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New gen 2.0L diesel for BMW 220d Coupe, Active Tourer; coming 3-cylinder diesel

16 September 2014

BMW 2 Series Coupe. Click to enlarge.

BMW is introducing a new generation (earlier post) four-cylinder 2.0-liter diesel for its 220d Coupe and 220d Active Tourer. Coupled with the optional 8-speed Steptronic transmission, the BMW 220d Coupe now only hits the 100 km/h mark in a 7 seconds, but also attains a CO2 emission level of less than 100 grams/km. In the Active Tourer, the engine delivers combined fuel consumption of 4.5 - 4.4 l/100 km (52.3 - 53.5 mpg US) with CO2 emissions of 119 – 115 g/km).

The 2-liter diesel power unit is a member of the new BMW Group engine family. It features the latest version of BMW TwinPower Turbo technology, achieves a maximum power output of 140 kW/190 hp, while delivering a maximum torque of 400 N·m (295 lb-ft). With the standard 6-speed manual gearbox, the two-door car accomplishes an average fuel consumption of 4.4 to 4.1 liters/100 km (53.5 to 57.4 mpg US) and a CO2 level of 115 to 107 grams per km.

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Freescale introduces new Li-ion battery cell controller for 48V systems

16 September 2014

Freescale MC 33771 controller addresses the needs of 48V Li-ion battery packs. Click to enlarge.

Some automakers such as Audi (earlier post) are turning to 48V electrical systems as a technical building block for facilitating the integration of new automotive technologies while increasing the power and efficiency of its cars. Freescale Semiconductor has now introduced a highly integrated 14-cell lithium-ion battery cell controller for industrial and automotive applications that cost-effectively addresses the requirements of 48 V Li-ion battery systems.

With fourteen cell balancing transistors, a current sensor with ±0.5% accuracy from milliamps to kiloamps, and 2 Mbps communication transceiver interface integrated into a single 64-pin QFP package, Freescale’s MC33771 battery cell controller and companion MC33664 isolated communications interface deliver robust, reliable performance for 48 V battery systems, and enable economical scalability beyond 1000 volts.

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SwRI launching consortium to develop new dynamic engine bearing test rig

16 September 2014

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has announced the formation of a consortium for joint research into new technologies to evaluate engine bearings for internal combustion engines. The objective of the Dynamic Bearing Rig Consortium is to design, to demonstrate and to validate a dynamically loaded bearing test rig that can replicate the variable loads critical to how bearings perform in an operating engine under transient and steady-state conditions.

Various rig tests are used in the bearing industry for comparative material evaluation. While these tests are effective in comparing new materials and coatings against existing designs, they do not successfully replicate the engine operating environment. As such, SwRI notes, they are not useful in correlating fatigue or scuff performance to what is seen in the field.

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More details on the Mercedes-Benz S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID; new warranty for battery and PEEM

15 September 2014

S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID. Click to enlarge.

With order-taking having begun in July (earlier post), and first customer deliveries slated for this month, Mercedes-Benz has provided more detail on its top-end S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID, the third hybrid model in the new S-Class (the others being the S 400 HYBRID and S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID). (Earlier post.)

The Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID offers a system output of 325 kW (436 hp) and 650 N·m (479 lb-ft) torque, accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in a fast 5.2 seconds and can drive up to 33 km (20.5 miles) purely electrically. The certified consumption in Europe is 2.8 liters/100 km (84 mpg US)—lower than Mercedes initially suggested upon the vehicle’s unveiling in 2013—which corresponds to 65 g CO2/km emissions. Key elements of this performance are the V6 biturbo and the intelligent hybrid drive.

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U Glasgow chemists develop new electrolyzer architecture for H2 production 30X faster than current electrolyzers at equivalent platinum loading

15 September 2014

Chemists from the University of Glasgow (Scotland) have developed a new method for hydrogen production that is 30 times faster than current state-of-the-art proton exchange membrane electrolyzers at equivalent platinum loading. The process also solves common problems associated with generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar, wind or wave energy. A paper on their method is published in the journal Science.

The method uses a recyclable redox mediator (silicotungstic acid) that enables the coupling of low-pressure production of oxygen via water oxidation to a separate, catalytic hydrogen production step outside an electrolyzer that requires no post-electrolysis energy input. This approach sidesteps the production of high-pressure gases inside the electrolytic cell (a major cause of membrane degradation) and essentially eliminates the hazardous issue of product gas crossover at the low current densities that characterize renewables-driven water-splitting devices.

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Peugeot introducing new Euro-6 versions of 3-cylinder gasoline and 4-cylinder diesel engines

15 September 2014

Peugeot is introducing new Euro 6-compliant versions of its three-cylinder PureTech gasoline and four-cylinder BlueHDI diesel engines. All are equipped with Stop & Start (S&S) technology. Each engine is also coupled with Peugeot’s third-generation Efficient Automatic Transmission 6 (EAT6) transmission.

The introduction of the new engines has reduced the average weighted CO2 emissions of Peugeot’s European range to 111.2 g/km, as measured at the end of May 2014. That compares with 115.1 g/km at the same point in 2013, putting PSA Peugeot Citroën at the top of the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) ranking.

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Europe launches 7-year, €1B R&D program for new metals: “Metallurgy Europe”

15 September 2014

Metallurgy europe
Program overview of Metallurgy Europe as presented in a 2012 position paper from the ESF. Click to enlarge.

European industry has launched Metallurgy Europe, a 7-year, €1-billion ($1.3-billion) R&D program in the field of metals research and manufacturing. The program was recently been selected as a new Eureka Cluster, and it will integrate the efforts of more than 170 companies and laboratories from across 20 countries.

Some of the largest engineering companies in Europe have joined forces, including Airbus Group; BP; Siemens; Daimler; Rolls-Royce; BMW; Thales; AvioAero; PSA Group; BAE Systems; Philips; Ruag; Sener; Bombardier; OHB Systems; Linde Group; ESI; Rolex; Richemont; ArcelorMittal; Sandvik; Bruker; SKF; Johnson Matthey; Tata Steel; GKN; Boston Scientific; ThyssenKrupp; Outokumpu; Haldor Topsøe and Fiat. More than 60 small and medium-sized companies are also teaming up.

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Study finds rapid charging and draining doesn’t damage lithium-ion electrode as much as thought

14 September 2014

X-ray microscope snapshot of nanoparticles in a battery midway through charging. Particles range from fully charged (green) to intermediate charge (orange/yellow) to drained of charge (red) The scalebar equals 500 nm. (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) Click to enlarge.

A new study has found that rapid-charging a lithium-ion battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought, and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated. The study, led by researchers from Stanford University and the Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences (SIMES) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, with colleagues from Sandia National Laboratories, Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology America and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is published in Nature Materials.

The results challenge the prevailing view that “supercharging” batteries is always harder on battery electrodes than charging at slower rates. The results also suggest that scientists may be able to modify electrodes or change the way batteries are charged to promote more uniform charging and discharging and extend battery life.

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Audi Sport wins 1st FIA Formula E race in Beijing

14 September 2014

Lucas di Grassi, FIA Formula E Beijing (Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team). Click to enlarge.

Audi factory driver Lucas di Grassi and the Audi Sport ABT Formula E team won the inaugural event of the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship in Beijing. (Next weekend, di Grassi will return to the cockpit of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car in round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Austin). The inaugural round of the 10-race season of the global electric race series was closely contested throughout. Winding round the Bird’s Nest stadium built to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Beijing course supplied all usual ingredients of a city-center circuit, with a succession of straights, chicanes and 90° bends.

For this inaugural season, the entire field is competing in Spark-Renault STR01E single-seaters. (Earlier post.) Spark-Renault, together with a consortium of leading motorsport companies, produced 40 cars for the race, with each driver using two cars during the 1-hour event. Thirty-five of the 40 cars entered crossed the finishing line without incident.

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Toyota and partners launching Cité lib by Ha:mo EV car sharing in Grenoble; ultracompact EVs complementing public transport

13 September 2014

Toyota i-ROAD and COMS for use in "Cité lib by Ha:mo" EV sharing trial in Grenoble, France. Click to enlarge.

The City of Grenoble, France, its metropolitan area Grenoble-Alpes Metropole, EDF and its affiliate Sodetrel, Toyota Motor Corporation and Cité lib officially launched the new “Cité lib by Ha:mo” electric vehicle car-sharing service. (Earlier post.)

Offering a new type of mobility based on ultra-compact electric vehicles, the service aims to complement Grenoble’s public transport network with a solution for short-trips—including one-way trips—that can be planned as part of overall city journeys. The vehicles and the charging stations are seamlessly connected to the IT infrastructure of Grenoble’s transport network, offering both route planning and online/mobile app reservations.

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Peugeot showcasing 208 Hybrid Air 2L Demonstrator at Paris show

12 September 2014

PEUGEOT is showcasing its 208 HYbrid Air 2L Demonstrator at next month’s Paris Motor Show. The 2L stands for two liters per 100 km, equivalent to 118 mpg US, and is based on a production version of the Peugeot 208 1.2-liter PureTech 82 hp 5-seater Hatchback.

Peugeot’s Hybrid Air (earlier post) is a full-hybrid solution combining compressed air and hydraulic power, with no battery required for energy storage. Hybrid Air combines the PureTech gasoline engine; a compressed air energy storage unit located beneath the trunk; a hydraulic pump/motor unit in the engine bay; and and an automatic transmission with an epicyclic gear train.

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Facelifted Mercedes-Benz B-Class with diesel, gasoline, natural gas and electric drives debuting at Paris show

12 September 2014

Mercedes-Benz has given its B-Class range—more than 350,000 of which have been sold worldwide since market launch in late 2011—a major facelift including exterior and interior enhancements along with redefined design and equipment lines. Sales of the new B-Class commenced on 12 September, with the world première taking place during the Paris Motor Show (4 to 19 October). The revamped models will be making their way to dealerships from 29 November 2014.

Buyers have a wide choice of powertrains: five diesel models with fuel ranging from 3.6 to 5.0 l/100 km (65.3 to 47 mpg US); four gasoline engines at between 5.4 and 6.6 l/100 km (43.6 and 35.6 mpg US); alternative drive systems (B 200 Natural Gas Drive and B-Class Electric Drive); as well as optional 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The sports tourer also features a Cd value of less than 0.25. Prices in Europe will start from €27,102.25 (around US$35,000) for the B 180.

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