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HyBoost concept achieving close to Prius-level CO2 emissions; aggressive downsizing with advanced boosting and micro-hybrid system

HyBoost offers comparable performance to the conventional current 2.0L variant but with fuel economy of a strong hybrid. Click to enlarge.

The HyBoost demonstrator being developed by Ricardo and its partners (earlier post) is achieving comparable performance to the conventional 2.0L version of its vehicle (a 2009 Ford Focus) but with fuel economy and CO2 emissions approaching those of a Prius, according to David Boggs, Ricardo Technical Specialist, Engines, in a presentation at the recent 2011 Directions in Engine-Efficiency and Emissions Research Conference (DEER) hosted by the Department of Energy in Detroit.

HyBoost achieves this by combining aggressive 50% downsizing of the engine with an electric supercharger for transient low-speed performance, and a micro-hybrid stop-start and energy recuperation systems, Boggs said.

Downsizing the 2.0-liter base engine to a 1-liter, boosted direct injection (EcoBoost) engine delivers up to a 25% reduction. The stop-start system with 6 kW of regenerative braking capability delivers another 10%. Cooled EGR, revised turbo match and the e-boost at the low end provides another 6% reduction, while the use of taller gears and a gearshift advisor chips in another 7% reduction. The HyBoost demonstrator comes in at around 99 g CO2/km but with further system optimization, Boggs said, they can get it down to around 89—the same rating as the Prius.

Click to enlarge.
Ricardo’s gasoline engine roadmap focuses on CO2 reduction through downsizing and the use of synergistic technologies. Click to enlarge.

Engine downsizing is central to Ricardo’s gasoline engine roadmap for future CO2 and fuel economy improvements. Next-generation spray guided direct injection combustion systems support aggressive engine downsizing with robust stratified engine operation having excellent fuel consumption. A highly tolerant combustion system and knock mitigation are necessary to achieve the very high BMEP levels. The HyBoost vehicle demonstrates the potential to achieve CO2 reduction significantly with cost-effective technologies...the application of synergistic technologies enables high levels of engine downsizing and vehicle fuel economy improvement.

—David Boggs

Micro-hybrid market. According to a recent report from Pike Research, sales of vehicles equipped with stop-start systems—one of the synergistic technologies highlighted in the HyBoost concept—will grow rapidly in the coming decade, rising from 3 million units in 2011 to 37.3 million units per year by 2020. By the end of the decade, a total of 186 million vehicles globally will incorporate the technology, which will become standard on the majority of vehicles sold in Europe as well as on dozens of models in North America and Asia, according to the Pike report.

Requiring more robust batteries and starter systems than are found in conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, and priced at a small premium over ICEs, stop-start vehicles (SSVs) are considerably less expensive than hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

By 2020, stop-start vehicles will represent more than one-third of all light-duty vehicle sales. SSVs are already outselling hybrids globally by a factor of 3.5 to 1, and that gap will widen to a 16 to 1 ratio by 2017 because of the lower cost of SSVs compared to HEVs.

—Pike research director John Gartner

Due to stringent emissions regulations, the largest SSV market for the forecast period (to 2020) will be Western Europe, which will represent 98% of the 3 million SSVs sold in 2011. By 2020, Western Europe will account for 42% of all SSVs sold. The fastest-growing region for SSV sales will be North America, where annual sales will roughly double each year from 2011 through 2020, according to Pike. More than two dozen SSV models were available in Western Europe as of early 2011, while in the United States, only three SSV models are for sale.




This is a concept we will see on the road shortly.


Sounds great, but will people buy it ?
How much extra will it cost and will people be prepared to pay it.
Also, how will they market it ?
Will people pay for a 1L supercharged, turbo engine?
Nicer than diesel, in terms of local pollution.


Maybe we don't need better batteries.

The electric $upercharger may give way to a wee bit more (low cost?) direct electric low speed torque) and a more aggressive (variable) turbocharger.

Sounds like these guys have at least created more options for mild hybridization.

Right now the geeks and kindergarten teachers still provide the market for BEVs and they support the last 15% mpg for 30% more cost (and shun the mild hybrids).

When gas goes back up and mpgs are sold in cold fiscal terms, the mild hybrid (with state of the art ICE and it’s “economical” use of batteries) may finally shine.


Maybe not when the price of batteries is plummeting and the price of gasoline can only increase.

When we get down to $250 per usable kWh it will be PHEVs for everyone.


There are many other ways to make much lighter, lower cost, more efficient vehicles. HYboost SSV is one good example of what can be done.

BEVs will do much better.

Street-Scooter will soon produce a street and highway legal 2-passenger BEV for $7500 (without the recommended 24 Kwh battery pack). Battery monthly rental will be as low as $99/month, i.e. a lot less than monthly fuel savings. The major advantage of battery pack rental is much lower initial cost and easier battery upgrade to get improved e-range at same or lower cost. Changing modular batteries should not be more complicated than changing tires.


I'm for whatever does the job, clett. If this scheme works today, I hope people buy it. If the electronics and motor for the belt-driven starter can support a high duty cycle and the battery can be upgraded to make a PHEV later, even better.

Roger Pham

The Hyboost concept works better for Europe and Asia, where cars are taxed based on the displacement, but not as well as full HEV for America, since people drive a lot more, and the pint-size and highly-stressed engine won't last as long as the low-stressed and cool-running Atkinson-cycle engine.

Furthermore, extensive city driving will need significant amount of energy recuperation that only a full HEV can provide. That's the law of physics that cannot be negotiated. With plummeting prices of battery and decreasing prices of electrical components, strong electric boost will give better city mpg than strong turbo-boost at similar cost. An optimal maximal mpg vehicle with good acceleration performance would be a PHEV with 15-mile of all electric range, with a significantly down-size engine running Atkinson cycle, for example, a 1-liter Atkinson-cycle engine for the size of the Ford Focus or Toyota Prius, with larger electric motor to compensate for the downsized ICE.


Battery prices have been dropping and performance increasing since the EV1, and affordable EVs are (still) just around the corner.

We all know the EV1 was affordable in 2001 and the Leaf is less than 50% too expensive now.


This is a technology that could be used now! What is wrong with that? The Toyota series/parallel system is too expensive, PHEVs are way too expensive and BEVs are prohibitively expensive. And, yes, we are all the time waiting for the new batteries that will be so cheap and have such good performance but it never happens... For the foreseeable future, BEVs will be considered the solution for an even more distant future. The Ricardo concept shows that we can achieve as good fuel economy as the Prius can but at a much lower cost. As I can see, many of you claim that you have better ideas. Please, go ahead and try to sell your ideas to the motor industry. Come back and tell the GCC forum if you are lucky. Ricardo’s concept (or anything very similar) would be good enough to me. I have no reason to present my objections to this concept, since I do not have many (as I sometimes have in other cases…).

In the past, people would not accept downsized engines, especially not in the USA, where anything smaller than a big block was not accepted. This is changing now. For example, people in Europe love the downsized VW 1.4 and 1.2 liter engines. Such engines can be used even in cars of the Passat size. Car tax in most European countries is not based on weight or volume any more but on CO2 (indirectly, the fuel economy). The fuel is also heavily taxed compared to USA. Eventually, you do not need much more incentives than that. People are buying cars with the downsized VW engines because they are efficient and nice to drive. I have even seen comments by motor journalists that they are as nice as diesel engines to drive due to the good low-end torque. Who would have thought that a couple of years ago (i.e. this concern both the diesel engine and the downsized gasoline engine)? Do not come and tell me that small downsized engines will have a short life! Thermal and mechanical issues can be handled. Look, for example, on the development where turbocharged engines have more than tripled the specific output compared to naturally aspirated engines. Yet, engine life has more than tripled in the same timeframe. Needless to say, passenger car diesel engines have just recently seen the same development. This can be done also on gasoline engines (in fact, it has already been addressed by Ricardo). A turbocharged downsized engine that has high low-end torque will actually run at much lower rpm than a naturally aspirated engine and will not be subject to the high cylinder/piston/ring wear at high rpm. Regarding drivability, compare, for example, with a Honda Insight hybrid. This car is a disappointment, since the engine is revving very high as soon as you even slightly touch the pedal but absolutely nothing happens when it comes to acceleration. The contrast to the VW engines could not be greater; in this case you hear nothing but the car actually starts to accelerate. I suppose people will like that feature better than the former.


Hi Peter, I love the VW engines and would kill for a US Golf with the 1.4T (I own a 1.8T Jetta right now)
I'm wondering, though: why don't the Japanese do high output low displacement engines? This seems to be a big hole in the Honda lineup in particular.


In the UK, a Prius starts at 21055 pounds. The most efficient current Ford Focus (ecoboost 1.6 Titanium) is 19750 pounds. The 'Hyboost Focus' is substantially more complicated (supercaps and regenerative braking and so on) so it remains to be seen whether the Hyboost would end up being substantially cheaper than a Prius.

Of course there are other reasons that the Hyboost might be preferable to a Prius.


@Dashpool, you have an apples-to-apples issue. The Titanium Focus is the most expensive, fully trimmed out. The 21000 Prius is never sold and the first option package costs 3000 pounds. So the cost differential is 4000 pounds.


@Dollared, probably if you wanted to match trim levels, the T4 at 22780 is closer. The top model ecoboost focus is actually the Titanium X at 21250.

Probably you wont get much change out of 2000 pounds once you add all the Hyboost bells and whistles.

Roger Pham

Thank you, dashpool, for bringing up the cost issue between a Hyboost and a comparable full hybrid. This is in perfect agreement with my earlier posting in this article and in the last article regarding the Hyboost.

PHEV is the last step in the ladder toward petroleum independency, and a strong HEV can be just a battery size away from achieving PHEV status. A mild HEV will have a much longer way up to go.


Thanks to Roger Pham and dashpool for bringing the dollars and cents issues into full focus.. its a fact that a Prius does not use: conventional transmission, torque converter, starter, alternator, turbocharger or $upercharger and no direct fuel injection, lots of savings and simplicity there..


"I would like to buy a Prius.
And since they do not use conventional transmissions, torque converters, starters, alternators, turbochargers, $uperchargers or direct fuel injection, they cost less than a conventional ICE auto, right?"

"No, more."


"They're green, you'll love it."

"My money is green, I like it too. So, Umm, do they cost just a little more?"

"No, quite a bit more."

"Never mind."

Roger Pham

You can get a Prius c for ~$19,000 which is capable of >60 mpg. Do the math! How much saving in gasoline yearly?
You'll be smiling every time you'll drive past a gas station.

There'll be NO belted accessory items to replace or readjustment of belt tension. No water pump replacement needed, nor AC compressor replacement nor freon recharging for the life of the car. No brake work nor repair needed for the life of the car if you regen for most of your driving!
No transmission to repair, maintain, nor to replace...No replacement of lead-acid battery every few years. The NiMh battery will likely last the life of the car.
You'll drive past a car repair shop with a smile each time. Do the math! How much saving in car repair for the life of the car?

How much resale value of the car, when so few repairs will be needed? Do the math again!

I smile every time I try to calculate the total amount of $ saved to operate the Prius. So did most taxi service owners who have used the Prius. They're all greens, and I love all of 'em!


Prius cost much more than a comparable conventional car in an apple-to-apple comparison. When the NIMh battery is exhausted, the car is worth close to... nothing. Prius owners are then crying all the way to the bank.

If you read the previous article on the HyBoost project, you will find that the main objective was to find a more cost-effective (“…extremely cost-effective…” in their own words) solution than the Prius HEV system. The presentation at DEER was purely technical but I am convinced that we will hear more about the cost-effectiveness later.


A COCSEPT Hyboost car may almost match Prius III performances and price when it is produced. By that time the next generation Prius (IV?) may do another 20% better?


How did we end up in such a stupid discussion about cost? The price on a Prius does not matter at all, since it is not directly comparable to any other car. However, it is easy to make an apple-to-apple comparison. In Sweden, the Auris HSD cost SEK 229 250. The conventional Auris with comparable performance and equipment cost SEK 179 850. The difference, almost SEK 50 000 (roughly USD 7 400), must be attributed to the hybrid drive system.

We do not have to wait and speculate about Prius IV for comparison. HyBoost technology is available now. Components from this concept are ready for production or have already been introduced. I have some in my 4-year old car. So does a new version of the Focus that will be introduced early next year.

When the NIMh battery is exhausted, the car is worth close to... nothing. Prius owners are then crying all the way to the bank.
The Prius traction battery is covered as emissions equipment, and Prius batteries are available used from wrecks for about what a good used engine costs (and the replacement is a lot simpler).
HyBoost technology is available now.
So were diesels and hybrids in 2004, but buyers in the USA couldn't get them in passenger cars from domestic manufacturers.

No, emission equipment is only covered up to a certain mileage. After that (i.e. when the battery is exhausted), you have to pay yourself.

If both US car manufacturers and customers (who do not want diesels) are stupid; what can I do about that?


Why one technology should not be compared to another? That is part of the evolution game. Interim solutions will have meaningful benefits but the final solution will probably be closer to 100% electrified vehicles with 100+ Kwh modular battery packs and/or FC genset with smaller batteries for cars and/or larger FCs for heavier vehicles. Either way, ICE will be progressively phased out starting in 2020 or so.


I have listed a couple of concepts similar, comparable but in some cases also different to the ones used in the HyBoost concept car. These are features of the “best fuel economy” diesel (ECOnetic) and gasoline (1.0 Ecoboost) versions of the Focus that will be introduced shortly:
• Downsized and turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine (Ecoboost)
• 1.6-liter (not yet downsized) diesel engine; FC: 3,5 l/100 km and CO2: 95 g/km (ECOnetic)
• Cooled exhaust manifold (Ecoboost)
• Twin variable camshaft timing (Ecoboost)
• Diesel NOx catalyst (ECOnetic)
• Direct injection (both, however, different types of injection)
• Start-stop (both)
• Regenerative charging (both)
• Low engine friction (both)
• Variable air-conditioning compressor and oil pump (both)
• Thermal management (both)

For sure, there are differences also and some components in the HyBoost concept are not yet in production. However, the e-charger, e-turbocompound and supercapacitors are not unknown and are not far from production release. The belt starter/generator is already in production by some of Ford’s competitors. I would say that the main difference between the two Focus models mentioned and HyBoost is that the latter has much better performance. By just sacrificing this additional performance, all the “e” and “super” components could be omitted and we basically end up with the conventional 100/120 hp 1.0-liter 3-cylinder Ecoboost Focus. Well, the belt starter/generator would of course be nice to have in both the Ecoboost and ECOnetic cars. Maybe this comparison will show that the HyBoost is not as advanced and exotic as it sounds.

Roger Pham

Right, cost effectiveness should not be the only factor influencing purchasing decision. Trying to help one's local economy and the environment would be other factors.

Since the bulk of batteries are made in the Far East, European buyers should weigh more heavily on turbocharging solutions, since the technology is far more developed and predominantly manufactured in Europe, to help the European economy.

Far East buyers would favor electric hybrids more, since more batteries and electrical components are made there.

American buyers should demand that more battery manufacturing and turbocharging technology be made domestically, and try to support domestic manufacturers. Try to influence the government to enact laws (tariffs) to limit job outsourcing, instead of signing free trade agreements wildly and indiscriminately, that will result in more and more exporting of jobs and manufacturing out of the border.

If all citizens world-wide are trying to help their local economies and the social well-being of their own countries, the global economy will be a lot better off, and more people will have jobs. Ditto for being environmentally-concious citizens of the

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