Automakers and suppliers crank up their interest in electric bikes

auto2

Automakers and Tier 1s are expanding their view of transportation and its potential profit centers. They’re rolling out battery-powered electric bicycles that let drivers park cars in less congested areas and pedal the remaining distances. Electric motors provide boosts so cyclists aren’t tired and sweaty when they reach their destinations.

Continental Automotive recently demonstrated its Conti eBike System, which is being offered to automotive OEMs and bicycle manufacturers. Developers are leveraging experience gained in electric powertrain development, among other technologies. The company is bullish about its role in powered bicycles.

“There are a lot possible synergies within the Continental corporation taking advantage of other transportation and mobility solutions and adapting them to bicycles/e-bikes,” said Horst Walter, the company’s Benchmark Drives Director. “With this vision, we feel confident in becoming a leading supplier of innovative drive solutions in the bicycle industry.”

Automotive OEMs are quickly moving into this market. Ford, whose founder once worried that the early U.S. motorcycle industry would threaten his nascent Model T, has unveiled two E-bikes and detailed an additional concept model. Audi recently discussed a concept e-bike. Daimler’s Smart is offering a bike with a 35-N·m (25 lb·ft) motor and an

2017 Nissan Armada steps onto Patrol platform

auto3

No longer sharing its platform with the Titan full-size pickup truck, the all-new 2017 Nissan Armada full-size SUV is now attached to one of the automaker’s most iconic nameplates that originated in 1951.

The second-generation Armada shares its platform with the Nissan Patrol, a vehicle that has earned its reputation in extreme use the world over, and has won its class in the grueling Dakar Rally off-road endurance race three times.

“The global Patrol is set up for a very harsh environment, so it’s a high durability, high severity vehicle,” said Peter Luttenbacher, Nissan North America’s Manager of Truck and SUV Product Planning. “We wanted to find this balance between the capability of the global Patrol—used off-road for jumping sand dunes in the Middle East and long-distance, heavy towing in Russia, China, and other regions—and the pure on-road [driving associated] with sedans.”

Luttenbacher and other Nissan product technical experts spoke with Automotive Engineering at the 2017 Armada’s world reveal on the eve of the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.

Armada and its upscale sibling, the Infiniti QX80, retain their body-on-frame architecture. Both ride on the same fully boxed all-steel frame, its longitudinal rails increased in width from

Nissan readies light-duty version of Titan pickup

auto1

At February’s Chicago auto show, Nissan revealed the 2017 light-duty (half-ton) version of the Titan pickup as the promised follow-up to the 2016 Titan XD quasi-commercial model that straddles the line between light- and heavy-duty pickups. But the Chicago unveiling wasn’t entirely conventional: Nissan showed only photos of the half-ton version of the Titan and said it will be in showrooms this summer.

Nissan found reluctance from consumers regarding the first-generation light-duty Titan, which was launched in 2003 on the pickup-specific “F-Alpha” ladder-frame chassis and continued through 2015. So the company decided to take a different vector with the Titan XD (http://articles.sae.org/13829/) in an attempt to address the market space between light-duty pickups – which the Detroit Three automakers dominate (to the ongoing chagrin of Nissan and Toyota) – and the larger heavy-duty models that are increasingly popular with both commercial and “business-personal” buyers.

The half-ton Titan will compete in the heart of the full-size pickup segment, while the XD provides a unique solution for customers by bridging the cost and capability gap between traditional half-ton and full heavy-duty pickups. Together the two Titans “will cover nearly 85% of the total full-size truck market,”

How to Know Your Used Car Title is Real

Buying a car from someone that doesn’t work on a dealership is definitely a difficult experience. You want to trust them whenever they say something about the vehicle, but you’re not really sure about how much you can trust them. So what do you do? Well the best thing you can do is your homework. Find out as much as you can about the vehicle and then make sure you’re getting what you’ve paid for. One way to do that is by checking out the title.

Any vehicle that you purchase is going to have a title. It has to. You need to get that title when you’re purchasing the vehicle because it says that the vehicle belongs to you. But you want to make sure that you’re getting all the information and that the title you get is going to be a legitimate one, so how do you make sure of that? If you’re using a used car loans for bad credit to pay for your vehicle you may have to go to an approved dealer, which means you may not be able to get a car from a private party

Sign of the Times: How Car Wraps and Signage Can Keep Your Business Moving

Advertising is one of the more interesting quirks of modernity, a place where culture and commerce collide.  When you get right down to it, advertisements are an outgrowth of both the rise of modern economic systems and the increased focus on the individual and their socio-economic role therein.  There’s a vested interest for companies to capitalise on you, and for you to get the best bang for your buck.  We as consumers have developed a nuanced and highly interesting relationship with companies and advertising that results in all those maddeningly catchy ads and jingles you see on TV or posted on billboards, or, indeed, printed on buses.

Here’s a quick look at how car wraps can help keep your business moving forward.

Getting Off to a Fast Start

If advertisements are an outgrowth of changing socio-economic and cultural conditions over the past few hundred years, car wraps represent an even more modern shift in our cultural consciousness, combining two of the most unique and ubiquitous hallmarks of the 20th century—mass marketing and automobiles.  The rise of cars marked a key stage in both social and literal mobility, and it is precisely the middle class, which

Harman launches new HQ for connected-vehicle developments

Harman International’s $30 million investment in a new, three-story building in metro Detroit consolidates technical specialists from eight separate locations into one vast connected-vehicle workplace.

“This facility is a vertically integrated innovation hub. Engineers can sit together, collaborate together, and push the ideas for navigation, telematics, safety, [cyber] security, over-the-air-updates, tuner technology, and audio,” said Dinesh Paliwal, Chairman, President and CEO of Harman International Industries.

Paliwal and other Harman executives spoke with Automotive Engineering at the company’s newly opened North American automotive headquarters in Novi, MI. The 188,000 ft2 (17,465 m2) center houses 1000 engineers and support staff. Engineering labs, infotainment design studios, an anechoic chamber, and a full-scale pilot factory will be among the facility’s features.

Tim VanGoethem, Vice President for the Infotainment platform group, said the center’s engineering teams will build system prototypes, then integrate and test technologies to validate that a connected car platform functions properly from an end-to-end perspective. The big target is proving out technologies in a shorter time frame.

“With what has historically been done with vehicle development, there’s a pretty sizable disconnect compared to the product development cycles for personal use and in-the-home technologies,” VanGoethem said. “We’re trying to shrink connected car product cycles by solving problems

GT Concept reveals Opel/Vauxhall’s sports car template

GM’s European brands Opel and Vauxhall may have new minimalist sports cars in the pipeline. The brands will reveal a concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show that they describe as “a template” for the sporty shape of things to come.

Sports cars have not been on the Opel and Vauxhall agenda for several years. But bolder and more individualistic styling linked to some fine powertrains certainly has. Describing the new GT Concept, Mark Adams, GM’s Vice President, Design Europe, called it “dramatic, sculptural and full of innovation.” Unlike current Opel/Vauxhall products, the car has a front/mid-engine, rear wheel drive configuration.

Opel/Vauxhall is demonstrating the seriousness of the GT Concept by providing some pre-Geneva technical details. Its 3-cylinder engine, driving through a 6-speed sequential gearbox, is a 107-kW (143-hp), 205-N·m (151-lb·ft) version of the 1.0-L turbo unit currently used extensively by the company.

The car weighs “under 1000 kg,” according to Adams, and performance claims include 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in less than 8.0 s and a Vmax of 216 km/h (134 mph).

Vauxhall and Opel have marketed sports cars before, most recently the Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220, based on the Lotus Series 2 Elise and built from 2000-2005. The GT Concept, however, clearly draws

SAE standards point way to service of R-1234yf systems

 

The automotive air-conditioning industry changeover to low global warming R-1234yf involves a lot more than new fittings and a more robust evaporator to prevent leakage of the mildly-flammable refrigerant. An initial group of new A/C-related SAE standards was promulgated last year (http://articles.sae.org/9392), and several others are going through the development pipeline including SAE J3094, a test procedure to verify performance of internal heat exchangers.

And as part of the cooperative process with EPA, the agency’s Rebecca von dem Hagen told a recent meeting of the SAE Interior Climate Control Standards Committee that three of them will be incorporated in EPA regulations by reference. They are SAE J2843, which covers recovery, recycling and recharging (RRR) equipment for flammable refrigerants; SAE J3030, a new standard for RRR both R-134a and R-1234yf with a single machine —the two refrigerants that are in simultaneous use; and J2851, which defines requirements for recovery-only equipment for systems containing contaminated R-134a or R-1234yf.

They join SAE J2788, a standard for high-efficiency recovery, recycling and high-accuracy recharging of R-134a, which has been referenced in the U.S. Clean Air Act since 2007.

SAE J2843 differs from J2788, the standard for R-134a-only RRR equipment, in that it sets engineering requirements for safety of

SAE standards point way to service of R-1234yf systems

The automotive air-conditioning industry changeover to low global warming R-1234yf involves a lot more than new fittings and a more robust evaporator to prevent leakage of the mildly-flammable refrigerant. An initial group of new A/C-related SAE standards was promulgated last year (http://articles.sae.org/9392), and several others are going through the development pipeline including SAE J3094, a test procedure to verify performance of internal heat exchangers.

And as part of the cooperative process with EPA, the agency’s Rebecca von dem Hagen told a recent meeting of the SAE Interior Climate Control Standards Committee that three of them will be incorporated in EPA regulations by reference. They are SAE J2843, which covers recovery, recycling and recharging (RRR) equipment for flammable refrigerants; SAE J3030, a new standard for RRR both R-134a and R-1234yf with a single machine —the two refrigerants that are in simultaneous use; and J2851, which defines requirements for recovery-only equipment for systems containing contaminated R-134a or R-1234yf.

They join SAE J2788, a standard for high-efficiency recovery, recycling and high-accuracy recharging of R-134a, which has been referenced in the U.S. Clean Air Act since 2007.

SAE J2843 differs from J2788, the standard for R-134a-only RRR equipment, in that it sets engineering requirements for safety of

GM rechristens Powertrain unit as Global Propulsion Systems

In its latest break from its storied but perceptually stodgy past, General Motors has renamed its Powertrain division—since 1992 the unit responsible for design, development and manufacturing of engines and transmissions—to GM Global Propulsion Systems. The world’s third-largest automaker believes the new name more accurately reflects the company’s expanding development and deployment of non-traditional drivetrains that, from gasoline-engine hybrids to hydrogen fuel cells, use varying degrees of electrification to propel the vehicle and enhance its efficiency.

Dan Nicholson, Vice President, GM Global Propulsion Systems, said in a statement, “Gone are the days when a gasoline engine and a transmission are designed independently meet a customer’s expectations. Today’s customer is demanding unprecedented technology integration that requires unprecedented engineering and supplier partnerships. The diversity of our propulsion systems requires a name that reflects what we are already working on and delivering to our customers. I believe this will establish an industry trend.”

Nearly half of the Global Propulsion Systems engineering workforce is involved with alternative or electrified propulsion systems, according to GM. Recent model introductions employing advanced drivetrains include the 2016 Chevrolet Volt extended range electric, Chevrolet’s 2017 Bolt EV, and the 2017 Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid variant of the luxury brand’s all-new flagship sedan.

After

Controlling GM’s electrified herd

As General Motors proliferates electrified powertrain applications among its brands, it is also rapidly commonizing those systems as much as possible. Witness the 2016 Chevrolet Volt and Malibu Hybrid; both systems were developed in parallel and share key design, engineering and certain component elements. And the 2017 Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid’s sophisticated propulsion system marries aspects of the latest Volt and those of GM’s earlier 2-Mode hybrid system. At the recent 2016 SAE Hybrid & EV Symposium in California, Automotive Engineering talked with Tim Grewe, GM’s Director of General Electrification, about the role of controls in the electrified vehicle space.

It seems that going forward it’s the controls, not hardware, that will separate a Volt from a Bolt from a CT6—and a Cadillac PHEV from a Mercedes or Audi.

Controls are fundamental to vehicle high performance and efficiency. And it’s truly multidisciplinary, getting engineers who normally don’t work together trading off the optimizations. If you take a classic control theory that’s engine-centric and just about BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption), that might not be so good because the motor control is less efficient in those operating points. You’ve got to tie them all together.

We’ve got about a dozen controllers, real time, on the

Mainstreaming hybrids and EVs

Will the inefficiency of the automobile ultimately doom the automobile?

Big questions like this one, posed by Ford Technical Fellow Dr. Michael Tamor, hit February’s SAE Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Symposium audience between the eyes. Nothing like challenging the long-term viability of your industry’s fundamental technology to get a room of 250 engineers engaged with the program.

Dr. Tamor’s look at greenhouse-gas reduction opportunities beyond 2025 kept returning to a key point: affordability. It was a perfect kick-off to the next two days of insights from vehicle engineers and other industry experts who are charged with enhancing HEV, PHEV, and EV battery power density and driveline performance and efficiency – while driving down cost, of course. Consumer acceptance of HEVs and plug-ins ultimately is driven by these efforts.

During this 13th annual SAE event, I spoke with a number of the presenters about the future of vehicle electrification. Nearly all agreed with my premise that in order for their companies to meet the increasingly stringent global CO2 emission requirements going forward, hybridization must become mainstream technology. Depending on the vehicle application, the experts see a mix of 12-V, 48-V, and high-voltage solutions. And for plug-in vehicles, there must be ubiquitous deployment of

Accelerated ash load testing of particulate filters on an automated test rig

The detrimental effects of ash on diesel particulate filter (DPF) and now gasoline particulate filter (GPF) performance is of significant concern because the resulting permanent backpressure penalty compromises both fuel economy and soot storage capacity, leading to more frequent regeneration intervals with further fuel economy impact.

The ash is thought to be derived primarily from oil additives but also from fuel, engine wear, and other sources. As these filters accumulate more miles on customer vehicles, the long-term effects are becoming of more concern to vehicle and filter manufacturers.

However, the time taken to accumulate a representative amount of ash—over, say, 100,000 km (62,100 mi)—is significant. Cambustion’s DPG, an automated particle filter testing system, can be used to load DPFs/GPFs with ash over a matter of hours, the company claims.

Initial tests at Cambustion involved mixing oil additive “packs” to the fuel tank of a DPG and burning the resulting fuel/additive mix in the DPG’s burner. Note that the production of ash can be obtained at the same time as soot yield and regeneration events.

While the DPG itself is not new, this is a new application of the test system for studying the effects of ash build-up in DPFs and GPFs. The DPG can handle DPFs up

PSAs E TENSE shows design cues for future DS models

According to the DS E-TENSE design team, the E-TENSE is not really a concept car because it offers a glimpse of design features that will be seen on future production models. One of the interior air vents is the same as that used on the recently revised DS3.

The concept, from PSA Peugeot Citroën’s DS luxury brand, is of a high-performance electric two-seat coupe with lithium-ion batteries positioned under the floor. Supplying power to two electric motors, producing 300 kW (402 hp) and 516 N·m (381lb·ft), the batteries have a capacity of 53 kW·h.

Unusually for a PSA brand, the vehicle uses rear-wheel-drive through a 3-speed automated transmission designed specifically for the car. According to Olivier Desserprit, Brand Project Manager for DS Automobiles, this is to underline that future DS models will incorporate some form of electric propulsion, whether that is a plug-in hybrid or pure electric drive.

The car shares some design features with the DS Divine concept seen at the 2014 Paris Show. This includes the curved rear roofline without a rear window. Rearward vision is provided by a camera mounted at the rear of the car. Whereas the DS Divine was fitted with a scale-like finish over the body, the

Audi claims first production e boosting on 2017 SQ7

Audi is renowned for winning races and it announced another first at its Annual General Meeting at Ingolstadt, Germany, last week: The first application of an electric-powered compressor on a series production car.

The EPC (Electrically Powered Compressor), with its compact electric motor, is to be used on the first diesel “S” version of Audi’s flagship SUV, the 7-seat Q7, complementing a pair of sequential turbochargers to boost output to 320 kW (429 hp) and peak torque to 900 N·m (664 lb·ft).

The 2017 SQ7 also gets electromechanical active body roll stabilization (EAWS) and a 48-V electrical subsystem. And Audi’s Valvelift System is used on a VW Group diesel engine for the first time.

Turbo lag “is history” according to Audi executives— at least in this model. But expect the technology to be cascaded through the brand’s ever-widening range. At the AGM, Audi Chairman Dr. Rupert Stadler announced the company will invest more than €3 billion in 2016 for future mobility technologies, while pushing forward “with the electrification and digitization of our products.”

e-booster eliminates turbo lag

The new EPC technology in the SQ7 “is a world first in the competitive environment,” claimed Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Member of the Audi Board of Management for Technical Development.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq offers three electrified powertrains

Hyundai unveiled the 2017 Ioniq at the Geneva Show, a car only available with an electrified powertrain. There will be three variants of the car, offering a conventional parallel hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric drive.

Hybrid and plug-in versions use the new Hyundai/Kia Kappa 1.6-L direct injection gasoline engine announced in October 2015. The long-stroke engine uses Atkinson Cycle principals and cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) to achieve a claimed 40% brake thermal efficiency. According to company engineers, the engine’s EGR rate exceeds 20%, with a 98% cooling efficiency for the EGR cooler and a 56.9-ms response time for the EGR valve. These three features are said to provide a claimed 3% gain in fuel economy.

Hyundai claims that fuel savings are boosted by setting separate thermostat cooling temperatures for the block and cylinder head, set at 105°C and 88°C, respectively.

Other details of the Kappa engine include six-hole laser-drilled GDI injectors and a 200-bar fuel system pressure. The engine is rated at 77.2 kW (104 hp) with peak torque of 147 N·m (108 lb·ft).

3 electrified powertrains

In the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants, the engine is coupled with a 6-speed dual clutch automated transmission and the slim electric motor/generator is conventionally sandwiched

2017 Audi Q2 design inspired by American football

Audi unveiled the 2017 Q2, its smallest SUV to date, at the 2016 Geneva Show. Riding on VW Group’s MQB modular architecture and fitting into the company’s Q-series SUV models below the Q3, the Q2 measures 4.19 m (13.7 ft) long, with a wheelbase length of 2.60 m (8.5 ft)—same as an A3 three-door.

The car is 1.79 m (5.9 ft) wide and 1.51 m (5.0 ft) tall. Audi quotes a base model drag coefficient of 0.30 Cd.

Six engines will be available when Q2 goes on sale in Europe in fall 2016. There will be three turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engines from VW’s TFSI family and three direct-injection turbocharged diesels. All powertrains are used in other VW Group models. The three TFSI units include a 1.0-L 3-cylinder rated at 85 kW (114 hp), a 1.4-L 4-cylinder with cylinder deactivation producing a claimed 110 kW (148 hp), and a 2.,0-L 4-cylinder rated at a claimed 140 kW (188 hp).

The diesel offerings range from a 1.6 L rated at 85 kW (114 hp), and two 2.0-L TDI engines delivering 110 kW (148 hp) and 140 kW (188 hp).

The most powerful gasoline and diesel engines are equipped with Quattro all-wheel-drive as standard. Awd is also

How Porsche met cooling challenges on the new 4 cylinder Boxster

New engines always bring fresh design and engineering challenges, but Porsche’s switch to a turbocharged flat 4-cylinder for the latest generation 718 Boxster (http://articles.sae.org/14582/) created one that resulted in 34 possible solutions.

The challenge: How to install the car’s intercooler and associated pipework for two lateral cooling systems in an engine bay designed for a naturally aspirated flat-six?

“We needed to ensure all components were in the right place, with no compromise of efficiency,” said Senior Engineer Michael Wessels, who has the unusual job title of Manager, Vehicle Periphery Design, Boxer Engines.

The potential packaging solutions list was narrowed again and again until there were two, he explained. These were rigorously pursued: “Eventually a final decision was reached that met all criteria.”

The engine, designed in parallel with the new 3.0-L bi-turbo flat-six, coded B6, for the Porsche 911 (see http://articles.sae.org/14336/), took four years to complete from conception to production. Wessels and his team of 20 were occupied with the intercooler, its air control and its thermal requirements throughout that period.

He explained that indirect cooling using an extended circulation loop was used to cohere with required design and aerodynamics criteria.

The lateral air intakes behind the trailing edge of the car’s doors are used for indirect

Kias 2017 Niro hybrid CUV targets sub 90 g km CO2 emissions

A novel hybrid-electric powertrain debuting on the 2017 Kia Niro subcompact CUV targets sub-90 g/km CO2 emissions and combined highway/city 50 mpg fuel economy.

“Niro’s combination of gasoline direct injection, Atkinson cycle, and cooled exhaust gas recirculation engine technologies along with a dual clutch transmission — all electrified — is an industry first,” said Steve Kosowski, Kia Motors America’s Manager of Long Range Strategy.

Kosowski and other Kia product development officials spoke with Automotive Engineering following the all-new Niro’s world debut at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. They explained that Niro was designed from a clean sheet as a hybrid vehicle, with a plug-in version coming at a later date. Niro shares its Hyundai engineered 1.6-L Kappa-family 4-cylinder engine and its six-speed DCT with the Hyundai Ioniq. It also shares that new sedan’s 103-in (2616-mm) wheelbase and track widths.

According to Kosowski, Niro’s IC engine delivers 103 hp (77 kW) at 5200 rpm, and achieves 40% brake-thermal efficiency. The DCT is unique among four-door hybrids, including the 2016 Toyota Prius and Ford C-Max, which use continuously variable transmissions. Fitted in the P2 position between Niro’s engine and transmission is a 43-hp (32-kW) permanent magnet AC synchronous motor. It’s powered by a 240-V lithium-ion polymer battery

GKN puts electric-drive TV system for 2019 on ice

GKN Driveline systems integration engineer Rainer Brüning was a little disappointed.

Before a test drive on a frozen Swedish lake a few degrees south of the Arctic Circle, he had shown the author the subtleties of the real-time electronic graph installed in a special Volvo XC90 hybrid prototype fitted with GKN’s still-under-development active torque vectoring (TV) system for electric drive.

The graph would, he said, show the torque feed to each of the car’s rear wheels: maximum availability 2400 N·m (1700 lb·ft). He added that it also showed energy recuperation and was, therefore, very informative and interesting to watch the screen.

However, despite the transmission technology’s demonstrated ability to alleviate the likelihood of worrying throttle-on understeer, oversteer or other vehicle dynamics, driving hard and fast in consecutive circles on 70-cm thick (27.5-in) ice, carrying out snap lane changes on soft snow, and negotiating a serpentine handling course with burnished ice surfaces, the chances of Brüning looking down for more than a glance at his proudly promoted screen was, like the ambient temperature, way below zero.

But that is no reflection of the level of control the prototype TV system—the latest iteration of GKN’s so-called ‘eTwinster’ electric drive module—gave our 2.5-ton, relatively high Cg test