as a function of speed; the rear wheels are turned in or against the direction of steering depending on the speed range. The car’s handling becomes even more dynamic and precise with the sport differential. This actively distributes the drive torque between the rear wheels, complementing the quattro permanent all-wheel drive that is now standard in the new A8.

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Tata Motors and MAHLE partner to develop a prototype Secondary Loop Mobile Air Conditioning System on a vehicle

July 14, 2017

Tata Motors Limited and MAHLE have signed a joint development agreement for designing and developing a Secondary Loop Mobile Air Conditioning System (SL-MAC), under the aegis of United Nations Environment.

In the SL-MAC system, the alternative refrigerants first cool a secondary fluid/coolant, which in turn cools the air to comfortable temperatures inside the vehicle cabin. This process allows the safe use of slightly flammable refrigerants that have a low GWP and in turn achieves high cooling capacity, minimizing the losses and achieving an optimized overall thermodynamic efficiency in the process. This is in contrast to the conventional mobile AC system, where the cabin air is directly cooled by the refrigerant HFC-134a, which is ozone safe but has a high GWP.

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Volkswagen to start fitting vehicles with pWLAN technology as standard from 2019 on for V2X communication

June 28, 2017

From 2019, Volkswagen will start fitting its first models with pWLAN as standard in order to serve as an additional communication technology for the exchange of selected information relevant to traffic between cars made by different manufacturers.

This will involve information being exchanged both between vehicles (car-to-car), as well as between vehicles and the transport infrastructure (car-to-X) (also fitted with pWLAN technology). This will, for example, enable information about the current traffic situation, accidents and other situations relating to traffic conditions to be shared with the local environment, within a radius of approximately 500 m, even faster than has been possible in the past.

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ZF showcases mSTARS electric axle system for axle hybrids or fully electric vehicles

June 23, 2017

ZF is using its plug-in Vision Zero concept vehicle to showcase a number of new safety and zero local emissions technologies. The vehicle features a 150 kW electric axle drive system for dynamic acceleration. The entire propulsion system, including the integrated power electronics, is housed in an innovative, space-saving modular ZF rear axle system called mSTARS (modular Semi-Trailing Arm Rear Suspension).

This modular axle system makes it easier to electrify volume production vehicle platforms—even existing ones as demonstrated in the Vision Zero Vehicle. The system offers vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to respond to a diverse range of market requirements using just one car platform variant.

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Audi A8 fully active electromechanical suspension powered by 48V electrical system; predictive adjustment using front camera

June 22, 2017

The new Audi A8 will feature a fully active, electromechanical suspension system which drives each wheel individually and adapts to the prevailing road conditions. Each wheel has an electric motor which is powered by the A8’s 48-volt electrical system—used for the first time as the main electrical system. (The Audi SQ7 TDI introduced in 2016 offered a 48V subsystem as well as a 12V system for the alternator. Earlier post. The new A8 also features a 48V mild hybrid capability (mHEV).)

Additional components include gears, a rotary tube together with internal titanium torsion bar and a lever which exerts up to 1,100 Nm (811.3 lb-ft) on the suspension via a coupling rod. The new Audi A8 makes its world debut at the Audi Summit in Barcelona on 11 July.

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Michelin Vision concept wheel/tire: airless, connected, rechargeable, organic

June 14, 2017

At Movin’On 2017, Michelin presented its new Vision concept tire. The concept tire—which combines the functions of wheel and tire—is airless, connected, rechargeable, customizable and organic, is both a wheel and a tire. Michelin Group Executive Vice President of Research and Development Terry Gettys said that the VISION concept is achievable as it represents the convergence of innovations already being explored by the Group’s R&D teams.

The Vision tire combines 4 innovations: an organic tire, developed from bio-sourced, biodegradable materials; a rechargeable tire printed in 3D, according to the level of wear and mobility needs; an airless tire enabled by its alveolar interior architecture; and a connected tire.

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IAV develops new close-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment system for improved emissions reduction

May 08, 2017

IAV has developed a particularly closed-coupled diesel exhaust gas aftertreatment (EAT) system. The design allows the diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) and particular filter/selective catalytic reduction (DPF/SCR) units to reach optimum working temperature more quickly which, even when driving in the low-load range, significantly cuts emissions.

Under the EU6 standard, diesel engines are still allowed to emit up to 80 mg NOx/km milligrams of nitrogen oxides per kilometer—not only under the legal framework in the cycle but also in respect of increasingly tighter RDE requirements. Future diesel powertrains will need to be capable of meeting limit values that are even tighter than EU6.

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Dana showcasing electrified technologies at Auto Shanghai

April 20, 2017

At Auto Shanghai 2017, Dana Incorporated is showcasing select technologies from its Spicer Electrified portfolio of fully integrated motor, control, and e-drive technologies, as well as thermal-management products for electric and hybrid vehicles.

On display is Dana’s new Spicer electric motor-driven gearbox, which is specifically engineered to deliver better acceleration and higher torque in high-speed battery electric vehicles (BEV). Additionally, Dana’s new Spicer Electrified e-axles for electric transit buses and city delivery vehicles feature a fully integrated motor and gear box and leverage the company’s experience in chassis drivetrain applications. These e-axles are planned for launch in 2018.

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GKN Driveline presents fully integrated compact eDrive system in Shanghai; less weight, lower cost, easier integration

April 19, 2017

GKN Driveline has presented an advanced technology concept for a fully integrated, compact eDrive system at the 2017 Auto Shanghai motor show. All of the components of GKN’s eDrive system are contained within a bespoke housing, resulting in optimized packaging and greatly simplifying the integration process for car manufacturers. The system generates a maximum 65kW of power and can deliver up to 2,000 N·m of torque to the rear wheels.

GKN’s complete eDrive system packages the water-cooled electric motor, power inverter and single-speed eAxle reduction gearbox within a single casing. The all-in-one eDrive system replaces external wiring with a bus bar to eliminate unnecessary mechanical interfaces. The close proximity of the components results in improvements in both mechanical and electrical efficiency compared to today’s technology.

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UK APC awards US$77M to seven low-carbon transportation R&D projects

April 11, 2017

The UK Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has awarded £62 million (US$77 million) from its sixth round of funding to projects led by BMW Motorsport, New Holland Agriculture, Jaguar Land Rover, Williams Advanced Engineering, Penso Consulting, Ford Motor Company and Westfield Sportscars, to develop innovative low carbon transportation technology in the UK.

Projects cover a wide range of innovations, which will are intended to help the UK to become a global leader in low emissions technology. They include the development of an affordable hybrid powertrain for niche vehicle applications, such as autonomous pods, as well as a project to address significant gaps in the UK electrification supply chain. Projects include:

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Eberspaecher starting production of Gen 3 PTC heater for hybrids and EVs; 30% higher performance density, lighter weight

April 06, 2017

Eberspaecher catem is starting production of the third generation of its high-voltage PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heaters. The new solution, designed specially for hybrid and electric vehicles, delivers significantly higher heat output despite a lighter weight. Improved heat transfer between the PTC elements and coolant, together with the in-house developed electronic control unit, provide more efficient energy and heat management.

The heating systems discharge the temperature-controlled air into the vehicle’s interior by way of an on-board heat exchanger. The third-generation system has been optimized in terms of both performance and weight. Significantly improved heat transfer between the PTC elements and coolant increases the performance density at zero degrees coolant temperature by more than 30%.

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Continental developing Road Condition Observer for active safety

April 04, 2017

Continental is developing a new system called Road Condition Observer that uses vehicle sensors and cloud data to classify a road surface as dry, wet, covered with snow or icy and to assess the grip of the road surface.

This knowledge, in turn, allows the vehicle to adjust the functions of advanced driver assistance systems to the actual road conditions, said Bernd Hartmann, Head of the Enhanced ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) & Tire Interactions project group within the Advanced Engineering department of Continental’s Chassis & Safety division.

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AAM develops new axle technology; lighter, more efficient for up to 1.5% better fuel economy

March 30, 2017

American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM) has developed completely new, significantly improved axle technology. QUANTUM driveline technology is scalable across a wide range of vehicle segments and provides substantial advantages regardless of vehicle size: reduced mass, increased power density, improved noise vibration and harshness (NVH) and fuel efficiency gains in a more compact system package. The combined additional efficiency and weight reduction can deliver 1% to 1.5% improved vehicle fuel economy, AAM said.

QUANTUM offers a 20% increase in power density along with a minimum 30% mass reduction at the same torque capacity. For a heavy-duty pickup, QUANTUM provides more than 100 lbs. of vehicle weight savings, said Phil Guys, AAM vice president and chief technology officer. “It is significantly more efficient without any reduction in performance.

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GKN Driveline develops new lightweight propshaft for Audi Q5; more compact, lighter, more efficient; MLB Evo

March 02, 2017

GKN Driveline created a new lightweight, high-speed propshaft joint for the all-new Audi Q5. The PVL joint is smaller, lighter and more refined than predecessor technology, and represents a bespoke solution by GKN engineers to create a more compact joint. Its outer diameter is reduced by 7mm, representing an 8% reduction in the width and height of the space it occupies in the driveline.

The smaller joint is also 350g lighter, representing a 23% weight reduction, yet there is no negative impact on torque capacity. With a smaller rotating mass, the PVL joint improves performance and efficiency, and helps to lower vehicle emissions.

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Eaton introduces eVaptive electronic fuel tank venting system; reduced cost, complexity

Power management company Eaton introduced its new eVaptive electronically controlled fuel tank vapor venting system that can be optimized for any vehicle platform, eliminating the need for automakers to design unique venting systems for different vehicles.

The eVaptive system uses software to control the transmission of fuel vapors to a charcoal canister while keeping liquid fuel confined to the fuel tank. For any given fuel tank application, the system can be optimized for all driving situations as well as stationary and refueling modes. The hardware is a “one-size-fits-all” unit that can be programmed to fit any vehicle platform.

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MAHLE acquires thermoelectric generator start-up O-Flexx

February 16, 2017

The MAHLE Group is expanding its expertise in the field of thermoelectrics by acquiring the start-up O-Flexx Technologies. O-Flexx specializes in thermoelectric generators; its R&D center and production facilities for both low- and high-temperature modules are based in Duisburg, Germany. The purchase price will not be disclosed.

O-Flexx Technologies offers thermoelectric technology based on a thin-film approach combined with a cost-optimized, high-volume manufacturing process. O-Flexx says that its technology—protected by several patents—significantly increases conversion efficiency.The company collaborates with a partners from the industry—such as MAHLE—as well as research institutions such as the University of Duisburg-Essen, Vienna University of Technology and several Fraunhofer institutes.

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GKN, SDS begin production of all-wheel drive disconnect system in China; up to 4% improvement in fuel economy

GKN Driveline’s Chinese Joint Venture partner SDS has commenced production of its complete all-wheel drive (AWD) Disconnect system for small- to medium-sized vehicles in China. The system will initially feature on the Jeep Renegade built for the Chinese market by GAC Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Co., Ltd. (GAC FCA) in Guangzhou City, southern Guangdong Province.

GKN’s Disconnect function enables vehicles to combine the enhanced traction, dynamics and stability of all-wheel drive with improved on-highway fuel efficiency. The system reacts to driver inputs and road conditions to seamlessly switch between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. During steady state cruising, the clutch system disengages the rear section of the driveline, eliminating rotating losses and improving highway fuel economy by up to 4%—compared to standard AWD. If the driver or conditions require more traction, the system reconnects within just 300 milliseconds.

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Dearman doubling size of tech center for engine powered by liquid nitrogen

February 10, 2017

Dearman, the clean cold technology company, will double the size of its technology center ahead of further trials of its engine powered by liquid nitrogen. The Dearman Engine is zero emission, emitting no NOx or particulate matter (PM), and delivering significant carbon dioxide savings compared to diesel. (Earlier post.)

The first application of the technology is a zero-emission alternative to diesel powered transport refrigeration units (TRUs). (Earlier post.) The Dearman transport refrigeration system is currently undergoing advanced road trials with Sainsbury’s, and further international trials are set to begin later this year.

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Bosch establishing new electromobility operating unit in Powertrain Solutions; start at beginning of 2018

February 08, 2017

Bosch is forming an operating unit specifically for electromobility. The unit will be part of the new Powertrain Solutions division. From the start of 2018, Powertrain Solutions will include the company’s electromobility activities as well as the existing Gasoline Systems and Diesel Systems divisions. Thus, in the future, Bosch will supply existing and new customers with all powertrain technologies from a single source.

In addition to the 20 million new hybrids and electric vehicles that Bosch esimates will be produced in 2025, there will be some 85 million new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Thus, as well as expanding electromobility, Bosch will work intensively on further improving combustion-engine technology.

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UQM partners with Meritor for full e-axle systems for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles; prototypes later this year

February 02, 2017

UQM Technologies has signed a development agreement with Meritor. The development program is expected to last for two-and-one-half years. The alliance will develop full electric axle systems to address the increasing commercial vehicle market demand requirements for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions through much higher levels of vehicle electrification.

Meritor’s mechanical drivetrain components will be combined with UQM’s motor and inverter technology and hardware to create the Meritor and UQM Electric Axle System (MUQM Electric Axles) for the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets. The companies anticipate that prototypes will be ready by early fall of 2017.

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Torotrak shifting strategic focus in response to electrification trend; focus on KERS, away from V-Charge

January 31, 2017

UK-based Torotrak, a developer and supplier of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology for vehicles, is refocusing its strategy based on its understanding of how the priorities for many players in the European passenger car market—Torotrak’s customers—have profoundly changed in recent months.

The Torotrak Group has three main product lines: Flybrid flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery (KERS); Torotrak variable drive transmissions for use in powertrains and auxiliary devices; and V-Charge, a supercharging product containing Torotrak variable drive technology. Torotrak has been in commercial discussions with passenger car Tier 1s and OEMs as they seek to understand the full capability of V-Charge—Torotrak’s variable-drive mechanical supercharger that can enable ambitious engine downsizing (earlier post).

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NSK demonstrates transmission-equipped wheel hub motor

January 30, 2017

NSK Ltd. has successfully demonstrated the first transmission-equipped wheel hub motor, designed to improve the environmental performance, safety, and comfort of automobiles. Building on the knowledge it has gained from the prototype wheel hub motor it developed, NSK is aiming to commercialize wheel hub components such as the hub unit bearing with built-in speed reducer, the one-way clutch unit, the miniature cage and roller bearing, and the anti-corrosion bearing.

In-wheel motors that can work with various drive systems independent of the body structure of automobiles are attracting interest as next-generation electric drive devices. An in-wheel motor located near the wheel can reduce the weight of the vehicle, control the drive force of each wheel for improved torque vectoring, and enable the expansion of the size of the cabin space, thereby improving environmental performance, safety, and comfort.

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Viking Grace LNG ferry to install rotor sail; first LNG/wind electric propulsion hybrid ship

January 26, 2017

Norsepower Oy Ltd., a provider of low- maintenance, software-operated, and data-verified auxiliary wind propulsion systems, signed an agreement with Finnish shipping company Viking Line to install its Rotor Sail Solution onboard the M/S Viking Grace, an LNG-fueled cruise ferry.

The 57,565 GT M/S Viking Grace currently operates in the archipelago between Turku (Finland) and Stockholm (Sweden), and is already one of the most environmentally-friendly cruise ferries in the global maritime industry. With the addition of Norsepower’s technology, the vessel will further reduce its emissions, fuel burn and fuel costs; reducing carbon emissions by around 900 tonnes annually; equivalent to cutting 300 tonnes of LNG fuel per year.

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Faurecia Emissions Control reorients strategy, becomes Faurecia Clean Mobility

To align with industry megatrends and boost its long term growth, Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies has reoriented its strategy and become Faurecia Clean Mobility. Faurecia Clean Mobility is one of three Faurecia business groups, the other two being Automotive Seating and Interior Systems.

Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies developed exhaust systems and components, including mufflers, manifolds, catalytic converters, emissions control systems and complete exhaust systems. Faurecia defined three key areas for innovation within this segment:

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SAE International taskforce agrees on SAE J2954 Wireless Charging Test Station; major step forward in global standardization for wireless power transfer for EVs

January 23, 2017

At a standards meeting held in January at Audi AG in Ingolstadt, Germany, carmakers, Tier 1 suppliers, and technology providers from around the world reached agreement on key technical and procedural elements of the upcoming SAE Recommended Practice (RP) Wireless Power Transfer (WPT) and automated parking alignment and charging of electrified vehicles. (Earlier post.)

The Taskforce members have agreed on specifications for the SAE J2954 Test Stations, which automakers will use as a basis to develop their wireless charging systems, and to verify that they will interoperate with charging systems and vehicles sold by other makers.

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NTU and NXP Semiconductors launch Singapore’s first Smart Mobility consortium; testing V2X on NTU campus

January 19, 2017

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and NXP Semiconductors have launched Singapore’s first Smart Mobility Consortium to focus on testing and developing smart mobility technologies. The technologies will be tested on the NTU campus, which serves as a living test bed, bringing together 12 industry partners to form the NTU-NXP Smart Mobility Consortium.

The 12 companies bring together their different expertise from the V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communications innovation ecosystem, such as wireless communication design, data analytics and network security. The industry partners include Panasonic, software multinational Red Hat, automotive system manufacturers Schaeffler and Denso, as well as ST Kinetics, the land systems and speciality vehicles arm of ST Engineering.

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Hard parts supplier Rheinmetall Automotive expects electrification to account for more than half of sales in 2020

January 17, 2017

Global Tier 1 supplier Rheinmetall Automotive—formerly KSPG and Kolbenschmidt Pierburg—expects electrification to account for more than half of its sales in 2020. Rheinmetall Automotive AG is the management company of the Automotive sector of Germany’s Rheinmetall Group. Sales amounted to around €2.6 billion (US$2.8 billion) in 2015, including around 16% from the companies located in NAFTA.

Rheinmetall Automotive is more known as a supplier of hard parts (e.g., pistons, blocks, cylinder heads, etc.) and mechatronics. However, said Horst Binnig, Rheinmetall Automotive CEO, “products with a cable” already constitute roughly 40% of the company’s total sales.

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Takata to plead guilty, pay $1B in criminal penalties for airbag scheme; 3 Takata execs indicted

January 14, 2017

Tokyo-based Takata Corporation, one of the world’s largest suppliers of automotive safety-related equipment, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties stemming from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation to sales of defective airbag inflators. An indictment was also unsealed charging three Takata executives with wire fraud and conspiracy in relation to the same conduct.

According to the company’s admissions, in the late 1990s, Takata began developing airbag inflators that relied upon ammonium nitrate as their primary propellant. From at least in or around 2000, Takata knew that certain ammonium nitrate-based inflators were not performing to the specifications required by the auto manufacturers. Takata also knew that certain inflators had sustained failures, including ruptures, during testing.

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New Opel Insignia to offer torque-vectoring all-wheel drive with Twinster system

January 11, 2017

The all-new Opel Insignia Grand Sport, arriving in the market early this year, will be available with a torque vectoring all-wheel drive system. The new Opel Insignia uses a GKN Twinster all-wheel drive system with a rear drive module that uses a twin clutch system without differential. The two clutches distribute torque between the front and rear axle and between the two rear wheels.

Torque vectoring provides intelligent control of the vehicle dynamics by sending precise amounts of torque to individual wheels; by over-speeding the outside wheel in a corner, torque vectoring can induce a yaw-moment, helping steer the vehicle. Conventional torque vectoring systems use a set of planetary gears either side of the differential to achieve only very low levels of over-speeding. Other systems use braking to achieve a similar effect—but waste energy and slow the vehicle in the process.

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Schaeffler Group sees e-mobility and digitalization as key opportunities

January 10, 2017

The Schaeffler Group, a global integrated automotive and industrial supplier, sees e-mobility, Industry 4.0 and digitalization as the key opportunities for the future, said CEO Klaus Rosenfeld at the company’s press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Schaeffler is placing a strong emphasis on hybrid and electric drive technologies, ranging from P0 belt starter on up to full electric drive. Some of these technologies include P2 arrangements that place the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission, and electric axle architectures.

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Audi & partners form Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow consortium for 3GPP Rel. 14 Cellular-V2X trial

January 04, 2017

At CES 2017, Audi AG, Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., SWARCO Traffic Systems and the University of Kaiserslautern announced the formation of the Connected Vehicle to Everything of Tomorrow (ConVeX) consortium to carry out the first Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) trial based on the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) Release 14, which includes Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication.

The trial efforts are expected to focus on Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) direct communication, as well as Vehicle-to-Network (V2N) wide area communications. ConVeX will be executed by a cross-industry consortium that brings diverse expertise to the trial. ConVeX will be co-funded by the participating organizations and the German Federal Ministry of Transportation and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) within the scope of the “Automated and Connected Driving on Digital Test Fields in Germany” funding guidelines.

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Qualcomm introducing Drive Data platform for sensor fusion

Qualcomm is introducing the Qualcomm Drive Data Platform to collect and analyze intelligently information from a vehicle’s sensors. Cars will be able to determine their location up to lane-level accuracy, to monitor and to learn driving patterns, to perceive their surroundings, and to share this reliable and accurate data with the rest of the world.

These capabilities will be key for many connected car applications, from shared mobility and fleet management to 3D high-definition mapping and automated driving. Qualcomm Drive Data platform is built on three pillars: heterogeneous connectivity; precise positioning; and on-device machine learning, all integrated into the Qualcomm Snapdragon solution.

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Qualcomm Automotive Solutions to power next-gen infotainment for Volkswagen vehicles; Snapdragon 820A Processor, Snapdragon X12 & X5 LTE modems

At CES 2017, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, announced the integration of Qualcomm Technologies chipsets in the next-generation of Volkswagen AG vehicles. These chipsets include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A processor (earlier post) for advanced infotainment systems, as well as the Snapdragon X12 and X5 LTE modems, for connected car and telematics systems.

Volkswagen AG vehicles featuring the Snapdragon 820A processor are expected to be available in 2019, while vehicles utilizing Snapdragon X12 and X5 LTE modems are expected to be available in 2018.

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Qualcomm announces Gigabit-class LTE for next-gen connected vehicles; Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem

At CES 2017, Qualcomm announced that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., has introduced a new variant of its connected car reference platform using the flagship Gigabit Class Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to help car manufacturers deliver the high-speed, high-quality and reliable connectivity required for advanced telematics and connected vehicle services—supporting peak download speeds up to 1 Gbps.

Building on the Company’s leadership supplying 3G/4G LTE modems for automotive, the reference platform is designed to allow carmakers quickly and easily to integrate the broad range of additional wireless and networking technologies required in today’s vehicles, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), with optional support for DSRC and Cellular-V2X. The platform also includes a module reference design for the Snapdragon X16 LTE modem to help automotive suppliers accelerate development and improve time-to-commercialization.

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Rinspeed Oasis autonomous electric concept first to be built on ZF Intelligent Rolling Chassis

December 30, 2016

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas next week, Rinspeed will unveil its Oasis autonomous electric concept vehicle. The two-seat runabout—somewhat reminiscent of a modern interpretation of famous Star Wars icon R2D2—can turn on its wheels with almost a zero radius due to a special steering angle, two in-wheel electric motors and torque vectoring, all developed by ZF on Lake Constance.

The “Intelligent Rolling Chassis” (IRC) from ZF offers a highly flexible platform for urban electric vehicles and features ZF’s all-electric drive based on the electric twist beam (eTB) rear axle. The aluminum electric motors at the rear axle are integrated with a single speed transmission that enables the Oasis to accelerate to 100 km/h in roughly nine seconds and, if needed, up to a speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

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Sandia Labs forms Spray Combustion Consortium to improve engine design

December 22, 2016

Sandia National Laboratories has formed an industry-funded Spray Combustion Consortium to better understand fuel injection by developing modeling tools. Control of fuel sprays is key to the development of clean, affordable fuel-efficient engines.

Intended for industry, software vendors and national laboratories, the consortium provides a direct path from fundamental research to validated engineering models ultimately used in combustion engine design. The three-year consortium agreement builds on Department of Energy (DOE) research projects to develop predictive engine fuel injector nozzle flow models and methods and couple them to spray development outside the nozzle.

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New Mercedes-Benz lab procedure shows MB car filters trap even finest allergenic particles

December 20, 2016

A new testing procedure developed by Mercedes-Benz, for which a patent application has been filed, has shown that even the minutest of allergenic particles are trapped by the charcoal fine particle filters in the vehicle. The results were confirmed by a medical study conducted by ECARF Institute GmbH in an innovative, mobile pollen chamber in the grounds of the Charité university hospital in Berlin.

Allergies are now the commonest form of chronic illness in industrialized countries. In Europe, around 30% of the population is affected. Airborne pollen, emissions given off by materials, or skin contact with them, can lead to a strong immune reaction with symptoms such as swelling of the nasal passages and bronchial tubes or swollen, itching eyes.

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LeddarTech showcasing 2D and 3D solid-state LiDARs for mass-market autonomous driving deployments; Leddar Ecosystem

December 16, 2016

At CES 2017, LeddarTech will be showcasing 2D and 3D high-resolution LiDAR solutions for autonomous driving applications based on its next-generation LeddarCore ICs and developed with the collaboration of leading-edge suppliers and partners from the newly-established Leddar Ecosystem. (Earlier post.)

Presented publicly for the first time, these systems demonstrate the scalability of Leddar technology and its ability to meet the high levels of performance, resolution, and cost-effectiveness required by Tier-1 and OEMs for mass-market autonomous driving applications. These LiDAR systems’ production versions will offer resolutions of up to 512×64 on a field of view of 120×20 degrees, and detection ranges that exceed 200 m for pedestrians and over 300 m for vehicles.

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Faurecia acquires Amminex to accelerate efficient NOx reduction for passenger and commercial vehicles

December 14, 2016

Faurecia has increased its participation in the Danish company Amminex to 91.5% through a share purchase. (Earlier post.) Amminex has developed an Ammonia Storage and Delivery System (ASDS) which has demonstrated its efficiency to almost completely eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants from diesel engines. (Earlier post.)

Faurecia has worked closely with Amminex since mid-2009 and previously owned 42% of the company. At the recent Paris Motor Show, Faurecia showed the Amminex solution for commercial vehicles, as well as an ASDS system in a new format for passenger cars. In increasing its participation to 91.5%, Faurecia expects to intensify the development of this technology for both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.

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New Lexus LC 500h with Multi Stage Hybrid System

December 08, 2016

Following the world premiere of the V8-powered LC 500 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January 2016, Lexus introduced its hybrid variant, the new LC 500h. (Earlier post.) The LC is a new flagship 2+2 performance coupe for Lexus’ global model range, and will go on sale in the US in Spring 2017.

The LC 500h is the first model to feature the new Multi Stage Hybrid system. (Earlier post.) Adding a multi stage shift device to the 3.5-liter V6 hybrid powertrain delivers greater torque, more usable power across a wider range of engine speeds and rhythmic, linear acceleration that gives the driver the sensation of working with a 10-speed automatic gearbox.

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Toyota unveils new TNGA-based engines and transmissions and improved hybrid systems; deployment begins in 2017

December 06, 2016

In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled new advanced engines and transmissions and further evolved hybrid systems based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota intends to deploy these new powertrain units in a rapidly broadening range of vehicle models, starting in 2017. The new units will feature in 60% or more of vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China in 2021, reducing CO2 emissions in those markets by 15% or more.

Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine new engines; 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission; and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.

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New ORNL hardware-in-the-loop capability to integrate advanced combustion, new fuels, and electrification pathways

December 02, 2016

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a new testing capability which integrates a driver model, full vehicle model, and hardware to explore the synergies of advanced combustion, new fuels, and emerging hybrid vehicle architectures over real-world drive cycles. This new facility is focused on low temperature combustion engines but builds upon the powertrain-in-the-loop expertise established with the Vehicle Systems Integration Laboratory (VSI) at ORNL.

The transient advanced combustion laboratory is initially supporting research on the potential of low temperature combustion modes with new fuel and vehicle technologies. The hardware-in-the-loop setup includes a transient dynamometer cell (AVL 300 kW AC) with a low-temperature combustion (LTC) multi-cylinder engine instrumented for combustion and emissions analysis. The light-duty diesel engine used in these experiments (earlier post) was modified for dual-fuel use for port fuel injection of low-reactivity fuel (i.e. gasoline, ethanol etc.) and a high-reactivity fuel (i.e. diesel, biodiesel etc.).

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Ford to offer cylinder deactivation for 1.0L EcoBoost in 2018; 6% fuel economy boost; global first for a 3-cylinder

November 30, 2016

Ford will offer the multi-award-winning 1.0‑liter EcoBoost gasoline engine with innovative cylinder deactivation technology for further reducing CO2 emissions and improving fuel efficiency by up to 6%. Ford had been investigating different cylinder deactivation approaches for the 1.0L EcoBoost in collaboration with the Schaeffler Group. (Earlier post.)

The 1.0L EcoBoost with cylinder deactivation will debut in early 2018, becoming the first production three-cylinder engine with that fuel-saving feature. The accomplishment is delivered through innovative engineering by Ford engineers across Europe, and counters industry opinion that a three-cylinder, variable capacity engine could not deliver the refinement needed for passenger car applications.

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GKN expands electric all-wheel drive program with BMW; eAxle for PHEV X1 in China

November 28, 2016

GKN Driveline is expanding its global electric axle (eAxle) drive partnership with the BMW Group, supplying eAxle technology for a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X1 for the Chinese market. The system is part of the same scalable family of eAxles used in the plug-in hybrid BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe (earlier post).

Early adopters of GKN’s electric axle drive used the technology to create plug-in hybrid sports cars with electric all-wheel drive that enhanced performance and efficiency. Automakers are now equipping a new generation of compact vehicles with GKN electric drive technology.

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