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ULEMCo and Revolve demonstrate 45% thermal efficiency for 100% hydrogen engine
ULEMCo and its R&D partner Revolve Technologies have demonstrated thermal efficiencies of 45% in engine control strategies for a 100% hydrogen-fueled engine being developed for the Mega Low Emissions (MLE) truck demonstrator unveiled earlier this year. (Earlier post.)
The 100% hydrogen engine runs stably at air/fuel ratios in excess of 300:1.
This milestone performance shows that it is possible to go well beyond previously reported energy efficiency results for hydrogen combustion, at the same time as achieving immeasurable NOx levels, according to ULEMCo. The company says that the results point to the realistic prospect of zero emission trucks running on 100% hydrogen in the relatively short term.
ULEMCO’s approach of adapting existing diesel engine designs to run on hydrogen-diesel dual fuel has provided substantial learning on the opportunity for zero-emission engines. This ultimately provides routes to the much quicker adoption of hydrogen in heavy duty applications than alternative approaches, which are still many years away from cost effective commercial availability, the company suggests.
A recent report from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)-sponsored Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on the future role of hydrogen in a low carbon economy referred to hydrogen in vehicles as potentially playing an important role for heavy-duty vehicles (e.g. buses, trains and lorries).
Similar conclusions were reached for longer-range journeys in lighter vehicles, where the need to store and carry large amounts of energy is greater.
The report acknowledges that although overall well-to-wheel efficiencies are less for hydrogen than for battery EV, the latter’s negative impact on payload means that according to the report he aim should therefore be to move HGVs to zero-carbon energy (i.e. electricity and/or hydrogen) where feasible by 2050.
As a hydrogen vehicle can be refueled quickly, fleet operators can also plan for similar numbers of vehicles to their current operation, rather than needing to increase fleet size to cover lengthy charging times for EVs.
These excellent results represent engine efficiency levels very similar to those seen with some fuel cell technologies. Combining these results with our knowledge of how to ensure that the engine can operate over a wide performance curve—and with industrial grade hydrogen—gives us confidence in this approach. Vehicle operators, particularly in heavy duty applications, will have a truly cost effective option for very low carbon and zero emission driving in the future.
—Amanda Lyne, Managing Director at ULEMCo
Ecolectro secures $1.7M ARPA-E award for development of alkaline exchange membranes and ionomers for fuel cells and electrolyzers
Ecolectro Inc., a developer of low-cost, high-performance polymers for electrochemical applications, announced its selection by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for an award that will support the continued development of its alkaline exchange ionomers and membranes. These alkaline exchange materials are used to fabricate membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) in hydrogen fuel cells and in electrolyzers used for hydrogen production.
Alkaline fuel cells (AFCs) that are assembled with alkaline anion exchange membranes (AAEMs) have several significant advantages in comparison to state-of-the-art proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs). (1) Increased pH in AFCs accelerates the rate of the oxygen reduction reaction, which lowers fuel cell cost if non-platinum electrode catalysts are used. (2) Oxidation of direct alcohol fuels (e.g., methanol and ethanol) is also significantly faster in AFCs. (3) Perfluorinated polymers (i.e., Nafion) for PEMFCs not only are expensive but also hamper the recycling of Pt.
Hundreds of AAEMs have been prepared over the past decades for the development of AFCs as well as other applications, including high purity H2 production from water electrolysis, redox flow batteries, and gas separation. However, widespread applications of AAEMs have not been achieved yet because most AAEMs degrade rapidly under the standard operating conditions (e.g., high pH and high temperature).
—You et al.
Ecolectro’s polymers do not require high-cost platinum group metals, a feature that significantly lowers the cost of hydrogen fuel cells and electrolyzers. The membranes have unmatched chemical stability, high conductivity and are mechanically robust and provide a simple and durable route to clean renewable electricity and hydrogen production.
Ecolectro says that customers using this technology can manufacture fuel cells and electrolyzers with half the cost and double the durability of current state-of-the-art systems.
Tetrakis is Ecolectro’s flagship anion exchange membrane (AEM). The defining feature includes an exceptionally stable phosphonium cation appended to a hydrocarbon-based polymer backbone.
Internal studies have shown no chemical degradation for more than 120 days of accelerated alkaline testing conditions. Moreover, the hydroxide ionic conductivity is 22 mS/cm at room temperature, providing enough conductivity for commercial fuel cell and electrolysis systems.
The hydrocarbon-based polymer backbone provides excellent mechanical properties allowing the casting of strong and thin membranes necessary for high-performance operation. In addition, the hydrocarbon backbone allows for recycling of the electrocatalyst material at the end of component life.
Ecolectro will be partnering with Proton OnSite and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for this project.
We are pleased that ARPA-E and Department of Energy recognizes the value of our breakthrough technology. Their significant investment affirms our product development and corporate growth strategy.
—Dr. Kristina M. Hugar, CSO of Ecolectro and Principal Investigator on the project
Ecolectro is a client company of the Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences at Cornell University and received support from the National Science Foundation and NYSERDA.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will be supporting part of the project, as part of its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ARPA-E to work together to stimulate development of high-potential, high-impact clean energy technologies in New York State.
Wei You, Kristina M. Hugar, and Geoffrey W. Coates (2018) “Synthesis of Alkaline Anion Exchange Membranes with Chemically Stable Imidazolium Cations: Unexpected Cross-Linked Macrocycles from Ring-Fused ROMP Monomers” Macromolecules 51 (8), 3212-3218 doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.8b00209
Cadillac introduces new CT6 flagship sedan with Tripower system in China
Cadillac has launched its new CT6 flagship in China at the Cadillac Arena in Beijing. It offers the newest iteration of Cadillac’s design language featured on the Escala concept.
The new-generation CT6 has adopted an all-new powertrain, with innovative technologies that are being applied in China for the first time. The all-new 2.0L turbocharged engine—one of GM’s eighth-generation Ecotec engines—is based on an optimized single-cylinder architecture design and integrates highly intelligent electrically enabled technology. The result is high efficiency, low emissions and low fuel consumption to meet China’s National VI-B emissions standard.
The engine’s Tripower system adopts three-step sliding camshafts to enable shifting between three distinct operating modes—four-cylinder performance mode; four-cylinder eco mode; and two-cylinder super-eco mode—in accordance with output requirements.
Working together with advanced technology such as an active thermal management (ATM) system and a 35 Mpa (350 bar) high-pressure direct injection system, it enables the engine to enhance torque at lower speeds and produce 350 N·m of peak torque between 1,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm, as well as 177 kW of maximum power.
The new-generation CT6 comes standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission for smooth and refined power delivery, making it a pioneer in its class. The transmission integrates compact planetary gears and a lighter, thinner hydraulic torque converter. It has a lightweight and compact design plus a wide 7.39:1 overall ratio.
The application of low-viscosity fluid, fluid preheater technology and an optimized gear assembly design reduces friction and mechanical loss, significantly improving fuel economy. Combined fuel consumption of the new-generation CT6 has improved by more than 10% from the previous generation to 7.1 liters/100 km (33 mpg US).
Smart Technology. The new-generation CT6 comes with the latest Cadillac user experience (CUE) and innovative cloud-based connectivity. It supports over-the-air (OTA) updates of the OnStar module and infotainment system.
OnStar integrates 22 exclusive services in seven categories, including Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services, Vehicle Diagnostics, Navigation Service, Security Service and Hands-Free Calling. Owners are eligible for 24 gigabytes of free long-life data traffic annually.
Original on-board 4G LTE Wi-Fi (Car-Fi) enables real-time connection between the new-generation CT6 and the outside world by sharing the latest information with users. The more accurate hybrid speech recognition function includes a new voice control function for the front-seat passenger. It responds quickly to voice commands from all of those sitting in front, such as requesting streaming music or seeking information about weather and stocks.
Cloud synchronization service connects with NetEase Cloud Music and Amap. Supported by Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife, users can get synchronously updated information with their smartphones connected to the car-mounted display. The Cadillac App Store is continuously enriching its products to offer a more convenient, intelligent and user-friendly connectivity experience.
Enhanced Stability and Safety. Crafted with world-class technology and 11 composite materials, the new model’s lightweight body has best-in-class torsional rigidity. It adds to the precise drivability, better stability and enhanced crashworthiness.
The new E-boost system delivers faster and more efficient brake performance. Underpinned by specifications such as Active Rear-Wheel Steering (ARS), the Brembo customized brake system and a high-strength premium suspension, the new-generation CT6 provides precise and confident handling not to mention stable driving when speeding up to pass, making abrupt turns or tackling winding roads.
The Enhanced Security Strategy (ESS) II incorporates forward/rear-end collision warning systems and the preventive braking system, Lane Keep Assist (LKA), the panoramic radar surveillance system/lane change assist, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and the APA 360-degree full-mode intelligent automatic parking system. A set of intelligent vision assistance systems are also available, including a second-generation HD streaming rearview mirror, an intelligent infrared night vision system, 360-degree parking monitoring safety protection and an ingenious security recorder.
Cadillac has been growing its presence across China in recent years, with retail sales exceeding 100,000 units in 2016 and 170,000 units in 2017. This year, Cadillac expects deliveries to reach a record of 200,000 units, backed by new and updated models including the new-generation CT6 and new XT4 compact luxury SUV.
EPA finalizes RFS volumes for 2019 and biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule that establishes the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019, and biomass-based diesel for 2020.
The key elements of the action are:
“Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, will be maintained at the implied 15-billion gallon target set by Congress for 2019.
Advanced biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by 630 million gallons over the 2018 standard.
Cellulosic biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by almost 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard.
Biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the standard for 2019.
The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set annual RFS volumes of biofuels that must be used for transportation fuel for four categories of biofuels: total, advanced, cellulosic, and biomass-based diesel. EPA is using the tools provided by Congress to adjust the standards below the statutory targets based on current market realities. EPA implements the RFS program in consultation with the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy.
Reaction from the various stakeholders was mixed, with concerns generally expressed about small refinery waivers. Under the RFS program, a small refinery may be granted a temporary exemption from its annual Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) if it can demonstrate that compliance with the RVOs would cause the refinery to suffer disproportionate economic hardship.
The RFS regulations define a small refinery as one with an average crude oil input no greater than 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude in 2006. Additionally, the small refinery may not have an average aggregate daily crude oil throughput greater than 75,000 bpd in the most recent full calendar year prior to submitting a petition, and cannot be projected to exceed the 75,000 bpd threshold in the year or years for which it is seeking an exemption.
Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s (BIO) Industrial and Environmental Section, said:
We congratulate EPA for finalizing the rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard’s 2019 volumes and Biomass-Based Diesel Volumes for 2020 on time and applaud the agency for increasing advanced and cellulosic biofuel volumes from 2018.
BIO is disappointed, however, that EPA missed this opportunity to reallocate gallons displaced from small refinery waivers, issued at the behest of the petroleum industry. From now on, EPA must take steps to ensure small refinery waivers are issued in accordance with the law, which states only in cases of disproportionate economic hardship. EPA also needs to approve new biofuel pathways and facility registrations to allow volumes of advanced and cellulosic biofuels to grow.
Iowa Corn Growers Association President Curt Mether said:
“While we’re pleased to see the EPA finalize numbers at the statutory target for corn-based ethanol, Iowa’s corn farmers want the EPA to stop granting unnecessary waivers to obligated parties and not to include those waivers in its formula for determining annual volumes as required under the RFS. This intentional omission effectively cuts ethanol demand and works against the goals of the RFS program to the detriment of motorists, our environment, and Iowa’s corn farmers.
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, said:
We are pleased to see the 2019 RVO numbers released on time and that they hold strong promise, with a 15-billion-gallon commitment to starch ethanol and 418 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels. But the latest EPA rule is also a missed opportunity to correctly account for billions of gallons of ethanol lost to refinery exemptions. Until these are addressed properly, we’re still taking two steps back for every step forward. The current Acting EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, has a valuable opportunity to chart a new course for biofuels and rural America. To reverse the damage done by his predecessor, the EPA must follow the law and reallocate lost gallons, ensuring the ethanol targets set by Congress are actually met.
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) criticized the ruling, saying that EPA is setting the advanced biofuel and biomass-based diesel volumes lower than what the agency acknowledges will be produced. Moreover, NBB said, the rule leaves open a backdoor to retroactively reduce required volumes through hardship exemptions.
EPA recognizes that the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry is producing fuel well above the annual volumes. The industry regularly fills 90 percent of the annual advanced biofuel requirement. Nevertheless, the agency continues to use its maximum waiver authority to set advanced biofuel requirements below attainable levels. The method is inconsistent with the RFS program’s purpose, which is to drive growth in production and use of advanced biofuels such as biodiesel.
—NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen
In the final rule, EPA states that it has not received small refinery exemption petitions for 2019 and therefore estimates zero gallons of exempted fuel in its RVO formula. The agency has estimated zero gallons every year since 2015, even though it retroactively exempted more than 24.5 billion gallons of fuel between 2015 and 2017. The agency’s own data shows that the retroactive small refinery exemptions reduced demand for biodiesel by more than 300 million gallons in 2018.
Volkswagen testing R33 BlueDiesel; up to 33% renewable content; now in permanent use in Wolfsburg
Volkswagen has been testing the newly developed R33 BlueDiesel fuel blend at its in-house filling station in Wolfsburg since January 2018. The fuel, jointly developed by Volkswagen, the Coburg University and other project partners, contains up to 33% renewable components based exclusively on residual and waste materials and enables CO2 savings of at least 20% compared to conventional diesel thanks to the use of biofuels.
Volkswagen employees tested the new fuel initially. Over a period of nine months, they filled up company vehicles with R33 BlueDiesel only.
The current supplier since January 2018 is Shell Global Solutions in cooperation with Tecosol and Neste, who supply fuels certified according to European standards.
Drop-in renewable fuel leader Neste began testing its Diesel D33 blend—26% NExBTL renewable diesel, 7% conventional biodiesel (FAME) produced from used cooking oil, and 67% fossil diesel—in Germany in 2013, including a demonstration project involving 280 vehicles—including buses, cars, and trucks—in Coburg in Bavaria aimed at commercializing the fuel.
R33 BlueDiesel complies with the diesel standard DIN EN 590 and fulfills all criteria for use as a standard fuel without having to meet further requirements. This fuel is of particular interest to Volkswagen’s major and fleet customers whose diesel vehicles cover many kilometers a year as its use helps to achieve climate protection goals.
Following the successful test phase, R33 BlueDiesel is now being used permanently at Volkswagen’s filling stations in Wolfsburg, and a test operation has also been started at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter. This summer, it was also introduced at other project partners such as Robert Bosch GmbH. Introduction at further locations is planned.
The response to R33 BlueDiesel is very encouraging for Volkswagen and its project partners. R33 BlueDiesel is particularly suitable for companies that rely on diesel vehicles due to their long fuel ranges and still want to achieve their environmental goals. We are preparing for a significant increase in demand for liquid fuels from residual materials and for advanced biofuels in the medium term. I hope that public filling stations will also be offering R33 as “Green Premium” in the near future.
—Volkswagen project manager Prof. Thomas Garbe
Study infers causal relationship between breast cancer and high exposure to traffic air pollution
A team at the University of Stirling in the UK has found new evidence of the link between air pollution and cancer as part of a new occupational health study. The team analyzed the case of a woman who developed breast cancer after spending 20 years working as a border guard at the busiest commercial border crossing in North America.
The woman was one of at least five other border guards who developed breast cancer within 30 months of each other; at another nearby crossing, a cluster of seven other cases was noted.
Dr Michael Gilbertson, who worked with colleague Dr Jim Brophy, said their findings “infer a causal relationship” between breast cancer and very high exposures to traffic-related air pollution containing mammary carcinogens. A link between nightshift work and cancer was also identified.
This new research indicates the role of traffic-related air pollution in contributing to the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the general population. With this new knowledge, industry and government can plan for new designs for industrial and commercial facilities to cut down on the occupational exposures to traffic-related air pollution and for scheduling shift work to minimise disruption of sleep patterns.
Drs Gilbertson and Brophy focused on the worker compensation case of the woman, who was employed by the Canada Border Services Agency for two decades at the Ambassador Bridge, which crosses the Detroit River between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan.
The bridge—the busiest commercial border crossing in North America—carries 12,000 trucks and 15,000 cars each day.
The woman—one of at least five colleagues who developed breast cancer within 30 months of each other—was diagnosed with her first bout of breast cancer at the age of 44 and second at 51. Notably, another cluster of seven cancer cases occurred at a second crossing point, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which lies four miles from the bridge.
The cluster of cases in staff at the bridge was 16 times higher than the rate in the rest of the country; there is less than a one in 10,000 probability that this could have occurred by chance. In addition, the clusters were characterized by breast cancer cases that were early onset and premenopausal with recurrences.
The scientists analyzed the circumstances of the case—heard by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT)—by applying the Bradford Hill criteria: a group of nine principles that are useful in establishing epidemiologic evidence of a causal relationship between a presumed cause and an observed effect. The criteria considers strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, biological gradient, plausibility, coherence, experiment and analogy.
The case focused on whether the woman had a genetically inherited predisposition to develop breast cancer because of dysfunctional BRCA1/2 tumour suppressor genes. It was found that her BRCA1/2 tumour suppressors were not working—but that was not connected to her inherited genes. This condition is known as “BRCAness” and is sporadic, rather than an inherited breast cancer.
The Stirling team investigated whether the dysfunction was potentially caused by occupational exposures to pollution. A review of previous research confirmed that BRCA1 can be silenced by exposures to dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—both found in exhaust fumes.
In addition, other research has shown that BRCA2 is rapidly degraded in the presence of aldehydes—also components of exhaust fumes.
There is much more research to be undertaken. But we now have plausible mechanisms for inferring how the BRCA1/2 tumour suppressors in this highly-exposed border guard became dysfunctional and likely contributed to the ongoing epidemic of sporadic, early onset, premenopausal breast cancer among her colleagues. These outbreaks of breast cancer represent a new occupational disease that we are provisionally calling “occupational BRCAness”.
The front-line workers also identified nightshift work as a potential contributing factor to their high incidence of breast cancer.
Drs Gilbertson and Brophy considered whether nightshift work might exacerbate the exposures to mammary carcinogens in traffic-related air pollution. They pointed to a previous study involving rats that found those exposed to continuous daylight developed tumors 36% faster and had 60% more tumors than those subjected to a normal photoperiod.
Michael Gilbertson, James Brophy (2018) “Causality Advocacy: Workers’ Compensation Cases as Resources for Identifying and Preventing Diseases of Modernity” New Solutions doi: 10.1177/1048291118810900
QUT team develops stable, bi-functional cobalt-nickel catalyst for water-splitting
Researchers at Australia’s have developed less expensive and more efficient catalysts for producing hydrogen from water-splitting. In a paper in Advanced Functional Materials, they reported introducing a low concentration of gold into Co(OH)2 followed by electrodeposition of Ni(OH)2 to yield a Co(OH)2‐Au‐Ni(OH)2 composite active in overall water splitting.
This material exceeds the activity of Pt for the HER at current densities greater than 40 mA cm−2 and is stable for both reactions for prolonged periods of electrolysis. In a two‐electrode configuration, current densities greater than 175 mA cm−2 for overall water splitting could be readily achieved at an applied voltage of 1.90 V in a commercially relevant electrolyte of 6 m NaOH.
—Sultana et al.
Activity for hydrogen evolution or oxygen evolution can be achieved by tuning the gold content between 0.1 and 0.2 at%. Further, they noted, this approach may also be applicable to other metal hydroxide/metal nanomaterial composites.
What we have found is that we can use two earth-abundant cheaper alternatives—cobalt and nickel oxide with only a fraction of gold nanoparticles—to create a stable bi-functional catalyst to split water and produce hydrogen without emissions.
From an industry point of view, it makes a lot of sense to use one catalyst material instead of two different catalysts to produce hydrogen from water.
—Professor Anthony O’Mullane
Ummul K. Sultana James D. Riches Anthony P. O’Mullane (2018) “Water Splitting: Gold Doping in a Layered Co‐Ni Hydroxide System via Galvanic Replacement for Overall Electrochemical Water Splitting” Advanced Functional Materials doi: 10.1002/adfm.201804361
Nissan introduces all-new LEAF NISMO RC electric race car; more than double power and torque of predecessor
In Tokyo, Nissan unveiled the new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC, an electric race car with more than double the maximum power and torque output of its predecessor.
The car, which was developed by Nissan’s racing arm, NISMO, with its race technology know-how, will officially debut on 2 December at the annual NISMO Festival at Fuji International Speedway, appearing alongside Nissan’s new Formula E electric race car.
With dual electric motors, all-wheel drive and an aggressive, restyled body shape, the purpose-built car demonstrates how Nissan’s electric vehicle technology can deliver exciting yet quiet, zero-emission power—a key component of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility vision. The model is equipped with advanced battery technology and drivetrain components from the Nissan LEAF.
Nissan plans to build six all-new LEAF NISMO RC vehicles to deploy around the world, so that fans can experience the power and excitement firsthand.
Powering the all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC are two electric motors at opposite ends of the chassis. The motors produce 240 kilowatts combined (120 kW each) and 640 N·m of instant torque to the wheels. They more than double the maximum power and the torque output of the previous LEAF NISMO RC, which was introduced in 2011. Drivetrain technology sourced from the new Nissan LEAF include the high-capacity lithium-ion battery and inverters.
A new all-wheel-drive system gives the LEAF NISMO RC its outstanding cornering prowess. Power is managed independently to each axle, instantly supplying torque to the tire with the most grip to let the car maneuver quickly and efficiently around the track. Similar to the previous model, chassis weight balance has been optimized by the midship location of the battery pack, with the electric motors and inverters ideally placed over the front and rear tires.
The LEAF NISMO RC features a multitude of lightweight components and a full carbon-fiber racing monocoque structure, allowing it to tip the scales at just 1,220 kilograms. The power-to-weight ratio results in an impressive performance of zero to 100 kph in just 3.4 seconds—50% quicker than the previous model.
While the exterior of the all-new Nissan LEAF NISMO RC is spiritually based on the original LEAF NISMO RC, it sports a more aggressive exterior. A long hood and Nissan’s signature V-motion grille highlight the totally restyled front end. The distinctive silver-and-black paint scheme with NISMO red accents—similar to the Nissan Formula E car—make the LEAF NISMO RC seem like it’s in constant motion, even when sitting still at the starting line.
The car’s three-piece bodywork includes removable front and rear sections, fixed windows, LED headlights and tail lights, and an adjustable rear wing for ideal downforce on the tarmac. The model is slightly longer than its predecessor, with an overall length of 4,546 millimeters and a wheelbase that measures 2,750 millimeters. The Nissan LEAF NISMO RC sits wide and low to the ground, with its wind-cutting form measuring only 1,212 millimeters from roof to road—more than 300 millimeters less than the production Nissan LEAF.
New Jeep Gladiator pickup will offer 3.0L diesel with stop/start and 8-speed
Jeep unveiled the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Gladiator features Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4x4 systems, third-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires.
Gladiator will offer two powertrains: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with Engine Stop-Start (ESS) and eight-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission; and a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 with ESS and an eight-speed automatic transmission available in 2020.
The FCA US 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine delivers 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft (353 N·m) of torque and features ESS as standard equipment. It is engineered to provide a broad torque band with a focus on low-end torque, an essential trait needed for extreme off-roading.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard on all Gladiator models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, and an eight-speed automatic transmission is optional.
Known for its refinement, power, efficiency and adaptability, the Company has produced more than 8.6 million 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engines since production began in 2010. The award-winning engine family is currently built at three plants: Trenton (Michigan) Engine Complex, Mack Avenue (Detroit) Engine and Saltillo (Mexico) South Engine.
The 2020 Jeep Gladiator benefits from the popular V-6 engine’s low-range torque, which is needed when out on the trails or during demanding conditions, such as hauling cargo or towing a trailer.
The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine will be available starting in 2020. Gladiator models will offer the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft (599 N·m) of torque, with ESS standard. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard and is designed to handle the increased torque output.
FCA US engineers adapted the engine—designed and manufactured by FCA EMEA —to meet the NAFTA region’s regulatory requirements.
The EcoDiesel V-6 engine implements refined turbocharger technology with a low-friction bearing designed for low-end and transient performance. The EcoDiesel V-6 engine also features low-friction pistons to improve fuel economy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide an enhanced combustion system – injector nozzle, piston bowl and glow plug with integrated combustion pressure sensor to optimize combustion.
Low Pressure Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) assists to combine with the high-pressure system to expand the range of EGR usage and to improve fuel economy.
Transmissions. A unique set of two overdrive ratios in the eight-speed improve highway fuel economy and reduce overall noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.
Uniquely suited to the requirements of the Gladiator Rubicon model, the eight-speed automatic transmission delivers a 77.2:1 crawl ratio. The towing and 4x4 performance benefits from a 4.7:1 first gear ratio coupled with a 4.1:1 final drive delivers unmatched capability.
All-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator models are equipped with the standard six-speed manual transmission. This transmission features a unique design that employs optimized gear ratios for bolstered crawl ratio performance and is cable-operated, eliminating shifter vibration and bolstering sound isolation.
The shift pattern features a comfortable shifting position and bolsters shift accuracy. A 4.41 ratio spread offers impressive fuel efficiency at faster speeds and delivers quick acceleration with smooth, precise shift quality.
Body-on-frame design. Utilizing a body-on-frame design and featuring a five-link suspension system, Gladiator delivers on capability, with composed on-road driving dynamics, passenger safety and best-in-class towing and 4x4 payload capacity.
Gladiator’s body-on-frame design uses advanced materials and engineering to be lightweight, yet stiff and durable, and features an all-new lightweight, high-strength steel frame.
When compared to Jeep Wrangler 4-door, Gladiator’s frame is an additional 31 inches longer while the wheelbase is 19.4 inches longer. The longer wheelbase and the bed’s positioning center aft of the rear axle centerline enables for better weight distribution and a more comfortable and composed ride when carrying cargo. The prop shaft, brake, fuel lines and exhaust system were lengthened to accommodate the changes needed to make the proven body-on-frame design work.
The use of lightweight, high-strength aluminum closures, including the doors, door hinges, hood, fender flares, windshield frame and tailgate, help curtail weight and boost fuel economy. Other ways the Jeep engineering team looked to manage weight included using hollow track and stabilizer bars, aluminum engine mounts and steering gear.
Gladiator utilizes the proven five-link coil suspension configuration with the front suspension using a lateral control arm and four longitudinal control arms. Full-width track bars made of forged steel control lateral movement of the axle with minimal angle change during suspension travel.
The rear five-link coil suspension design, exclusive to Gladiator, features two upper and two lower forged steel control arms for longitudinal control, and a track bar for lateral axle control. The control arms are located under the frame rails while the rear shocks are forward facing to provide consistent damping for ride comfort and load management.
The springs have been tuned for an optimum balance between on-road handling while providing a comfortable ride around town, with or without cargo in the bed, and legendary off-road capability. Ride comfort, body-roll control, handling, payload and towing capability is significantly enhanced with assistance from shock tuning, hard points and body mount strategy.
An approach angle of 43.6 degrees, breakover angle of 20.3 degrees, departure angle of 26 degrees and a ground clearance of 11.1 inches allows Gladiator to go offroading.
Gladiator also benefits from up to 30 inches of water fording, up to 1,600 pounds of payload and up to 7,650 pounds of towing capacity with the available Max Towing Package.
Safety and security features. The all-new 2020 Jeep Gladiator offers more than 80 available active and passive safety and security features. Available features include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines, Adaptive Cruise Control and electronic stability control (ESC) with electronic roll mitigation.
ARB: California not tracking to meet required GHG reductions due to transportation; significant changes in communities and systems required
California is not on track to meet the greenhouse gas reductions expected under SB 375 for 2020, with emissions from statewide passenger vehicle travel per capita increasing and going in the wrong direction, according to a new report published by the California Air Resources Board (ARB).
While overall, California has hit its 2020 climate target ahead of schedule due to strong performance in the energy sector, meeting future targets will require a greater contribution from the transportation sector. With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built.
—“2018 Progress Report”
The Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, Senate Bill (SB) 375, was passed into law in 2008. SB 375 recognizes the critical role of integrated transportation, land use, and housing decisions to meet state climate goals. The law requires each of California’s 18 regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to include a new element in their long-range regional transportation plans: a Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS).
In the SCS, the MPO, in partnership with their local member agencies and the State, identifies strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from driving. Under SB 375, MPOs have spent almost 10 years engaged in planning and developing SCSs tailored to each region that outline multiple benefits for public health, the environment, social justice, and access to opportunities, if implemented.
in 2017, the Legislature tasked the California Air Resources Board (CARB) with issuing a report every four years analyzing the progress made under SB 375 pursuant to SB 150. SB 150 tasks CARB with preparing a report that assesses progress made toward meeting the regional SB 375 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, and to include data-supported metrics for strategies utilized to meet the targets.
The just-released report is the first in the series that responds to that legislation—and includes the fundamental finding that California is not on track to meet greenhouse gas reductions expected under SB 375.
With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built, the ARB report states.
Specifically, CARB’s 2030 Scoping Plan Update identifies reduction in growth of single-occupancy vehicle travel as necessary to achieve the statewide target of 40% below 1990 level emissions by 2030. Even more will be needed to achieve Governor Brown’s new carbon neutrality goal by 2045.
California—at the state, regional, and local levels—has not yet gone far enough in making the systemic and structural changes to how we build and invest in communities that are needed to meet state climate goals. To meet the potential of SB 375 will require state, regional, and local agency staff and elected officials to make more significant changes across multiple systems that address the interconnected relationship of land use, housing, economic and workforce development, transportation investments, and travel choices.
… many challenges continue to impede the changes that will be needed to meet the targets. For example, the portion of commuters driving alone to work instead of carpooling, taking transit, walking or cycling is rising in almost every region. The supply of housing in many regions is a small fraction of the need, particularly homes affordable to low-income communities, which is contributing to lengthening commutes. The overall ratio of dollars planned to be spent on roads versus on infrastructure for other modes in the largest regions of California has shown remarkably little shift. The changes that have been made so far are clearly not of the magnitude necessary to have yet had a significant impact on these challenges.
—“2018 Progress Report”
The report identifies eight priority challenge and opportunity areas for the State Mobility Action Plan for Healthy Communities (MAP for Healthy Communities) work to address this challenge.
Improve the way the State targets transportation, housing, and climate-incentive funds to better align projects with state health, equity, economic, and environmental priorities.
Improve incentives and legal certainty for projects that provide affordable housing choices near jobs, transit, and other high-opportunity locations.
Develop a state vision for increasing travel choices, economic development, and access to jobs and other opportunities, as well as affordable housing for under-served communities—and by doing so, accelerate progress toward state climate, infill, health, and equity benefits.
Pilot test innovative ideas to speed the adoption of clean, efficient transportation solutions across the state.
Develop fiscally-sustainable and equitable methods of funding the transportation system, in ways that increase climate-friendly travel choices for everyone.
Complement deployment of new mobility options and technologies with policies supporting state environmental and equity priorities.
Improve and increase access to data to assist with planning and monitoring success of state policies in meeting transportation, housing, health, and environmental goals.
Update and strengthen SB 375 to better connect state climate, transportation, health, equity, and conservation goals with regional and local planning, and to improve implementation.
Rivian introduces two quad-motor, AWD “Electric Adventure Vehicles”
Rivian, an electric vehicle manufacturer, unveiled two “Electric Adventure Vehicles”—the R1T, an all-electric pickup and the R1S, an all-electric SUV—at events surrounding the LA Auto Show this week.
The R1T, a 5-passenger pickup truck, made its debut at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles on 26 November and the R1S, a 7-passenger SUV, was revealed at the automaker’s press conference at Automobility on 27 November. The Rivian vehicles feature up to 400+ miles in electric range, a wading depth of 1 meter, lockable storage bins that can fit the bulkiest of gear, and the performance and precise control of quad-motor AWD. Both vehicles will be produced at Rivian's manufacturing facility in Normal IL.
I started Rivian to deliver products that the world didn’t already have—to redefine expectations through the application of technology and innovation. Starting with a clean sheet, we have spent years developing the technology to deliver the ideal vehicle for active customers. This means having great driving dynamics on any surface on- or off-road, providing cargo solutions to easily store any type of gear, whether it’s a surf board or a fishing rod and, very importantly, being capable of driving long distances on a single charge. From the inside out, Rivian has developed its vehicles with adventurers at the core of every design and engineering decision. The R1T and R1S are the result of all this work and we are excited to finally introduce these products to the world.
—Rivian Founder and CEO RJ Scaringe
Skateboard Platform. The foundation of the R1T and R1S is Rivian’s skateboard platform, which efficiently packages the battery pack, drive units, suspension, braking and thermal system all below the height of the wheel, leaving the space above for occupants and their gear.
Beyond the packaging benefits, this architecture delivers a low center of gravity that supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. Adding to these inertial advantages is a sophisticated suspension architecture with unequal length double wishbone suspension in the front and a multi-link suspension in the rear. The suspension features dynamic roll control and adaptive dampers along with ride-height adjustable air-suspension—allowing the suspension to be adjusted for highway comfort, on-road performance or off-road capability.
Rivian’s vehicles also feature a quad-motor system that delivers 147 kW with precise torque control to each wheel, enabling active torque vectoring and maximum performance in every situation, from high-speed cornering to low-speed rock crawling.
With 3,500 N·m of grounded torque per wheel (14,000 N·m of torque for the full vehicle), the R1T and R1S can both reach 60 mph in 3 seconds and 100 mph in less than 7 seconds. This powertrain and chassis also enable the R1T’s tow rating of 11,000 pounds.
The beauty and elegance of our quad-motor setup isn’t just about brute power; this architecture provides instantaneous torque with extremely precise control at each wheel, which is completely game-changing from a dynamics perspective, both on- and off-road.
—Executive Director of Engineering and Programs Mark Vinnels
Battery System. Rivian’s energy-dense battery module and pack were developed with the most demanding journeys in mind—incorporating tough underbody protection and an advanced cooling system to give occupants the confidence to go further, regardless of terrain or temperature.
Adaptive control algorithms learn driver behavior, optimizing user-specific battery management for maximizing battery life, reliability and second-life reusability.
Three battery sizes are planned, with the 180 kWh and 135 kWh available at launch and a 105 kWh being made available within six months.
The battery is designed for fast charging with charging rates of up to 160kW. This enables approximately 200 miles of range to be added in 30 minutes of charging. In addition to DC fast-charging, an 11kW onboard charger facilitates rapid charging at a Level 2 charger.
Connectivity and Digital Experience. Rivian has developed its connected car platform from a clean sheet to allow full control and flexibility over the vehicle hardware, software and user experience. The system operates on a high-speed Ethernet backbone that enables robust security.
This platform supports granular over-the-air updates of vehicle software to enhance functionality and improve performance. All Rivian vehicles connect to a cloud-ecosystem for data exchange and processing, enabling machine learning and data services.
The digital experience extends beyond the vehicle into the cloud ecosystem and mobile/web applications and provides a consistent and seamless interface for vehicle status and control. The in-vehicle experience consists of a custom 15.6-inch center touch screen, 12.3-inch instrument cluster and a 6.8-inch rear touch screen.
Self-Driving. The R1T and R1S will launch with a robust hardware suite with multiple sensor systems including camera, lidar, radar, ultrasonic and a high precision GPS coupled with high definition maps. This hardware enables “Level 3” (hands-off wheel and eyes off road) autonomy for highway operation. Beyond the highway Level 3, the vehicle will have a range of self-driving features focused on enabling active lifestyles.
Safety. Rivian’s safety systems and body-structure design will deliver IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and NHTSA 5-Star ratings. Safety features include 8 airbags for occupant protection and reinforcements of the skateboard platform to protect the battery. The R1T and R1S will also be offered with a full complement of active safety systems enabled by Rivian’s suite of self-driving sensors.
R1T pricing starts at $61,500 after Federal Tax credit. R1S pricing starts at $65,000 after Federal Tax credit. Deliveries begin in late 2020. Fully-equipped vehicles with the highest performance level and largest battery pack will enter production first. The 180 kWh pack (400+ miles range) and 135 kWh pack will be available at launch, with the base variant (250+ miles range) to follow within 12 months of the start of production.
Rivian is now accepting preorders for a refundable deposit of $1,000.
Founded in 2009 by RJ Scaringe, Rivian develops and produces vehicles, products and services related to sustainable transportation. The company has facilities in Plymouth, Michigan, San Jose, California, Irvine, California, and Normal, Illinois.
Headquarters in Plymouth, Michigan are dedicated to finances, engineering, and design. A facility in Irvine, California focuses on batteries, electrical hardware, and vehicle control software, while a facility in San Jose, California develops self-driving technology and data. The company’s 2.6-million-square-foot factory in Normal Illinois the home for manufacturing of vehicles and components such as battery packs. The Normal plant has a paint shop, robotics, stamping machines, and other production equipment.
Scaringe earned his MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a member of the research team in the Sloan Automotive Laboratory.
Mark Vinnels leads Rivian’s product development organization and is responsible for all engineering and program execution. Vinnels was previously the Executive Program Director at McLaren from 2004 through 2017. In this role he was responsible for all of McLaren’s road cars starting with the MP4-12C through the 720S. Before McLaren, Vinnels was the Head of Vehicle Programs at Group Lotus where he led the product development of all Lotus cars. He holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nottingham.
BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics launch cross-industry project to support sustainable cobalt mining
As part of a cross-industry initiative, the BMW Group, BASF SE, Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics have launched a joint cobalt pilot project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A contract to this effect between the companies, together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, will aim to improve artisanal mining working conditions, as well as living conditions for surrounding communities.
The scope of the project will span over one pilot mine within the next three years, and the partners will not operate the mine.
This fully privately financed project seeks to pilot an approach to address challenges in artisanal mining. As it is limited to one pilot mine site and the surrounding community, it seeks to contribute to identifying workable solutions that lead to better working conditions at the mine site. If proven effective, these measures could then be scaled up to other legal artisanal mine sites and enhance systemic challenges in the longer run.
Cobalt is a key component in the production of batteries for the automotive and electronics industries. The world’s largest known reserves of this raw material are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than half of the world’s cobalt mine production comes from the Katanga Copperbelt in DR Congo, according to a study published earlier this year in Nature Sustainability.
Industrial mining accounts for approximately 80-85% of Congolese cobalt production, with artisanal mining operations producing the remaining 15-20%.
Currently, companies are facing challenges in the areas of environment, health and safety, and human rights when cobalt is extracted through artisanal mining.
This is the first time partners from automotive, chemical and consumer electronics industries have come together in a project on the ground to address the challenges of artisanal cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This pilot project builds on a feasibility study jointly conducted by GIZ and BMW Group. Insights gained from visits to several artisanal mines, stakeholder interviews and surveys of miners and community members were instrumental in shaping this project approach.
This project also contributes to the goals of global initiatives, such as the Global Battery Alliance (GBA), to foster sustainable supply chains.
Célestin Banza Lubaba Nkulu, Lidia Casas, Vincent Haufroid, Thierry De Putter, Nelly D. Saenen, Tony Kayembe-Kitenge, Paul Musa Obadia, Daniel Kyanika Wa Mukoma, Jean-Marie Lunda Ilunga, Tim S. Nawrot, Oscar Luboya Numbi, Erik Smolders & Benoit Nemery (2018) “Sustainability of artisanal mining of cobalt in DR Congo” Nature Sustainability volume 1, pages 495–504 doi: 10.1038/s41893-018-0139-4
EMBATT-goes-FAB project developing bipolar Li-ion batteries and production processes
Project partners thyssenkrupp System Engineering GmbH, IAV GmbH, Daimler AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS are developing bipolar Li-ion batteries and processes for their fabrication in the EMBATT-goes-FAB project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
With the EMBATT battery, the project partners are pursuing a new approach to achieving system-level energy densities of more than 450 Wh/l and hence making the range of electric vehicles suitable for everyday use.
These bipolar Li-ion batteries, like fuel cells, consist of stacked electrodes connected in series. In contrast to conventional Li-ion batteries, these electrodes are, as the name indicates, bipolar. This means that the active materials for the battery cathode and, overleaf, the active materials for the anode are applied to a common electrode carrier.
The individual Li-ion cells are then no longer packed separately in aluminum housings. Only the finished stack of electrodes is given a fixed housing. This eliminates housing components and connecting elements, which saves costs and space in the vehicle.
The freed-up space can be filled with more active material. As a result, the battery can store more energy and the vehicle can drive further. Li-ion bipolar batteries have so far only been investigated on a laboratory and pilot scale.
By researching scaled manufacturing technologies and integration solutions, the project aims to advance the industrialization of bipolar batteries.
The motivation for the four project partners to take this technology to the next level of maturity is obvious, as is the incentive for the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, which will provide financial support for the “EMBATT-goes-FAB” project over a period of two years.
The partners must be closely interlinked in order to master the new challenges. These range from the production of improved bipolar electrodes based on lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxides and graphite as storage materials (Fraunhofer IKTS), to the scaling of assembly technology up to a size of 1000 x 30 cm² (thyssenkrupp System Engineering), the incorporation of an electric battery monitoring system (IAV GmbH), and safety simulations to address specific vehicle requirements (Daimler AG).
2019 Kia Niro EV crossover utility makes North American debut at LA Auto Show
The 2019 Kia Niro EV made its North American debut at the LA Auto Show. Energy and power for Niro EV comes from a liquid-cooled 64 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery packaged under the floor of the vehicle to allow for minimal passenger space intrusion.
Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment, supporting an approximately 100-mile recharge in 30 minutes at on the 50 kW charger at 200 amps; 80% total battery capacity is available in 75 minutes.
The Level 2 (240v) at 7.2 kWh charger needs approximately 9.5 hours for a full charge.
(Kia Motors Corporation sources EV, HEV, and PHEV batteries from multiple global suppliers. The battery specifications and exact cell chemistry varies for each application, which can impact materials and sourcing. Globally, battery manufacturers, including Kia suppliers LG Chem and SK innovation, source battery elements, including cobalt, from a variety of regions. These battery manufacturers regularly review mineral sourcing, and re-source to new areas to manage stability, cost, logistics, and other factors, ultimately looking at other ways to source cobalt and to reduce usage.)
With 291 lb-ft (395 N·m) of torque, the Niro EV’s 150 kW electric motor offers plenty of pull. With a low center of gravity due to the floor-mounted battery pack and a 106.3 inch-long wheelbase, the Niro EV delivers a vehicle that’s entertaining to drive, stable and feels planted and substantial on the road.
The Niro EV is equipped with a variety of tools that put energy management control in the driver’s hands, including:
Four drive modes—Eco, Normal, Sport and Eco+—that automatically adjust regenerative braking level, air conditioning and heating settings, and even set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency.
Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, returning energy to the battery and adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on how aggressive drivers want the regen effort and energy efficiency (range) needs.
Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop, adding energy to the battery that would be lost using normal braking.
Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Niro EV and can create smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road.
Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster that helps to keep the driver aware of real-time power distribution based on accelerator pedal input.
When Kia designed and created the Niro, it was engineered to accommodate many different advanced electrified powertrains. First to arrive in 2016 was the hybrid, then in 2017 the Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), and now a fully-electric powertrain.
The new Niro EV will be built in South Korea at Kia’s Hwaseong manufacturing facility, alongside the Niro hybrid and plug-in hybrid. When it goes on sale early next year (pricing will be announced near the on-sale date), the Niro EV will be available in two trims, EX and EX Premium, which adds a host of upscale features to the already well-equipped EX.
Audi unveils e-tron GT concept at LA Auto Show; production version in about 2 years
Audi is presenting the battery-electric e-tron GT concept four-door coupé as a show car at the Los Angeles Auto Show. A volume-production counterpart is set to follow in around two years. The e-tron GT is Audi’s third electric vehicle, following the Audi e-tron SUV and the Audi e-tron Sportback slated for 2019.
The flat-floor architecture provides for exciting proportions and a low center of gravity, while the 434 kW (590 hp) delivers performance fit for a sports car. The torque is transferred to the wheels via the quattro permanent all-wheel drive with torque vectoring. The performance subsidiary Audi Sport GmbH is responsible for subsequently transforming the car into a volume-production model.
The Audi e-tron GT concept has a 4.96-meter (16.3 ft) length, 1.96-meter (6.4 ft) width and 1.38‑meter (4.5 ft) height. The lightweight body of the four-door coupé is manufactured using a multi-material construction. A roof section is made from carbon along with numerous aluminum components and supporting elements made from high-strength steel. The technology for this automobile was developed in close collaboration with Porsche.
Together with the targeted airflow of the body, large air inlets in the front effectively cool the assemblies, battery and brakes. The hood with its airflow on the surface echoes the brand’s two latest show cars, the Aicon and the PB18 e-tron. It is designed in such a way that the airflow hugs the body, thus reducing undesired swirl.
Separate permanently excited synchronous electric motors are fitted to the front and rear axles. They put down the torque onto the road via all four driven wheels; the new Audi e-tron GT concept is an electric quattro, since there is no mechanical link between the front and rear axle. The electronic control system coordinates the drive between the axles as well as between left and right wheels. That means optimum traction and just the desired amount of slip.
In the future, the vehicle should accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62.1 mph) in around 3.5 seconds before going on to 200 km/h (124.3 mph) in just over 12 seconds. The top speed is regulated at 240 km/h (149.1 mph) to maximize the range. One feature that not all the competition can match is the option of fully utilizing the drive’s acceleration potential several times in succession. While elsewhere the drive is switched to overdrive for thermal considerations, the Audi e-tron GT concept can provide the driver with the full potential of both motors and the battery because of its sophisticated cooling strategy.
The range of the concept car will be more than 400 kilometers (248.5 mi), determined according to the new WLTP standard. The required drive energy comes from a lithium-ion battery with an energy content of more than 90 kWh, which takes up the entire underfloor area between the front and rear axle with its flat design.
The recuperation system increases the range by up to 30% on Audi electric vehicles. The recuperation involves both the two electric motors and the electrohydraulically integrated brake control system.
Different recuperation modes are combined: manual coasting recuperation using the shift paddles, automatic coasting recuperation via the predictive efficiency assist, and brake recuperation with smooth transition between electric and hydraulic deceleration.
Up to 0.3 g, the Audi e-tron GT concept recuperates energy solely via the electric motors, without using the conventional brake—that covers more than 90% of all decelerations. As a result, energy is fed back to the battery in practically all normal braking maneuvers. The wheel brakes are involved only when the driver decelerates by more than 0.3 g using the brake pedal. The Audi e-tron GT concept features high-performance ceramic disks which also operate with multiple extreme decelerations without compromising braking performance.
The battery in the Audi e-tron GT concept can be charged in several ways: using a cable which is connected behind the flap in the left front wing, or by means of contactless induction with Audi Wireless Charging. Here a charging pad with integral coil is installed permanently on the floor where the car is to be parked, and connected to the power supply. The alternating magnetic field induces an alternating voltage in the secondary coil fitted in the floor of the car, across the air gap. With a charging output of 11 kW the Audi e-tron GT concept can be fully charged conveniently overnight.
Wired charging is much faster as the four-door coupé is fitted with an 800-volt system. This substantially reduces charging times compared with conventional systems that are currently in use. Thus it takes around 20 minutes to recharge the battery to 80% of its capacity, once again providing a range of more than 320 kilometers (198.8 mi) (WLTP). The e-tron GT concept can, however, also be recharged at charging points with lower voltages, providing the driver with access to the entire charging network.
Another joint project of the development departments at Audi and Porsche is the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). It will be the foundation for multiple Audi model families with all-electric drive covering the high-volume B through D segments.
BMW unveils BMW Vision iNEXT at LA Auto Show; all of ACES in one vehicle
The BMW Group unveiled the BMW Vision iNEXT concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The BMW Vision iNEXT represents a building block for the future of the BMW Group, encompassing technology, design and new ways of thinking that are set to filter through across the company and its brands.
This is the first time all of the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields—Autonomous driving, Connectivity, Electrification and Services (ACES)—have been incorporated into a single vehicle, while its design lends them visual expression (D+ACES) and offers a look ahead to the future face of driving pleasure.
The BMW iNEXT production model will roll off the assembly line at Plant Dingolfing from 2021, the new technological flagship transporting the company’s strategic innovation fields (D+ACES) onto the road.
The all-electric BMW Vision iNEXT has been created as a mobile space that offers real quality of life and addresses the need for a new “favorite space” in which to be oneself and to relax.
The geometry of the iNEXT cabin is composed of just a few, clean-cut lines, placing the focus on materials and colors. A mix of cloth and wood creates the kind of sophisticated feel associated with furniture design, helping to give the interior its special “boutique” character.
In the BMW Vision iNEXT, smart technologies stay in the background and out of sight—hence the name Shy Tech—and are only deployed when needed or at the driver’s or passengers’ request. There is virtually no need for either screens or buttons. Functions can be operated using surfaces made of materials such as wood or cloth, like the Jacquard cloth upholstery in the BMW Vision iNEXT. Control of the vehicle is therefore tailored in every respect to the requirements of the people travelling in it.
The BMW Vision iNEXT features a very modern take on the classical BMW four-eyed front end, complete with super-slender headlights, while cameras (rather than exterior mirrors) show what’s happening behind. The windshield merges seamlessly into a large panoramic roof, providing a clear view of the car’s innovative interior.
Mitsubishi Motors showcases e-Evolution concept at LA Auto Show; battery-electric crossover w/triple motor 4WD
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA) unveiled the e-Evolution Concept vehicle at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, marking the vehicle’s North American debut. A technical prototype, the e-Evolution Concept incorporates the strengths of a sport utility vehicle (SUV), electric vehicle (EV), and the ability to integrate new systems for a connected mobility customer experience.
The e-Evolution Concept uses two high-torque, high-performance electric motors, fed by a high-capacity battery system to deliver a smooth and powerful performance. The drive battery is located under the floor mid-ship of the vehicle, providing a low center of gravity for the utmost driving stability.
The triple motor 4WD system employs a single motor to drive the front wheels, complemented by a new Dual Motor Active Yaw Control (AYC) system that couples two rear motors through an electronically controlled torque-vectoring AYC unit. All of this is integrated into Mitsubishi’s unique Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) vehicle dynamic control system, developed on the company’s World Rally Championship and Paris-Dakar racecars.
In the e-Evolution Concept, Active Yaw Control uses individual brakes to responsively and precisely control the driving forces, through electric calipers that supersede the conventional hydraulic caliper. The effects of the system can be felt and appreciated immediately, even at low speeds when G-forces are low.
The brain of the e-Evolution Concept is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that augments the driver’s capabilities. An array of sensors allows the AI system to instantly read changes in road and traffic conditions, as well as the driver's intent. Seamlessly coordinating driver intent with vehicle performance, the system supports drivers of all abilities.
By making it easier and safer to control the vehicle, the driving experience is brought to a new level. A special coaching function allows the AI system to transfer knowledge to the driver, and unobtrusively to enhance the driver’s skill. After building a picture of the driver’s skill level, the system constructs a training program that provides advice through voice dialogue and a large dashboard display.
Kia unveils new Soul EV at LA Auto Show
Kia Motors unveiled the new Soul EV, a completely new iteration of Kia’s award-winning electric compact crossover, at the LA Auto Show. The new Soul EV has a new liquid-cooled lithium-ion polymer 64 kWh battery pack with Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge as standard equipment.
The Soul EV is currently being tested to ascertain its estimated range, with the overall battery range due to be announced early in 2019.
With 204 ps and 395 N·m of torque (up from 285 N·m in the outgoing model), the new Soul EV accelerates more strongly than its predecessor. Handling and driving dynamics are also much improved, with the adoption of new fully-independent rear suspension.
The new Soul EV also provides tools for drivers to customize their driving experience and their battery usage, with four drive modes—Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+—which automatically adjust power output to the traction motor. The driving modes also control the level of regenerative braking on offer, air conditioning and heating settings, and enable drivers to set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency in different driving conditions.
The Soul EV’s smart regenerative braking is operated via paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, providing drivers with the ability to slow the car and capture more kinetic energy, adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regenerative braking levels (0 to 3), depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency. The regenerative braking system also features a ‘Brake and Hold’ system, which enables drivers to use the paddle shifters to bring the car to a full stop while harvesting kinetic energy.
In addition, the smart regenerative braking system adjusts the braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Soul EV, creating smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road.
The system is paired with a Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster, which keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input.
The Soul EV features restyled front and rear bumpers, for a smoother, more aerodynamic appearance. It features a solid insert in place of the conventional Soul’s front grille, with a door housing the charging socket conveniently located on the driver’s side. The Soul EV’s unique LED headlamps are integrated into the upper ‘brow’ of the front of the car, which itself extends the full width of the car for a wide, stable appearance. The EV’s ‘face’ is finished with unique fog lamps, while, in profile, the zero-emissions Soul gets its own five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheel design, distinct from other models in the Soul line-up.
Depending on market, the Soul EV is available with a suite of Kia’s advanced driver-assistance systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment.
In-cabin technology includes a high-tech ‘shift-by-wire’ rotary shifter, while the Soul’s infotainment system is based on a 10.25-inch color touchscreen with rear-view monitor and parking guidance. The infotainment package is supported by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth wireless connectivity with voice recognition. The system is paired with a six-speaker audio system with USB input and steering-wheel mounted audio controls.
Depending on market, the car is fitted with up to seven airbags (dual front air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, and a driver's side knee air bag), as well as a suite of vehicle safety systems. These include anti-lock braking, traction control, electronic stability control, hill-start assist control, pedestrian warning system and a tire pressure monitoring system.
Active safety is just as important, with the Soul available with a range of advanced driver-assistance systems, depending on market. Available systems include Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Driver Attention Warning (DAW), Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (available) and Reverse Parking Distance Warning.
Unique to the Soul EV is a revamped ‘UVO’ telematics system, allowing owners to monitor and control a long range of vehicle operations. Drivers have access to notifications of battery and charging status, real-time charging station updates and scheduled charging functionality. Panic notifications enable the vehicle to send an alert to the server if the panic alarm is triggered, dialling 911 emergency services and providing the car’s position via GPS—this opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with vehicle occupants. The UVO telematics sytems also offers ‘Send2Car’ points of interest (POI) and waypoint functionality, allowing owners to plan a route or road trip with waypoints, and send it directly to the Soul EV’s navigation system.
Buyers can choose from two trims: the Soul EV and the Soul EV Designer Collection. The Designer Collection model offers everything from the standard Soul EV, plus a series of additional features.
Built at the Gwangju plant in Korea, the new Soul EV goes on sale in the US in the first half of 2019, with Kia’s global markets to follow. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.
Volkswagen Group China, JAC and SEAT sign new deal advancing e-mobility in China
Spain-based SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Volkswagen Group China and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp., Ltd (JAC) to advance e-mobility in China.
Under the agreement, all parties will leverage their technology and product strengths to develop a battery electric vehicle platform for production at JAC Volkswagen. JAC Volkswagen will introduce the SEAT brand by 2021, and jointly electrify SEAT products.
The construction of the JAC Volkswagen R&D center will start before the end of 2018 and will focus on key areas such as connectivity, autonomous driving and other future strategic directions. The signing provides new impetus in the growing partnership between Volkswagen Group China, SEAT and JAC, working together in the important e-mobility market in China.
E-mobility along with digitalization, connectivity and autonomous driving are the future of the mobility industry, and China has established itself as a major driver of this transformation. This partnership also represents the benefits of a globalized approach to delivering sustainable mobility.
—Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG
SEAT, Volkswagen Group China and JAC signed an agreement last July in Berlin, in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang, whereby SEAT formed part of the joint venture and became the Volkswagen Group’s lead brand in this project. Since the joint venture was created in 2017, SEAT has been contributing its know-how in the areas of design and R&D.
This memorandum of understanding helps the Volkswagen Group take solid steps in the Chinese market and SEAT is set to play a leading role in implementing the agreement’s initiatives. The products which will be manufactured on the battery electric vehicle platform will address the e-mobility requirements of Chinese customers. The R&D center, which will be established through joint efforts, aims to develop connectivity and autonomous driving technologies specifically tailored to the Chinese market.
2019 Prius offered with new electric all-wheel drive system
Toyota is offering a new electric all-wheel drive system (AWD-e) on the facelifted 2019 Prius. Toyota projects fuel economy of 52 mpg city / 48 mpg highway / 50 mpg combined for the AWD-e model, and estimates that the AWD-e model—which is debuting at the LA Auto Show—could account for as much as 25% of annual US Prius sales.
The front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2019 Prius will offer manufacturer-projected fuel economy estimates of 58 mpg city / 53 mpg highway / 56 mpg combined on the L Eco grade, while the LE, XLE and Limited has projected fuel ratings of 54 mpg city / 50 mpg highway / 52 mpg combined.
The automatic on-demand AWD-e system does not require a center differential or other torque-apportioning device, nor does it need a front-to-rear driveshaft. The Prius AWD-e uses an independent electric, magnet-less rear motor (a Toyota first) to power the rear wheels from 0 to 6 mph, then when needed, up to 43 mph. This system provides the power to the rear wheels to pull away from a stop, yet the on-demand system recognizes when all-wheel-drive performance is not needed to provide great fuel economy.
The AWD-e models use a newly developed compact Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery that is designed to provide excellent performance in cold-weather conditions. The AWD-e battery fits under the rear seat area and does not impact the luggage capacity. FWD models will feature a Li-ion battery.
The Prius AWD-e shares the Hybrid Synergy Drive system with other Prius models. The system combines the output of a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Electronically Controlled Brake System coordinates control between the regenerative braking and the vehicle’s hydraulic brake force to provide optimal brake performance and feel.
Due to ultra-low internal friction and efficient combustion, the 2ZR-FXE 1.8-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine exceeds 40% thermal efficiency, which is among the highest in the world for a gasoline engine.
The Prius gets a good share of its fuel efficiency by cheating the wind with an ultra-low 0.24 coefficient of drag (Cd), which is among the lowest of current production passenger cars. An automatic grille shutter reduces drag by closing when airflow to the radiator is not needed. The air conditioning system, which uses a quiet electric compressor, works intelligently to maximize energy efficiency. The Smart-flow (S-FLOW) mode directs airflow only to seated occupants to conserve energy and maximize comfort.
Standard Bi-LED headlamps and LED rear combination lamps reduce energy consumption compared to halogens, while giving better light and having a longer service life. A backup camera comes standard on all grades, and a full-width glass panel beneath the rear spoiler aids rearward visibility while also serving as a distinctive design feature.
The Prius AWD-e models offer the same 65.5 cu. ft. of carrying space with the standard 60:40 split rear seatbacks lowered as other Prius models. That’s more than in some small SUVs and larger than most full-size sedans. Expanding carrying options, the Prius AWD-e will offer available Genuine Toyota Accessory cargo crossbars for roof rack attachments, such as for carrying bikes, kayaks, snowboards, or a cargo carrier. The Prius AWD-e XLE features upgraded SofTex-trimmed, heated front seats with 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.
The Prius comes standard with driver’s door Smart Key System, Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry. The XLE and Limited grades include Standard Smart Key System on three doors. An Adaptive Front Lighting System is available on the XLE grade and is standard on the Limited grade. And, Toyota Safety Connect, standard on Limited models, includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification and comes with a complimentary three-year trial subscription.
All 2019 Prius models, including the Prius AWD-e versions, come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). Using millimeter-wave radar and a monocular camera sensor to help detect a pedestrian, a vehicle, and lane markers and headlights in the surrounding area, TSS-P provides a comprehensive bundle of active safety features including: Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/ PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/ SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).
Because all Prius models, under certain circumstances, can operate in battery mode alone, during which they make little to no noise, they incorporate a Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS) to help alert pedestrians and cyclists.
Mazda unveils new Mazda3; first production car to offer Skyactiv-X SPCCI engine with M Hybrid system
In Japan, Mazda Motor Corporation hosted the world premiere of the all-new Mazda3. The fully redesigned model will be rolled out to global markets starting from North America in early 2019. The all-new Mazda3 will be on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The all-new Mazda3 adopts Mazda’s new Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, designed to enable people to make the most of their natural sense of balance. The powertrain lineup comprises the latest Skyactiv-X (Mazda’s Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) engine, earlier post), Skyactiv-G and Skyactiv-D engines, each of which provides responsive speed control in any driving situation. Mazda has enhanced the car’s fundamental driving attributes such that accelerating, turning and braking feel completely natural.
All-new Mazda3 is the first production car to offer Mazda’s innovative Skyactiv-X engine. Running on regular gasoline, SPCCI works by compressing the fuel-air mix at a much higher compression ratio, with a very lean mix. The SKYACTIV-X engine uses a spark to ignite only a small, dense amount of the fuel-air mix in the cylinder. This raises the temperature and pressure so that the remaining fuel-air mix ignites under pressure (like a diesel), burning faster and more completely than in conventional engines.
Features include superior initial response, powerful torque, faithful linear response and free-revving performance. The engine is assisted by Mazda’s intelligent new M Hybrid system, which supports greater gains in fuel economy, and achieves higher levels of driving pleasure and environmental friendliness.
5-, 2.0- and 2.5-liter versions of the latest Skyactiv-G comprise the gasoline engine lineup for the new Mazda3. All three adopt optimized intake ports and piston shape, split fuel injection and a coolant control valve to deliver higher levels of dynamic performance, fuel economy and environmental friendliness.
The Skyactiv-D 1.8 is the diesel engine offering for the new Mazda3. Incorporating ultra-high-response multi-hole piezo injectors allows the engine to utilize high-pressure, precisely controlled multi-stage injection. This realizes a finer balance of enhanced fuel economy, quietness and reduced exhaust gases, while also delivering smoother, more robust performance.
Mazda’s evolved i-Activ AWD newly adds four-wheel vertical load detection and works in harmony with G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) to control torque distribution between the front and rear wheels. As a result, it is fully capable of responding faithfully to the driver’s intentions, regardless of the driving scene. It also reduces overall mechanical loss by approximately 60% over the previous model and contributes to improved fuel economy.
G-Vectoring Control Plus (GVC Plus) adds direct yaw moment control via the brakes. This enables the car to better handle emergency avoidance maneuvers and offers more confidence-inspiring controllability in various situations, including lane changes at high speeds and driving on slippery roads.
Having sold over 6 million units since its 2003 debut, the all-new Mazda3 is a global strategic model that has driven Mazda’s growth from both a brand and business perspective.
Toyota introducing Corolla Hybrid to US at LA Auto Show; at least 50 mpg
Toyota is introducing the Corolla Hybrid to the US market at the LA Auto Show. (Earlier post.)
The new hybrid version of Toyota’s all-time best-selling car series achieves at least 50 mpg (4.7 l/100 km) combined fuel economy (projected). That makes the 2020 Corolla Hybrid the most fuel-efficient model to ever wear the model name that debuted more than a half-century ago. The model adapts the latest Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive from the new-generation Prius, already proven as an MPG winner.
As on the 2020 Corolla gas models, the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite of active safety systems comes standard on the hybrid.
The new hybrid system combines a 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with two motor/generators through an electronically controlled planetary-type continuously variable transmission (CVT) transaxle. Combined system output of 121 horsepower yields responsive performance.
The nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack employs a newly developed technology called Hyper-Prime Nickel (developed by Primearth EV Energy—originally Panasonic EV Energy—in Japan) to boost battery performance in a smaller and lighter package.
The battery’s smaller size and flatter shape allow it to be packaged under the rear seat, rather than taking up trunk space, and also allowing a 60/40 split folding rear seatback to expand cargo capacity. The battery location also contributes to the vehicle’s lower center of gravity, a boon to agility.
The engine, working in concert with the electric motor (MG2), assures responsive performance, while energy efficiency is achieved by using both electric motors (MG1 and MG2) for hybrid battery charging.
Driving the Corolla Hybrid.The battery provides a subtle power boost when pulling away in order to put less strain on the engine and eliminate the “rubber band” effect experienced with some hybrids.
A preload differential adds to the confident acceleration feel. During low loads and low differential rotation, differential-limited torque is distributed to the left and right wheels, yielding handling stability. At mid-range and high engine loads, the preload differential functions as an open differential.
Corolla Hybrid has EV mode, which allows the vehicle to be operated as a pure electric vehicle for short distances, depending upon certain conditions, such as battery charge level. This mode is useful for operating the vehicle in parking lots or indoor parking garages, for example. The Vehicle Proximity Notification feature alerts pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence when running in battery mode.
Along with the expected NORMAL and ECO drive modes, a SPORT drive mode setting allows for an increase in power for stronger acceleration response when desired.
NORMAL mode: Allows the hybrid system to achieve an ideal combination of fuel economy and vehicle acceleration. The accelerator opening amount changes linearly in response to accelerator pedal operation.
ECO mode: Improves hybrid system efficiency by limiting power in response to light to moderate accelerator pedal input.
SPORT mode: Available power is increased, allowing for improved acceleration response.
Stopping the Corolla Hybrid. Another boost to efficiency comes from the Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB) system, which coordinates operation between the regenerative braking force of the electric motors and the hydraulic braking system force to provide optimal stopping power. By proactively using the electric motors to recover as much electrical energy as possible from the regenerative braking system, this extremely efficient cooperative control helps to maximize fuel economy.
An active hydraulic booster on the conventional (non-regenerative) braking system improves pedal feel and feedback for the driver. Critically, should there ever be a malfunction in the ECB system, the conventional hydraulic braking system can stop the vehicle.
Brake Hold, when engaged, is a convenient technology that reduces driver effort while waiting at a traffic light or while driving in heavy traffic. When the driver presses the accelerator, Brake Hold releases instantly.
The engine. The 2ZR-FXE 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine was designed specifically for a hybrid application. The long-stroke configuration employs the Atkinson cycle, which uses a very high compression ratio (13.0:1) along with a shorter intake stroke and longer expansion stroke than the Otto cycle. The Atkinson cycle extracts more energy from the fuel, and the electric motors compensate for reduced low-end power (versus the Otto cycle).
Friction created by the piston skirts, rotating parts and oil pump is reduced, and an electric water pump eliminates the parasitic losses with a conventional belt-driven pump. Toyota sought efficiency gains in every system. The highly-efficient air conditioning system, for example, uses S-FLOW control, which automatically optimizes airflow throughout the cabin according to the temperature setting, actual cabin and outside temperatures, sunlight intensity, and occupied seats.
Getting the engine up to operating temperature quickly is critical to conserving fuel and reducing emissions at start-up. In the Corolla Hybrid, an exhaust heat recirculation system speeds up engine coolant warm-up. That in turn allows the hybrid system to stop the gas engine earlier and more often in the driving cycle when it’s not needed, for example in low-power-demand city driving conditions.
The PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) heater quickly provides cabin heat electrically in cold temperatures.
Hybrid Exclusives. The Corolla Hybrid rolls on 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels with low-rolling resistance tires. As on the Corolla gasoline models, the new multi-link rear suspension improves both handling agility and ride comfort compared to the previous-generation Corolla Sedan.
The instrument panel uses a high-grade meter with a 7-inch Multi-Information Display (MID). The MID shows the speedometer, as well as a hybrid system indicator/real-time battery charge status indicator. ECO accelerator guidance, also shown in the MID, can provide a guideline for maximizing fuel efficiency by coaching the driver on optimal accelerator pedal operation to match driving conditions. Drivers who like the visual appeal of seeing engine rpm can choose to display a tachometer.
The Corolla Hybrid features eight standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Corolla models come equipped with a standard backup camera.
All 2020 Corolla models are equipped as standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, an advanced suite of integrated active safety features.
PCS (Pre-Collision System): Is designed to automatically activate the brakes to help avoid a collision or mitigate the impact force. PCS is able to detect a vehicle or pedestrian in day and low-light conditions, as well as a bicycle during daylight.
Full-Speed DRCC (Dynamic Radar Cruise Control): Designed for highway use, designed to maintain a set vehicle-to-vehicle distance and is also capable of low-speed following up to speeds of about 24 mph. The Corolla can stop when the vehicle ahead comes to a stop, maintaining an appropriate distance to it.
LDA (Lane Departure Alert) w/ Steer Assist: Designed to give the driver audible and visual warnings and, if necessary, provides steering assistance if it detects the possibility of leaving the driving lane. It also detects excess weaving within the driving lane that might indicate driver distraction, inattention or drowsiness.
LTA (Lane Tracing Assist): LTA is enabled when LDA and DRCC are both on and active. LTA employs a lane centering function that will make constant steering inputs to help the driver keep the vehicle in its lane. LTA is designed for uses on relatively straight highways to preemptively avoid unwanted lane departures and reduce driver fatigue.
AHB (Automatic High Beam): When enabled, detects the headlights of oncoming vehicles and taillights of preceding vehicles and automatically switches between high and low beams as appropriate.
RSA (Road Sign Assist): Designed to recognize speed limit, Stop, Yield, and Do Not Enter signs and display them on the vehicles MID to help assist the driver.
Nissan LEAF helps power company’s NA facilities with V2G; Nissan Energy
Working with Fermata Energy, a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems company, Nissan North America is launching a new pilot program under the Nissan Energy Share initiative which leverages bi‑directional EV charging technology to partially power its North American headquarters in Franklin, TN, and its design center in San Diego, CA.
Bi-directional charging technology means not only charging the Nissan LEAF, but also pulling energy stored in the LEAF's battery pack to partially power external electrical loads, such as buildings and homes.
Suited for companies with fleet vehicles, the Nissan Energy Share pilot program will continuously monitor a building’s electrical loads, looking for opportunities to periodically draw on the LEAF’s “lower-cost energy” to provide power to the building during more expensive high-demand periods. This constant monitoring, called demand-charge management, could result in significant electricity savings and could offer the secondary benefit of reducing the burden of peak loads on local utilities.
The Nissan Energy Share pilot program using Nissan LEAFs will serve as a test of both technology and business viability as Nissan and Fermata Energy investigate the outcome for possible commercialization.
Nissan also has a number of other "second-life battery" initiatives for Nissan LEAF batteries, including installing second-life LEAF batteries at its North American facilities along with investigating new recycling methods for lithium ion batteries. Leading the industry, Nissan has also received certification for second-life LEAF batteries to be used in stationary energy storage.
Under the global plan, called Nissan Energy, owners of Nissan’s electric vehicles will be able to easily connect their cars with energy systems to charge their batteries, power homes and businesses or feed energy back to power grids. The company will also develop new ways to reuse electric car batteries.
Nissan has already begun programs in the US, Japan and Europe aimed at creating an ecosystem around its range of electric vehicles, including the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling electric car. Nissan Energy brings these initiatives together as part of the company’s Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy.
Nissan Energy will establish new standards for connecting vehicles to energy systems through three key initiatives: Nissan Energy Supply, Nissan Energy Share, and Nissan Energy Storage.
Nissan Energy Home. In Japan, Nissan unveiled the Nissan Energy Home demonstration house that shows how electric vehicles can help provide power for a home’s energy needs.
Located in the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama, the demonstration house features solar panels and a Nissan LEAF electric car that provides power from its battery pack. The Nissan Energy Home allows guests to learn about Nissan Energy, the company’s vision for connecting homes, cars and power grids.
At the heart of the Nissan Energy Home is a vehicle-to-home system. The system charges the connected electric vehicle, which then shares power with the home. This demonstrates Nissan Energy Share by using Nissan’s electric vehicle technology to store, share and repurpose energy.
During the day, when the sun is out, the solar panels generate electric power and forward it to the Nissan LEAF battery pack for charging. The LEAF assumes the role of an energy storage unit while the solar energy is harnessed.
When the sun goes down, the home’s electrical demands are managed by the Nissan LEAF to power lighting, air conditioning, televisions and even cooking appliances. The needs of a typical house can be provided using a small percentage of the battery capacity, leaving plenty of range for driving. The next day, the cycle is repeated.
U of Illinois team models capabilities of hybrid-electric propulsion systems for general aviation aircraft
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have utilized a series of simulations to model the performance of twin-engine hybrid-electric general-aviation propulsion systems. Their paper appears in the Journal of Aircraft.
They created a flight-performance simulator to represent accurately the true flight performance of a Tecnam P2006T on a general mission to include take off, climb, cruise, descent, and landing, along with sufficient reserves to meet FAA regulations. Transition segments were incorporated into the simulation during climb and descent where the throttle setting, flap deployment, propeller rotation rate, and all other flight control variables were either set to mimic input from a typical pilot or prescribed in accordance with the aircraft flight manual.
After configuring the simulator to collect baseline performance data, a parallel hybrid drivetrain was integrated into the simulation. The researchers compared the sensitivity of range and fuel economy to the level of electrification, battery specific energy density, and electric motor power density. The same sensitivities were studied with a series hybrid-electric drivetrain.
a) parallel and b) series drivetrain models
They found that current technology allows a parallel hybrid configuration to achieve a maximum theoretical range of approximately 175 n mile. The results also indicated that parallel hybrid architectures will offer an effective near-term configuration, by offering greater range performance than a series hybrid with incremental future advancements in battery specific energy density and electric motor power density.
However, distant future advancements in these technologies will allow series-hybrid architectures to produce similar range capabilities with improved fuel economy over parallel-hybrid architectures.
Jet fuel and aviation gasoline are easy to store on an airplane. They are compact and lightweight when compared to the amount of energy they provide. Unfortunately, the actual combustion process is very inefficient. We’re harnessing only a small fraction of that energy but we currently don’t have electrical storage systems that can compete with that.
—Phillip Ansell, assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois
Ansell said adding more batteries to fly farther may seem logical, but it works against the goal to make an aircraft as lightweight as possible.
Ansell said that, overall, a hybrid-electric drivetrain can lead to substantial improvements in fuel efficiency of a given aircraft configuration, though these gains depend strongly on the coupled variations in the degree of drivetrain electrification and the required mission range. Both of these factors influence the weight allocation of battery and fuel systems, as well as the weight scaling imposed by internal combustion engine and electrical motor components. In general, to obtain the greatest fuel efficiency a hybrid architecture should be used with as much electrification in the drivetrain as is permissible within a given range requirement.
The fuel efficiency improvements were shown to particularly shine for short-range missions, which is a good thing since range limitations serve as one of the key bottlenecks in hybrid aircraft feasibility.
One interesting and unexpected result we observed, however, came about when comparing the parallel and series hybrid architectures. Since the parallel architecture mechanically couples the shaft power of the engine and motor together, only one electrical machine is needed. For the series architecture, a generator is also needed to convert the engine power to electrical power, along with a larger motor than the parallel hybrid configuration to drive the propulsor. Unexpectedly, this aspect made the parallel architecture more beneficial for improved range and fuel burn almost across the board due to its lighter weight. However, we did observe that if significant improvements are made in maturing electrical motor components in the very long term, we may actually someday see better efficiency out of series-hybrid architectures, as they permit a greater flexibility in the placement and distribution of propulsors.
This project was supported by NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center under Small Business Technology Transfer in collaboration with Rolling Hills Research Corporation.
Tyler S. Dean, Gabrielle E. Wroblewski, and Phillip J. Ansell (2018) “Mission Analysis and Component-Level Sensitivity Study of Hybrid-Electric General-Aviation Propulsion Systems” Journal of Aircraft doi: 10.2514/1.C034635
Johnson Controls and Toshiba partner to bring leading automakers low-voltage lithium-ion solutions; dual-battery systems
Johnson Controls Power Solutions and Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation have partnered to deliver low-voltage lithium-ion solutions to meet automaker demands for improved efficiency, lower costs and less complexity.
Under the agreement, Johnson Controls will collaborate with Toshiba to develop and manufacture lithium-ion batteries at its Holland, MI, plant and pair them with existing lead-acid battery technology as part of dual-battery systems.
Dual-battery vehicles are expected to be the fastest-growing form of electrification and by 2025 will account for approximately 20% of new vehicles built globally, according to IHS Markit. Adoption rates will be even greater in locations with strict fuel economy standards.
Because paired systems require minimal powertrain alterations, automakers can deploy them across multiple vehicle lines with a lower investment than other electrified powertrains. Paired systems achieve up to 8% greater fuel efficiency than a conventional system.
Low-voltage dual-battery technology is the next step in the evolution of vehicle systems that helps to strike a balance between consumer demands, increasing regulations and automaker economics.
—Brian Cooke, group vice president, Products, Power Solutions, Johnson Controls
Our SCiB is distinguished by its excellent characteristics and the use of a lithium-titanium anode to deliver safety, a long life, low-temperature performance, rapid charging, high input and output power, and a large effective capacity. It is also a good match with lead-acid batteries, and we are sure our joint work with Johnson Controls will greatly benefit automakers around the globe facing efficiency challenges.
—Fujio Takahashi, general manager of Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation
The Holland, MI, plant opened in 2010 and was first in the United States to produce complete lithium-ion battery cells and systems. The two companies plan to collaborate on future technology development and exploration of additional applications in which Toshiba technology can be integrated.
UT Austin team proposes novel approach to suppress polysulfide shuttle in Li-S batteries
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are proposing a novel approach to suppress the “polysulfide shuttle” in Li-S batteries—a freestanding, three-dimensional graphene/1T MoS2 (3DG/TM) heterostructure with highly efficient electrocatalysis for lithium polysulfides (LiPSs).
Cells with 3DG/TM exhibit outstanding electrochemical performance, with a high reversible discharge capacity of 1181 mAh g-1 and a capacity retention of 96.3% after 200 cycles. An open-access paper on their work is published in the RSC journal Energy & Environmental Science.
The 3DG/TM heterostructure is constructed by a few-layered graphene nanosheets sandwiched by hydrophilic, metallic, few-layered 1T MoS2 nanosheets with abundant active sites.
The metallic 1T MoS2 nanosheets are hydrophilic with rich active sites and high electronic conductivity that is six orders of magnitude higher than that of 2H MoS2.
The conversion process of LiPSs on a graphene surface with 1T MoS2. The 3DG/TM heterostructures work as a highly efficient electrocatalyst for LiPSs conversion. He et al.
The porous 3D structure and the hydrophilic feature of 1T-MoS2 are beneficial for electrolyte penetration and Li-ion transfer, and the high conductivities of both graphene and 1T MoS2 nanosheets facilitate electron transfer.
These attributes lead to a high electrocatalytic efficiency for LiPSs due to excellent ion/electron transfer and sufficient electrocatalytic active sites.
Jiarui He, Gregory Hartmann, Myungsuk Lee, Gyeong S. Hwang, Yuanfu Chen and Arumugam Manthiram (2018) “Freestanding 1T MoS2/Graphene Heterostructure as a Highly Efficient Electrocatalyst for Lithium Polysulfides in Li-S Batteries” Energy Environ. Sci. doi: 10.1039/C8EE03252A
Global Bioenergies receives 13 LOIs for purchases covering the capacity of its renewable isobutene and derivatives plant
Global Bioenergies has received 13 letters of intent from French and international industrial leaders for purchases totaling 49,000 to 64,000 tons of isobutene and derivatives annually. This covers the total production capacity of the planned IBN-One plant, a joint venture with Cristal Union, the fourth-largest sugar producer in Europe.
The letters of intent come from the cosmetics, specialty fuels, road fuels and air transport industries.
More than half of the letters of intent and a significant share of capacity (about 20%) are earmarked for high added-value niche markets in specialty fuels and cosmetics. Several of the letters of intent include price indications that confirm the potential for isobutene derivatives to fetch prices far higher than their oil-derived counterparts.
The internal return rate (IRR) is around 18% in our base case scenario, well above average for industrial projects. This IRR would be even higher under optimistic scenarios, with greater demand from high-premium market segments. The investment bank Vulcain is assisting IBN-One in putting together the financing package and identifying financial partners for the project.
—Bernard Chaud, CEO of IBN-One
Audi, Airbus and Italdesign present flying, driving model prototype of flying taxi/autonomous EV concept
Audi, Airbus and Italdesign are presenting for the first time a flying and driving prototype of “Pop.Up Next”. This innovative concept for a flying taxi combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone.
In the first public test flight, the flight module accurately placed a passenger capsule on the ground module, which then drove from the test grounds autonomously.
This is still a 1:4 scale model. But as soon as the coming decade, Audi suggests, its customers could use a convenient and efficient flying taxi service in large cities—in multi-modal operation, in the air and on the road.
Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that. More and more people are moving to cities. And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation. In future senior citizens, children, and people without a driver’s license will want to use convenient robot taxis. If we succeed in making a smart allocation of traffic between roads and airspace, people and cities can benefit in equal measure.
—Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi board member for sourcing and IT, and president of the Audi subsidiary Italdesign
To see what an on-demand service of this kind could be like, Audi is conducting tests in South America in cooperation with the Airbus subsidiary Voom. Customers book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo, while an Audi is at the ready for the journey to or from the landing site.
Services like this help us to understand our customers’ needs better. Because in the future, flying taxis will appeal to a wide range of city dwellers. With Pop.Up Next we are simultaneously exploring the boundaries of what is technically possible. The next step is for a full-size prototype to fly and drive.
Audi is also supporting the Urban Air Mobility flying taxi project in Ingolstadt. This initiative is preparing test operations for a flying taxi at Audi’s site, and is part of a joint project of the European Union in the framework of the marketplace for the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities. This project aims to convince the public of the benefits of the new technology and answer questions concerning battery technology, regulation, certification, and infrastructure.
Volkswagen showcasing electric I.D. BUZZ CARGO, Cargo e-Bike concepts at LA Auto Show
At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Volkswagen is showcasing two electric concepts. The I.D. BUZZ CARGO,in its auto show debut, is an electric panel van concept based on the MEB toolkit that offers up to 340 miles of range on the WLTP cycle. The electric Cargo e-Bike concept, in its North American debut, carries a 463 lb payload.
Both concepts were unveiled at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Germany in September. (Earlier post.) The I.D. BUZZ CARGO shown in Los Angeles has been reimagined from the version first shown in Hannover earlier this year. As a support vehicle for the I.D. R Pikes Peak record holder, its livery mimics the R’s colors and the design includes the course map for the race.
The original Volkswagen Transporter is arguably the most recognizable light commercial vehicle of all time. With the auto show premiere of the I.D. BUZZ CARGO concept, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is showing how an electrically powered and completely redeveloped Transporter might change the world of LCVs. Based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), and a sibling to the I.D. BUZZ concept first shown in Detroit last year, the CARGO could be launched as a production vehicle in Europe as early as 2022.
As the newest member of the I.D. Family, I.D. BUZZ CARGO offers long range driving capability, multiple packaging options and innovative features. Like all I.D. family models, a variety of battery packs can be fitted, according to vehicle usage. Depending on the size of the battery pack, CARGO can achieve ranges between about 200 and 340 miles on the WLTP cycle. If the vehicle covers fairly normal distances in the city on a daily and weekly basis, a lithium-ion battery with an energy capacity of 48 kWh is recommended. If greater range is needed, the energy capacity can be increased up to 111 kWh.
The 111kWh battery in the CARGO can be charged to 80% capacity in 30 minutes with a 150 kW DC fast-charger. The battery system has also been prepared for inductive charging.
The battery is integrated into the vehicle floor, lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity and improving handling significantly. The transporter’s axles have been shifted outwards, because no space is required for a combustion engine at the front, and the compact electric motor is mounted on the rear axle, creating up to 7 cubic feet of extra space in the front of the vehicle.
To charge, the van is positioned over a charging plate while parking. As soon as the control unit of the charging plate in the pavement has set up a communications channel with the vehicle, contactless energy can be transferred through an electromagnetic field generated between two coils (one in the floor of the parking space and one in the vehicle).
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has combined the battery in the CARGO with a 201-horsepower (150 kW) electric motor, a single-speed transmission, and rear-wheel drive. However, an all-wheel drive system, such as the one implemented in the I.D. BUZZ, is possible in the future simply by adding a motor at the front of the vehicle.
The vehicle’s top speed is electronically limited to 99 mph.
In driving mode, the main controls are located on the steering wheel and key information is projected in 3D via an Augmented Reality (AR) head-up display. Rear view mirrors become a thing of the past, with cameras projecting images onto small screens in the cab, and other information such as infotainment and climate control functions is displayed on a tablet.
During autonomous driving it is possible to accept, schedule, and process orders from the driver's workplace. Thanks to the connected shelving system's data it is also possible to perform order-related stock checks while on the move. It is also possible to perform optimum, flexible route planning, taking customer appointments into account. With the Safety Check function, any unsecured tools or missing parts are indicated before the start of the journey. Any components taken out get automatically registered, working times recorded and invoices issued. An 8.6-square-foot light integrated in the roof makes access to the items even easier and quicker.
Other innovative features of the CARGO include a solar roof that can extend the range of the vehicle by up to 9.3 miles a day, fully autonomous driving with “I.D. Pilot” model, a digital cargo system and a 230V socket to provide power for workers’ tools.
Cargo e-Bike. The Cargo e-Bike concept is suited for making emissions-free deliveries in places where a truck can’t go—such as pedestrian-only city centers. A 250W motor assists the rider, and is powered by a lithium-ion battery. This vehicle—the smallest Volkswagen commercial vehicle ever—is equipped with two wheels at the front, with the load platform positioned low between them. Mounted on this load platform is a cargo box with a 17.7 ft3 storage volume.
The Cargo e-Bike can carry a total payload of 463 pounds and innovative tilt-compensating tech keeps the load platform horizontal in turns.
EEA: rising energy consumption, particularly in transport, slows EU progress on renewables and energy efficiency targets
Progress on increasing the use of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency is slowing across the European Union, putting at risk the EU’s ability to achieve its energy and emissions reduction targets. Rising energy consumption, particularly in the transport sector, is to blame for the slowdown, according to preliminary data released in the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual analysis on the EU’s progress towards its targets on renewables and energy efficiency.
EU progress towards 2020 and 2030 targets on climate and energy
The EEA’s updated assessment on the EU’s progress on renewable energy and energy efficiency targets completes this year’s ‘Trends and Projections in Europe: 2018: Tracking progress towards Europe’s climate and energy targets’ package. The report is based on the most recent reported and approximated data from EU Member States on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy uptake and energy consumption. Complementing the report are updated climate and energy country factsheets. The first part of the ‘Trends and Projections’ report, which includes an assessment of progress towards the EU’s climate targets, was published in October.
While the EU as a whole remains on track to meet its 2020 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy use, recent increasing trends in energy consumption need to be reversed in order to meet the 2020 targets. Renewed efforts will also be necessary to meet the 2030 climate and energy targets.
Progress on renewables. The uptake of renewable energy as part of the EU’s energy mix resulted in a 17.4% share of renewables in gross final energy consumption in 2017, according to preliminary EEA data. This indicates that the EU remains on track to reach its target of a renewables share of 20% by 2020.
However, the pace of increasing renewables use was only up marginally from 17.0% in 2016. There has also been insufficient progress towards the 10% target for renewables in the transport sector by 2020. With 2020 approaching, the trajectories needed to meet the national targets are becoming steeper. Increased energy consumption and persisting market barriers are hindering the uptake of renewables in several Member States.
Preliminary EEA data for 2017 show that 20 Member States were on track to reach their individual targets on renewable energy by 2020—a decline from 2016, when 25 countries were on track. In many countries, the slowing of progress is due to increases in total energy consumption, which caused the share of renewables in energy consumption to fall.
Energy efficiency hampered by increased consumption. Over the past decade, energy consumption generally decreased at a pace that could ensure the achievement of the EU’s 2020 targets on energy efficiency. However, in 2015, energy consumption in the EU began to increase, and the EEA’s preliminary estimates for 2017 indicate that both primary energy consumption and final energy consumption now lie above the indicative trajectory towards 2020.
Notably, in 2016, growing demands for energy in the transport sector reached 33 % of final energy consumption in the EU. The continued growth in energy consumption, particularly in transport but also in other sectors, makes achieving the 2020 target increasingly uncertain.
Preliminary EEA data from 2017 show that 13 Member States are expected to have increased their primary energy consumption to levels above the trajectories to their 2020 targets. That is an increase of three countries from 2016. Member States will need to increase their efforts to bring the EU back on track and reverse the trend of increasing energy consumption, in particular in the transport sector.
Stepped up measures needed to meet 2030 targets. New EU-wide targets are set for 2030 in the areas of greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, namely to:
Reduce the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions domestically by at least 40% (compared to 1990 levels);
Increase the share of renewable energy sources to at least 32 % of gross final energy consumption; and
Achieve at least a 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency (compared to the 2007 baseline).
The EEA’s Trends and Projections report indicates that the current trends will not be adequate to reach the 2030 targets, and additional and enhanced efforts will be necessary in the coming decade.
To this end, Member States will submit by the end of 2018 their first draft national energy and climate plans, including details on climate and energy objectives and policies that that will help them achieve the 2030 targets.