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Opel, Bosch, University of Stuttgart and FKFS Develop CNG Mild Hybrid Astra

Opel, the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Combustion Engines and Motor Vehicles, Bosch and the Research Institute for Motor Vehicles and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS) have developed a mild-hybrid CNG-electric version of the Opel Astra Caravan.

The CNG Turbo Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

The CNG hybrid Astra, developed in a two-year project, uses a 1-liter, 3-cylinder turbocharged CNG engine that produces 97 hp (72 kW) and 160 Nm (118 lb-ft) of torque. A 35 kW Bosch electric motor that develops 160 Nm of torque as well provides traction support. The Caravan emits 90 gCO2/km.

The electric machine also functions as a generator to recharge the General Motors-developed NiMH battery pack. The latter has a capacity of 7 Ah at a rated voltage of 255 V.

System architecture for the CNG hybrid. Source: FKFS. Click to enlarge.

The vehicle features a forward-looking hybrid coordinator (“vorausschauender Hybridkoordinatoor”)—a GPS-based system that determines the road type over the next two kilometers and adjusts hybrid system control accordingly—e.g., preparing for gradients, curves, stops, changes in speed limits and so on.



The GPS-based Forward-looking hybrid coordinator can do more harm than good in hilly terrain with frequent intersections of roads with similar priorities (like in San Francisco).
GPS system cannot know what way the driver will turn at intersection (without being too annoying), completely different strategy for SOC should be applied for uphill turn, and for downhill turn.
I'd rather have a manual SOC selector (something like the +/_ button for zoom cameras).

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