SAE 2011 World Congress: OEM exhibits

Charging forward together; Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and more EVs are displayed

2011/05/24

Summary

 The following is a summary of reports on new technologies and vehicles introduced by six OEMs (GM, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai/Kia, Honda, and Nissan) at the SAE 2011 World Congress (held in Detroit on April 12 to 14, 2011; referred to as the SAE show).

 This year's show was held under the theme of "Charging forward together". At this show, we felt the enthusiasm for promotion of electric vehicles to be "Charged" in order to "Charge" ahead the sluggish economy. A total of six OEMs exhibited their products at this SAE 2011 as in the previous year, but the number of suppliers at the show increased from last year's about 100 to about 140 due to economic recovery. However, the number of supplies at the show two years ago was about 300, which indicates that the recovery of the economy is only half done.

 The products and technologies exhibited at the show by the OEMs are outlined below. (listed in no particular order of importance)



GM exhibits electric vehicles including Chevy VOLT and Li-ion battery used in VOLT

 GM exhibited PHEVs (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) - the Chevy Volt and a Li-ion battery for the Volt. The company started marketing the Volt earlier in California and Texas in December 2010. It will be able to be ordered in 50 states across the US by the end of this year.

GM's Chevy Volt
GM's Chevy Volt

1.4L engine that is used in the Volt exclusively for power generation
1.4L engine that is used in the Volt

Explanation on
Explanation on "electricity use" as EV and on saving of gasoline cost by Plug-In charging


 LG Chem's Li-ion battery is used in the Volt and the 165cm-long battery is covered with a composite cover made by US-based Continental Structural Plastics (CSP), Inc. The temperature inside the cover is said to be controlled with a water-cooling system.

1.6kWh Li-ion battery used in the Volt, which consists of more than 200 cells made by LG Chem
1.6kWh Li-ion battery used in the Volt, which consists of more than 200 cells made by LG Chem

CSP's composite cover for a Li-ion battery used in the Volt
CSP's composite cover for a Li-ion battery used in the Volt


 In addition, GM showcased three vehicles - Buick Regal eAssist™, which it is scheduled to launch in the second half of 2011, Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept, and GMC Granite Concept.

 Buick Regal eAssist comes with direct-injection 2.4L engine, which is referred to as ECOTEC, a 6-speed AT, a generator/motor (11kW engine assist and recharging through 15kW regenerative braking), and air-cooled Li-ion battery (115V). It achieves city/hwy fuel consumption of 26/37mpg, which is about 25% better than that of a 2.4L gasoline-powered model (20/30mpg).

Buick Regal eAssist
Buick Regal eAssist

Engine, control unit, and generator/motor used in Buick Regal eAssist
Engine, control unit, and generator/motor used in Buick Regal eAssist


 Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept was also exhibited at the Los Angeles Auto Show held in November 2010. It is a 4-seat compact vehicle of 3,835mm/1,786mm/1,536mm with a wheelbase of 2,467mm. The Scissor-type door is opened when pulled outside and then is rotated forward and is considered to be useful for getting in and out of the vehicle in small parking lots.

Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept
Cadillac Urban Luxury Concept


 GMC Granite Concept was also exhibited at the Detroit Auto Show in 2010. It is a compact SUV of 4,097mm/1,730mm/1,446mm with a wheelbase of 2,631mm. It features double side doors with no center pillars. GMC Granite Concept comes with a 1.4L turbo in-line 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed AT.

GMC Granite Concept
GMC Granite Concept

 



Nissan exhibits INFINITI M35h HEV and LEAF EV

 Nissan exhibited the INFINITI M35h (dubbed FUGA, in Japan) - HEV that it started marketing in the US in March 2011. The longitudinal V6 engine (one engine has 302hp, 258lb・ft) is a 3.5L Atkinson cycle Engine, which has one throttle chamber each for the left and right side of the V bank, and also has a variable valve timing control system for intake and exhaust valves. A motor (50kW, 199lb・ft)/generator is placed between the engine and a 7-speed AT. When the vehicle starts it can run by just its motor and can be accelerated up to 62mph (about 100km/h).

 The 7-speed AT has no torque converter, but has the first clutch between the engine and the motor and set the second clutch in the back of the AT to transmit power. The output of the system is 360hp. One Li-ion battery module consists of eight cells and the battery pack is made up of 12 battery modules. The 1.4kWh (346V) Li-ion battery is stored under the floor of the trunk compartment and the inverter is placed in the engine compartment.

 In addition, the M35h comes with an electric AC compressor, idle reduction system and regenerative braking, and electric hydraulic power steering, in which the motor is activated only while steering. The city/hwy fuel consumption is 27/32mpg, which is 50% better than the city fuel consumption of a 3.7L gasoline-powered model (18/26mpg).

Engine, motor, and 7-speed AT and Li-ion battery used in the M35h. Its maximum output is 360hp
Engine, motor, 7-speed AT and Li-ion battery used in the M35h. Its maximum output is 360hp

The Li-ion battery is placed under the floor of the trunk room
The Li-ion battery is placed under the floor of the trunk room


 Nissan showcased the LEAF EV and its Li-ion battery. The company launched the LEAF in the US and Japan, simultaneously, in December 2010. Nissan says that it will start producing it in North America in 2012. The specifications of the LEAF and competitors' main EV and PHEVs are as follows.

  NISSAN LEAF CHEVY VOLT TOYOTA
PRIUS PHEV
HONDA FIT EV
(Concept)
Max. output
(hp in metric system)
80kW
(109hp)
110kW
(149hp)
100kW
(136hp)
92kW
(125hp)
Max. torque 280Nm 370Nm --- 256Nm
Battery capacity 24kWh 16kWh
(365V)
5.2kWh
(345.6V)
---
(288V)
Fuel consumption (mpg)
city/hwy
106/92
(converted to gasoline),
EPA standards
93 (EV mode)
37 (Gasoline only)
60 (Total),
EPA standards
135 (PHEV,JC08)
72 (HEV, JC08)
---
Cruising range 73mile (EPA) 375 mile --- ---


Nissan LEAF
Nissan LEAF


 The case placed under the floor of the LEAF contains 48 modules, each of which consists of four Li-ion battery cells. The case is sealed by the upper and lower iron-sheet covers through a rubber gasket and prevents water from coming inside. The battery case seems not to have an internal cooling system.

Placement of large batteries in the LEAF
Placement of large batteries in the LEAF

Module stored in battery case
Module stored in battery case

 



Ford exhibits a cut-away model of New Explorer and ECO BOOST engine

 Ford exhibited a cut-away model of the Explorer, which was awarded the 2011 North American Truck of the Year and introduced its components. The company says that boron steel is used for the front bumper beam and the A and B pillars in order to improve crashworthiness and roof crush resistance. In addition, closed cross-section hydroforming is used for the front side member.

Cut model of the New Explorer
Cut-away model of the New Explorer

Panel showing technologies employed
Panel showing technologies employed

Cross-section of bumper beam and Front End Support
Cross-section of bumper beam and Front End Support

Hydroforming for front side member
Hydroforming for front side member


 A 3.5L naturally-aspirated V6 engine is available in the 2011 Explorer and a water-cooled turbo 2L direct-injection (DI) in-line 4-cylider engine, refereed to as EcoBoost, is said to be added. The two engines have Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) for intake and exhaust valves.

 A V6 3.5L version, which is currently used in models such as Taurus SHO, Lincoln MKT, and Lincoln MKS, is introduced as new EcoBoost engine. The new version is said to be used in the F150 and the Ford Flex in the future. This 3.5L version of the EcoBoost engine is a direct-injection DOHC 4-cylinder engine with Ti-VCT and two water-cooled turbo-chargers. The maximum output is 355 hp (265 kW) and the maximum torque is 350 lb・ft (475 N・m). This direct-injection turbo-charged engine can avoid engine knocking and has achieved 10:1 high compression ratio, which the company says has resulted in increased fuel efficiency and high output.

V6 3.5L water-cooled twin turbo EcoBoost engine
V6 3.5L water-cooled twin turbo EcoBoost engine


 Ford also displayed a motor and a battery that it plans to use in the Ford Focus EV, which is scheduled to be marketed in the second half of 2011. Ford has already marketed an EV version of the 2011 TRANSIT CONNECT and HEV versions of the Escape and the FUSION, further planning to launch the C-MAX PHEV and also the C-MAX HEV in the fall of 2012. As part of a move to improve fuel economy, the company will offer customers "REAL CHOICE" to choose any version from among EV, PHEV, and HEV. The company plans to use in the C-MAX PHEV and the C-MAX HEV a 2.0L Atkinson cycle gasoline-powered engine, CVT, Li-ion battery (23kWh) supplied by CPI (LG Chem's subsidiary), regenerative brake, and a motor (92kW/123hp).

In-line 4-cylinder 2.0L Atkinson cycle engine and CVT for PHEVs
In-line 4-cylinder 2.0L Atkinson cycle engine and CVT for PHEVs

Motor, battery, and controller planned to be used in FOCUS EV
Motor, battery, and controller planned to be used in FOCUS EV

Water-cooled Li-ion battery planned to be used in FOCUS EV. FOCUS EV also has batteries behind the rear seats and under the floor.
Water-cooled Li-ion battery planned to be used in FOCUS EV. FOCUS EV also has batteries behind the rear seats and under the floor.

 



Honda exhibits FIT EV and Accord PHEV, as well as electric scooter/cart

 Honda exhibited FIT EV, which it plans to start marketing in Japan and the US in 2012. The FIT EV comes with a coaxial motor/gearbox (92kW), which was developed for FCX Clarity (FCEV), and a Li-ion battery. The company says that it aims for a cruising range of more than 100 miles (LA4 mode).

 In addition, Honda showcased a prototype PHEV (based on the Accord with a 2L in-line 4-cylinder engine), which it also plans to launch in Japan and the US in 2012. The PHEV comes with two motors (160kW) and a Li-ion battery (6kWh), having three modes of operation - Pure EV, hybrid of a motor and an engine, and an engine only. Honda is said to continue production of the HEV version, such as CR-Z, by advancing the system after the launch of PHEVs and to be planning to sell HEVs and PHEVs each depending on the situation. It has not been decided which country the FIT EV and the PHEV will be produced in.

FIT EV planned to be marketed in 2012
FIT EV planned to be marketed in 2012

PHEV prototype vehicle based on the Accord
PHEV prototype vehicle based on the Accord


 Honda also displayed an electric scooter, EV-neo, and an electric cart, EV-Monpal. The two-wheeled EV-neo comes with a Li-ion battery and can run up to 34km on one charge (at 30km/h), currently used for pizza deliveries etc. The EV-Monpal is a four-wheeled vehicle that comes with a valve-regulated lead battery that is capable of running up to 25km (at 6km/h). The EV-Monpal is used as wheelchairs and other purposes. Honda says that it will cooperate on promoting the infrastructure development of solar-energy charging stations with prefectures and cities, with plans to reduce CO2 emissions through dissemination of electric vehicles.

EV-Monpal 4-wheeled electric scoter
EV-Monpal 4-wheeled electric cart

Example of cooperation with prefectural or city government in Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Example of cooperation with prefectural or city government in Saitama Prefecture, Japan


 In addition, Honda displayed a compact power generation unit that uses a 163cc OHV compact engine for small boats, which is powered by LPG and natural gas. The compact unit is an energy-saving unit that can be used as a back-up power source in case of a blackout or as a heater or water-heater (47℃) by utilizing exhaust heat during power generation; about 85% of the energy of the fuel is said to be converted to electricity and heat. The engine, air cleaner, alternator, heat exchanger, and catalyst are stored in a compact case of 88cm in height. When it is used as home heating equipment, it is used with a furnace. Unlike fuel cells that can not be used during a blackout, the demand for gas-fired power generators may increase as a back-up power supply source in an emergency.

Interior structure of compact power generation unit
Interior structure of compact power generation unit

 



Hyundai exhibits mass-produced Sonata HEV while Kia showcases FCEV based on Borrego

 Hyundai exhibited the Sonata HEV, which it started marketing in 2011. The model comes with a 4-cylinder 2.4L in-line 4-cylinder DOHC engine (166hp), which is called THETA 2. The company says that, in order to improve fuel consumption and torque, it developed the THETA 2 as an engine for (Strong) HEVs for the first time in Korea. It has adopted an Atkinson cycle engine and also reduced valve spring load, raised the temperature to open valves of the thermostat (190F/88℃), adopted high compression ratio (expansion ratio 13.0), and employed plasma chrome coated piston ring, thereby reducing friction and loss of the base engine.

 The Sonata HEV comes with a 30kW (40hp) motor and fan-forced air-cooled lithium polymer battery (1.4kWh/ 270V) and a starter/generator (8.5kW) and has achieved the highest levels of system output (206hp) and city/hwy fuel consumption (35mpg/40mpg) in its class by regenerative braking and idle reduction system. Although an e-CVT is often used in HEVs, Hyundai has adopted a 6-speed AT. The company eliminated a torque converter and uses a wet clutch and also has adopted an electric oil pump. The comparison with major competitors' HEVs is as follows:

  Hyundai
Sonata
Toyota
Camry
Ford
Fusion
Nissan
Altima
System power 206hp 187hp 191hp 198hp
Engine displacement 2.4L 2.5L 2.5L 2.5L
Engine output 166hp 147hp 156hp 158hp
Transmission 6AT e-CVT e-CVT e-CVT
Motor 40hp/30kW 40hp 40hp 40hp
Secondary battery Li polymer
34kW (270V)
NiMH
30kW (244.8V)
NiMH
26kW (275V)
NiMH
30kW (244.8V)
city/hwy fuel consumption (mpg) 35/40 33/34 41/36 33/33


2011 Sonata HEV
2011 Sonata HEV


 Hyundai also exhibited a 4-cylinder 2.0L turbo engine that is used in the Sonata gasoline-powered model. This direct-injection engine adopts a twin scroll turbo. By reducing loss accompanying exhaust interference, it aims to increase output through high torque and high rotation from low rpms by turbocharging. As a result, it has achieved the maximum output of 274 hp and the maximum torque of 269 lb・ft and the city/hwy fuel consumption of 22mpg/33mpg, which is excellent highway fuel consumption equivalent to that of the HEV in the above table. In addition, the company says that, by adopting a motor-driven waste-gate turbo charger, it aims to speed up the warm-up time of catalyst to shorten the activation time by constant opening during cooling down.

Exterior of THETA2 2.0 Turbocharged GTI engine for the Sonata
Exterior of THETA2 2.0 Turbocharged GDI engine for the Sonata

Engine performance curve of THETA2 2.0 Turbocharged GTI engine
Engine performance curve of THETA2 2.0 Turbocharged GDI engine

Twin scroll turbo
Twin scroll turbo

 Hyundai displayed a U2-1.7L 2 Stage Turbo Diesel engine that is used in the i-Flow concept - a diesel-powered HEV that had been showcased at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. This 2 Stage Turbo engine has placed two large/small turbo chargers in tandem. In low speed driving, a smaller-diameter turbo is activated to generate a maximum torque of 274lb・ft at 1500rpm and in medium/high speed driving, a larger-diameter turbo is also activated. This is a system that is satisfying in terms each of low-speed torque, fuel consumption, high output (157hp), transient response performance, but HEVs in North America are mainly gasoline-powered HEVs. It remains unclear in terms of cost effectiveness whether Hyundai will introduce this 2 Stage Turbo Diesel engine as a base engine of HEVs.

Exterior of U2-1.7L 2 Stage Turbo Diesel engine
Exterior of U2-1.7L 2 Stage Turbo Diesel engine

Engine performance curve of U2-1.7L 2 Stage Turbo Diesel engine
Engine performance curve of U2-1.7L 2 Stage Turbo Diesel engine


 Kia exhibited FCEV based on the Borrego, which it had showcased at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. Borrego FCEV comes with a 154hp (115kW) fuel cell and a 134hp (100kW, 450V) large capacitor, with two or three 70MPa hydrogen tanks placed under the floor before and after the rear wheel. The company says that with a 147hp (110kW) motor, the maximum speed is 100mph and the maximum cruising range is 426 miles (680km).

FCEV based on Kia Borrego
FCEV based on Kia Borrego

Summary of Borrego FCEV's technology
Summary of Borrego FCEV's technology

 



Chrysler exhibits vehicles used under the PHEV project with US Department of Energy

 Chrysler obtained a budget of $48 million from the US Department of Energy (DOE) and made 140 prototype PHEVs based on the Dodge RAM 1500 truck, currently conducting experiments to collect various data through a 3-year test run. It carries out test runs in a wide area across the US including North Dakota, Arizona, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The company says that it uses PHEV as an interface of smart grid and obtains various data and numerical data including bi-directional charging.

 This project started in 2009 and is scheduled to end in June 2014.

Summary of RAM1500 PHEV DOE project
Summary of RAM1500 PHEV DOE project

PHEV based on Dodge RAM 1500 truck
PHEV based on Dodge RAM 1500 truck

System and parts to be used in Dodge RAM 1500 PHEV
System and parts to be used in Dodge RAM 1500 PHEV

Recharging connector for PHEVs
Recharging connector for PHEVs

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