- Where We Work
- Who We Are
- Info & Tools
Bob Henson • May 15, 2013 | Even if a milestone is arbitrary, it can strike a note that resonates deeply. Last week’s announcement that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere had touched 400 parts per million was just such a moment.
Aereo CEO says he’s boosted by winning a round in court—and that “lines are very, very long” for his Internet TV offering, despite ABC’s new competing streaming service.
The legal battles are not over for Internet TV startup Aereo. But for now CEO Chet Kanojia, whom I had a chance to interview yesterday, says things couldn’t be better—with “very, very long” lines in markets across the United States for his streaming local TV service that has the broadcast industry in full battle cry.
Opel is applying its new 1.6L SIDI Turbo gasoline engine (earlier post) in three Astra variants: Astra five-door hatchback, four-door sedan and Sports Tourer models. The 125 kW/170 hp direct injection engine leads the newly-launched Opel powertrain offensive.
This new-generation engine tops the gasoline offer in the Astra family and replaces the previous 1.6 Turbo. It generates maximum torque of up to 280 N·m (207 lb-ft)—50 N·m more than its predecessor—which is available from just 1,650 rpm (previous generation: 2,200 rpm). It also delivers 12% more torque than its closest competitors from the compact class with 150 - 180 hp output, even those from German premium brands, Opel says.
The five-door Astra, the sedan and Sports Tourer 1.6 SIDI Turbo come with next-generation six-speed manual gearboxes distinguished by especially high shifting comfort and substantially lower friction. A new, low-friction six-speed automatic transmission can also be combined with the new 1.6 SIDI Turbo engine in the Astra models. It features an Active Select function to provide manual shifting for a sportier driving experience.
With Start/Stop technology and a six-speed manual transmission, the Astra five-door and sedan 1.6 SIDI Turbo models have an NEDC combined fuel consumption of 5.9 l/100 km (40 mpg US)—14% less than their predecessors—and emit 139 g/km CO2. The five-door Astra 1.6 SIDI Turbo accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 8.7 seconds and reaches a maximum speed of 220 km/h (137 mph), while the sedan achieves two km/h more.
The new Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 SIDI Turbo accelerates from 80 to 120 km/h (fifth gear) in nine seconds—1.5 seconds faster than the previous 1.6 Turbo model.
To achieve low overall levels of radiated noise and vibration, engineers optimized the induction and exhaust systems. This included decoupling the cam cover from the cylinder head via specific fasteners and the sealing system. In spite of direct injection and pulsed combustion, engineers were able to substantially reduce noise levels compared to the previous engine.
During May 2013 a solar-fuelled plane, piloted by two entrepreneurial Swiss citizens, is crossing the USA from California to New York, with a few stop-overs in major cities. It is an unprecedented event aiming to encourage policy makers and business to adopt sustainable energy solutions.
The SOLAR IMPULSE has been conceived by its two pilots, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, and developed with the support of dozens of engineers and technicians of the Technical University of Lausanne during the last 10 years.
The crossing of the USA serves as a test for an even more ambitious tour around the earth, scheduled for 2015 in an improved version equipped with a pressurised cabin for two pilots.
SOLAR IMPULSE weighs no more than a car. It is composed of specially developed super light carbon-composite material. Its wings stretch over 60 m, comparable to those of an Airbus 380; its cruising speed is about 70 km/h.
Thanks to its 12 000 photovoltaic cells and its rechargeable lithium polymer batteries it can fly by day and night at altitudes up to 10 000 m. This is a major progress compared to the remotely piloted solar-fueled planes developed and launched by NASA in 2008 for long-duration scientific flights.
The SOLAR IMPULSE has cost € 120 million to build, largely financed by more than 80 mostly European partners and sponsors, among them many big names of European business, from Omega, to Schindler, Swiss Re, Bayer and Deutsche Bank, who have found it worthwhile to be associated with this experiment of solar flying.
Because of technical constraints PV will never be able to power large commercial air craft. But it may very well give an impetus to amateur flying which may become much cheaper because of fuel costs solar.
The main merit of the transcontinental flight, however, is to have demonstrated a new application for PV power. So far we have used it for road signs, remote electricity generation and, recently, grid-connected power plants.
But nobody would have guessed 25 years ago that in 2013 a plane would be able to cross the United States by means of electric engines driven by PV cells.
60 years after Bell Laboratories have produced the first practical photovoltaic cell we should pay tribute to European imagination and technical curiosity for having developed its most advanced application so far.
Brussels 10.05. 2013 Eberhard Rhein
UQM Technologies, Inc. has introduced the UQM PowerPhase HD 950T which delivers 950 N·m (701 lb-ft) of torque; the electric drive system is designed for heavier commercial trucks and buses that require such higher torque.
The 950T is an additional offering to the PowerPhase HD 220 announced last year, giving customers choices of various levels of torque and horsepower to meet their requirements.
The UQM PowerPhase HD 950T provides 144 kW of peak power and 100 kW of continuous power. Its high torque level delivers better launch performance, grade climbing and acceleration for heavier vehicles. The power and speed range also make it possible to use this electric motor in conjunction with simplified transmissions.
In addition to full-electric vehicle applications, the PowerPhase HD 950T is suited for use in parallel hybrid applications. The higher torque and lower speed range optimizes the system for operation at engine speeds, a requirement in these types of powertrain systems.
UQM PowerPhase electric propulsion systems power Proterra’s all-electric composite transit buses, Electric Vehicles International’s all-electric medium-duty trucks and walk-in vans and Boulder Electric Vehicle’s commercial vehicles.
An analysis by FEV of a modeled automotive scale version of Pinnacle’s 4-stroke, spark-ignited (SI), opposed-piston, sleeve-valve architecture engine (earlier post) concluded that the engine has the potential to deliver significant additional fuel economy benefits of up to 42.6% with application of various advanced technologies over a baseline naturally aspirated (NA) 1.5L configuration of the engine.
Start-up Pinnacle initially has been targeting the Asian two-wheeler market with a small-displacement version of its technology (e.e., 110 cc) to gain some market traction rather than trying to push its way into the automotive market. Automotive, however, has always been a company target, notes founder Monty Cleeves. FEV is also supporting Pinnacle on those initial versions of the engine.
The goal of the studies was make a preliminary assessment of Pinnacle Engines suitability for automotive applications based on the work-to-date on the small single-cylinder engines. FEV conducted three programs to assess fuel economy potential; technical and manufacturing feasibility; and cost.
The new and unique features of the Pinnacle Engine present significant performance potential, addressable engineering challenges, and expected production costs. The design merits continued development for automotive application.—FEV analysis
Fuel economy. The fuel economy study, using GT Power, encompassed both a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder design of the Pinnacle engine, as well as a downsized, turbocharged 750cc Pinnacle design.
To build the GT Power models for the engine, FEV used an existing model of the 250cc single cylinder engine as a starting point, then modified it to be used predictively by adding lookup tables for 50% burn location, 10-90% burn duration, liner and piston temperatures based on engine speed, IMEP, and the lambda value.
FEV added two additional cylinders, piping, exhaust aftertreatment, and an air cleaner to convert the model from a 250cc single cylinder into a 750 cc three cylinder engine. To predict fuel economy for the baseline 1.5L Naturally Aspirated (NA) modeling, FEV used two times the fuel used in a 750cc NA model.
FEV investigated the impact of six fuel saving technologies: friction reduction; turbocharging; Variable Compression Ratio (VCR); Variable Cam Timing (VCT); Early Intake Valve Closure (EIVC); and downsizing. The predicted fuel economy of the base Pinnacle engine, over the full drive cycle, was 37.3 mpg US (6.3 l/100 km). As a point of baseline comparison, an unnamed production MY2009 1.5L I4 PFI conventional engine selected as appropriate for the analysis offers combined fuel economy of 29.4 mpg US (8.0 l/100km.)
Friction Reduction. Pinnacle Engines estimates a possible reduction in FMEP of 0.35 bar due to differences between the prototype geometry and proposed production layout. Applying this reduction to the model resulted in a significant fuel economy improvement of 8.8% (40.6 mpg US, 5.8 l/100km).
Turbocharging. Boosting the engine through either turbocharging or supercharging allows improved fuel economy through downsizing or downspeeding the engine. In this study, the turbocharger was investigated with and without downsizing. Added to the 1.5L engine, turbocharging resulted in a 0.5% increase in fuel economy (37.5 mpg US, 6.3 l/100 km). Acceleration and top speed performance would also improve.
Variable Compression Ratio (VCR). The architecture of the Pinnacle opposed piston engine is well suited to the addition of a VCR system. This may be done through the use of a phaser, similar to the ones used to adjust the timing of a camshaft in a VCT system. The phaser for a VCR system requires a higher torque capacity than the VCT system.
FEV investigated a range of ratios from 8 to 25, resulting in up to a 3.2% improvement in fuel economy (38.5 mpg US, 6.1 l/100 km).
Variable Cam Timing (VCT). Variable cam timing maintains the lift and duration profile of the cam, but changes the timing of the events to earlier or later. FEV explored addition of VCT for both the intake and exhaust cams, and for intake only. Acceptable timing combinations were limited to those with residual gas fraction (RGF) levels below 15%.
FEV found a benefit of up to 3.8% (38.7 mpg US, 6.07 l/100 km). FEV found the main benefit of VCT with the intake cam phasing, with a resulting improvement of 3.5% (38.6 mpg)—just 0.3% less than with the exhaust cam also phased. AS a result, FEV suggested cost savings may be found by only using a phaser on the intake cam.
Early Intake Valve Closure (EIVC). Shortening intake valve duration and lift while maintaining the same opening timing is another method for improving fuel economy. A variable valve lift system combined with a phaser to maintain the opening event would enable the EIVC.
Pinnacle developed two valve profiles to represent early intake valve closure; in production this would be accomplished through a combination of variable valve lift and variable cam timing. The result was a fuel economy improvement of up to 5.9% (39.5 mpg US, 5.96 l/100 km).
VCR and EIVC combination. FEV investigated the level of benefit of both adding VCR and EIVC by analyzing a sweep of compression ratios for the EIVC cams. Fuel economy improvement was up to 8.0% (40.3 mpg US, 5.8 l/100 km).
If the individual benefits of each are summed, it gives 5.9%+3.2%=9.3%, 1.3% more than what is seen when they are combined in the model. The benefits of the two technologies are not purely additive, and have some overlapping benefit.
Downsizing with turbocharging. To maintain the same power at a given engine speed with a smaller engine, a higher BMEP is required proportional to the reduction in displacement. The higher BMEP condition reduces pumping losses, improving the fuel economy.
The downsized 0.75L configuration showed a significant 33.5% improvement over the 1.5L NA baseline engine.
Downsized turbo with friction reduction. FEV found that combining reduced friction levels with the downsized turbo model resulted in an improvement of 42.6% over the 1.5L NA baseline.
Turbocharged with VCR. FEV also combined VCR with the downsized turbocharged model and found an improvement of up to 40.5% over the NA baseline (52.4 mpg, 4.49 l/100 km). However, peak cylinder pressures in one of the points neared known knock limits in the current engine. When this engine point is limited to known safe pressures, the resulting fuel economy improvement is 36.7% (51 mpg, 4.61 l/100 km) .
Overall, the analyses found the largest improvement in fuel economy is through downsizing and turbocharging of the engine. Combining downsizing, turbocharging and friction reduction, the simulation results show the potential for 42.6% improvement in fuel economy over the 1.5L NA version of the Pinnacle engine.
Cost and technical feasibility. The cost study used a 3-cylinder, 1.2L Pinacle configuration, chosen as the most likely initial displacement that the company would be targeting, said Tom Covington, Pinacle’s VP Marketing and Special Projects. The 1.5L engine was chosen for the GT power study because FEV had benchmarked the 1.5L recently, he noted. The cost delta between a 1.2L and a 1.5L would be a function of material cost differences, and should scale appropriately, he said.
The FEV analysis compared the 1.2L Pinnacle engine to a modeled 1.2L I4 baseline engine. FEV found that the 1.2L Pinnacle engine would cost $192 (17%) more than the baseline: $1,133 vs. $941, mainly due to the need for a higher quantity of some key components such as pistons, crankshaft, and so on. (E.g., a three-cylinder Pinnacle engine uses six pistons.) The 17% cost delta assumes similar content levels (VVT, PFI), with the additional feature of VCR on the Pinnacle engine design.
The engine also contains new and unique design considerations and failure modes; those, however, can be addressed in a traditional automotive design and validation program, according to FEV.
Engine packaging and installation is a “somewhat unique feature” of the Pinnacle engine, FEV noted, with the horizontal cylinder arrangement potentially presenting some limits in terms of the number of current vehicles that could accept the engine. FEV expanded the study to consider an alternative, vertical installation.
FEV’s analysis found that while the Pinacle engine has additional potential failure modes not evident in current production engines, addressing those failure modes are well within the scope and capabilities of current analytical tools and testing techniques.
FEV estimated it would take 54 months to bring an automotive version of the Pinnacle Engine into production.
A new University at Buffalo (UB) study of crashes involving cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) has found that in head-on collisions between passenger cars and SUVs, drivers in passenger cars were nearly 10 times more likely to die if the SUV involved had a better crash rating. Drivers of passenger cars were more than four times more likely to die even if the passenger car had a better crash rating than the SUV. The study is being presented 16 May at the annual meeting of the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine in Atlanta.
When two vehicles are involved in a crash, the overwhelming majority of fatalities occur in the smaller and lighter of the two vehicles. But even when the two vehicles are of similar weights, outcomes are still better in the SUVs, because in frontal crashes, SUVs tend to ride over shorter passenger vehicles, due to bumper mismatch, crushing the occupant of the passenger car.— Dietrich Jehle, MD, UB professor of emergency medicine at Erie County Medical Center and first author
When crash ratings were not considered, the odds of death for drivers in passenger cars were more than seven times higher than SUV drivers in all head-on crashes. In crashes involving two passenger cars, a lower car safety rating was associated with a 1.28 times higher risk of death for the driver and a driver was 1.22 times more likely to die in a head-on crash for each point lower in the crash rating.
The UB researchers conducted the retrospective study on severe head-on motor vehicle crashes in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database between 1995 and 2010. The database includes all motor vehicle crashes that resulted in a death within 30 days and includes 83,521 vehicles involved in head-on crashes.
Along with price and fuel efficiency, car safety ratings are one of the things that consumers rely on when shopping for an automobile, Jehle notes. These ratings, from one to five stars, are based on data from frontal, side barrier and side pole crashes that compare vehicles of similar type, size and weight. The one to five star safety rating system was created in 1978 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Jehle notes that after manufacturers addressed the roll-over problem with SUVs that plagued these vehicles in the 1980s and 1990s, rollover crashes are now much less common in SUVs.
Currently, the larger SUVs are some of the safest cars on the roadways with fewer rollovers and outstanding outcomes in frontal crashes with passenger vehicles.—Dietrich Jehle
Jehle says that prior studies on frontal crashes have found that compared to passenger cars with a 5-star crash rating, cars with a rating from one to four stars have a 7-36% increase in driver death rates.
Passenger vehicles with excellent safety ratings may provide a false degree of confidence to the buyer regarding the relative safety of these vehicles as demonstrated by our findings. Consumers should take into consideration the increased safety of SUVs in head-on crashes with passenger vehicles when purchasing a car.—Dietrich Jehle
Co-authors with Jehle, all from UB, are: Albert Arslan and Chirag Doshi, MD candidates in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Joseph Consiglio, data manager/statistician for the UB Department of Emergency Medicine and a graduate student in the Department of Biostatistics in the School of Public Health and Health Professions; Juliana Wilson DO, a post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Emergency Medicine and Christine DeSanno DO, a resident in the UB Department of Emergency Medicine.
Dietrich Jehle et al. “Car Ratings Take a Back Seat to Vehicle Type: Outcomes of SUV vs. Passenger Car Crashes” SAEM 2013
European companies’ competitiveness is hampered by unnecessary burdensome legislative instruments in climate, energy and environment and policymakers must rebalance industrial strategies towards manufacturing, BusinessEurope President Jürgen Thumann said in an interview with EurActiv, as the European Business Summit (EBS) gets underway today (15 May).