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Yutong Bus to deliver 100 electric buses to Chile
Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co., Ltd. will deliver 100 full electric buses to Chile. Having sent more than 20,000 vehicles to Latin America over the past 15 years, Yutong has become the leading Chinese bus supplier on the continent.
The 100 full electric buses will be used by Buses Vule and STP Santiago to serve the Santiago public transportation system. Yutong’s delivery comes as the Chilean government has launched an environmentally-friendly urban development policy, part of which includes a program to replace current city buses with new-energy vehicles by 2050.
The E12 Electrical Bus, the model Yutong will deliver to Chile, is equipped with 324 kWh battery capacity and low energy consumption. The model comes with a 150 kW DC charge, making it easier and faster for the vehicles to charge. It only takes 2 hours to fully charge the bus. Under the premise of continuing the vehicle operation, the buses can be charged at a lower price at night, reducing the cost of the client’s subsequent operation.
Yutong has ranked as the Nº 1 Chinese bus exporter in Latin America in the past three years, with a total of 20,635 buses delivered to date, making up 54% of all Chinese exports in the sector, demonstrating the company’s leading position on the continent.
To serve vehicles that are already in use in Chile, Yutong has set up seven service stations in partnership to provide one-stop service, as well as operational training. The courses on driving, maintenance, vehicle structure, emergency handling and troubleshooting are provided especially for new energy bus.
In 2017, Yutong saw a total sale of 67,568 large- and medium-sized buses including 24,865 new-energy buses. It has become the world-leading new-energy bus maker with international recognitions, successfully entering the markets in the United Kingdom, France, Chile, Bulgaria, Iceland and Macao in China.
Zhengzhou Yutong Bus’ annual sales volume reaches 67,568 units, with more than 100,000 new energy buses sold to date. Yutong Bus sells buses in more than 30 countries across six continents with a market share of more than 30% in China and more than 15% globally.
New Range Rover Evoque offers Land Rover’s first 48V MHEV system
In London, Land Rover unveiled the New Range Rover Evoque luxury compact SUV. The new Evoque offers a choice of three- and four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline and diesel engines, a 48-volt mild-hybrid system (MHEV) and a 3-cylinder plug-in hybrid system (PHEV).
The compact footprint is almost identical to its predecessor’s at 4.37m, yet built on Land Rover’s new Premium Transverse Architecture, there is more interior space than before. A longer wheelbase yields 20mm extra rear kneeroom and an increase in small item stowage—the larger glove box and centre cubby can now fit tablets, handbags and bottles with ease.
The luggage space is 10% larger (591 liters) as well as much wider and easily fits a folded stroller or set of golf clubs, with space increasing to 1,383 liters when the flexible 40:20:40 second-row seats are folded.
The new architecture has been developed for electrification, with a 48-volt mild-hybrid available at launch and a plug-in hybrid model offered around 12 months afterwards.
The mild hybrid powertrain is a first for Land Rover and works by harvesting energy normally lost during deceleration thanks to the engine-mounted belt-integrated starter generator, storing it in the under-floor battery. At speeds below 17km/h (11mph), the engine will shut off while the driver applies the brakes. When pulling away, the stored energy is redeployed to assist the engine under acceleration and reduce fuel consumption. The result is a refined, quiet and efficient drive in built-up traffic heavy areas, in addition to efficiency savings.
The lowest emitting CO2 model is the 143 g/km front wheel drive, manual transmission with 150PS Ingenium diesel engine.
The most popular all-wheel drive, automatic transmission vehicles, come with a choice of four-cylinder Ingenium gasoline and diesel engines. This is where the 48-volt mild-hybrid system is used to reduce CO2 emissions to as lows as 149g/km and fuel economy from 42 mpg US (5.6l/100km) (based on NEDC Equivalent test procedure).
An even more efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and three-cylinder gasoline Ingenium engine will also join the range next year.
The compact SUV combines all-terrain capability with all-weather assurance. New Evoque features All-Wheel Drive, as well as a second-generation Active Driveline with Driveline Disconnect to enhance efficiency and Adaptive Dynamics to deliver the optimum balance of comfort and agility.
Terrain Response 2—technology first found on full-size Range Rover—automatically detects the surface being driven on a adjusts the set-up accordingly, while Evoque can now wade through water up to 600mm (previously 500mm).
The original Range Rover Evoque made its debut in 2010.
CSIRO to partner with Fortescue on hydrogen technologies; focus on metal membrane technology
CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, will partner with Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) on hydrogen technologies to support the development of new industries, create jobs and pave the way for low emissions export opportunities.
The centerpiece of the $20-million partnership is an investment in CSIRO’s metal membrane technology, which enables ammonia to be used as a carrier material for hydrogen storage and transport. (Earlier post.)
CSIRO will work with Fortescue to identify, develop and commercialize technologies to support the creation of an Australian hydrogen industry and future global uptake.
The agreement includes commercialization arrangements for the membrane technology, with a subsequent five-year investment in hydrogen R&D.
CSIRO’s National Hydrogen Roadmap, released earlier this year, provided a coordinated blueprint for growing Australia’s hydrogen industry and found that an economically-sustainable hydrogen industry could soon be a reality. (Earlier post.)
CSIRO will continue its own investment in hydrogen R&D, chiefly through its Hydrogen Energy Systems Future Science Platform (FSP), and will work with Fortescue to commercialise technologies that support new energy markets, including in the chemicals and transportation sectors.
Both CSIRO and Fortescue recognize that a hydrogen industry will require a collaborative approach, and that many opportunities for partnership will emerge as technologies and markets develop.
MIT proof-of-concept demo of ionic wind propulsion for aircraft
MIT researchers have demonstrated that an aircraft with a 5-meter wingspan can sustain steady-level flight using ionic-wind propulsion. The aircraft has no moving parts, does not depend on fossil fuels to fly, and is completely silent.
The researchers describe their proof of concept for electroaerodynamic (EAD) airplane propulsion in a paper in the journal Nature.
Since the first aeroplane flight more than 100 years ago, aeroplanes have been propelled using moving surfaces such as propellers and turbines. Most have been powered by fossil-fuel combustion. Electroaerodynamics, in which electrical forces accelerate ions in a fluid, has been proposed as an alternative method of propelling aeroplanes—without moving parts, nearly silently and without combustion emissions. However, no aeroplane with such a solid-state propulsion system has yet flown. Here we demonstrate that a solid-state propulsion system can sustain powered flight, by designing and flying an electroaerodynamically propelled heavier-than-air aeroplane.
—Xu et al.
Corresponding author Steven Barrett, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, noted that his team’s study marked the first sustained flight of a plane with no moving parts in the propulsion system.
This has potentially opened new and unexplored possibilities for aircraft which are quieter, mechanically simpler, and do not emit combustion emissions.
He expects that in the near-term, such ion wind propulsion systems could be used to fly less noisy drones. Further out, he envisions ion propulsion paired with more conventional combustion systems to create more fuel-efficient, hybrid passenger planes and other large aircraft.
The principle of electroaerodynamic thrust, first identified in the 1920s, describes a wind, or thrust, that can be produced when a current is passed between a thin and a thick electrode. If enough voltage is applied, the air in between the electrodes can produce enough thrust to propel a small aircraft.
For years, electroaerodynamic thrust has mostly been a hobbyist’s project, and designs have for the most part been limited to small, desktop “lifters” tethered to large voltage supplies that create just enough wind for a small craft to hover briefly in the air. It was largely assumed that it would be impossible to produce enough ionic wind to propel a larger aircraft over a sustained flight.
The MIT team’s final design resembles a large, lightweight glider. The aircraft, which weighs about 5 pounds, carries an array of thin wires, which are strung like horizontal fencing along and beneath the front end of the plane’s wing. The wires act as positively charged electrodes, while similarly arranged thicker wires, running along the back end of the plane’s wing, serve as negative electrodes.
The fuselage of the plane holds a stack of lithium-polymer batteries. Barrett’s ion plane team included members of Professor David Perreault’s Power Electronics Research Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics, who designed a power supply that would convert the batteries’ output to a sufficiently high voltage to propel the plane. In this way, the batteries supply electricity at 40,000 volts to positively charge the wires via a lightweight power converter.
EAD airplane design. a, Computer-generated rendering of the EAD airplane. b, Photograph of actual EAD airplane after multiple flight trials. c, Architecture of the high-voltage power converter (HVPC). The HVPC consists of three stages: a series–parallel resonant inverter that converts 160–225 V direct current to a high-frequency alternating current; a high-voltage transformer that steps up the alternating-current voltage; and a full-wave Cockcroft–Walton multiplier that rectifies the high-frequency alternating current back to direct current. The three stages contribute a voltage gain of about 2.5×, 15× and 5.6×. Xu et al.
Once the wires are energized, they act to attract and strip away negatively charged electrons from the surrounding air molecules, like a giant magnet attracting iron filings. The air molecules that are left behind are newly ionized, and are in turn attracted to the negatively charged electrodes at the back of the plane.
As the newly formed cloud of ions flows toward the negatively charged wires, each ion collides millions of times with other air molecules, creating a thrust that propels the aircraft forward.
The team, which also included Lincoln Laboratory staff Thomas Sebastian and Mark Woolston, flew the plane in multiple test flights across the gymnasium in MIT’s duPont Athletic Center—the largest indoor space they could find to perform their experiments. The team flew the plane a distance of 60 meters (the maximum distance within the gym) and found the plane produced enough ionic thrust to sustain flight the entire time. They repeated the flight 10 times, with similar performance.
Undistorted camera footage from flight 9, with position and energy from camera tracking annotated. Sped up 2x. Credit: Steven Barrett. Click on image to see the flight.
This was the simplest possible plane we could design that could prove the concept that an ion plane could fly. It’s still some way away from an aircraft that could perform a useful mission. It needs to be more efficient, fly for longer, and fly outside.
The new design is a “big step” toward demonstrating the feasibility of ion wind propulsion, according to Franck Plouraboue, senior researcher at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics in Toulouse, France (who was not involved in the research), who notes that researchers previously weren’t able to fly anything heavier than a few grams.
The strength of the results are a direct proof that steady flight of a drone with ionic wind is sustainable. [Outside of drone applications], it is difficult to infer how much it could influence aircraft propulsion in the future. Nevertheless, this is not really a weakness but rather an opening for future progress, in a field which is now going to burst.
Barrett’s team is working on increasing the efficiency of their design, to produce more ionic wind with less voltage. The researchers are also hoping to increase the design’s thrust density—the amount of thrust generated per unit area. Currently, flying the team’s lightweight plane requires a large area of electrodes, which essentially makes up the plane’s propulsion system. Ideally, Barrett would like to design an aircraft with no visible propulsion system or separate controls surfaces such as rudders and elevators.
The editors of Nature noted in an editorial in the issue of the journal in which Xu et al. appears that:
Predictions about the future of flight are dangerous because work can be overtaken by events or exposed as wishful thinking. (Just four years before the aerial carnage of the Second World War, Nature solemnly predicted that the risk of attack from the air was remote. And in the 1970s, it reported claims that a hydrogen-powered aircraft could take to the skies by the end of the twentieth century.)
When the Wright brothers made their historic flight in December 1903, it didn’t receive that much attention. In part, that was because their idea was just one of several being explored to achieve flight—with others betting on the success of gliders, airships and even kites. The same is true today. Ion-drive engines are just one much-needed option to improve the efficiency and environmental impact of aircraft engines, alongside tweaks to fuel and design. Let’s hope some of them take off.
This research was supported, in part, by MIT Lincoln Laboratory Autonomous Systems Line, the Professor Amar G. Bose Research Grant, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). The work was also funded through the Charles Stark Draper and Leonardo career development chairs at MIT.
Haofeng Xu, Yiou He, Kieran L. Strobel, Christopher K. Gilmore, Sean P. Kelley, Cooper C. Hennick, Thomas Sebastian, Mark R. Woolston, David J. Perreault & Steven R. H. Barrett (2018) “Flight of an aeroplane with solid-state propulsion” Nature volume 563, pages 532–535 doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0707-9
Lithium Australia produces LFP cathode material and Li-ion batteries from mine waste
Lithium Australia NL reported that its wholly owned subsidiary VSPC Ltd has successfully produced Li-ion battery cathode material, and Li-ion batteries (LIBs), from tri-lithium phosphate produced directly from mine waste using the SiLeach process.
SiLeach background. During conventional processing, lithium is recovered only from spodumene concentrates, not lithium micas, which until now have been something of a forgotten resource.
Conventional processing to extract lithium also incorporates an energy-intensive roasting phase, occurring at temperatures of more than 1,000 ˚C, followed by sulfation bake, undertaken at about 250 ˚C. Once the residue produced is cooled and leached with water, only lithium (as a sulfate) is recovered, and it is then further processed to produce lithium carbonate.
Unlike conventional processing, SiLeach is a hydrometallurgical process, so no roasting phase is required, which reduces energy consumption. Moreover, there is potential for SiLeach to derive all its energy requirements from waste heat generated during the production of sulfuric acid, which would further reduce operating inputs.
With SiLeach, a combination of sulfuric acid and halides is used to dissociate the strong bonds in silicate lattices at atmospheric pressure, meaning that only simple mechanical components are necessary to conduct the process. Reactions occur rapidly at about 90 ˚C, which is also a distinct advantage in terms of constraining plant footprint and reducing capital costs.
Also unlike conventional processing, all metals within the target minerals are soluble in SiLeach, creating the opportunity to generate significant by-product credits. Finally, SiLeach produces very clean lithium solutions, an advantage in terms of the subsequent production of battery-grade lithium carbonate.
LFP and batteries from waste. This process removes the requirement for generation of high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate which has long been one of the most cost-intensive, and challenging steps in the manufacture of LIBs.
The tri-lithium phosphate was converted to lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) cathode material at the advanced electrochemical laboratory and pilot plant facility in Brisbane, Queensland operated by VSPC. The proprietary processes used to generate the LFP nanoparticles is covered by patents granted to VSPC.
The cathode material was characterized by XRD and SEM, and determined to be of similar quality to VSPC standard LFP material.
VSPC LFP SEM image
LIBs (2032 coin cells) were subsequently produced and tested under a range of charge and discharge conditions and the cells achieved equivalent performance to VSPC’s advanced cathode powders which use lithium carbonate as the manufacturing feed. Battery performance compares very favorably against cells using standard VSPC cathode material produced with industry standard lithium carbonate.
The demonstrated ability to bypass lithium carbonate and lithium hydroxide as battery precursors offers the potential to reduce the cost battery manufacture significantly. Not only that, the use of mine waste in the battery production cycle can provide greater sustainability to global lithium resources.
Lithium Australia is also developing the process for direct production of cathode powders from lithium brines, to not only eliminate the requirement to produce high-purity lithium hydroxide or carbonate but to reduce the requirement for evaporation ponds.
Mine waste to LIB without the requirement to produce a lithium hydroxide or lithium carbonate precursor is a world first. This has the potential to provide a commercial outcome to many stranded resources creating ethical and sustainable supply in the process.
Johnson Matthey obtains license for the GEMX advanced battery material platform from CAMX Power
Johnson Matthey (JM) has obtained a license from CAMX Power relating to the GEMX platform of nickel-based high energy high power cathode materials (earlier post) for use in lithium-ion batteries especially for electric vehicles (EVs).
The GEMX platform is based on a fundamental invention of CAMX for which patents have been granted in the US, EU, Japan and China. The invention creates a broad class of cathode materials, overarching the high-nickel material classes NMC, NCA and LNO—the chemistries currently used, and expected to be used in the next ten years or more—in lithium-ion batteries for EVs.
The invention has been named GEMX and the resulting enhanced chemistries, gNMC, gNCA, and gLNO.
The GEMX invention, through molecular engineering, places cobalt at the critical places of the cathode particles resulting in the use of less cobalt, yet with greater stability, higher performance and lower cost for all classes of high nickel materials.
We are pleased to have obtained this further license from CAMX to support JM’s development of ultra high energy density automotive battery cathode materials. Adding the GEMX platform also gives us a broader chemistry landscape to which we can apply JM’s expertise in materials design, development, scale up and manufacturing.
—Alan Nelson, Sector Chief Executive and CTO at JM
Johnson Matthey purchased a license for the CAM-7 platform of CAMX in 2016. Using its own processing technologies and other know how Johnson Matthey successfully developed eLNO and is currently commercializing the technology. With the GEMX license JM can further enhance eLNO as well as take an advanced position in other material classes such as NCA and NMC, said Dr. Kenan Sahin, president and founder of CAMX.
EPIC index finds air pollution reduces global life expectancy by 1.8 years; single greatest threat to human health
Fossil fuel-driven particulate air pollution cuts global average life expectancy by 1.8 years per person, according to a new pollution index and accompanying report produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC). The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) establishes particulate pollution as the single greatest threat to human health globally, with its effect on life expectancy exceeding that of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, behavioral killers such as cigarette smoking, and even war.
Around the world today, people are breathing air that represents a serious risk to their health. But the way this risk is communicated is very often opaque and confusing, translating air pollution concentrations into colors, like red, brown, orange, and green. What those colors mean for people’s wellbeing has always been unclear.
My colleagues and I developed the AQLI, where the ‘L’ stands for ‘life,’ to address these shortcomings. It takes particulate air pollution concentrations and converts them into perhaps the most important metric that exists—life expectancy.
—Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC)
The AQLI is based on a pair of peer-reviewed studies co-authored by Greenstone that quantify the causal relationship between long-term human exposure to particulate pollution and life expectancy. The results from these studies are then combined with hyper-localized, global particulate matter measurements.
The Index also illustrates how air pollution policies can increase life expectancy when they meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline for what is considered a safe level of exposure, existing national air quality standards, or user-defined air quality levels. This information can help to inform local communities and policymakers about the importance of air pollution policies in very concrete terms.
Seventy-five percent of the global population, or 5.5 billion people, live in areas where particulate pollution exceeds the WHO guideline. The AQLI reveals that India and China, which make up 36% of the world’s population, account for 73% of all years of life lost due to particulate pollution.
On average, people in India would live 4.3 years longer if their country met the WHO guideline—expanding the average life expectancy at birth there from 69 to 73 years.
In the United States, about a third of the population lives in areas not in compliance with the WHO guideline. Those living in the country’s most polluted counties could expect to live up to one year longer if pollution met the WHO guideline.
Globally, the AQLI reveals that particulate pollution reduces average life expectancy by 1.8 years, making it the greatest global threat to human health. By comparison, first-hand cigarette smoke leads to a reduction in global average life expectancy of about 1.6 years.
Other risks to human health have even smaller effects: alcohol and drugs reduce life expectancy by 11 months; unsafe water and sanitation take off 7 months; and HIV/AIDS, 4 months. Conflict and terrorism take off 22 days. So, the impact of particulate pollution on life expectancy is comparable to that of smoking, twice that of alcohol and drug use, three times that of unsafe water, five times that of HIV/AIDS, and more than 25 times that of conflict and terrorism.
Previous efforts to summarize the health effects of air pollution have relied on associational studies that are prone to confounding the effects of air pollution with other determinants of human health. They also relied on extrapolations of associational evidence from the low levels in the United States or on extrapolations from cigarette studies.
In contrast, the AQLI’s underlying research allows it to isolate the effect of air pollution from other factors that impact health and it does so based on pollution data at the very high concentrations that prevail in many parts of Asia today.
Further, the AQLI delivers estimates of the loss of life expectancy for the average person, while other approaches report the number of people who die prematurely, leaving unanswered how much their life was cut short or if they were more predisposed to be impacted from it (e.g. elderly or sick).
Government of British Columbia to introduce Zero Emission Vehicle legislation in spring; 100% ZEV sales by 2040
The provincial government has put British Columbia on a path to require the sale of all new light-duty cars and trucks to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the year 2040.
The government will introduce legislation next spring to phase in targets for the sale of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). This legislation will set targets of 10% ZEV sales by 2025, 30% by 2030, and 100% by 2040, while government will take additional steps to make ZEVs more affordable.
Premier John Horgan outlined a three-point plan to kick-start and fuel the rollout of the ZEV standard:
Expanding the size of the province’s electric vehicle direct-current fast-charger (DCFC) network to 151 sites, with 71 already completed or underway and, leveraging federal and private-sector dollars, another 80 in the works.
Increasing the provincial incentive program, administered by the New Car Dealers Association of BC, by $20 million this year to encourage more British Columbians to buy clean energy cars now. This will bring the incentive program up to $57 million in total.
Reviewing the incentive program with an eye to expanding it over time, so buying a ZEV becomes a more affordable option for middle- and lower-income British Columbians.
If we want British Columbians to be part of the solution for reducing air pollution, we need to make clean energy vehicles more affordable, available and convenient.
Horgan added that this initiative is the first major policy commitment of the government’s upcoming strategy to meet BC’s legislated climate goals.
British Columbia already has one of the largest charging and fueling infrastructure networks—electric and hydrogen fueling—in Canada and, with 12,000 clean energy vehicles registered, the highest adoption rates of electric vehicles in the country.
Toyota Gen5 RAV4 increases performance, decreases fuel consumption; hybrid models to come in March 2019
Toyota has introduced the fifth-generation 2019 Toyota RAV4. Gasoline models arrive next month, and RAV4 Hybrid models follow in late March 2019.
2019 RAV4 Hybrid
Much has changed in the 22 years since the US market introduction of the first RAV4 compact crossover SUV. Compact crossover SUVs have grown in actual size, and segment growth shows no signs of abating. RAV4 is the currently the best-selling vehicle in its class, doubling volume over the last five years to sales of nearly 408,000 in the US in 2017. That makes RAV4 Toyota’s best-selling vehicle in the US, and the best-selling non-pickup truck in the country.
The new RAV4 powertrains increase performance while reducing fuel consumption. Second-generation Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.0) comes standard.
The 2019 RAV4 105.9-inch wheelbase grows 1.20 inches over the previous model, adding to rear seat legroom. Overall length comes in at 180.9 inches (181.5 inches on Adventure grade). Height is reduced to 67.0 inches (with antenna) on LE and XLE grades and 67.2 inches on XLE Premium and Limited grades. Adventure grade come up just a bit higher with an overall height of 68.6 inches. Width is 73.4 inches on Adventure grade while the rest of the grades measure at 73.0 inches. Front tread width is 63.0 inches on 17-inch and 18-inch wheels and 62.6 inches on 19-inch wheels. Rear width is 63.7 inches on 17-inch and 18-inch wheels and 63.3 inches on 19-inch wheels.
Beneath the 2019 RAV4’s bolder sheet metal, the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA-K) platform provides the foundation for capability, comfort and safety. The longer wheelbase and wider front and rear tracks provide a stable, confident driving platform. Shorter front and rear overhangs aid the RAV4’s trail driving capability.
The 2019 RAV4’s unibody structure is 57% more rigid than the previous model, allowing tuning for the front strut and rear multi-link suspension that enhances agility while also providing a smoother, quieter ride.
The TNGA-K platform allows for lower powertrain placement and lower center of gravity than in the previous RAV4. Using high-strength steel has reduced weight in the upper body, also helping to shift the center of gravity lower. A new saddle-style fuel tank distributes weight of the fuel evenly side-to-side. The previous model had the entire tank on one side of the vehicle.
The new parallel-type electric power steering system is rack-mounted rather than column-mounted as is the case in the previous model. The new design helps enhance turning response and a natural feel that can help reduce fatigue on long drives. Higher rigidity in the steering mounting and column further enhances steering responsiveness and feel.
Power and efficiency both make a leap in the 2019 RAV4 with the new Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed Direct-Shift Automatic Transmission in the gasoline models. In the RAV4 Hybrid, the engine is teamed with Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II) with Electronically-Controlled Continuously-Variable Transmission (ECVT) making it the efficiency leader of the lineup with preliminary manufacturer estimated mpg of 41/37/39 (City/Hwy/Comb).
The combination of a very high compression ratio (13:1 on gas models, 14:1 on HV models, which uses Atkinson cycle), D4-S fuel injection (combining direct and secondary port injectors), high-speed combustion, VVT-iE intelligent variable valve-timing and ultra-low internal friction yield a maximum thermal efficiency of 40% (41% for the RAV4 HV).
The gasoline models output 203 horsepower, while the hybrid delivers 219 combined net total system horsepower.
The new Direct Shift-8AT transmission provides a much wider ratio spread than the 6-speed automatic it replaces (7.8 vs. 5.425), resulting in quicker and smoother acceleration, getting drivers from 0 – 60 mph in 8.2 seconds (Limited grade). The new transmission provides torque converter lock-up in gears 2 through 8 to help eliminate power loss and the execution of ultra-smooth shifts. The driver can choose from Eco, Normal and Sport modes to tailor vehicle responses.
Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive. In addition to standard front-wheel drive, RAV4 gas models offer two types of available all-wheel drive. The new, segment- and Toyota-first, Dynamic Torque Vectoring All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnect comes standard on AWD-equipped Limited gas and Adventure grade models. It can direct up to 50% of engine torque to the rear wheels, as well as distribute it to the left or right rear wheel to enhance handling on or off pavement.
When AWD isn’t required—on long stretches of highway, for example—RAV4 can help achieve better fuel economy thanks to the Rear Driveline Disconnect system. The system uses the world’s first ratchet-type dog clutches to stop the rear-axle driveshaft’s rotation, thus helping to significantly reduce energy loss and improve fuel efficiency.
RAV4 Hybrid: Enhanced All-Wheel Drive Capability. As with the AWD system in the previous RAV4 HV models, the new AWD version employs a separate rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels when needed. The 2019 system comes standard on all RAV4 HV grades and increases total torque to the rear wheels by 30% compared to the previous system.
During on-road driving, distributing more driving force to the rear wheels helps suppress front wheel slip during off-the-line starts for optimal acceleration performance and stability. The system also helps reduce understeer during cornering for enhanced steering stability. Off-road, the increased rear-wheel torque helps provide powerful hill-climbing performance, even on rough terrain.
A driver-selectable Trail Mode helps make it possible to get unstuck by braking a spinning wheel and sending torque to the wheel with traction.
New to the 2019 RAV4 HV models, Predictive Efficient Drive (PED) essentially reads the road and learns driver patterns to help optimize hybrid battery charging and discharging operations based on actual driving conditions. The system accumulates data as the vehicle is driven and “remembers” features such as hills and stoplights, for example, and adjusts the hybrid powertrain operation to maximize efficiency. Operation is transparent to the driver.
SAKOR Technologies develops dyno system for OEM for testing starter/alternators for H/EV applications
SAKOR Technologies, Inc., a leader in the area of high-performance dynamometer systems, has designed and provided a dynamometer testing system to a major original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for testing starter/alternators for hybrid/electric vehicle (H/EV) applications.
The dynamometer test system consists of a 42 kW AccuDyne AC motoring dynamometer and features SAKOR’s industry-leading DynoLAB test automation controller. AccuDyne dynamometers offer full 4-quadrant operation with seamless transition between loading and motoring modes. The system communicates with the customer’s ECU via CAN bus technology.
This particular testing system is capable of operating at speeds as high as 18,000 RPM and as low as 0 RPM, providing full torque in a stall condition. Furthermore, the dynamometer can run in motoring or loading modes at maximum rated torque/power in either direction at any time, and can switch between these modes instantaneously.
As a result, the test system can expose starter/alternators to all possible conditions they may undergo in actual vehicle use.
This test system offers the ability to test the maximum power, speed, and generator capacity of starter/alternators. In addition, the system allows operators to run road load cycles to simulate real world conditions, including starting the engine, dynamic braking, power assist, and battery charging modes.
The system features two battery simulators that are also regenerative DC power supplies. One simulator can supply power at up to 120V and 400 amps; the other unit can supply up to 40V and 1200 amps. As a result, the system can test the full range of customer components, while keeping costs relatively low.
This system is a uniquely configured solution to our customer’s very specific needs. Whereas this OEM may have needed to purchase two to three different off-the-shelf machines to perform this testing, the SAKOR system is capable of meeting a broad range of test requirements in a single machine.
—Randal Beattie, President of SAKOR
The cost of operations of the test cell is also greatly reduced because the system is capable of power recapture and therefore uses much less electrical energy over the testing cycle.
King County Metro to begin testing electric buses that can travel more than 140 miles on a single charge
King County Metro, the public transit authority of King County, Washington, which includes the city of Seattle, will soon begin testing long-range battery-powered buses that can travel more than 140 miles on a single charge, the latest milestone toward a zero-emission fleet.
The latest models can travel nearly six times farther than the fast-charge buses Metro currently has in its fleet. At that distance, the battery-powered buses could satisfy about 70% of Metro’s bus routes, reducing air and noise pollution throughout the region.
Manufacturers will provide 40- and 60-foot battery-powered buses for the performance test. The buses will initially be operated out of Metro’s South Base in Tukwila. Metro has committed to prioritize deployment of new zero-emission buses on service operating from South King County, improving air quality and public health first in low-income and communities of color, which are most vulnerable to the public health impacts of air pollution.
Among the buses under test are four New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE battery-electric, heavy-duty transit buses (two 40-foot and two 60-foot).
King County Metro earlier this year became the first transit agency in North America to install a high-powered charging station at a base facility where recharging is combined with cleaning and maintenance. Short-range buses at Metro’s Bellevue Base can now fully recharge in much less time, which has made operations more efficient.
Metro is now building the infrastructure needed to recharge both short- and long-range buses to achieve its goal of operating a zero-emission fleet no later than 2040. King County is working with local utilities—Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy—to ensure that the batteries are charged with clean, renewable energy.
Two decades ago, King County Metro pushed the manufacturing industry to produce diesel-electric hybrid buses and now operates the largest fleet of its kind in the nation. Now it is using its purchasing power to demonstrate that there is strong market demand for quieter and cleaner battery-powered buses.
Before committing fully to manufacturers, we first must take steps to test the performance of this fast-moving technology.
—Metro General Manager Rob Gannon
In July, the authors of a comprehensive study praised King County’s leadership in the transition to zero-emission fleets, quantifying the benefits of battery-powered buses: lower maintenance and operational costs, reduced noise pollution, and less greenhouse gas emissions.
King County Metro was recently named the best large transit system in North America by the American Public Transportation Association, which cited the agency’s accomplishments in transitioning to clean, renewable sources of energy.
FedEx acquiring 1,000 Chanje electric delivery vehicles
FedEx Corp. will add 1,000 Chanje V8100 electric delivery vehicles to its fleet. (Earlier post.) FedEx is purchasing 100 of the vehicles from Chanje Energy Inc and leasing 900 from Ryder System, Inc.
The purpose-built electric vehicles will be operated by FedEx Express for commercial and residential pick-up and delivery services in the United States.
The Chanje electric medium duty panel van van is equipped to haul up to 6,000 pounds and up to 675 cubic feet of cargo, all with zero vehicle exhaust emissions and up to 150-mile range on a single charge. The V8100’s 13.2 kW onboard charger supports Level 2 and DC fast charging.
The Chanje EVs are configured to match the current shelving, specifications, and workflow that FedEx Express delivery drivers use today, without the emissions, noise, or maintenance associated with gas or diesel vehicles.
The vehicles are manufactured by FDG in Hangzhou, China, and purchased through Chanje Energy Inc., the company’s subsidiary for global business. Ryder System, Inc. will provide support services for all of the vehicles.
The EVs have the potential to help FedEx save two thousand gallons of fuel while avoiding 20 tons of emissions per vehicle each year. The maximum cargo capacity is around 6,000 pounds. All of the EVs will be operated in California.
FedEx has been using all-electric vehicles as part of its pickup-and-delivery fleet since 2009.
NY state launces series of initiatives to encourage adoption of EVs
New York State announced a series of broad-scale initiatives to encourage the purchase and to increase the convenience and accessibility of electric vehicles (EV).
EVolve NY to Install Charging Stations along Major Corridors and JFK Airport. In the initial roll-out of its $250-million EVolve NY initiative, NYPA will deploy up to 200 150kW direct current (DC) fast chargers, enabling drivers to charge in as little as 20 minutes, to more than two dozen locations along major traffic corridors, John F. Kennedy International Airport and five major cities. EVolve NY is a key pillar of Governor Cuomo’s Charge NY 2.0 initiative, which encourages electric car adoption as it brings the state closer to its goal of installing at least 10,000 charging stations by the end of 2021.
NYPA has identified the first 32 locations and is finalizing specific site details with the vendors that will provide and install the charging equipment. EVolve NY will target four 150 kW chargers per location at average intervals of less than 75 miles along New York’s major corridors.
Target corridor locations include Plattsburgh, Watertown and North Hudson in the North Country; Rochester in the Finger Lakes region; Buffalo and Niagara in Western New York; Middletown in Mid-Hudson; Corning and Binghamton in the Southern Tier; and Islip and Freeport in Long Island. The first fast chargers to be installed through the EVolve NY program are targeted to begin construction in spring 2019 along priority travel corridors with high traffic volumes from Buffalo to Montauk, and from Long Island to Canada.
The cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and Yonkers have been identified as sites for urban hubs, and high-speed chargers are expected to be installed at approximately 15 service areas along the New York State Thruway. JFK Airport will get its first high-speed charging hub, consisting of ten 150 kW fast chargers conveniently located to cater to both private and rideshare drivers.
Lower Residential EV Charging Rates to Spur Customer Ownership. Further to incentivize the purchase and use of electric vehicles in New York, the Public Service Commission has acted to allow residential customers, through time-of-use rates, to charge their vehicles during off-peak hours without the risk that they will pay more than standard rates. Charging electric vehicles at night not only saves electric vehicle owners money on their electric bill, it also helps utilities better manage the grid and benefits the entire grid system and reliability for all customers.
Time-of-use rate structures better align the price of delivering energy with the cost associated with delivering the energy at the time it is used. For plug-in vehicles to provide the most benefit to a utility’s system, the additional electricity consumption must not coincide with peak periods of electricity demand (generally hot summer afternoons and early evenings when peak load grows). In addition to avoiding increases in peak demand, off-peak charging gives utilities the opportunity to increase electricity demand at a time when the electric system is underutilized.
Drive Clean Rebate Initiative Supporting the Direct Purchase of 11,000 EVs. The Drive Clean Rebate is part of New York State’s overall clean transportation strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and supports the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) comprehensive plan to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system. To date, more than 11,000 rebates have been approved for New Yorkers to purchase electric cars. Since the start of the Drive Clean Rebate, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which administers the initiative, has approved more than $15 million in rebates for New Yorkers.
The $70-million plug-in hybrid and electric car rebate and outreach initiative encourages the growth of clean and non-polluting car use in New York, promotes the reduction of carbon emissions in the transportation sector and helps reduce vehicle prices for consumers. The Drive Clean Rebate initiative provides New York residents with a rebate of up to $2,000 for the purchase or lease of a new electric car from participating dealers. More than 40 different types of electric cars are available under the Drive Clean Rebate initiative.
Most recently, in September, the Governor announced that $5 million is available for installations at apartment buildings, workplaces, malls and other locations under Charge Ready NY. Charge Ready NY rebates can be combined with New York State’s 50 percent tax credit for installing charging stations. The tax credit is applied after the rebate amount received from NYSERDA.
Subaru introducing its first plug-in hybrid in US; Crosstrek Hybrid
Subaru Corporation is introducing its first plug-in hybrid vehicle, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid, in the US. Offering real all-wheel capability in a hybrid package, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Hybrid features the new Subaru StarDrive Technology that uniquely integrates electric motors, a 2.0-liter direct-injection SUBARU BOXER engine, Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and a new Lineartronic (Continuously Variable Transmission).
The Crosstrek has become the brand’s third-best-selling model in America since its debut six years ago. Priced at $34,995 plus $975 for destination and delivery, the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid is the most efficient version of the versatile compact SUV.
The 8.8 kWh Li-ion battery supports an all-electric range of up to 17 miles, with a combined 90 MPGe and total range of 480 miles. Towing capacity is up to around 1000 lbs. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid will go on sale at U.S. Subaru retailers by the end of this year.
Subaru StarDrive Technology employs two electric motors. One motor functions as an engine starter. Conversely, it can be powered by the engine to function as a generator for the hybrid battery. The second motor powers the vehicle for hybrid and electric driving modes. It also charges the hybrid battery during regenerative braking.
The Crosstrek Hybrid is capable of speeds up to 65 mph when in full electric mode and is a full second faster from 0 to 60 mph than the standard Crosstrek.
Display contents are specific for the Plug-In Hybrid model and the telematics system is enhanced by exclusive features provide added convenience and comfort. The Remote Battery Charging Timer function allows to change charge setting remotely from smartphone app. The Remote Climate Control function allows to control the vehicle’s air conditioning system remotely, before getting onto it, using a smartphone app or the key.
The Crosstek Hybrid retains the characteristics of the standard Crosstrek, with a dynamic quality achieved with the rigid body structure of the Subaru Global Platform that was designed to accommodate hybrid and electric powertrains. An electronically controlled brake system that consists of regenerative brakes and mechanical brakes has been adopted.
Collision safety performance is based on the safe framework of the Subaru Global Platform, and features a strengthened chassis platform to support the increased weight of the Plug-In Hybrid system, as well as protection for the High voltage battery to ensure Crosstrek’s class leading safety even in the Plug-In Hybrid model.
ecovolta develops standardized Li-ion traction battery; saving cost and time
The Swiss battery system manufacturer ecovolta has developed a standardized Li-ion traction battery which can significantly reduce the time and expense needed to bring electric vehicles to the serial production stage.
Manufacturers can rapidly convert even smaller or pre-existing vehicle series to run on electricity, creating prototypes within just a few weeks, ecovolta said.
evoTractionBattery. 48 V DC / 200 Ah / 10 kWh, (L x W x H) 520 x 218 x 320 mm, (Weight) 50kg. (Source: ecovolta)
Previously, customised battery packs were developed for each individual vehicle model. The time taken up by this process created additional risks and meant that electric vehicle manufacture was only profitable with larger production runs. In contrast, ecovolta’s evoTractionBattery is already certified as a universal solution and can be quickly put to use.
We estimate that vehicle manufacturers using a battery with an operating voltage of 48 volts and a capacity of 10 kilowatt hours (kWh), for example, will be able to save a total of 250,000 to 500,000 euros in development and certification costs.
And things can move a lot faster, too. Our customers are generally looking at a development time of up to 2 years for a battery pack and the accompanying battery management system. The evoTractionBattery, on the other hand, can be configured within a few hours, whether it’s being used in a golf cart or a lorry.
—CTO Paul Hauser
This standardization covers aspects of the dimensions, capacity levels and electronics. Users of the evoTractionBattery receive fully documented certification for all battery packs, including the crucial UN 38.3 certification for transport safety.
The integrated battery management system enables master-slave operation as well as connection of the batteries to a CAN bus. This allows the batteries to exchange data with the higher-level control system, which is essential for safe and efficient vehicle operation. The safety technology, relay and precharging are also integrated.
The evoTractionBattery is available with a voltage of 24 volts, 48 volts and 400 volts as well as a capacity of 2.5 kWh to 15 kWh. Up to 16 batteries can be connected in series in any configuration, and up to 32 strings can be connected in parallel, allowing a battery voltage of between 24 and 829 volts and a total capacity of up to around 7,600 kWh.
Every individual battery module has a fixed length of 520 mm and a width of 218 mm, while the height depends on the voltage and capacity. This creates clear parameters for the vehicle design.
BASF and GAC R&D Center co-develop 3 electric concept cars; debut at Auto Guangzhou 2018
BASF and the Research and Development Center of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. (GAC R&D Center) introduced three co-developed electric concept cars at Auto Guangzhou 2018, featuring futuristic designs that address the diverse needs of China’s drivers.
The three two-seat concept electric cars are designed by GAC R&D Center, with advanced prototyping support from designfabrik, BASF’s dedicated touch-point for engaging and inspiring designers. With BASF’s innovative materials and solutions, the new concept cars appeal to, and address the diverse needs of, a wide variety of drivers: senior citizens, female drivers, and more. They also address the trend towards car sharing—one of the fastest growing urban mobility concepts worldwide.
Car sharing and electrification are highly important developments in the world’s largest auto market. Additionally, the needs and individual style preferences of Chinese drivers have become more diverse due to an increasing number of female drivers and senior drivers. BASF’s innovative materials enable flexible design and extended functionalities that best serve the different styles in our concept vehicles.
—Zhang Fan, Vice President, GAC R&D Center
BASF’s solutions span holistic air cleaning solutions to seat fabrics, as well as materials used to build the body panels and battery pack of the electric vehicles. Exterior auto body paints co-developed by BASF and GAC R&D Center underline a unique personality for each concept vehicle.
In China, we see strong consumer demand for individualized car experiences and extended functionalities of passenger cars. This is the first time BASF has cooperated with a Chinese OEM to develop concept vehicles. We are excited to work with GAC R&D Center in shaping future mobility with our sustainable and innovative materials and solutions.
—Dr. Zheng Daqing, Senior Vice President, Business and Market Development Greater China, BASF
Details of BASF materials and solutions on the three concept cars exhibited at the 16th Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition include:
2US: A two-seater electric vehicle designed for senior drivers has a unique design feature of a rotational seat base. It helps elderly drivers and passengers get into and out of the vehicle with ease. The plastic gears made from BASF’s Ultramid Advanced N enable smooth operation of the rotation mechanism, which is designed to rotate 90 degrees horizontally in-and-out of the car cabin.
2U: Designed to appeal to women seeking an automotive look that meets their individual style, this car showcases possibilities including a unique seat design with translucent trim parts made of BASF’s Ultramid Vision. The fur-like surface of the passenger’s seat design is brought to life with BASF’s Ultrafuse TPU 3D printing solution.
2ALL: This vehicle features several design elements to address the particular needs of car sharing, including easy operation and low maintenance. For example, the front bumper made from BASF’s Elastollan HPM, has an outstanding anti-scratch elastomer pad design. The seat back and pan cushion made with BASF’s Infinergy (E-TPU) particle foams combine comfort with robustness.
In 2017, BASF’s automotive driven sales totaled €11.4 billion—representing approximately 18 percent of BASF Group’s sales. BASF supplies and develops functional materials and solutions that enable vehicles to be built more efficiently and have a lower environmental impact, whatever powertrain technology they use. BASF’s product range includes plastics, coatings, catalysts, automotive fluids as well as battery materials.
Established in 2006, GAC R&D Center serves as the innovation and technology hub for Guangzhou Automobile Group. The near 4,000 researchers in GAC R&D Center work in 15 laboratories, a trial plant that include painting, assembly and machining, and a test track.
ICL team assesses relative costs of carbon mitigation for 12 H2 production paths; trade-off between cost and level of decarbonization
A team at Imperial College London has examined the relative costs of carbon mitigation from a lifecycle perspective for 12 different hydrogen production techniques using fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable sources. An open-access paper on their work is published the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
As with all comparisons between fossil routes and renewables, cost and emissions data are frequently misused by advocates of all parties to push policy-makers and public opinion further along the polarizing debate of the role of fossil fuels in a low-carbon system. The best approach to decarbonizing hydrogen supply at least cost is not to champion or demonize specific technologies, but to jointly provide evidence to policy-makers to support higher levels of climate ambition.
Ultimately, the development of low-CO2, large-scale and economically competitive hydrogen production processes is fundamental to the production of low-carbon fuels, fertilizers and other petrochemicals. To achieve this, there is a significant amount of research going on to improve the performance of existing methods and to find new promising routes to generate hydrogen.
—Parkinson et al.
Their results show a trade-off between the cost of mitigation and the proportion of decarbonization achieved. The most cost-effective methods of decarbonization still utilize fossil feedstocks due to their low cost of extraction and processing, but only offer moderate decarbonization levels due to previous underestimations of supply chain emissions contributions.
Proportional reduction in emissions against percentage cost increase relative to SMR. The variability of emissions and cost parameters shown reflect the full ranges of emissions and costs values used in the study. Biomass with CCS, emissions reduction of 213% and a cost increase of 168%, has been omitted from the chart as an outlier to allow focus on other technologies. Parkinson et al.
Methane pyrolysis may be the most cost-effective short-term abatement solution, but its emissions reduction performance is heavily dependent on managing supply chain emissions while cost effectiveness is governed by the price of solid carbon.
Renewable electrolytic routes offer significantly higher emissions reductions, but production routes are more complex than those that utilize naturally-occurring energy-dense fuels and hydrogen costs are high at modest renewable energy capacity factors.
Nuclear routes are highly cost-effective mitigation options, but could suffer from regionally varied perceptions of safety and concerns regarding proliferation and the available data lacks depth and transparency.
They note that better-performing fossil-based hydrogen production technologies with lower decarbonization fractions will be required to minimize the total cost of decarbonization but may not be commensurate with ambitious climate targets.
For the study, they parameterized and re-estimated production costs and life cycle emissions from currently available assessments to produce robust ranges to describe uncertainties for each technology.
They compared hydrogen production pathways using a combination of metrics, levelized cost of carbon mitigation and the proportional decarbonization benchmarked against steam methane reforming to provide a clearer picture of the relative merits of various hydrogen production pathways, the limitations of technologies and the research challenges that need to be addressed for cost-effective decarbonization pathways.
B. Parkinson, P. Balcombe, J. F. Speirs, A. Hawkes and K. Hellgardt (2019) “Levelized Cost of CO2 Mitigation from Hydrogen Production Routes” Energy Environ. Sci., doi: 10.1039/C8EE02079E
Bath University and SAIC Motor team up to investigate gasoline particulate filter performance
The University of Bath and SAIC Motor UK Technical Centre are collaborating on a project to identify the most efficient conditions for the optimum performance of gasoline particulate filters (GPFs), to help minimize vehicle impact on the environment.
The ‘GPF Burn rate and Low Temperature Reactivity’ project will last 14 months and utilize the University’s state of the art Chassis Dynamometer in its Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR).
The researchers at Bath are designing a new rig capable of varying the temperature and composition of exhaust gasses entering automotive after-treatment system components such as GPFs, in order to identify the optimum conditions for the soot burn rate of GPFs.
A test vehicle will be put through its paces on the University’s dyno with the bespoke rig enabling the temperature and exhaust gas composition entering the after-treatment components to be controlled.
GPFs ensure the particulate emissions from a gasoline direct injection vehicle are kept to a minimum and within the latest Euro 6 standard emissions requirements. This is achieved by the GPF trapping and safely removing harmful particulates from exhaust gasses.
Particulate filters can become blocked over time requiring them to complete what is known as a regeneration cycle in which the temperature and gas composition in the engine enables the particulate filter to safely burn off particulate matter trapped in the filter.
Using this new rig, the researchers are also investigating the performance of novel catalyst washcoats and coatings for reducing the temperature at which harmful emissions begin to be converted into the more benign species water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
In better understanding the impact of catalysts on the temperature needed for conversion to occur, the researchers hope to be able to minimize the time taken for the catalysts to become operational after the vehicle has been started and reduce vehicle emissions under real world driving conditions.
This work will support SAIC Motor’s gasoline vehicle after-treatment development program and feed into SAIC Motor’s global product development activities in the UK and China.
SAIC Motor expects this partnership with the University of Bath will contribute to its knowledge of GPFs and catalyst formulations, supporting the company’s rapidly growing sales around the World.
This research project is an exciting opportunity to widen and build on the existing collaborative relationship with SAIC Motor, and utilize the experience that the University’s Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) has built up over many years to help reduce the impact of vehicles on the environment.
Reduction of vehicle particulate and gaseous emissions, particularly in urban areas, is a real focus for automotive OEMs, and it is fantastic that the University of Bath can make a real contribution with this research.
—Dr Chris Bannister, Project lead and Associate Professor in Automotive Engineering in the University of Bath’s Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS)
Rosenbauer and Berlin Fire Dept to develop hybrid fire truck; project eLHF
Rosenbauer Deutschland, a company of the Rosenbauer Group, and the Berlin Fire Department plan jointly to develop a hybrid electric fire engine in the next two years.
The two have formed an “innovation partnership” which will be responsible for carrying out the project “eLHF” (German equivalent for “eRFF”/ electric rescue and firefighting vehicle) and, following a successful trial, will manufacture vehicles accordingly.
The project budget amounts to a total of approximately €1.8 million; 90% of this consists of subsidies from the Berlin Program on Sustainable Development, which in turn is fed by the European Regional Development Fund and the state, while the rest comes from the Berlin Fire Department’s own budget funds. The Concept Fire Truck (CFT) of Rosenbauer is the technological basis for the eLHF.
Rosenbauer Concept Fire Truck.
Under European public procurement law, the innovation partnership is a special form of award procedure. The goal is to develop an innovative product and to then purchase it. What initially motivated the Berlin Fire Department’s concluded tendering procedure were the growing demands with regard to environmental protection and the complex exhaust systems of conventional chassis, which are having an increasingly negative effect on the design and operation of firefighting vehicles.
Consequently, the hybrid project vehicle is designed to help contribute towards reaching Berlin’s climate protection goals. Specifically, this entails a reduction in pollutants of around 14 t/a CO2 in comparison with conventional, diesel-powered rescue and firefighting vehicles; it will also feature a disaster-proof design.
In addition, the project specifications also provide for reduced noise emissions as well as an improvement in occupational health and safety, technical availability and communication.
Rosenbauer presented the “Concept Fire Truck” to the public for the first time in 2016. The concept study anticipates megatrends such as global warming, demographic change and urbanization, as well as the challenges these changes pose for fire brigades. The use of electric drives has enabled the creation of a completely new type of vehicle architecture that is fully adapted to these future scenarios and sets new standards in terms of functionality and ergonomics.
The main field of application for CFT technology is initially the municipal firefighting engine, but plans are also in place for it to subsequently be transferred to other types of vehicle. The “Concept Fire Truck” attracted particular interest from the member states of the “C40 Cities Climate Leadership Goals”, which aim to adopt a leading role in climate protection; talks with further model regions are ongoing.
Rosenbauer estimates that the global market for the innovative CFT technology will reach around 3,200 vehicles by 2030; in Europe, as many as 700 to 800 units could be in use by 2025.
IIHS study finds GM front crash prevention systems cut police-reported crashes
An IIHS study of General Motors vehicles with optional front crash prevention systems found that GM vehicles with autobrake and forward collision warning had 43% fewer police-reported front-to-rear crashes of all severities and 64% fewer front-to-rear crashes with injuries than the same vehicles without any front crash prevention technology.
For vehicles equipped with forward collision warning only, the crash rate reductions were 17% for all front-to-rear crashes and 30% for front-to-rear crashes with injuries.
The results echo an earlier IIHS study involving Acura, Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volvo vehicles, which found that the combination of forward collision warning and autobrake reduced front-to-rear crash rates by 50% for crashes of all severities and 56% for front-to-rear crashes with injuries. Forward collision warning without autobrake cut the rates 27% and 20%, respectively, for vehicles in that study.
The evidence has been mounting that front crash prevention works, and it works even better when it doesn’t solely rely on a response from the driver.
—Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research and author of both studies
The new research involves 2013-15 Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC brands. GM provided vehicle identification numbers (VINs) for vehicles with and without front crash and other crash avoidance systems.
Cicchino obtained information from 23 states on police-reported crashes involving those VINs. The police reports include information on the point of impact, allowing Cicchino to focus on front-to-rear crashes, which are the crashes that front crash prevention technology is designed to help avoid or mitigate. Using exposure data from HLDI, she calculated the rates of these crashes per insured vehicle year.
Information from HLDI’s database was used to control for factors that might have affected crash rates, including the vehicle’s garaging location and driver characteristics.
Cicchino used the information provided by GM on the presence of other crash avoidance features to control for advanced headlight features, which could affect the likelihood of rear-ending another vehicle in the dark.
Twenty automakers representing more than 99% of the US auto market have agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard on virtually all new passenger vehicles by September 2022.