ACHATES | NEW ENGINE EXCEEDS CAFE NORMS
Achates Power Inc, maker of opposed-piston engines, recently announced the development of an engine for a light-duty truck demonstration vehicle, which will surpass CAFE 2025 regulations. The opposed-piston engine will be 30-50 % more efficient than comparable engines, reduce emissions and cost less than alternative technologies under development for meeting CAFE, the company noted.
The new 2.7 l Achates Power opposed-piston engine develops 270 hp and 650 Nm of torque. The company said that this engine is capable of delivering fuel economy of almost 16 km/l, which is more than the 14 km/l fully phased-in CAFE 2025 requirements for a full-size, light-duty pick-up truck. Achates noted that the demonstration engine will be integrated into a drivable prototype in 2018, with development engines also being available for automakers.
The opposed-piston engine uses fewer parts, including eliminating the cylinder head(s) and related components, valvetrain and related components, and a reduction in the after-treatment system size and cost. A comparison between the 2.7 l opposed-piston engine and a comparable V6 with supercharger shows parts reduction of over 60 %, enabling about 10 % cost reduction.
The Achates opposed-piston engine features two pistons per cylinder, working in opposite reciprocating action. The engine does not need cylinder heads, which are a major contributor to heat losses in conventional engines. Ports in the cylinder walls replace the complex poppet valves and friction-creating valve trains of conventional engines. The intake ports at one end of the cylinder and exhaust ports at the other are opened by the piston motion and enable efficient uniflow air scavenging. The two-stroke, compression ignition engine has been engineered to achieve superior thermal efficiency by the virtue of its lower heat losses, higher expansion ratio, lean combustion and reduced pumping losses, Achates explained. According to the company, there is no solution for the proposed 2025 CAFE regulation that is as cost-effective, compatible with existing vehicles and fuels, production-ready and adaptable to future renewable fuels as its opposed-piston engines.
BOSCH | SHOWCASES EV POWERTRAIN SOLUTIONS
Bosch recently showcased its new range of powertrain solutions, at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2017, aimed at future EV technologies for sustainable performance.
First up was Bosch's new electric axle drive system (eAxle), which makes electrification accessible for automakers through a scalable, modular platform that can bring 5-10 % cost efficiency as compared to stand-alone components. It is also flexible for multiple platforms and brings together various Bosch powertrain components into one system.
The company's Thermal Management Station provided a glimpse of heat flow management in EVs, extending range by up to 25 %, especially in winter driving conditions. Bosch is also demonstrated the third generation of its direct injection technology, which provides improvements in efficiency, reduced particulate and gaseous emissions, and improved acoustic performance.
In addition to powertrain technologies, Bosch also unveiled new technologies for automation and connectivity. There was the global debut of the company's Electric Power Steering (EPS) system with fail-operational function, which Bosch says is a highly redundant feature that enables either a driver or auto pilot system to independently return to a minimal risk condition. It does so while maintaining about 50 % electric steering support in the rare case of a single failure, explained Bosch.
Going forward, Bosch says that it will continue to develop new solutions that will make electrification accessible to the masses, so OEMs can deliver on the promise of this technology to mainstream consumers. Through both OEM feedback and consumer interest, Bosch is seeing that automotive electrification is fast gaining prominence and is a key focus area for the near future.
CONTINENTAL | JOINS HANDS WITH USI
Continental has announced that it is working along with Urban Software Institute GmbH, in Germany, to contribute to the development of a 'smart city' and intelligent transportation systems. Continental also said it is taking over Urban Software Institute's advisory board for car applications and becoming a strategic automotive partner, mainly to address issues related to infrastructure data for vehicles.
The Urban Software Institute was founded in 2012 with the aim of assisting cities around the world with digitalisation. It has developed an open data platform designed specifically for cities and municipalities that makes it possible to collect and aggregate data from various elements of a city's infrastructure. By taking over the advisory board for car applications, Continental will utilise its expertise in car electronics and connectivity to streamline requirements between automotive technologies and urban applications and services.
A specific application of the networked city and interconnected vehicles is Continental's eHorizon, which converts vehicles into 'recipients' and 'senders' of anonymous traffic data. This enables drivers and vehicle electronics to benefit directly from real-time traffic and traffic light data, Continental noted. The first test project where live traffic light data is made available to drivers is already under way in Darmstadt, Germany. Similarly, individual vehicles and especially vehicles in a fleet can also become important data sources for the city, the company said. Purely anonymous information such as position and average speed can help cities optimize traffic light phases in real-time. This data can then be used to improve the flow of traffic at peak times and help emergency vehicles reach their destinations more quickly.
Interconnectivity between the city and its vehicles is the key to an attractive urban environment in the future, which Continental looks forward to developing together with the Urban Institute.
GM, HONDA | JOIN HANDS FOR FUEL CELL SYSTEM
General Motors and Honda recently announced a manufacturing joint venture to mass produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system, which will be used in future cars from each company. Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC will operate within GM's existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, in the US. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin in the year 2020 and the two companies are making investments of $ 85 million each in the joint venture.
While the manufacturing agreement has only recently been announced, Honda and GM have in fact been working together through a collaboration agreement that was announced back in 2013, for the development of next-generation fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage technologies. The companies integrated their development teams and shared hydrogen fuel cell intellectual property to create a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems. Together, the two companies want to get to the point where mass production of a fuel cell system becomes technically and economically feasible.
With the new Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) joint venture, GM and Honda hope to eventually deploy fuel cell technology on production cars, creating vehicles that are more differentiated from the competition, while also being extremely environmentally friendly at the same time.
MAGNA | SHOWS ULTRA-LIGHT DOOR MODULE
Magna International Inc has announced the development of a new, ultra-light automotive door architecture that achieves 42.5 % mass savings when compared to an average current production door. This lightweight door architecture has been developed in cooperation with the US Department of Energy (DOE) and partners Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) US and Grupo Antolin, the company noted. Magna presented this solution at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), aimed at further helping global automakers meet emissions standards and reduce fuel consumption through lightweighting.
Magna said its advanced engineering team combined its full-vehicle perspective to design a driver-side door with a mix of materials and technology to tackle the challenge of significant weight reduction. This door architecture was developed in under 10 months, while keeping the cost within accepted industry parameters, the company added. It also said that this solution can be applied to about 70 % of the light vehicle market.
Magna has built on its know-how from the development of the Multi-Material Lightweight Vehicle (MMLV) with the DOE and Ford in 2014. The company noted that it has taken these learnings a step further in creating a solution for this advanced ultra-light door project. This lightweight door architecture includes the integration of Magna's SmartLatch electronic latch system, which eliminates the need for mechanical hardware and enables the development of a unique carrier module with integrated glass guides and lift capability of a lightweight hybrid glass laminate.