Renault and Bolloré form a partnership in electric vehicles; assembly, car-sharing and 3-seat Bluecar
Production of BYD-Daimler DENZA EV begins in China

Ricardo to display functional integration prototype of ADEPT 48V “intelligent electrification” diesel

ADEPT schematic
ADEPT schematic. Click to enlarge.

Ricardo will display the first functional integration prototype of the Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain (ADEPT) collaborative research project (earlier post) in public for the first time this week at the Low Carbon Vehicle Event (LCV 2014) in the UK.

The ADEPT project was launched in 2013 to demonstrate the potential for 48V-based intelligent electrification to deliver full hybrid-scale fuel efficiency from a highly cost-effective package. As the project approaches its mid-point, the research team—led by Ricardo and including Ford Motor Company, Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), the European Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (EALABC), Faurecia and the University of Nottingham—has completed the build of the first functional integration prototype ADEPT vehicle.

Ricardo ADEPT prototype vehicle

Based on a Ford Focus, this ADEPT prototype incorporates a 48V electrical architecture, a SpeedStart 10kW (later to be upgraded to 12.5kW) belt integrated starter generator and TIGERS turbine integrated exhaust gas energy recovery system, both switched reluctance machines supplied by CPT, and an advanced lead carbon battery pack provided by EALABC.

The supporting systems for electrical and vehicle integration include a 12V-48V DC-DC converter and a Ricardo hybrid supervisory controller. With a planned completion of early 2016, the ADEPT project is supported by funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (the Technology Strategy Board), with balancing contributions from the project partners.

Engine downsizing through charge boosting is a well-recognized means of improving internal combustion engine fuel efficiency, by increasing the proportion of the drive cycle at which the powertrain operates within or close to the region of peak fuel efficiency of its operating map. An effective limitation on downsizing, however, is the delivery of acceptable driveability characteristics and launch performance.

In the earlier ‘HyBoost’ project based on a similarly sized gasoline vehicle, Ricardo and its partners demonstrated fuel economy benefits equivalent to a full hybrid—but at a projected cost premium of less than a diesel. With the ADEPT project, the research team aims to demonstrate a powertrain with uncompromised performance and less than 70 g/km CO2 emissions as measured over the European Drive Cycle, but at a projected production cost significantly lower than a comparable full hybrid electric vehicle.

In addition to the ADEPT prototype, Ricardo will also be displaying a range of low carbon vehicle technologies at LCV 2014 which runs from 10-11 September at the Millbrook proving ground. These will include the latest developments in Ricardo’s high speed flywheel energy storage, vehicle light-weighting and battery management system technologies.

Additional vehicle displays will include Ricardo electric and plug-in hybrid technology demonstrators, and the final prototypes of two previous research projects; Syner-D (cost-effective low CO2 premium segment diesel) and HyBoost (intelligent electrification of a gasoline powertrain).



Now this is where the EV fans and skeptics get to link arms and sing We Shall Overcome. So many key technologies have been "productionized" through electrification strategies for hybrids and full EVs. As I've mentioned here before, the progress of power electronics assemblies (and the attendant sensor and computation that implement the system) has been just spectacular. The acquisition of IR by Infineon (published here by Mr. Millikin a couple of weeks ago and surprisingly uncommented by all of us) is going to turn out to be the biggest mobility story of 2014. Yes: bigger than the overwrought Gigafactory.

The race is on with very competent execution of PHEVs, "electrified" versions of ICEs that eliminate idling and dramatically reduce fuel consumption, and of course BEVs. The final leg is really, truly now just about battery cost, density and life to determine the victor. Most of the posters here are placing their money on rapid progress here; I'm less sanguine about that. The rapidly growing capacity per cost of ultracaps will also effect race results. But even if we end up 20 years hence with a fleet of, say, 50% microhybrid, 30% PHEV, 10% BEV, and the rest old fashioned ICE, what astounding progress we'll have made.


Now, the big question:  are the accessories electrified?

If we are looking for potential fuel savings and/or shifts, electric accessories are under-appreciated assets.  Topping off the start/stop battery with grid power is one thing.  Being able to pre-heat or pre-cool the vehicle with electricity, shifting that energy demand from petroleum to whatever powers the grid, has a potential payoff that gets proportionally bigger as trip legs get shorter.


Actually, EV owners already appreciated the need for heating and cooling - and not just for the passenger cabin. If the car is left plugged in the cabin and the battery box can both be kept at their optimum temp. For long drives they have found they can save energy by just heating/cooling the seats instead of the whole passenger cabin.


We're not talking about EV owners here.  We're talking about people buying a "normal car" which could easily get a substantial fuel economy boost (in normal operation, not EPA figures) and improvement in comfort with a certain enhancement.  Two different things.

Suppose for a moment that all of these 48V, start/stop vehicles came with a J1772 connector and could pre-condition.  What would that do for public access to charging, when 10% or more of the new-car fleet was able to use it and the public was asking for it?  It would explode overnight.  That same charging infrastructure would serve everything else just as well.

This is a wedge, my friends.  It has potential.


It looks great - micro hybrid at a cost that you could add to a diesel.
Lets hope "they" roll it out.
The idea of preheating engines in temperate climes is a good one - perhaps you could use an inductive link to the car rather than plugging it in.


Nice idea, if they can keep the price down on a diesel with BAS+ I wish them well.


100% correct, E-P. Once upon a time during a long temp assignment I purchased a very used '88 Buick, which I operated intermittently during a Wisconsin winter for a 6 mi (each way) commute. About halfway through the glaciation I discovered it had an engine block heater. Using it made a 40% difference in fuel economy. Intelligent preheat for engines and various thermal transport loops would make a really measurable difference even for microhybrids.


If they can leverage the sales volume of Ford's turbo downsizing with some practical turbo-alternator and BAS technology, they might have something.

After 15 years of partial and full electric production vehicles – - what do we end up with?
We end up with 3.5% market penetration and a $100,000+ EV for the fiscally challenged (Oh, and “one for $35k”; 3 years away - and gaining).

Now if Ricardo will just switch from the dull advanced lead carbon battery pack to a more expensive but exciting Li-Ion pack and provide all the fun upgrade$ mentioned above, they can forsake the masses and follow Musk into the high prestige, low volume arena - and help consolidate the 3.5% market share.


What kind of mpg does this deliver?

The comments to this entry are closed.