[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.]
MIT team devises approaches for practical carbon-nanotube-coated carbon fiber; stronger, more electrically conductive
May 20, 2013
|MIT scientists demonstrated two approaches for growing CNTs on carbon fiber without degrading the fiber strength. Credit: ACS, Steiner et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers at MIT have demonstrated two approaches for producing carbon fibers coated in carbon nanotubes without degrading the underlying fiber’s strength. A paper on the work, which could result in carbon-fiber composites that are not only stronger but also more electrically conductive, is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
Hierarchical carbon fibers (CFs) sheathed with radial arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising candidates for improving the intra- and interlaminar properties of advanced fiber-reinforced composites (such as graphite/epoxy) and for high-surface-area electrodes for battery and supercapacitor architectures, the authors note.
DSM’s Stanyl and EcoPaXX polyamides used in SIM-CEL electric concept car to reduce weight
May 15, 2013
|DSM’s Stanyl and EcoPaXX are used in the new SIM-CEL EV prototype. Click to enlarge.|
SIM-Drive Corporation, founded by Hiroshi Shimizu and based in Kawasaki City, Japan, unveiled the SIM-CEL on 27 March—the third prototype of an advanced all-electric car incorporating in-wheel motors that the company has developed since it was founded in 2009. SIM stands for Shimizu In-wheel Motor, and CEL stands for Cool Energy Link.
EDAG study finds aluminum BIW can deliver mass savings of 35-40% over steel; fuel economy boost
April 17, 2013
|Material selection for the Venza aluminum BIW. Click to enlarge.|
A new study by EDAG Group, commissioned by the Aluminum in Transportation Group of the US Aluminum Association, finds that an all-aluminum body in white (BIW) can deliver potential mass savings in the 35 – 40% range over a base steel BIW. This, when combined with secondary mass savings and other design changes, could boost fuel economy by around 18%.
The study built upon research EDAG performed last year for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) examining mass reduction, safety and cost variables in a mid-size crossover Toyota Venza. The EPA study aimed to reduce vehicle mass by 20% while meeting all NHTSA and IIHS safety standards, and maintaining or improving performance, handling and braking.
ARPA-E to award up to $20M for technologies for primary domestic processing of light metals (Al, Mg, Ti); vehicle lightweighting
March 22, 2013
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000882) for up to $20 million for the Modern Electro/Thermochemical Advancements for Light-metal Systems (METALS) program. METALS is to support the development of innovative technologies for cost-effective processing and recycling of aluminum, magnesium and titanium (Al, Mg and Ti).
ARPA-E also last week issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000881) for up to $20 million to fund the development of bioconversion technologies to convert methane into liquid fuels. (Earlier post.)
Study finds technology cost of achieving European 2020 LDV CO2 targets more than offset by resultant fuel savings
March 19, 2013
|Provisional 2030 economic impact of achieving the 2020 targets in the two Phase I scenarios—Current Policy Initiatives and Tech 1— compared to baseline. Source: Cambridge Econometrics.Click to enlarge.|
A report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Ricardo-AEA concludes that overall, the cost of technologies required to meet proposed European 2020 CO2 regulations for vehicles (95 g/km for cars and 147 g/km for vans) will be more than offset by the resultant fuel savings. The technical and macro-economic study, commissioned by the European Climate Foundation, focuses on light-duty vehicles.
The project is taking a phased approach. This first report (Phase I) examines only the impact of improving the efficiency of fossil-fueled vehicles, in which efficiency gains are delivered by the improvement of the internal combustion engine vehicle, including lightweighting, engine downsizing and hybridization. The Phase II report, to be presented mid-2013, examines the impact of the gradual penetration of advanced powertrains, such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles, and the gradual replacement of fossil fuels with increasing levels of indigenous energy resources, such as electricity and hydrogen.
Freescale introduces new automotive microcontrollers; streamlining body electronics networks and reducing vehicle weight
At Electronica China in Shanghai, Freescale Semiconductor introduced a new Qorivva vehicle body gateway network microcontroller (MCU) and two new S12 MagniV end-node devices to address increasing requirements for higher bandiwdth automotive networks, improved data security, increased functional safety and reduction of overall energy consumption.
As the number of electronic control units in a vehicle grows (up to 100 ECUs, requiring some 10 million lines of code, said Brad Loane, Freescale product manager) the amount of connectivity needed also increases. The average vehicle now includes several miles of copper wire—weighing up to 150 lbs (68 kg) or more—for in-vehicle networking. Integrating more functionality within the vehicle’s main ECUs and increasing the intelligence of its satellite nodes (i.e. modules in doors or electric motors) can help reduce the number of ECUs and the amount of associated wiring required, eliminating weight in the vehicle wiring harness and helping improve vehicle fuel economy.
Nano-spaced stacking faults create stronger, lightweight magnesium alloys; potential for structural applications in automotive and aerospace
March 14, 2013
|Summary of room temperature tensile yield strength and uniform elongation of earlier efforts and the new work. Numbers adjacent to data points are references cited in Jian et al. Source: Jian et al. Click to enlarge.|
Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new technique for creating ultra-strong magnesium alloys that maintain good ductility. By introducing stacking faults with nanoscale spacing into a magnesium alloy using conventional hot rolling, they produced a yield strength of 575 MPa, an ultimate strength of 600 MPa, and moderate ductility (uniform elongation of 5.2%).
The nano-spaced stacking faults are essentially a series of parallel fault-lines in the crystalline structure of the alloy that isolate any defects in that structure. The process can lead to Mg alloys with superior mechanical properties with potential structural applications in the automobile and aerospace industries, the researchers suggested in an open access paper in the journal Materials Research Letters.
Nissan to expand use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel into up to 25% of new model parts; 1.2 GPa ultra high strength steel for weight reduction
March 12, 2013
|Relationship of material strength and elongation in steel plates. Source: Nissan. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. plans to expand the use of Advanced High Tensile Strength Steel (AHSS) into up to 25% of the vehicle parts (measured by weight) installed in its new production models starting in 2017 as one of its initiatives to help reduce vehicle weight.
Nissan, in collaboration with Nippon Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd., earlier developed 1.2 gigapascal (GPa) Ultra High Tensile Strength Steel with High Formability. (Earlier post.) Prior to the development of 1.2GPa ultra high strength steel it had been difficult to use high tensile steels for vehicle parts with highly-complex shapes. This steel is first employed in the new Infiniti Q50, which goes on sale in North America in 2013.
DOE to award more than $50M for new plug-in vehicle technology research projects
March 09, 2013
The US DOE has released the final version of a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000793) that will award more than $50 million in funding for new projects intended to accelerate the development of advanced plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies to increase vehicle fuel economy and improve performance. DOE had earlier requested public comment on a draft of the solicitation. (Earlier post.) The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will select new research projects—an anticipated minimum of 30 and maximum of 50—that focus on lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of PEV components, as well as the development of models and tools to predict these vehicles' performance and help improve fuel economy. The Department will fund projects across five major areas of research and development that cover 12 areas of interest (AOIs), including:
GM CEO outlines highlights of fuel economy plan through MY2016: lightweighting; more efficient gasoline and clean diesel engines, electrification
March 07, 2013
Within his talk about the need for a US energy policy at the IHS CERAWeek 2013 energy conference in Houston, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson outlined some highlights of the company’s fuel economy plan through the 2016 model year.
The auto industry should play a central role in the energy discussion, Akerson noted, because light-duty vehicles account for about 60% of total transportation energy usage in the United States. Automakers are currently deploying and developing technologies that will satisfy customers and make an enormous contribution to energy security at the same time, he added. The near-term elements of GM’s fuel economy efforts he adduced are:
Audi and BMW Group join Aluminium Stewardship Initiative; seeking a standard for sustainable aluminum
February 28, 2013
AUDI AG and the BMW Group, along with Hydro and Rexam, have joined the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) to help develop a global standard for sustainable aluminum. Aluminium is the world’s second most used metal after steel, and is of specific importance to the automotive industry due to its combination of its light weight, durability and strength.
The Aluminium Stewardship Initiative was founded in the autumn of 2012 and aims to develop the first version of a sustainability standard for aluminum by the end of 2014, with the support of the environmental organization IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Founding members of the Initiative are AMCOR Flexibles, AMAG, Constantia Flexibles, Constellium, Nespresso, Rio Tinto Alcan, and Tetra Pak.
USAMP and A/SP receive $6M from DOE for automotive advanced high-strength steel project
February 26, 2013
The United States Automotive Materials Partnership LLC (USAMP), in collaboration with the Auto/Steel Partnership (A/SP), received a competitively solicited award for $6 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) for its “Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) Approach to Development of Lightweight, Third-Generation Advanced High-Strength Steels (3GAHSS)” project. (Earlier post.)
USAMP, a collaborative organization of Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, will work in cooperation with the A/SP on the project to demonstrate the applicability of ICME for the development and deployment of 3GAHSS for passenger vehicle weight reduction. The four-year project is slated to begin by early spring.
Volkswagen to produce XL1 diesel plug-in hybrid at Osnabrück; 261 mpg US
February 21, 2013
|The XL1. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen has confirmed that its XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle, featuring fuel consumption of 0.9 l/100 km (approx. 261 mpg US), will go into limited production at the company’s Osnabrück factory in Germany. The plug-in diesel-electric hybrid, which Volkswagen will showcase at the Geneva show, can cover a distance of up to 50 km (31 miles) in all-electric mode.
The XL1 is low weight (795 kg), aerodynamic (Cd 0.189) and with a low center of gravity (1,153 mm high). This gives it the ability to cruise on the road at a constant speed of 100 km/h (61 mph) using just 6.2 kW / 8.3 hp, Volkswagen says. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover a driving distance of more than one kilometer.
Honda develops new technology to join steel and aluminum, with first application to outer door panel of mass production vehicles
February 18, 2013
|Structure of door panels. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has developed a technology to join steel and aluminum and applied it to enable adoption of aluminum for an outer door panel, which has conventionally been made of steel. Honda will adopt this technology first to the North American version of the all-new Acura RLX, which will go on sale in the United States in March 2013, and will expand application sequentially to other models.
To join together the dissimilar metals of steel and aluminum, the simultaneous establishment of several different technologies was required such as technologies to prevent corrosion (electrical corrosion) and thermal deformation caused by the different expansion rates of steel and aluminum.
New Corvette marks GM’s first use of heat-activated shape memory alloy to replace heavier motorized part
February 12, 2013
|Corvette’s new shape memory alloy wire replaces a heavier motorized part. Click to enlarge.|
As one of a number of advances to reduce its weight (90 lbs/41 kg lighter than its predecessor), the redesigned seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette is the first vehicle to use a GM-developed lightweight shape memory alloy wire in place of a heavier motorized actuator to open and close the hatch vent that releases air from the trunk. This allows the trunk lid to close more easily than on the previous models where trapped air could make the lid harder to close.
With about 200 motorized movable parts on the typical vehicle that could be replaced with lightweight smart materials, GM says it is looking at significant mass reduction going forward.
DOE seeking comment on draft $50M solicitation for new projects over 11 areas of interest to improve vehicle performance and decrease fuel consumption
February 02, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program is seeking public comment on the draft of an upcoming solicitation (DE-FOA-0000793) totaling more than $50 million for new research projects that will develop advanced technologies to improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. As part of the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between DOE and the Department of the Army, the Army plans to contribute $3.5 million in co-funding for several areas where there are joint development opportunities. The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will release the final version after a period of public comment and revision. The FOA contains a total of 11 areas of interest (AOIs) in the general areas of advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; and fuels and lubricants. Specific AOIs are:
$15M Visio.M project seeking to maximize light weight and safety in an urban EV
January 31, 2013
|A prototype vehicle on the track from the Visio.M project. Click to enlarge.|
In Germany, the Visio.M consortium is developing a mobility concept for an efficient electric vehicle, making the design as light as possible while still delivering the best possible safety protection.
Participants in the Visio.M consortium are, in addition to the automotive companies BMW AG (lead manager) and Daimler AG, the Technische Universität München (TUM) as a scientific partner, and Autoliv BV & Co. KG, the Federal Highway Research Institute (BAST), Continental Automotive GmbH, E.ON AG, Finepower GmbH, Hyve AG, IAV GmbH, InnoZ GmbH, Intermap Technologies GmbH, LION Smart GmbH, Neumayer Tekfor Holding GmbH, Siemens AG, Texas Instruments Germany GmbH and TÜV SÜD AG as industrial partners.
BMW and Toyota expand collaboration with work on fuel cell system, sports vehicle, light-weight technology and Li-air battery
January 24, 2013
BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) signed binding agreements aimed at long-term collaboration between the two companies for the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a sports vehicle; and joint research and development of lightweight technologies. These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2012. (Earlier post.)
The companies also today signed a binding agreement to commence collaborative research on lithium-air batteries. This agreement marks the second phase of collaborative research into next-generation lithium-ion battery cells that commenced in March 2012. (Earlier post.) The main points of the new agreements are:
GM debuts 2014 Stingray; direct injection, cylinder deactivation, CVVT contribute to more power and reduced fuel consumption
January 14, 2013
|2014 Corvette Stingray. Click to enlarge.|
GM staged the debut of the all-new, 7th generation Chevrolet Corvette Stingray on the eve of the Detroit Auto Show. The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with a new LT1 6.2L Small Block V8 delivering an estimated 450 hp (335 kW) and 450 lb-ft of torque (610 Nm). The new LT1 combines advanced technologies, including direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation), continuously variable valve timing and an advanced combustion system that delivers more power while using less fuel.
The Stingray accelerates from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip; it is also expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg (9.05 l/100km) of the current model.
Study finds that aluminum reduces electric vehicle cost against steel counterpart for same targeted range
January 07, 2013
|The study task design steps. Source: fka. Click to enlarge.|
A recent study found that an aluminum electric vehicle can cost up to €635 (US$829) less than that its steel counterpart despite the higher cost of aluminum, given equivalent range targets. The study, conducted by Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka) for the European Aluminium Association (EAA) and the International Aluminum Institute (IAI), found that any additional cost of building a car with aluminum is more than offset by the cost savings that can be made on the battery pack, since a lighter car needs less battery capacity to drive the same distance.
A C-segment crash reference vehicle (Volkswagen Golf) with steel unibody and internal combustion engine served as the basis for this study. The mass and crashworthiness properties of this vehicle were analyzed in four Euro NCAP and FMVSS 301 high-speed load cases, serving as the crash reference within the project. One of the requirements was that electric vehicles (steel-based or aluminium-based) should at least be as safe as the crash reference vehicle.
Fiat 500L using SABIC polycarbonate glazing materials in rear fixed side windows; lighter weight than glass
December 19, 2012
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation’s (SABIC) Innovative Plastics business is marking continued progress in the adoption of its polycarbonate (PC) glazing materials for automotive window applications with Fiat’s new 500L multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), which features rear fixed side windows molded from SABIC’s clear LEXAN GLX resin and black CYCOLOY resin. These high-performance SABIC materials help reduce weight by about 35 percent, improve aerodynamic efficiency and achieve the desired styling vs. glass.
The Fiat 500L has already launched in Europe and is set to roll out in the United States in early 2013. The rear fixed side windows of the vehicle will be the first in the United States to use two-shot injection compression molding, which allows for the seamless integration of an aerodynamic spoiler. SABIC suggests that the 500L windows demonstrate the enabling power of SABIC’s PC glazing materials, the practical application of PC glazing in today’s mass production vehicles and the continued traction of PC glazing in the automotive industry.
Frost & Sullivan consultant suggests European EV success will require radical lightweighting plus enabling legislation
December 17, 2012
|The 400 kg (curbweight) Aixam quadricycle, with a 400cc two-cylinder diesel, is an example of the size and weight needed in future city vehicles, Meilhan suggests. Click to enlarge.|
Significant vehicle weight reduction and an accompanying change of enabling regulations and norms is the way forward in the quest to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, according to Paris-based Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant, Nicolas Meilhan.
The car of the future is a small city car, but not necessarily electric, Meilhan suggests. The future of electric vehicles (EVs) depends on regulations from governments and the European Union, incentivizing the consumer to buy them. Legislations for taxing weight size and engine power will help produce and sell such a car. Making parking even more expensive for regular cars will help. Other incentives for small cars, such as being allowed to drive in bus lines, as practiced in Norway, would certainly improve the business case for EVs.
Lotus Engineering Phase 2 lightweighting study for ARB shows crashworthiness of low-mass body structures and potential for cost-effective mass production
December 06, 2012
|Phase 2 body-in-white material usage front three-quarter view. Source: Lotus Engineering. Click to enlarge.|
Building on a Phase 1 Lotus study published in 2010 (earlier post), the Phase 2 study demonstrated the crashworthiness of a low mass body-in-white (BIW) using computer aided analysis and simulation. The study also illustrates how a holistic, total vehicle approach to system mass and cost reduction can help offset the additional cost of a 37% mass reduced body structure. This study’s findings also indicate that the 30% mass-reduced vehicle could be cost-effectively mass-produced in the 2020 timeframe with materials and techniques technically feasible by 2017.
New Lacks eVOLVE hybrid wheel technology shows 1.1 mpg highway gain in fuel efficiency on Ford Focus
December 03, 2012
|Design of the eVOLVE wheel. Click to enlarge.|
Lacks Wheel Trim Systems LLC, a business unit of Lacks Enterprises, Inc., a global supplier of trim systems to the automotive industry, introduced its new patented eVOLVE hybrid composite wheel technology, based on Lacks’ Chromtec wheel technology, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
Hybrid-composite eVOLVE wheels developed for the Ford Focus as an initial proof of design showed a fuel economy improvement of 1.1 miles per gallon highway by balancing weight reduction and optimizing aerodynamics. As a comparison, the Focus production wheel BM5J-1007-DB (17x7x50) weighs 23.7 lbs (10.75 kg); the eVOLVE wheel (17x7x50) weighs 19.2 lbs (8.7 kg). Use of the eVOLVE wheels showed a 0.4 mpg improvement on the city cycle.
TenCate and BASF enter strategic alliance for thermoplastic automotive composites for high-volume production
October 25, 2012
TenCate Advanced Composites and BASF have entered into a strategic alliance to cooperate on the development, production and commercialization of thermoplastic composite materials suitable for high-volume vehicle production.
The main goal of this partnership is to offer car manufacturers custom-engineered solutions for high-performance composite structures, which enable this industry to further reduce weight and carbon dioxide emissions. The growing need of the automotive industry for composite materials used in mass production calls for a rapid development of materials and manufacturing processes, the partners said.
GM testing industry-first thermal-forming process for lightweight magnesium sheet metal
October 23, 2012
|Trunk lid inner panel is the first use of GM process for magnesium sheet metal. Click to enlarge.|
General Motors is testing an industry-first thermal-forming process and proprietary corrosion resistance treatment for lightweight magnesium sheet metal that will allow increased use of the high-strength alternative to steel and aluminum. Magnesium weighs 33% less than aluminum, 60% less than titanium, and 75% less than steel.
GM wants to expand its use of low-mass parts on vehicles around the world and will pursue licensing opportunities related to this novel technology. The goal is for suppliers to be able to use the process to provide significant amounts of magnesium sheet that will trim pounds from vehicle mass.
Nissan boosts fuel economy of 2013 Pathfinder SUV by 30%, drops weight by 500 lbs
October 16, 2012
|2013 Pathfinder. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan’s new 2013 Pathfinder SUV—the 4th generation of the vehicle introduced more than 25 years ago—utilizes a new drivetrain featuring a 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine mated to a next-generation Xtronic CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) to help provide up to a 30% increase in combined city/highway fuel economy over the previous V6-equipped model while maintaining comparable power.
Fuel economy is rated at 26 mpg highway / 20 mpg city and 22 mpg combined for the 2WD model (9.0, 11.8 and 10.7 l/100 km, respectively) and 25 mpg highway / 19 mpg city and 21 mpg combined for the 4WD model (9.4, 12.4 and 11.2 l/100 km). By comparison, the 2WD MY 2012 Pathfinder, equipped with a 6-cylinder, 4.0L engine was EPA-rated at 22 mpg highway / 15 mpg city and 17 mpg combined.
Dutch companies form European Thermoplastic Automotive Composites consortium
October 09, 2012
DTC Dutch Thermoplastic Components, Kok & Van Engelen, NLR National Aerospace Laboratory of the Netherlands, TenCate Advanced Composites and VIRO are forming the European Thermoplastic Automotive Composites consortium (eTAC).
These companies, each in their own area of expertise, play a leading role in the production and processing of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites, and have established a track record in the aerospace industry. Their aim is to promote the use of these advanced materials in the automotive sector.
Ford displays prototype Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic hood
|Prototype CFRP hood. Click to enlarge.|
At the Composites Europe event in Dusseldorf, Ford Motor Company displayed a prototype carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) hood. The prototype hood weighs more than 50% less than a standard steel version.
As a result of progress made during an on-going Hightech.NRW research project involving engineers from the Ford European Research Centre, production time for an individual carbon fiber hood is fast enough to be employed on a production line—a significant step towards increased usage of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles.
LCA study finds Alcoa forged aluminum wheels cut carbon footprint of commercial vehicles
October 01, 2012
|Alcoa aluminum truck wheels vs. steel wheels (average use case). Source: Alcoa. Click to enlarge.|
Alcoa last week released the findings of a peer-reviewed life cycle assessment (LCA) which concluded that Alcoa aluminum wheels substantially cut the carbon footprint of commercial vehicles.
This analysis, performed by PE International and Five Winds Strategic Consulting, is the most comprehensive and transparent comparative LCA ever conducted on aluminum and steel truck wheels, according to Alcoa. It analyzed the entire “cradle-to-grave” production process of commercial vehicle wheels—from bauxite mining to wheel manufacturing, through a truck wheel’s use phase and end-of-life, including recycling and land filling. The study incorporated the latest available information on energy and material consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental releases.
Audi crosslane coupé dual-mode plug-in hybrid concept makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show; 214 mpg US
September 27, 2012
|Audi crosslane coupé plug-in hybrid concept car. Click to enlarge.|
Audi introduced its crosslane coupé plug-in hybrid concept at the Paris Motor Show, saying that the vehicle provides a glimpse of the future shape of design, and automotive and drive concepts. The vehicle is based on a lightweight Multimaterial Space Frame and is powered by a dual-mode plug-in hybrid drive based on a purpose-designed 1.5-liter three-cylinder TFSI gasoline engine and two electric motors.
Fuel consumption is 1.1 liters per 100 km (214 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 26 grams per km (41.8 grams per mile).
Altair ProductDesign to support development of the New Edison2 Very Light Car
September 15, 2012
Altair ProductDesign is partnering with Edison2 to assist in the design of the new Very Light Car 4.0 (VLC 4.0), the next generation version of the innovative, light-weight, fuel-efficient vehicle entered in the Progressive Automotive XPRIZE in 2010. The original Edison2 vehicle, operating with a one-cylinder internal combustion engine, won the $5 million prize for the Mainstream Class. (Earlier post.)
Light-weighting becomes a virtuous cycle, Edison2 notes, with a lighter chassis needing a smaller drive train, a lighter suspension and so on. The VLC 4.0 is an all-new vehicle that will achieve high fuel economy results by retaining the same attributes of ultra-light weight and extremely low aerodynamic drag in a four-passenger vehicle.
New process for predicting cold cracking in welding of high-strength steels could lower development times and costs
September 08, 2012
Cold cracking in the weld metal and the heat-affected zone (HAZ) when welding high-strength steel is a well-known problem that industry has spent decades trying to prevent through various mechanisms. Cold cracks usually form when the weld cools down below 250 °C (hence the term “cold crack”). Cold cracking is also known as hydrogen cracking or delayed cracking, and is associated with the formation of brittle microstructures as martensite in the presence of diffusible hydrogen as well as of tension stresses.
Whether such cold cracking occurs, and how quickly, depends on how high the concentration of hydrogen in the steel is, how the residual stress turns out, and how its microstructure is configured. Predicting the probability of cracking has been difficult up to now. This has presented major quality assurance challenges for sectors such as automotive, which is looking to the lighter weight, higher strength steels as a means to reduce vehicle weight and hence fuel consumption.
2013 Accord featuring first use of new Honda emissions aftertreatment catalyst and new technology to weld together steel and aluminum
September 06, 2012
|The new catalyst enhances the performance of palladium, also allowing a reduction in rhodium use. Click to enlarge.|
The 2013 Honda Accord, due to go on sale in the US on 19 September, features the first use of a new Honda-developed catalyst which significantly reduces the precious metals required in catalysts for emissions aftertreatment. Honda will continue to adopt this catalyst sequentially to other models.
The 2013 Accord also features first use of a new technology for the continuous welding of the dissimilar metals of steel and aluminum. Honda applied this for the first time to the vehicle subframe, a key component of a vehicle body frame. Honda will expand application sequentially to other models after the Accord.
2013 Toyota Avalon loses 50 kg compared to predecessor; lightest-weight vehicle in the premium mid-size segment
Toyota’s new 2013 Avalon (earlier post) is 110 lbs. (50 kg) lighter than the 2012 model, tipping the scales at 3,461 lbs. (1,570 kg), compared to 3,571 (1,620 kg) for its predecessor. When it arrives at dealerships later this year, the 2013 Avalon will be the lightest-weight vehicle in the premium mid-size segment, according to Toyota.
Engineering for weight reduction requires examination of all elements of vehicle design and componentry to achieve weight targets and requires collaboration from vehicle design teams to isolate and address a variety of potential weight-loss areas during development.
MQB-based 7th gen VW Golf up to 100 kg lighter and 23% more fuel efficient than predecessor; Golf BlueMotion delivers 3.2 l/100km (73.5 mpg US) and 85g/km CO2
September 05, 2012
|World premiere of the new Golf in the New National Gallery in Berlin. Click to enlarge.|
Volkswagen staged the world premiere of the new Golf in Berlin. The new Golf—the seventh generation of a vehicle that has been on sale since 1974 with sales totaling 29.13 million cars—is based on the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB, modularen Querbaukasten). (Earlier post.)
Basing the new Golf on the MQB had far-reaching consequences; this Golf was completely redesigned in practically every area—the vehicle body, the interior, the engines, all of the information and entertainment systems and the numerous new driver assistance systems. Weight was reduced by 100 kg (220 lb). Elements carried forward were in the main technical features that were already future-proof in the previous model—the six- and seven-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG), for example.
DOE selects 7 projects for up to $21.75M in funding to develop stronger and lighter materials for cars and trucks
August 13, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected for funding seven new projects to accelerate the development and deployment of stronger and lighter materials for the next generation of cars and trucks. These projects include the development and validation of modeling tools to deliver higher performing carbon fiber composites and advanced steels, as well as research into new lightweight, high-strength alloys for energy-efficient vehicle and truck engines.
The Energy Department will provide $8 million this year for these awards, and has requested an additional $13.75 million next year, subject to congressional appropriations, to support the completion of these projects over the next two to four years. DOE’s investments are leveraging an additional $11 million from the private sector.
GM Ventures invests in nano-structured steel alloys company NanoSteel; potential for light-weighting
August 06, 2012
General Motors Ventures LLC has invested in NanoSteel Company, a developer of proprietary nano-structured steel material. GM Ventures joined lead shareholders EnerTech Capital and Fairhaven Capital Partners and five existing investors to complete the Series C financing round. Terms of the GM Ventures investment were not disclosed.
Through the development of patented alloys, NanoSteel has created a new class of steel that allows automotive engineers and designers to reduce weight through the use of thinner, higher strength gauges while maintaining the structural integrity needed for safety. The new advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) offer exceptional combinations of strength and ductility for automotive structures, with measured strength/elongation performance of 950 MPa/35%, 1200 MPa/30% and 1600 MPa/15% respectively.
University Of Dayton Research Institute wins $3M funding to develop materials for additive manufacturing of aircraft engine components
July 27, 2012
The Ohio Third Frontier awarded $3 million to the University of Dayton Research Institute to provide specialized materials for use in additive manufacturing. UDRI will work with program partners, Stratasys, PolyOne and Rapid Prototype Plus Manufacturing Inc. to develop aircraft-engine components for GE Aviation—who also collaborated on the program proposal—as well as parts and components for ATK Aerospace Structures, Boeing, Goodrich, Honda, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
3-D printing technology has existed for about 20 years, but additive manufacturing in its current form is only about five years old, said Brian Rice, head of UDRI’s Multi-Scale Composites and Polymers Division and program lead for the Third Frontier-funded Advanced Materials for Additive Manufacturing Maturation program. (Earlier post.)
Stratasys and Oak Ridge National Laboratory partner to advance additive manufacturing for production use
July 10, 2012
Stratasys, a maker of additive manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are partnering to develop fused deposition modeling (FDM) additive manufacturing for production use.
The project, which builds upon a collaboration that leverages ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) to foster energy-efficient production using additive manufacturing materials and processes, aims to develop FDM additive manufacturing technology to make it a mainstream manufacturing process in addition to being a prototyping tool. The project targets two main objectives:
Univ. of Exeter team develops selective laser melting process to produce 3D aluminum composite parts; automotive and aerospace applications
July 03, 2012
|A complex SLM part from the University of Exeter. Click to enlarge.|
Engineers at the University Exeter (UK) have developed a new method for making three-dimensional reinforced aluminium composite parts by using Selective Laser Melting (SLM)—a form of additive layer manufacturing (ALM), also sometimes generally called 3D printing. (3D printing is a specific process within the larger ALM domain.) The Exeter method could produce strong, lightweight and complex parts for car manufacturing and the aerospace industry less expensively and more accurately than current methods, according to the team.
SLM builds components up by melting successive layers of powder using a laser source that fuses the material in a pattern corresponding to the final product; the process originated at Fraunhofer ILT in Aachen, Germany some 20 years ago. The specific SLM technique for reinforced aluminum composites is being developed at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing. The technique has the potential to manufacture aluminium composite parts such as pistons, drive shafts, suspension components, brake discs and almost any structural components of cars or airplanes.
BMW and Toyota expanding cooperation: fuel cells, sports car, powertrain electrification and lightweight technologies
June 29, 2012
Expanding their existing cooperation agreement signed in December 2011 (earlier post), Toyota Motor Corporation and the BMW Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at long-term strategic collaboration in four fields: joint development of a fuel cell system; joint development of architecture and components for a future sports vehicle; collaboration on powertrain electrification; and joint research and development on lightweight technologies. (Earlier post.)
Akio Toyoda, President of Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), met with Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at BMW Group headquarters in Munich for the signing. They also signed a Joint Statement to reconfirm their companies’ shared intention to strengthen the long-term, strategic collaboration between them.
Reports: Toyota and BMW to expand partnership on fuel-efficient vehicles, with Toyota providing hybrid and fuel cell technology to BMW
June 25, 2012
The Nikkei reported that Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW will expand their partnership, one aspect of which will be Toyota providing hybrid systems and fuel cell technology to BMW. Kyodo News also reported the same, attributing it to “Toyota sources”. The Nikkei report followed a story in German newsmagazine Der Spiegel on the likelihood of an expanded partnership between the two companies.
The Nikkei reported that Toyota President Akio Toyoda and BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer will make an announcement this week. In December 2011, the two companies had agreed to a mid-to-long-term collaboration on next-generation environment-friendly technologies including Li-ion batteries. (Earlier post.) In March 2012, the two signed an agreement on collaborative research in the field of next-generation lithium-ion battery cells and begun the work. (Earlier post.)