‘Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain’ Project Announced By Ricardo

5th September 2013
Jacqueline Regnier

Controlled Power Technologies’ SpeedStart micro-mild hybrid and Tigers energy recovery systems will be incorporated into the Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain project known as ‘Adept’ announced by Ricardo today at a low carbon vehicle technology exhibition showcasing innovative R&D from the UK's leading automotive technology companies and universities.  The Adept project objectives are aimed at combining next generation technologies that have been demonstrated individually and the benefits simulated but have not been combined in a single system project before or applied at 48V. 

The Adept project aims to apply the low voltage concept of ‘intelligent electrification’ for the first time to a diesel car in a project supported by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.  Keeping the voltage below the critical 60 volt high voltage safety threshold, the nominal 48 volt technologies to be applied to a Ford Focus aim to deliver a breakthrough in diesel engine fuel efficiency and CO2 reduction by demonstrating full hybrid equivalent fuel economy and performance with less than 70g/km CO2 emissions, but at significantly lower cost.   The combination of various technologies and engine downsizing from the baseline 1.6-litre diesel engine is expected to deliver significant synergy and cost effective benefits without compromising vehicle performance.

Adept technologies are aimed not only at the C-segment car platform represented by the Ford Focus, but also are entirely relevant from the B-segment to the largest passenger car and rapidly growing SUV platforms.  The technology could also be applied to medium and heavy duty commercial vehicle platforms.  In the UK and Europe, B to D segment vehicles are responsible for almost 80 per cent of passenger car sales, and there are further significant opportunities to apply the technology in the US, Japan and China. 

Potentially the low voltage technology combination could be applied to something approaching 50 million vehicles per annum.  The successful application of the technologies would allow a global vehicle manufacturer to reduce its in-use carbon footprint of a typical vehicle by 50g/km – a 30 per cent reduction on today’s baseline.   Universal application to the vehicle parc would reduce annual CO2 emissions by 20 million tonnes in the UK alone and over 500m tonnes globally.

Just one of the many innovations to be explored by the Adept project is returning recovered heat from the powertrain back into the engine crankshaft via the Tigers exhaust gas energy recovery system.  This will build on previous Technology Strategy Board supported research into exhaust gas energy recovery which highlighted the criticality of drive cycle definition, the need for a sophisticated by-pass control system, and right-sizing of the device for the gas energy available.  In addition, the SpeedStart belt integrated starter generator (BSG) will be used to recover the vehicle’s kinetic energy during braking events and for torque assist during launch and coasting, delivering an additional 4-8 per cent CO2 reduction at 48V to the 4 per cent benefit from stop-start measured at 12V on the NEDC – and potentially considerably more from real-world urban driving. 

Stop-start systems are expected to be ubiquitous within the next decade, and the 48V architecture aids their use for diesel engines (covering both car and van markets) where 12 volt systems struggle to provide sufficient power for the potential functionality.  Fundamental thermal and gas emission issues will be studied at a holistic level as the diesel powertrain will have to achieve high efficiency to meet extremely tough emissions standards whilst under the same cost control pressure as the whole vehicle, and both the SpeedStart and Tigers units may be optimised to reduce the load on the after-treatment system at some operating points.  

CPT joins the same automotive consortium that worked previously on the successful Ricardo led 24 volt HyBoost project, which delivered a breakthrough in gasoline fuel efficiency and CO2 reduction through the same concept of low voltage hybridisation of the powertrain.  The HyBoost consortium members also include the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) and Ford Motor Company.  

For the Adept project, the consortium will be joined by Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies UK Ltd and the University of Nottingham (the university also being involved with CPT and Ford in the Technology Strategy Board co-funded ‘Vehicle Integrated Powertrain Energy Recovery’ project known as Viper led by Jaguar Land Rover joined by BP, IAV and Imperial College London.  The Viper project also features the CPT Tigers turbine integrated gas exhaust energy recovery system).

Faurecia is a leading Tier 1 supplier of electrical and thermal systems, with a significant UK manufacturing presence.   It will be responsible for developing a novel exhaust mounted valve system for use with the electric turbo-compounding energy recovery system.   The University of Nottingham is a leading academic authority on internal combustion engines.

The development of Adept technology will help to increase the affordability and therefore mass-market acceptance of low carbon vehicles and their contribution to achieving EU climate change targets.  Vehicle driveability with uncompromised performance will be optimised through the application of a CPT SpeedStart belt-integrated starter generator (B-ISG).  Recently validated for 1.2 million stop-starts compared with 150,000 to 300,000 for first generation micro-hybrids, SpeedStart offers significant additional functionality including torque assist for launch and low speed transient acceleration, optimised motorway cruise conditions with electric assist ‘load point moving’ and a leaner fuel calibration, in-gear coast-down and the ability to harvest significantly more kinetic energy from regenerative braking.  

“The development of 48V electrical architecture will facilitate more energy efficient powertrain technologies, including for example the CPT SpeedStart starter-generator, which provides a significant enhancement of the 12V stop-start functionality now commonplace in the European market,” says CPT chief executive Nick Pascoe.  “In the Adept project our SpeedStart system will be combined with our Tigers technology for harvesting some of the significant amount of kinetic energy lost during braking and hot gas energy currently lost through an exhaust system.” 

“We have been working on a number of applications of low voltage switched reluctance motor-generator technology for more than a decade and they are now approaching the level of readiness required by carmakers to meet European CO2 emission levels reducing to an indicative 68-78g/km by 2025.   Switched reluctance motor-generators have no magnets in them, offering excellent controllability for diverse functionality and also avoid the need for increasingly expensive rare earth materials.   The Adept intelligent electrification technology also requires only a small battery compared to a HEV, PHEV or EV, further reducing cost and complexity.”

ALABC and CPT, which are also partners in the 48V LC Super Hybrid programme, and shared recipients  of this year’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) ‘Low Carbon Champions’ Award, will contribute almost half (43 per cent) of the project costs from the consortium partners, with matched funding from the TSB.   The overall project budget is approximately £3¼ million.

Adept is one of a number of projects resulting from the latest Technology Strategy Board Integrated Delivery Programme competition entitled Technology Challenge.   The initiative aims to speed up the development of low carbon vehicles and put the UK in the vanguard of low carbon vehicle technology. 

At the Cenex LCV2013 conference, where the Adept project was announced and where CPT is exhibiting other technology demonstrators, Nick Pascoe will present a technical paper commenting on the opportunities and challenges of energy recuperation and re-use, focusing on the application of a CPT SpeedStart switched reluctance motor-generator to a 48V hybrid and the significant enhancement of the functionality it provides over the now widely adopted 12V stop-start systems, and the emerging technology of exhaust gas energy recovery exemplified by the innovative CPT Tigers technology.

The CPT presentation forms part of an advanced technology session focused on the multi-faceted nature of electric vehicle technologies and the systems optimisation approaches to be adopted to bring these technologies to market.   The session will be chaired by Michael Coe of The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) a team working across UK government departments to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles.  The session includes presentations by AVL, Nissan and RDVS and runs from 16:00 to 17:30 on Wednesday 4 Sept in dome 2.

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