[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.]
EuroCarBody Award 2015 goes to the Carbon Core body of the new BMW 7 Series
November 12, 2015
The Carbon Core body structure of the new BMW 7 Series has been awarded the EuroCarBody Award 2015 at the 17th Global Car Body Benchmarking Conference. The body of the new BMW luxury sedans was given a rating of 41.87 out of 50 possible points—the best score ever to be obtained in this competition. The EuroCarBody Award has been announced at the annual conference of experts every year since 2002 and is regarded as a leading award for innovations in car body construction.
The Carbon Core used for the body structure is the central element of the BMW EfficientLightweight Technology that was applied particularly consistently in the development of the sixth generation of the BMW 7 Series. For the first time in a volume-production automobile, a composite of CFRP, aluminium and super high-strength steels was created which increases rigidity and stiffness in the passenger cell while at the same time significantly reducing the vehicle weight.
2017 Cadillac XT5 initiates new series of Cadillac luxury crossovers; cylinder deactivation and stop/start
November 10, 2015
Cadillac unveiled the first 2017 Crossover Touring 5 (XT5), a comprehensively upgraded luxury crossover and the cornerstone of a new series of crossovers. Cadillac crossovers will wear the “XT” designation. The XT5 premieres this month at the Dubai and Los Angeles auto shows and begins production in the US and China in spring 2016.
The new luxury crossover joins Cadillac’s lineup immediately following the new range-topping CT6 Sedan, as the brand enters a new phase of product growth. In the US market, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 will be powered by the new 3.6-liter V6 engine which debuted earlier this year on the brand’s ATS and CTS sport sedans and is featured on the CT6. This engine has been completely redesigned and features Active Fuel Management cylinder deactivation technology, which allows the engine seamlessly and automatically to switch to a fuel-saving 4-cylinder mode under low or moderate loads.
Frost & Sullivan forecasts Gasoline Particulate Filters to climb from 50,335 units now to 4.2-4.6 million units by 2020
November 08, 2015
Gasoline direct injection (GDI) is a strategy to improve fuel efficiency that is rapidly gaining market acceptance. However, unlike conventional gasoline engines, gasoline direct injection engines produce particulate matter, as do diesels, and emission controls will become an issue the technology must address as standards for particle mass tighten, and also as standards for particle numbers emerge.
In a 2013 study, a team from Ford’s Research and Advanced Engineering group in Dearborn noted that because the efficiency advantage of homogeneous GDI is not as large as with diesel engines, the use of gasoline particulate filters (GPF) is a less practical solution to PM emissions aftertreatment. Accordingly, there are significant research efforts—including Ford’s own—aimed at understanding how PM emissions can be reduced by engine design (e.g., fuel injection timing, number of injections, fuel pressure, injector placement, etc.) and fuel properties. (Earlier post.) Nevertheless, Frost & Sullivan projects the number of engines equipped with GPFs will climb from 50,335 units today to 4.2–4.6 million units by 2020. (“Analysis of the GPF Market for Passenger Cars in Europe and North America”)
Aeristech developing turbomachine-type electric air compressors for fuel cells; claims potential doubling of output
October 27, 2015
UK-based Aeristech, a provider of electrically driven pressure charging solutions (earlier post), is developing electric air compressor technology that the company says could double the output from a hydrogen fuel cell. The electric compressor would enable vehicle manufacturers to increase performance or to specify a considerably more compact fuel cell, improving packaging and weight.
The Aeristech fuel cell compressor uses an aluminium, turbomachine-type compressor with volume automotive manufacturing tolerances, direct-coupled to a variable high-speed motor with no transmission. This represents a significant change from roots- and screw-type compressors.
Qualcomm & Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team partner on racecar data sharing over 5 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi; planned migration to 802.11ad (WiGig)
October 24, 2015
Qualcomm Incorporated through its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, have collaborated to enable the wireless download of racecar telemetry data via Wi-Fi using 5 GHz spectrum during Formula One practice sessions. This technology implementation marks a significant improvement over previous wired data offloading processes. The telemetry includes data from thermal imaging tire cameras, which is used to improve speed, efficiency and vehicle safety.
The system deployed by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Qualcomm Technologies comprises several Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processors with Qualcomm VIVE 802.11ac Wi-Fi, along with multiple access points, one in the pit lane and one in the garage, to improve the speed of connectivity and data transfer.
Mercedes-Benz to begin equipping top models with CO2 air conditioning systems starting in 2017; adapting other models for R1234yf
October 20, 2015
From 2017, Mercedes-Benz will offer in Europe the S- and E-Class as the first production passenger cars equipped with CO2 air conditioning systems. These completely newly developed systems are based on the DIN specifications defined by the automotive standards committee of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
Due to especially quickly available and high cooling performance, CO2 air conditioning systems swiftly provide for a pleasant feel-good climate inside vehicles even in very hot weather, the company said, while at the same time complying with legal requirements for low global warming potential refrigerants and avoiding the use of R1234yf, which Mercedes has found problematic. (Earlier post.)
GM and LG expand their relationship on Bolt EV; 12 components, including PEEM
GM and LG announced an expanded and deepened relationship around the coming Bolt battery-electric vehicle (earlier post), with LG providing not only the battery pack and battery heater, but also the critical PEEM (power electronics and electric machine) components; the HVAC electronic climate control system compressor; telematics hardware for OnStar; and the instrument cluster and infotainment system displays.
In a media briefing, Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president – global product development, purchasing and supply chain, observed that the expanded strategic partnership with LG marked a significant new approach to the adversarial automaker-supplier relationships of the past. Further, he noted, such a new type of relationship would be essential for electric vehicles. “The Bolt EV will be the result of an entirely different PEM/supplier relationship.”
Toyota bringing advanced ITS technology to mass-market models in Japan; V2X
September 30, 2015
By the end of 2015, Toyota will make a new ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) safety package available on three models in Japan. The package, named ITS Connect, uses Japan’s standardized ITS frequency of 760 MHz to receive and share data transmitted by external infrastructure and other vehicles. Equipping ITS on these three models will make Toyota the world’s first automaker to bring a driver assist function that uses a dedicated ITS frequency to market.
ITS Connect uses vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication (collectively V2X) to provide drivers with the kind of safety information that cannot be picked up by onboard sensors. This includes traffic signal information and information about the presence of vehicles and pedestrians in blind spots.
Renesas introducing R-Car W2R 5.9 GHz automotive wireless communication SoC for V2X communication
Renesas Electronics Corporation announced the R-Car W2R system-on-a-chip (SoC), the first member of the new Renesas R-Car Family of devices developed specifically for V2X applications. The new automotive wireless communication SoC is designed for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) communication in the 5.9-gigahertz (GHz) band.
Through the use of Renesas’ exclusive RF system design technology, the R-Car W2R is the first in the world to succeed in suppressing out-of-band transmission signal noise below the -65 dBm stipulated by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). This makes it possible for products that use the R-Car W2R to achieve the best noise characteristics in the world. This enables high-quality signals with little interference to be transmitted, making it possible to implement vehicle-to-everything (V2X) at a practical level in various kinds of ADAS systems for supporting safe driving.
Schaeffler introduces new high-voltage P2 hybrid module; up to 800 N·m; first production application in China in 2017
September 29, 2015
Schaeffler has developed a new P2 (parallel, two-clutch) high-voltage hybrid module—arranged between the internal combustion engine and transmission—that can transmit engine torques of up to 800 N·m (590 lb-ft) to the transmission without having to incorporate a commensurately expensive clutch.The new generation P2 hybrid module can be used in both medium- and very high-performance transmission concepts—e.g., from mild to plug-in hybrids.
The high-torque module distributes the flow of forces in an innovative way; the pathway of torque conveyance depends on its direction. Torques are transmitted to the crankshaft via a 300 N·m disconnect clutch, while traction torques from the internal combustion engine are transmitted to the transmission via a one-way clutch. The clutch can therefore have a compact design, even at high torques, with the corresponding advantages in terms of space utilization and cost. Schaeffler showcased the unit at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.
Eaton launches new, more efficient TVS2 supercharger; targeting super-turbo systems
September 25, 2015
Eaton has announced its newest supercharger—TVS2—which improves vehicle manufacturers’ ability to deliver an optimal single boosted application, or to pair this device with other boosting technologies in order to deliver compound boosting solutions for improved engine performance—a combined supercharger-turbocharger system. The announcement came at the 20th Supercharging Conference in Dresden, Germany.
Eaton’s Twin Vortices Series (TVS) is a Roots-type supercharger with four- lobe rotors and high-flow inlet and outlet ports. TVS2 technology builds on Eaton’s supercharger portfolio by delivering significant improvements in efficiency and increased capability, achieved through a rotor design that improves the internal aerodynamics. Key elements of this new design include:
Audi’s e-tron quattro EV: evolutionary powertrain with a dash of revolution for production in 2018; MLB evo
September 24, 2015
Audi’s e-tron quattro battery-electric SUV concept, which made its formal debut at IAA in Frankfurt (earlier post), is a strong indicator of Audi’s series-production electric SUV due in 2018—especially in terms of the powertrain.
The e-tron quattro is based on Audi’s MLB evo—the second-generation of the modular longitudinal matrix toolkit (MLB, earlier post), and is, at the same time, potentially contributing to the development of the elements of that toolkit, especially with respect to a modular electric drive component. This could eventually have a role comparable to that of the Volkswagen Group’s modular diesel and modular gasoline engine kits (MDB and MOB). (“Baukasten” = German for construction kit)
Oak Ridge AMIE demo integrates 3D-printed building, natural gas hybrid with bi-directional wireless power transfer
A research demonstration unveiled at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (DOE ORNL) combines clean energy technologies into a 3D-printed building and a 3D-printed natural gas-powered hybrid vehicle to showcase a new approach to energy use, storage and consumption. The Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) demonstration, displayed at DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industry Day event, is a model for energy-efficient systems that link buildings, vehicles and the grid.
An ORNL team worked with industrial partners to manufacture and connect a natural-gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle with a solar-powered building to create an integrated energy system. Power can flow in either direction between the vehicle and building through a lab-developed wireless technology. The approach allows the car to provide supplemental power to the 210-square-foot building when the sun is not shining.
New ORNL non-precious metal catalyst shows promise as low-cost component for low-temperature exhaust aftertreatment
September 23, 2015
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a ternary mixed oxide catalyst composed of copper oxide, cobalt oxide, and ceria (dubbed “CCC”) that outperforms synthesized and commercial platinum group metal (PGM) catalysts for CO oxidation in simulated exhaust streams while showing no signs of inhibition—i.e., the clogging of the catalyst by NOx, CO and HC.
PGM catalysts are the current standard for emissions aftertreatment in automotive exhaust streams. However, in addition to their high cost, PGM catalysts struggle with CO oxidation at low temperatures (<200 °C) due to inhibition by hydrocarbons in exhaust streams. The new ORNL catalyst shows great potential as a low-cost component for the low temperature exhaust streams that are expected to be a characteristic of future automotive systems, the researchers noted in their paper in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
NRC Canada team investigates effect of gasoline particulate filter on PM from light-duty GDI engine
September 17, 2015
A team led by researchers from the National Research Council Canada has investigated the effect of the use of a gasoline particulate filter on the size and morphology of PM emitted from a light-duty gasoline-direct-injection (GDI) vehicle over the FTP-75 and US06 transient drive cycles.
Using transmission-electron-microscope (TEM) image analysis, they compared PM from a 2012 Ford Focus powered by a 2.0-liter wall-guided GDI engine, operating under globally stoichiometric condition, to the results for the same vehicle equipped with a catalyzed gasoline particulate filter (GPF). A paper describing their results is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Johnson Controls expanding global production of AGM batteries for start-stop systems; $555M investment from 2011 to 2020
September 16, 2015
In anticipation of increasing demand for start-stop systems, Johnson Controls is adding Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) battery production capacity. AGM battery technology is at this point the dominant start-stop energy storage technology.
The market for new vehicle and aftermarket Start-Stop batteries could rise to 56 million worldwide by 2020, compared to 22 million today. In this time frame, 85% of all new vehicles in Europe and 40% in the US and China are expected to be powered with Start-Stop batteries. With $555 million in investments between 2011 and 2020, the company is implementing plans to expand AGM production capacity in Germany, the United States and China.
Mercedes-Benz unveils plug-in hybrid Concept IAA: Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile; Industry 4.0
September 15, 2015
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the “Concept IAA” (Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile) at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The study switches automatically from a four-door coupé with a fascinating design to an aerodynamic world record breaker with a Cd figure of 0.19 when the vehicle reaches a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph), at which point numerous aerodynamics measures alter the shape of the vehicle.
At the rear end, eight segments deploy, extending the length of the car by up to 390 mm; front flaps in the front bumper extend outwards by 25 mm and rearwards by 200 mm, improving airflow around the front end and the front wheel arches; the active wheel rims change their cupping from 50 mm to zero; and the fin in the front bumper retracts by 60 mm to improve flow along the underbody.
Continental Voltage Stabilization System with Maxwell Ultracapacitors to power start-stop in Cadillac ATS and CTS as standard
Maxwell Technologies, Inc. announced that Continental Automotive Systems’ Maxwell-powered voltage stabilization system (VSS) will be a standard feature on 2016 Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans. General Motors is the first North American automotive OEM to integrate the Continental ultracapacitor-based voltage stabilization as part of the enhanced start-stop system, which lowers fuel costs, improves performance and reduces emissions, delivering an overall superior owner-driver experience.
There are currently some 1.5 million vehicles on the road in Europe with the Maxwell-based Continental VSS, said Marty Mills, regional sales manager, ultracapacitor products, Central North America.
Jaguar Land Rover investigating energy-efficient vehicle heating and cooling; Air Bubbles and Air Blankets
September 10, 2015
Because heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) consume substantial amounts of energy—and therefore fuel, or electrical energy stored in the battery of a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV)—Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is working on research projects that could significantly reduce the energy consumed when heating and cooling a vehicle.
Rather than continuously heating or cooling a flow of air as it enters the car, Jaguar Land Rover is exploring how a car could heat or cool an “Air Bubble” inside the vehicle once, and then maintain the temperature and quality of this air bubble using innovative new HVAC technologies. These include infra-red reflective (IRR) glass, tailor-made for the solar radiation profile of an individual region or country. The glass would reflect the sun’s rays so less energy is required to cool the inside of the car.
Jaguar Land Rover showcases MHEV, PHEV and BEV Concept_e demonstrators; electric Drive Module
September 09, 2015
At the CENEX Low Carbon Vehicle event in the UK, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is showcasing three Concept_e research demonstrators—a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicle—including a new novel high performance, modular electric drive module (eDM) developed in-house by Jaguar Land Rover.
These are capable of producing twice the power and torque of any electric motor-generator currently in production, JLR said, and can be inserted between any engine and transmission to create MHEV or PHEV, or used alone for a BEV.
New Tandem Axle Lift function from Volvo Trucks lowers fuel consumption up to 4%
Volvo Trucks has introduced a new function—Tandem Axle Lift—that makes it possible to disengage and raise the second driven axle even while driving. This gives better road grip and up to 4% lower fuel consumption when the truck is driven without a load. The new function is designed for heavy duty transports with loads being carried one way and empty return trips—for example, when hauling timber or in construction and bulk cargo operations.
By replacing the differential in the first driven axle with a dog clutch, the second driven axle can be disengaged and raised; the tires can be lifted 140mm (5.51 inches) off the road surface. The driver thus has access to both the power and capacity of two driven axles (6X4) and also the better maneuverability of a single driven axle (4X2).
Bosch presenting new heat pump EV thermal management system at IAA; up to 25% increase in effective range
September 08, 2015
At IAA next week, automotive supplier Bosch is presenting a new heat-pump-based thermal management system for EVs that it says can enable an increase in effective range of up to 25% without modifications to the battery.
In battery-driven powertrains, heating and cooling can play a significantly greater role than in gasoline or diesel engines, since without a combustion engine, the vehicle does not have a generous supply of heat. If the passenger compartment is heated using a purely electrical system drawing its power from the battery, range can be significantly reduced. As a result, there has been interest in the industry about the use of heat pumps as a lower energy-intensity solution.
Peugeot FRACTAL electric concept adds acoustic spatialization to i-Cockpit; 3D printing
At the IAA in Frankfurt next week, Peugeot will introduce FRACTAL, a prospective electric urban coupé design that incorporates the company’s i-Cockpit (first unveiled in 2010) augmented with an acoustic system that features tactile bass systems built into the back of each seat to make driving all the more instinctive, enriching information through the use of acoustics. This additional i-Cockpit feature is characterized by the spatialization and dynamization of sound.
FRACTAL is an ideas incubator that also explores new design and manufacturing processes. 3D-printed parts represent more than 80% of the interior trim surface. The anechoic materials were made through generative design—an incremental, stochastic process used to achieve the perfect component.
Fraunhofer researchers develop carbon nanotube thin film heater for EVs
September 02, 2015
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart have developed a film-based panel heater for electric vehicles. The panel is—particularly on short journeys—more effective than conventional electric heaters. (Electric cars generate little heat as opposed to conventional passenger vehicles, which produce more than enough engine heat to heat the interior. An additional electric heater is required. This is supplied with power by the same battery that provides the engine with energy; prolonged use of the heater can significantly deplete range.)
The heating concept is based on a film that is coated with a very thin layer of conductive carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The film is glued to the inner door trim and generates a comfortable warmth there in the area of the armrest within a very short time, according to Serhat Sahakalkan, project manager at the Fraunhofer IPA.
AVnu Alliance, Cisco and TTTech to host Deterministic Ethernet Forum for in-vehicle networking
August 28, 2015
AVnu Alliance, Cisco and TTTech will host the Deterministic Ethernet Forum for automotive in-vehicle networking and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), on 23 October 2015 in Vienna, Austria. The forum will be an opportunity for leading automotive and industrial companies to discuss and influence the implementation of deterministic Ethernet solutions and related standards. Confirmed keynotes at the event include presentations by Altera, Audi, AVnu Alliance, Cisco, Delphi, GE, KUKA, NXP, Renesas and Vestas.
Deterministic Ethernet uses time scheduling to bring deterministic real-time communication to standard IEEE 802 Ethernet. Deterministic Ethernet is based on IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.1Q AVB and 802.1Qbv TSN (pre-standard) as well as SAE AS6802 standards, and guarantees message delivery across switched Ethernet networks. It offers improved safety and security with a traffic class immune to Denial of Service. It also enables the full convergence of critical, real-time and regular traffic within a single network.
FEV working on water injection system using exhaust condensate; fuel consumption improvements up to 16% possible
August 26, 2015
FEV is developing a water injection system for internal combustion engines using condensate from exhaust gases, the “Extended Direct Condensate Injection” system. The concept, as reported in a new paper in the International Journal of Engine Research , demonstrates a potential for efficiency increase of 3.3% – 3.8% in the region of the minimum specific fuel consumption on a stoichiometric combustion concept with Miller cycle and cooled external exhaust gas recirculation.
Further improvement of the efficiency of up to 16% is possible at full-load operation, the researchers said. If water injection is used in addition to homogeneous lean combustion, an efficiency gain of 4.5% in the region of the minimum specific fuel consumption is achieved.
BMW introduces Concept M4 GTS at Pebble Beach; water injection
August 14, 2015
BMW M GmbH unveiled the BMW Concept M4 GTS at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in Monterey, California. Details on a production version will be revealed at a later date. The BMW Concept M4 GTS is the first M3/M4 special production vehicle to be sold in the US.
The BMW Concept M4 GTS showcases new technologies which will debut in production vehicles later this year. Among them, the BMW Concept M4 GTS features the innovative water injection system (earlier post) that has already provided a significant output and torque boost in the BMW M4 MotoGP Safety Car. In addition, the BMW Concept M4 GTS has rear lights with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology for an unmistakable appearance.
Audi, BMW and Daimler agree with Nokia on joint acquisition of HERE digital mapping business; swarm intelligence for new information density
August 03, 2015
AUDI AG, the BMW Group and Daimler AG have agreed with Nokia Corporation that they will acquire its mapping and location services business HERE. The acquisition is intended to secure the long term availability of HERE’s products and services as an open, independent and value-creating platform for cloud-based maps and other mobility services accessible to all customers from the automotive industry and other sectors.
The three partners will each hold an equal stake in HERE; none of them seeks to acquire a majority interest. Subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities, the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.
Aeristech launches new 48V electric supercharger
July 31, 2015
UK-based Aeristech has introduced a new 48V electric supercharger capable of continuous operation at high boost levels. Independently validated by Ricardo and MAHLE Powertrain UK, the technology provides greater efficiency and easier packaging than a mechanical supercharger or a two-stage turbocharger.
Aeristech said it overcame the thermal management issues that can restrict other electric boosting devices currently available on the market to only transient operation by using permanent magnet motor technology in place of the more usual switched reluctance type. This has been made cost-effective by developing a patented control and switching technology that enables the use of many cost-competitive components.
Delphi invests in Tula; Dynamic Skip Fire cylinder deactivation
July 30, 2015
Delphi has made a minority investment in Tula Technology, the developer of Dynamic Skip Fire cylinder deactivation technology. (Earlier post.) The software-enabled powertrain technology integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls to create a variable displacement engine.
DSF allows the engine’s cylinders to fire or skip (deactivate) on a continuously variable basis. In independent tests, DSF has improved fuel efficiency by up to 17% as measured on a CAFE basis when compared to a vehicle (V8 engine) that does not have cylinder deactivation. GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula in 2012.
Roland Berger study explores need for consolidation in vehicle electronic architectures
July 29, 2015
In a new study, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants explores the strategy of module consolidation as a solution for the feature- and function-driven increasing complexity of vehicle electronic architectures.
Consumers increasingly expect the latest and greatest in electronics and safety when purchasing a car, regardless of type. Whether it’s an instrument cluster with a graphics rich, fully reconfigurable display or a lane departure warning system, a tremendous amount of processing power and electronic communication is required. The current approach to adding these features to vehicle’s electric/electronic (E/E) architectures is generally “ad-hoc”—i.e., simply adding a new ECU every time a new vehicle feature requires processing power. This has resulted in vehicles with as many as 100 ECUs and more than 100 million lines of code in ultra-luxury cars.
BMW i novel drive unit swing arm powers HNF eBike
July 27, 2015
In addition to developing its own innovative premium vehicles and technologies with a focus on sustainability, BMW i also serves within the BMW Group as an incubator for innovation reaching beyond the brand’s vehicles.
As one example, a drive unit swing arm, now entering production at the HNF eBike factory after development to series maturity in collaboration with BMW Research and Technology, originated from the first stage of BMW i market research and the early concept phase. As there was no longer any immediate use for the patent at BMW i, the company released it for external use.
GM opens new $14M Active Safety Test Area at Milford; 22 different active safety technologies across GM MY2016 US lineup; V2V and autonomous driving
July 25, 2015
GM officially opened its new $14-million, 52-acre Active Safety Test Area at its Milford Proving Ground near Detroit. GM’s brands—Chevrolet, Buick GMC and Cadillac will offer 22 different active safety technologies across their 2016 model year US lineups, ranging from driver alerts to those that automatically intervene and assist the driver in critical situations.
Safety engineers will develop and test these and other safety technologies for products around the world at the new Active Safety Test Area. Cynthia Bay, director of Active Safety Electronics and Controls said the facility is also ideal for testing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies, which will be standard on the 2017 Cadillac CTS.
The most recent J.D. Power APEAL study found that the increasing number of safety-related technologies equipping new vehicles are making those vehicles more appealing to their owners. (Earlier post.)
Bosch and TomTom partner on high-precision maps for highly automated driving
July 21, 2015
Bosch and TomTom have agreed to collaborate on innovative mapping technology for automated driving. Under this agreement, TomTom is designing the necessary maps, while Bosch, on the basis of its systems engineering work, is defining the specifications these maps have to meet.
The maps are already being used in the automated vehicles Bosch is testing on certain public roads in Germany (A81) and in the United States (I280). High precision maps are a necessary enabler for deploying automated driving on freeways by 2020, said Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel. Jan Maarten de Vries, Vice President Automotive at TomTom, said that by the end of 2015, the company wants to have new high-precision maps for automated driving for all freeways and freeway-like roads in Germany. Road coverage will subsequently be extended to the rest of Europe and North America.
Magna to acquire Getrag for approximately €1.75B
July 16, 2015
Magna International Inc. signed an agreement to acquire the Getrag Group of Companies for approximately €1.75 billion (US$1.9 billion). This represents an enterprise value of approximately €2.45 billion (US$2.7 billion) less proportionate net debt and proportionate pension liabilities, which together are estimated to be approximately €700 million (US$762 million) at closing.
Getrag is the world’s largest (by volume) OEM-independent supplier of automotive transmissions, offering a range of transmission systems which include manual, automated-manual, dual-clutch, hybrid and other advanced systems.
New safety test environment for high-speed flywheels for energy storage systems; new high-speed imaging techniques
July 07, 2015
The Ricardo-led FlySafe research collaboration—involving a range of leading industrial and academic partners including the University of Brighton’s Centre for Automotive Engineering—has delivered an innovative flywheel safety test environment to enable the development of next-generation flywheel energy storage systems.
The FlySafe project is investigating the potential failure mechanisms and behaviors of high-speed flywheel systems. Operating at extremely high rotational speeds, these systems offer a practical and potentially cost-effective mechanical means of saving fuel and reducing carbon emissions through the mechanical storage and reuse of energy in applications such as regenerative braking. The FlySafe research aims to provide best-practice design guidelines for the safety containment systems of high speed flywheels, appropriate for commercial mass market deployment of these systems. A key output of the project in this respect will be a proposed BSI flywheel safety standard.
Free piston/ORC system for automotive waste heat recovery being tested at University of Brighton
June 18, 2015
A prototype automotive waste heat recovery system has been fired up on a recently commissioned test rig at the University of Brighton. The organic Rankine cycle test rig uses a novel linear free piston expander from Libertine (earlier post) to overcome the technical and economic barriers to using Rankine cycle technology for automotive waste heat recovery.
Initially configured to simulate heavy duty truck applications, the 20 kWe system can be scaled down to 3 kWe for light duty trucks and passenger cars. Libertine expects the results from rig tests to confirm the system’s potential to convert the high grade heat in the exhaust into electrical power, which can contribute to either powertrain or auxiliary loads.
DDFlyTrain flywheel hybrid technology to deliver around 10% fuel savings, rapid ROI
June 17, 2015
The DDFlyTrain research project, conducted by Ricardo, Artemis Intelligent Power (a group company of Mitsubishi Heavy) and Bombardier Transportation, (earlier post) has projects a fuel savings of around 10% based on the use of high speed flywheel brake recovery technology retrofitted to Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) rolling stock. This order of saving means that the technology has a potential return on investment (ROI) of inside five years.
The DDFlyTrain hybrid solution—designed for integration onto a Bombardier Turbostar DMU—is based on Ricardo’s TorqStor high-speed flywheel energy storage technology and the high efficiency Artemis Digital Displacement hydraulic pump-motor transmission. (Earlier post.) The project has also produced a proof of concept test rig used to demonstrate the technology to rail industry stakeholders and a concept for integration onto a Bombardier Turbostar DMU.
New generation GKN Hybrid Power flywheel hybrid system for Audi R18 e-tron
June 16, 2015
Among its many other changes, the hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro that placed third at the Le Mans 24 Hours this past weekend featured a new generation of the Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid energy storage system, developed by GKN in collaboration with Audi Sport. (Earlier post.) Audi driver André Lotterer set a new record lap time of 3m 17.47s with GKN’s technology on board.
GKN increased the energy storage capacity and average power rating while retaining the same dimensions and mass, enabling Audi to compete this year in the 4-megajoule of hybrid energy category. GKN said the technology advances embodied in the new flywheel hybrid system will accelerate its work to scale the technology into a lower-cost alternative to battery hybrids for transport applications.
Audi sets new lap record for diesels on Sachsenring; electric compressor overcomes turbo lag, enhances sprint performance
June 12, 2015
Audi has set a new record time on the Sachsenring for cars with a diesel engine. The Audi RS 5 TDI competition concept rounded the 3.6 km (2.2 mi) race course in a time of 1 minute 35.35 seconds. (According to fastestlaps.com, that time edges out the 1:35.53 results of a gasoline-fueled 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The fastest lap on the Sachsenring was set this year by a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06 with a time of 1:30.47.)
The diesel technology platform draws its power from a 3.0-liter V6 biturbo TDI with 320 kW (435 hp) of power and 800 N·m (590 lb-ft) of torque. The highlight is an electrically driven compressor. (Earlier post.) The Audi RS 5 TDI competition concept is based on a technical concept car that Audi presented in summer 2014 on the 25th anniversary of the TDI engine. (Earlier post.)
Scania to test electrically powered trucks on “electric road” under real-life conditions
June 04, 2015
In February 2016, Scania will start testing electric trucks on the electric road which will become a reality as the Swedish Transport Administration has now approved support for the Gävle Electric Road project. The project will demonstrate and evaluate conductive technology, which involves electrical transmission through overhead lines above vehicles equipped with a pantograph power collector.
The investment in the Gävle Electric Road project is in line with the Government’s goal of an energy-efficient and fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030. The project consists of about SEK 77 million (US$9.3 million) in public financing combined with about SEK 48 million (US$5.8 million) in co-financing from the business community and the Gävleborg region.
US$7.5M JOSPEL project to develop energy efficient climate control for EVs; leveraging Joule and Peltier effects
June 03, 2015
A trans-European collaboration aims to develop a novel energy efficient climate control system to help reduce the energy used for passenger comfort in electric vehicles by at least 50%. Even in today’s modern electric vehicles, a lot of energy is wasted on heating or cooling, in turn limiting the already relatively short range by further draining the battery capacity.
The aim of the €6.7-million (US$7.5-million) JOSPEL project is to develop an efficient, electrical climate control system using an integrated approach that combines the application of the Joule and Peltier effects; efficient insulation of the vehicle interior; energy recovery from heat zones; increased battery life as a side effect of thermal management; reduced battery energy consumption via the integration of Peltier cooling; innovative automated and eco-driving strategies; and the electronic control of power flows.
Toyota to explore integration of SmartDeviceLink Technology with Ford subsidiary; open source version of Ford AppLink
Toyota Motor Corporation has reached an agreement with Ford Motor Company to explore collaboration with Livio, a Ford subsidiary acquired in 2013 (earlier post), for the implementation of SmartDeviceLink (SDL) technology in future Toyota and Lexus vehicles.
SDL is an open source version of Ford AppLink, created to facilitate smartphone applications including entertainment, traffic, parking and other data from the internet for use in in-car infotainment systems. Those apps can be easily accessed using voice recognition, display screens, and dashboard controls. Besides its seamless ease of operation, the benefits of SDL technology include the ability for developers to design an app only one time, yet have it work across multiple infotainment systems. This saves development time and allows apps to be introduced more quickly to a wider audience.
DARPA program integrates non-mechanical optical scanning tech on microchip; new class of low-cost, miniature LIDAR could support autonomous vehicle apps
May 30, 2015
DARPA’s Short-range Wide-field-of-view Extremely agile Electronically steered Photonic EmitteR (SWEEPER) program has successfully integrated breakthrough non-mechanical optical scanning technology onto a microchip. Freed from the traditional scanning architecture of gimbaled mounts, lenses and servos, SWEEPER technology has demonstrated that it can sweep a laser back and forth more than 100,000 times per second, 10,000 times faster than current state-of-the-art mechanical systems.
SWEEPER technology can also steer a laser precisely across a 51-degree arc, the widest field of view yet achieved by a chip-scale optical scanning system. These accomplishments could open the door to a new class of miniaturized, extremely low-cost, robust laser-scanning technologies for LIDAR and other uses. Applications can include autonomous vehicle technology.
Mitsubishi Electric introduces new in-vehicle noise reduction system, next-generation infotainment system
May 19, 2015
Mitsubishi Electric, long active in reducing automotive in-cabin noise attributable to engines, is introducing an advanced Active Noise Control (ANC) system that cancels less predictable and harmonically unrelated road sounds. Named FLEXConnect.ANC, the system uses advanced XSe ANC technology developed by Mentor Graphics, minimizing engine and road noise to provide a quiet, comfortable environment in the cabin of the vehicle.
FLEXConnect.ANC joins Mitsubishi Electric’s existing Ethernet-enabled architectures: FLEXConnect.RSE (Rear Seat Entertainment) and IFLEXConnect.IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment). The company also announced its new generation of FLEXConnect.IVI systems. FLEXConnect.IVI provides a cost effective, yet intuitive, three-screen user interface. By combining swipe and touchscreen technology, the user can easily and safely interact with the heads-up display and instrument cluster on the center panel.
Review of research suggests inconclusive support for fuel consumption benefits of catalyzed EGR
May 18, 2015
Conflicting evidence does not support making a firm conclusion on the fuel consumption benefit of catalysed Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), according to a review of current studies by a team at the University of Bath (UK). In catalyzed EGR, a catalyst alters the chemical composition of the exhaust gas mix before its reintroduction to the engine. As an example, one study found a decrease in fuel consumption of up to 2%, while another found an increase of 1.5%-3.5%.
According to the review, the conversion of HCs, CO, and NO in the exhaust gas by the catalyst can result in up to a 4.5% reduction (in extreme cases) in the calorific value of the charge for catalyzed EGR when compared to equivalent operation with un-catalyzed EGR; this reduction in calorific value has a negative impact on the achievable BSFC. An open access paper on the study (an update of an earlier version published late last year) appears in the International Journal of Engine Research.
Volvo Trucks introduces automatic all-wheel drive for improved driveability and fuel economy
May 13, 2015
Volvo Trucks is introducing automatic all wheel drive—a feature it calls Automatic Traction Control—on construction trucks. ATC activates the drive on the front axle automatically when in motion, if the truck risks getting stuck—i.e., when the rear wheels lose traction on slippery or soft ground. The driver enjoys improved maneuverability, and the owner benefits from lower fuel consumption and less wear and tear on the truck.
The solution consists of software connected to the wheel speed sensors which detect and control wheel drive. When a rear wheel starts to slip, the power moves automatically to the front wheels without the truck losing torque or speed. A dog clutch activates the front-wheel drive in just half a second. The clutch is lighter and has fewer moving parts than a traditional solution with permanent all-wheel drive. If the driver encounters particularly rough ground, then it is possible to manually lock the other differentials at both front and rear.
Ford exploring cylinder deactivation for 1.0L EcoBoost; testing shows up to 6% fuel efficiency improvement
May 12, 2015
Ford, in collaboration with the Schaeffler Group, is investigating different cylinder deactivation approaches on its award-winning 1.0-liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. On-road tests using a working prototype showed fuel efficiency improvements of up to 6%, according to Dr. Andreas Schamel, director, Ford Global Powertrain, Research & Advanced Engineering in Vienna last week.
For the test, the engineers also developed a new dual mass flywheel. This enabled cylinder deactivation to take place at a wider range of engine loads and speeds, and helped minimize noise, vibration and harshness levels.
Audi power-dense 2.5L TFSI engine with electric biturbo delivers 591 hp from 2,480 cc; 48V subsystem for the turbo
May 09, 2015
At the Wörthersee festival, Audi is showcasing the Audi TT clubsport turbo technology concept equipped with a new 2.5 TFSI gasoline engine with an electric biturbo (earlier post) that delivers 441 kW (591 hp) and 650 N·m (479.4 lb-ft), with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 3.6 seconds. Peak torque is available from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm. Power is transferred via a manual six-speed transmission.
While production car engines with this level of output are available from a number of mainstream OEMs, the displacement of the Audi engine is about half or less that of the others, resulting in a very power- and torque-dense unit. The five-cylinder, 2,480 cc engine produces 178 kW (239 hp) and 262 N·m (193 lb-ft) per liter of displacement. By comparison:
OEMs shifting towards onboard chargers > 6 kW for EVs; lower output chargers to remain dominant through 2020
May 05, 2015
Most battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) manufacturers in Europe and the US have been adopting onboard chargers with a power output between 3 to 3.7 kilowatts (kW). Now, EV manufacturers are moving towards onboard chargers with a power output greater than 6.6 kW to reduce charging time.
While high-end PHEVs are contributing to this trend, lower-end models in this segment are still using 3.7 kW onboard chargers. Consequently, onboard chargers with power ratings between 3 to 3.7 kW are expected to remain dominant, accounting for 62% of sales even in 2020, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.
HRL Labs video demonstrates principle of thermal battery based on advanced metal hydrides for EV heating and cooling
April 30, 2015
In 2011, the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) awarded $2.7 million to a team comprising researchers from the University of Utah, HRL Laboratories and GM Global R&D for a project to develop a new generation of high-density thermal battery based on advanced metal hydrides. (Earlier post.) The goal of the project, part of ARPA-E’s HEATS (High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage) portfolio, was to develop a compact thermal battery for climate control in electric vehicles. Such a thermal battery would provide heating and cooling without draining the electric battery, in effect, extending the driving range of EVs per electric charge.
As described in a paper in press in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds, the developed system uses a pair of thermodynamically matched metal hydrides as energy storage media: (1) catalyzed MgH2 as the high temperature hydride material, due to its high energy density and enhanced kinetics; and (2) TiV0.62Mn1.5 alloy as the matching low temperature hydride. HRL has now released a video demonstrating the principle behind the work on thermal battery technology.
Visio.M partners showcasing energy efficient passenger climate control for EVs
April 15, 2015
As part of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) collaborative project Visio.M (earlier post, earlier post), scientists of the TU München have developed an energy efficient solution for passenger climate control in EVs. The researchers are presenting the results of their work, as implemented in the Visio.M prototype vehicle, in the German government stand at the Hannover Messe.
In a combustion-engined vehicle, waste heat could be used to heat the vehicle passenger compartments directly. Many electric vehicles simply took over concepts from the combustion engined vehicles—e.g., a heater and an air conditioner. However, the energy drain of this approach can put a noticeable dent in vehicle range. The Visio.M researchers thus took a new look at all potential solutions, considering their efficiency, comfort and cost.
Jaguar introduces Gen 2, aluminum-intensive XF; up to 60 mpg US with diesel Ingenium engine
April 02, 2015
Jaguar has unveiled the second-generation, all-new Jaguar XF at the New York International Auto Show. The coupé-like design uses Jaguar’s aluminum-intensive (75% aluminum) architecture (earlier post) to enable weight savings of up to 190 kg (419 lbs)—making the 163PS diesel model 80 kg (176 lbs) lighter than the nearest competitor—plus an increase in torsional stiffness of up to 28%. The architecture also delivers improvements in packaging and proportions.
The powertrain range will consist of: 163PS (161 hp, 120 kW) and 180PS (178 hp, 132 kW) 2.0-liter diesel manual and automatic; RWD, 240PS (237 hp, 177 kW) 2.0-liter gasoline automatic; RWD, 300PS (296 hp, 221 kW) 3.0-liter diesel automatic; RWD and AWD, 340PS (335 hp, 250 kW) and 380PS (375 hp, 279 kW) 3.0-liter gasoline automatic. With fuel economy as low as 60 mpg US (3.94 l/100 km) (104 g/km CO2) on the European combined cycle from the Ingenium diesel (earlier post), the all-new XF delivers an improvement of almost 20% compared to its predecessor.
Toyota and Lexus roll-out low-cost automated braking safety packages on RAV4 Hybrid and RX crossover
March 30, 2015
At separate press conferences Wednesday and Thursday at the New York Auto Show, Toyota will reveal the RAV4 Hybrid SUV, while Lexus unveils its all-new fourth-generation RX luxury crossover SUV. Both debuts will mark the arrival of new, multi-feature, integrated safety packages, each anchored by automated pre-collision braking and offered at a price below comparable systems across the auto industry.
Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) and Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) are designed to support the driver’s awareness, decision making and vehicle operation over a wide range of speeds. Packaged together in an integrated system, their features help address three key areas of accident protection: preventing or mitigating rear collisions; keeping drivers within their lane; and enhancing road safety during night time driving. The systems are intended to address commonly occurring crash types according to traffic accident statistical analyses.
Toyota progress report on TNGA; half of vehicles sold in 2020 to feature new platforms
March 27, 2015
In 2012, Toyota Motor introduced its new development framework, the Toyota New Global Architecture. (Earlier post.) Designed to balance product advances with cost reductions, TNGA supports the grouping of the development of new vehicles to promote strategic sharing of parts and powertrain components. One goal is the reduction of resources required for development by 20% or more.
Toyota recently provided an update and an outlook on its progress with TNGA, focusing on new vehicle development (powertrain components and vehicle platforms) as well as production systems.
SABIC introduces novel thermoplastic roof fairing concept for 3% improvement in heavy-duty truck fuel economy
March 26, 2015
SABIC has introduced a thermoplastic roof fairing concept that can potentially reduce annual fuel consumption of a heavy-duty truck by at least 3%. SABIC’s design concept is aerodynamically optimized to deflect air by accelerating airflow through and across the top and sides of the roof fairing. The result is a significant drop in drag, up to 5.9%, improving the aerodynamic performance and fuel efficiency of a heavy-duty truck.
SABIC’s new thermoplastic roof fairing concept incorporates air ducts to reduce front end pressure and accelerate airflow both over the surface and through the fairing itself. Conventional roof fairings, in contrast, achieve aerodynamic efficiencies simply by maximizing airflow over smooth, closed surfaces.
New ABB Azipod D for electric marine propulsion requires 25% less installed power, boosts flexibility
March 25, 2015
|Azipod D. Click to enlarge.|
ABB has introduced a new offering, Azipod D, to its line of Azipod marine electric propulsion systems. This new product will allow a wider range of vessel types to benefit from the proven reliability and flexibility that have made Azipod the leading propulsion system across numerous ship types.
Azipod Propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system in which the electric drive motor is in a submerged pod outside the ship hull. A ship with Azipod Propulsion does not need rudders, long shaftlines or stern transversal thrusters. This new Azipod D provides designers and ship builders with increased design flexibility in order to accommodate a wide range of hull shapes and propeller sizes, as well as simplicity of installation. The Azipod D requires up to 25% less installed power. This is partly due to the fact that the new hybrid (air and water) cooling helps reduce the thruster’s weight and directs more power toward propulsion of the ship, not cooling requirements. The performance of the electric motor is increased by up to 45%.
Renault Trucks Optifuel Lab 2 vehicle results: reduction in fuel consumption by 22% compared to conventional truck
March 19, 2015
Following several months of road trials and test bench programs adding up to the equivalent of 20,000 km (12,427 miles), Renault Trucks Optifuel Lab 2 laboratory vehicle (earlier post) is recording fuel consumption 22% lower than that of a production Renault Trucks T. This means 7.2 liters of diesel are saved for every 100 km covered, together with a 194 g reduction of CO2 emissions for every kilometre travelled.
Optifuel Lab 2 has been equipped with 20 technologies, each of which meet four major challenges associated with consumption: energy management, aerodynamics, rolling resistance and driving aids. Based on a Renault Trucks T, Optifuel Lab 2 is an ongoing version of the Optifuel Lab 1 introduced in 2009.
Delphi Automotive launching coast-to-coast automated drive
March 15, 2015
Delphi Automotive is launching a US coast-to-coast automated drive—the longest automated drive ever attempted in North America—to showcase its technology capabilities and to gather data and further advance the company’s active safety technology development in this rapidly growing segment of the auto industry. The coast-to-coast trip will launch near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on 22 March and will cover approximately 3,500 miles.
Recently demonstrated on the streets of Las Vegas at CES 2015, Delphi’s Audi SQ5 automated driving vehicle leverages a full suite of technologies and features to make this trip possible, including:
Opel developing eye-tracking technology to guide headlights
March 12, 2015
Engineers at Opel, in collaboration with the Technical University of Darmstadt, are developing eye-tracking technology for application in a third-generation of automotive adaptive lighting that will be introduced after the current AFL+ bi-xenon system. The concept is that the driver’s eye movements will control the direction and intensity of light.
High-performance eye-tracking systems can require 5 to 10 cameras; for the Opel system, the researchers began with a simple webcam. Focused on the driver’s head, it scanned prominent points, such as the nose and eyes, to detect movement and thereby the driver’s line of sight.
Mobileye unveils Gen4 system-on-chip EyeQ4; visual processing for ADAS and automated driving; design win for 2018
March 05, 2015
Mobileye N.V., a designer and developer of camera-based Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for the automotive industry, introduced its 4th-generation system-on-chip, the EyeQ4. Leveraging the company’s more than 15 years of expertise in designing computer-vision specific cores, the EyeQ4 consists of 14 computing cores out of which 10 are specialized vector accelerators with extremely high utilization for visual processing and understanding.
The first design win for EyeQ4 in series production has been secured for a global premium European car manufacturer for production to start in early 2018. The EyeQ4 would be part of a scalable camera system starting from monocular processing for collision avoidance applications, in compliance with EU NCAP, US NHSTA and other regulatory requirements, up to trifocal camera configuration supporting high-end customer functions including semi-autonomous driving. The EyeQ4 would support fusion with radars and scanning-beam lasers in the high-end customer functions.
Freescale introduces new vision microprocessor targeting autonomous driving
March 02, 2015
Freescale Semiconductor has introduced the S32V vision microprocessor—the first automotive vision system-on-chip (SoC) with the requisite reliability, safety and security measures to automate and ‘co-pilot’ a self-aware car, the company said.
Leveraging a number of automotive-grade technologies, the S32V moves beyond the current, convenience-centric “assist” paradigm and toward an era where cars can capture data, process it and share control with drivers in critical situations. This capability establishes a bridge from the current “assist” era toward the fully autonomous vehicles of tomorrow, Freescale suggested.
NXP acquiring Freescale for $11.8B; shooting for Nº 1 automotive semiconductor supplier
NXP Semiconductors N.V. and Freescale Semiconductor, Ltd. have entered into a definitive agreement under which NXP will merge with Freescale in an approximately $11.8-billion cash and equity transaction. The resulting combined enterprise would be valued at just over $40 billion (representing enterprise value as of the market close 27 February 2015). The merger creates a high performance mixed signal semiconductor industry leader, with combined revenue of greater than $10 billion.
The merged entity will become the market leader in automotive semiconductor solutions, surpassing Infineon and Renesas, as well as becoming the market leader in general purpose microcontroller (MCU) products, NXP and Freescale said. According to IHS, Infineon Technologies AG took the top spot from Renesas Electronics Corp. in automotive semiconductor sales in 2014 with sales of about $2.8 billion. The previous year Infineon had been on about $2.4 billion in sales and $500 million behind long-time market leader Renesas.
Honda includes stop-start system in new 2016 Honda Pilot for improved fuel economy, new 9-speed (updated w/ VCM info)
February 13, 2015
Honda gave the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot SUV its global premiere at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The 2016 Pilot, launching at Honda dealerships nationwide this summer, is the third generation of Honda’s three-row midsize SUV to be designed, developed and manufactured in the US.
The 2016 Pilot features a new 3.5-liter, direct-injected i-VTEC V-6 engine with new two-stage Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology. For improved fuel efficiency, the 2016 Pilot will also include a stop start feature—Honda’s first non-hybrid application of this technology.
Porsche names GKN Driveline “Technology Partner” for eAxle system in 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar
February 12, 2015
Porsche has awarded GKN Driveline “Technology Partner” status for its development of the high-performance eAxle for the 918 Spyder, an advanced plug-in hybrid supercar. (Earlier post.) GKN Driveline’s eAxle module—used for the 918 Spyder’s front axle—supports full-electric mode, all-wheel drive and provides a boost function.
The eAxle that supplements the 918 Spyder’s hybridized 4.6-liter V8 is an evolution of the company’s innovative eAxle drive. (Earlier post.) The module has maximum power of 95 kW and can deliver up to 1500 N·m (1,106 lb-ft) of torque to the front wheels via a fixed gear ratio. A specially developed compact differential engages the torque seamlessly, giving the 918 Spyder optimum power distribution at all times. The differential also disengages the module to minimize drag losses and maximize efficiency. At speeds above 265 km/h (164 mph), a clutch isolates the electric motor to prevent it from over-spinning.
BMW introduces 2 Series Gran Tourer; up to 60 mpg US
BMW has introduced the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, a premium compact model. At 4,556 millimeters long, 1,800 mm wide and 1,608 mm high, the 2 Series Gran Tourer accommodates up to seven people while additionally offering a load compartment that extends from 645 to 1,905 liters in the five-seater and from 560 to 1,820 liters in the seven-seater variant.
Five three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines will be available from market launch of the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer, all featuring the latest BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. In addition to the four-cylinder liter gasoline engine in the BMW 220i Gran Tourer and the three-cylinder in the BMW 218i Gran Tourer, three diesel units round off the engine portfolio available at market launch. They include the four-cylinder diesel in the BMW 220d xDrive and BMW 218d Gran Tourer as well as the three-cylinder diesel in the BMW 216d Gran Tourer.
Extensive materials genome modeling study suggests best adsosrbent materials for natural gas storage already designed; 70% of ARPA-E target
February 03, 2015
Using a materials genome approach, a collaboration between EPFL, the University of California at Berkeley, Rice University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has searched for high-performance adsorbent materials to store natural gas in a vehicular fuel tank.
In their study, published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science, they simulated more than 650,000 designs for nanoporous materials. They found that the best candidates for natural gas storage have already been designed—but that those best materials meet only 70% of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) targets for natural gas storage on vehicles. (Earlier post.)
ESKAM finishing electric drive axle module for commercial vehicles, new production technologies; vehicle testing this year
February 02, 2015
|Electric drive axle module with two motors and integrated power electronics. Groschopp AG. Click to enlarge.|
The ESKAM (Electric Scalable Axle Module, Elektrische SKalierbare AchsantriebsModule) consortium in Germany, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is completing the development of an optimized electric drive axle module for commercial vehicles, consisting of two motors, transmissions and power electronics. All components fit neatly and compactly into a shared housing, which is fitted in the vehicle using a special frame construction also developed by the project engineers.
The individual modules developed by the various partners are complete, as are new manufacturing techniques developed by the partners. The consortium is now putting the individual parts together to make a demonstrator. After that, they want to fit the axle module into a real vehicle for testing by the end of 2015.
NHTSA announces follow-up recall of 2.12 million cars and SUVs over TRW airbag defects
January 31, 2015
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today the recall of more than 2.12 million Acura, Dodge, Jeep, Honda, Pontiac, and Toyota vehicles from model years 2002 to 2004 for a defect that may cause airbags to deploy inadvertently.
The vehicles were subject to earlier recalls to address a problem with an electronic component manufactured by TRW that caused some airbags to deploy in the absence of a crash. The recalls will provide vehicle owners with a new remedy after the manufacturers’ original attempts to fix the defects proved ineffective in some vehicles.
Bosch completes acquisition of ZF’s share of ZF Lenksysteme JV; electric steering systems for fuel efficiency, ADAS and automated driving
January 30, 2015
The Bosch Group has completed its acquisition of ZF Friedrichshafen AG’s 50-percent share in the joint venture ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (ZFLS). Bosch now owns all shares in the formerly 50:50 joint venture, formed in 1999. It will be incorporated into the Bosch Group as a new division with the name Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH.
ZFLS is a leading manufacturer of electric steering systems, with which it currently generates around 60% of its sales, which were around €4.1 billion (US$4.6 billion) in 2013. Alongside its potential to save up to 0.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, electric steering is the basic technology required to realize a number of assistance systems in cars as well as automated driving.
Study finds vertical force of in-wheel switched reluctance motors deteriorates vehicle stability and comfort
January 27, 2015
In a study investigating switched reluctance motors (SRMs) for in-wheel motor applications, researchers at Chongqing University in China have found that the vertical component of the residual unbalanced radial force of the motor deteriorates the lateral and anti-rollover stabilities of the vehicle in addition to having a considerable impact on vehicle comfort. (The unbalanced radial force is the radial force difference between a pair of opposite stator poles.)
In their paper, published in the Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering, they suggest that a control method addressing these issues will be needed if SRMs are to see use in in-wheel applications. In an earlier paper, members of the team had proposed the use of an FxLMS (filtered-X least mean square) controller based on active suspension system to generate controllable force to suppress the vibration caused by SRM vertical force. In that paper, they found that utilizing active suspensions could reduce the effect of SRM vertical force on suspension performance.
EPA, ECOS and Motor Vehicle Industry Associations to sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the reduction of copper in brake pads
January 20, 2015
On Wednesday 21 January, representatives of the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and motor vehicle industry associations will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the agency and the motor vehicle industry for the reduction of copper in brake pads. The signing will take place in conjunction with the SAE 2015 Government/Industry Meeting.
The MOU will provide the motor vehicle industry with consistent copper reduction guidelines, eliminate disparate state regulations and create a level playing field for brake product manufacturers. The MOU is the result of a collaborative effort between the regulatory agency and the motor vehicle industry.
New GM/Tula DSF cylinder deactivation technology could boost fuel efficiency in engines by up to 15%
January 05, 2015
|Comparison of DSF fuel economy gains and costs with competing technologies, from Tula’s 2013 SAE paper. Wilcutts et al. Click to enlarge.|
GM is working closely with Tula Technology, a Silicon Valley-based supplier of Dynamic Skip Fire (DSF)—a software-enabled powertrain technology that integrates advanced digital signal processing with advanced powertrain controls to create a variable displacement engine. In 2012, GM Ventures made an equity investment in Tula; in 2013, Tula engineers presented a paper on their technology at the 2013 SAE World Congress.
Independent testing commissioned by Tula finds that the application of DSF technology can improve fuel efficiency in a multi-cylinder engine (4/6/8 cylinders) by as much as 15% when compared to a vehicle equipped with an engine that does not have cylinder deactivation.
Orbital suing Daimler and Bosch for alleged patent infringement on direct injection technology
December 23, 2014
Australia-based specialized engine and vehicle systems company Orbital Corporation has filed court documents in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleging the infringement of Orbital patents on direct injection technology by Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. (Mercedes), Robert Bosch GMGH and Robert Bosch LLC (Bosch). (3:14-cv-00808-REP Orbital Australia Pty Ltd et al. v. Daimler AG et al.)
Specific patents covered by the complaint are United States Patents Nº 6,923,387 (the “387 patent”) ("injector patent"); Nº 5,655,365 (the “365 patent”); and Nº 5,606,951 (the “951 patent”) (“control patents”),under 35 U.S.C.§271.
BASF’s new four-way conversion catalyst: TWC plus particulate filter
December 10, 2014
BASF researchers have further developed the three-way conversion catalyst and optimized its cleaning effect. The new four-way conversion catalyst, FWC, is a technology for vehicles with gasoline engines. The catalyst removes the gaseous pollutants and now also solids such as particulates from the exhaust gas flow.
Compared to the ubiquitous three-way conversion catalyst and the downstream uncoated particulate filter, the new FWC occupies much less space, said Dr. Klaus Harth, responsible for research on automotive catalytic converters at BASF. “The compact four-way conversion catalyst now combines all the important properties in a single component.”
GMZ Energy successfully demonstrates 1 kW thermoelectric generator for Bradley Fighting Vehicle
December 03, 2014
GMZ Energy, a market leader in the development of high-temperature thermoelectric generation (TEG) solutions, has successfully demonstrated a 1,000W TEG designed for diesel engine exhaust heat recapture in a Bradley Fighting Vehicle. (Earlier post.) This announcement follows GMZ’s June 2014 demonstration of its 200W diesel TEG. The company integrated five of its 200W TEGs into a single 1,000 W diesel engine solution that directly converts exhaust waste heat into electrical energy to increase fuel efficiency and lower costs.
With this demonstration, GMZ has successfully reached the next milestone in the $1.5 million vehicle efficiency program sponsored by the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and administered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Westport Innovations acquires alt fuel systems company Prins Autogassystemen for €12.2M
Natural gas engine and vehicle company Westport Innovations Inc. has acquired Netherlands based Prins Autogassystemen Holding B.V. for €12.2 million (US$15.1 million) through a combination of €6.6 million (US$8.2 million) in assumed liabilities and €5.6 million (US$6.9 million) in cash.
Founded in 1986, Prins is a leading developer of high quality alternative fuel systems powered by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane), compressed natural gas (CNG), and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty applications. Prins operations in Europe will be combined under the Westport Applied Technologies business unit.
Toyota Motor to consolidate development and production of diesel engines under TICO; manual transmissions under Aisin Seiki; brake systems under Advics
November 29, 2014
Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will consolidate their joint diesel engine development and production under the control of TICO. The purpose of this decision is to strengthen the competitiveness of both companies by bringing the development and production of diesel engines under one roof and enabling more efficient allocation of resources.
Further, Toyota is consolidating development and Japanese production of manual transmissions under Aisin Seiki subsidiary Aisin AI Co., Ltd. and will accelerate the consolidation of brake system engineering, manufacturing and sales under Advics, which was founded in July 2001 by Aisin Seiki, Denso, Sumitomo Electric, and TMC. (TMC, TICO, Aisin Seiki and Denso are part of the Toyota Group.)
Toyota bringing vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems to some new models in Japan in 2015
November 26, 2014
Starting next year, some of Toyota Motor Corporation’s new models will be compatible with advanced vehicle-infrastructure cooperative systems that use a wireless frequency reserved for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). This compatibility will be offered as an option for the “Toyota Safety Sense P” active safety package that will be made available in 2015 on select new models sold in Japan.
The systems will use the dedicated ITS frequency of 760 MHz for road-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-vehicle communication to gather information that cannot be obtained by onboard sensors. At intersections with poor visibility, information about oncoming vehicles and pedestrians detected by sensors above the road will be conveyed via road-to-vehicle communication, and information about approaching vehicles will be conveyed via vehicle-to-vehicle communication, with audio and visual alerts warning drivers when necessary.
IBM Research and ASELSAN to collaborate on metal-air battery technology, focusing on EVs; mm-wave ICs
November 25, 2014
IBM Research and Turkish defense industry technology company ASELSAN (Askerî Elektronik Sanayii, Military Electronic Industries) have signed collaborative development agreements concerning research and development of metal-air battery technologies and millimeter wave integrated circuits. The companies will work together on these projects, and through these efforts ASELSAN will enhance its in-house research and development activities.
In 2009, IBM and its partners launched a multi-year research initiative specifically exploring rechargeable Li-air systems (one type of metal-air battery): “The Battery 500 Project”. (Earlier post.) The “500” stands for a target range of 500 miles/800 km per charge, which translates into a battery capacity of about 125 kWh at an average use of 250 Wh/mile for a standard family car.
Tsinghua team devises in-cycle control method for diesel LTC using detection of Start of Combustion
Low temperature combustion (LTC) refers to a broad range of in-cylinder combustion strategies for the reduction of NOx emissions from diesel combustion; NOx is formed primarily by a thermal mechanism, which production rates increasing exponentially with temperature. LTC strategies reduce combustion temperatures by the dilution of the in-cylinder combustible mixtures, either with excess charge gas to create more fuel-lean mixtures, or with moderate to high levels of EGR.
However, challenges remain in diesel low temperature combustion implementation due to combustion inconsistency or instability. To address this, a team from Tsinghua University has devised an in-cycle combustion feedback control method based on the detection of the Start of Combustion (SOC) in diesel LTC. A paper describing their method is published in the journal Applied Energy.
Bus maker Alexander Dennis to fit GKN Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid systems to 250 buses; partners on international development
November 24, 2014
|Gyrodrive. Click to enlarge.|
Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), Britain’s biggest bus and coach manufacturer, has chosen GKN Hybrid Power as a preferred partner and committed to the purchase of 250 of its Gyrodrive electric flywheel hybrid systems (earlier post). ADL will focus initially on the introduction of the low emission technology to bus fleets in London and Oxford but anticipates rapid deployment across the UK in the next few years. It will also be working closely with GKN to develop the technology for international markets.
Instead of a battery, the Gyrodrive system uses a magnetically loaded high-speed carbon-fiber flywheel to store the energy generated by a bus as it slows down to stop. It then utilizes the stored energy to power a GKN EVO electric motor which helps accelerate the bus back up to speed, generating significant fuel savings of up to around 25% at a considerably lower cost than battery-hybrid alternatives.
DSM wins SPE Automotive Innovation Award for bio-based EcoPaXX integrated crankshaft cover for Volkswagen Group diesels
November 14, 2014
|EcoPaXX crankshaft cover. Click to enlarge.|
A lightweight multi-functional crankshaft cover in Royal DSM’s EcoPaXX high-performance polyamide 410 was top in the Powertrain category at the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division Innovation Awards Competition and Gala in Detroit. The 70% bio-based EcoPaXX is made principally from topical castor beans and is 100% carbon neutral from cradle to gate. Castor oil is obtained from the Ricinus Communis plant, which grows in tropical regions on relatively poor soil, and does not compete with the food-chain.
The EcoPaXX crankshaft cover is produced by DSM’s automotive component specialist partner KACO in Germany for the latest generation of MDB-4 TDI diesel engines developed by the Volkswagen Group. The engines are fitted to various car models made by VW, Audi, Seat and Škoda. Dr. Lutz Wohlfarth from Volkswagen, and Marcio Lima from KACO were both at the Gala in Detroit to collect the SPE award.
New Volvo XC90 debuts enhanced multi-filter that improves interior air quality
November 13, 2014
Volvo is introducing a larger, more efficient multi-filter in its cabins as part of its CleanZone initiative. CleanZone is an approach to controlling interior air quality and providing a better driving environment through innovative solutions for enhanced wellbeing and health. Drivers can breathe easier because most microscopic, hazardous “fine dust” particles will now be prevented from entering the car.
The multi-filter was designed especially for the SPA platform and will first appear in the all-new XC90 in the beginning of 2015. It features a larger design that intercepts more particulates and pollen, as well as a layer of active charcoal that effectively removes a range of contaminants that can impact the health of drivers.