September 5, 2012

LC Super Hybrid features a Valeo electric supercharger

The UK low carbon vehicle technology specialist, Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), will demonstrate its low cost solution for CO2 reduction in a micro-mild hybrid technology demonstrator being shown at the Cenex LCV2012 event this week. The show will be the first UK industry event where the LC Super Hybrid, which debuted at the Geneva Motor show, can be driven. CPT will exhibit on the steering pad (booth SP23 next to the Toyota stand) at the event which runs for two days on 5-6 September at Millbrook Proving Ground.

“Carmakers face progressively increased costs and diminishing returns as they try to further squeeze CO2 emissions and fuel consumption,” says Nick Pascoe chief executive at Controlled Power Technologies (CPT) who will attend the event. “Ideally, carmakers would prefer to respond to this challenge using relatively familiar powertrain technology and to avoid the cost, complexity and cooling requirements of the high voltage power electronics, expensive batteries and high torque motor-generators typified by full hybrid and electric vehicles. The evolutionary near-term technologies incorporated into the LC Super Hybrid avoid this expense by the smart use of modular micro-mild hybrid products, and provide an as yet unfulfilled low voltage solution for the important high volume vehicle market segment critical to the commercial success of global carmakers.”

CPT has achieved its low cost breakthrough to deliver electric hybridisation at the relatively safe voltages of 12-48 volts, which is complemented by new and revolutionary lead-carbon batteries. The LC Super Hybrid micro-mild concept retains a conventional albeit downsized petrol engine, which the industry can produce at low cost, augmented through mild electrification by deploying a number of highly controllable modular products including a highly efficient stop-start system known as SpeedStart.

The production-ready technology offers the potential of a mass market, petrol-powered, large family saloon with superb drivability, impressive performance equivalent to a 2-litre car and excellent 5.6 litres/100km (50mpg) fuel economy achieved at substantially lower cost than an equivalent diesel model or plug-in hybrid. The low voltage technology enables aggressive yet near-term down-sizing and down-speeding of existing engine families.

Representing the state of the art in substantial and affordable CO2 reduction, the LC Super Hybrid was first unveiled at the 2012 Geneva International Motor Show. The technology demonstrator has helped to define a whole new class of low cost micro-mild hybrid vehicles. The car has been developed in cooperation with the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium, an international research group based in the US. The vehicle includes production-ready technology recently sold by CPT to the leading French tier 1 supplier Valeo, thereby becoming the first global automotive component manufacturer to offer carmakers a range of electric superchargers. Other international companies involved are powertrain developer and systems integrator AVL Schrick based in Austria and Germany, drive belt specialist Mubea also from Germany, and Provector, a leading expert in battery management systems, based near Cambridge in the UK.

Based on a series production 1.4-litre turbocharged VW Passat TSI model - generally considered an industry benchmark for fuel economy in this size of vehicle - the LC Super Hybrid is providing carmakers with real world validation of this pioneering and innovative development. The technologies comprise an electric supercharger, next generation belt-integrated starter generator with an advanced belt tensioning system, new PbC lead-carbon batteries which avoid the need for super-capacitors, and higher gear ratios to reduce engine speed. Recalibration of the engine increases power from 122 to 142PS and torque from 200 to 275Nm. This power and torque is more comparable with VW’s bigger 1.8-litre TSI gasoline engine, which delivers 160PS and 250Nm, and the engine output of the LC Super Hybrid is generally equivalent to vehicles in the 2-litre class. Despite the enhanced gasoline engine performance the vehicle achieves near diesel levels of fuel economy, but with substantially lower production costs.

The impressive performance and excellent fuel economy are underscored by the acceleration figures and results measured on the standard European drive cycle. The LC Super Hybrid delivers CO2 emissions of less than 130g/km compared with 140g/km for the baseline Passat 1.4-litre TSI, which is already best in class, and an even more significant reduction when compared with 160g/km for the 1.8-litre TSI model. This represents a reduction in CO2 emissions of 8 and 23 per cent respectively. Similarly, the excellent fuel economy of 5.6 litres/100km (50mpg) represents a significant 11 and 24 per cent improvement respectively when compared with 6.2 litres/100km (46mpg) for the 1.4-litre TSI and 6.9 litres/100km (41mpg) for the 1.8-litre TSI also measured over the NEDC European drive cycle.

This notable reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption has to be seen in the context of the impressive performance and driveability of the technology demonstrator. In 6th gear, which is taller even than the gearing in the baseline vehicle, the 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75mph) top gear acceleration is reduced by 3.5 seconds from 16.0 to 12.5 seconds. Similarly, the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time is reduced by 2.5 seconds from 11.1 to 8.7 seconds compared with the 1.4-litre TSI and achieves virtually the same acceleration (8.5 seconds) as the 1.8-litre TSI model.

The technology incorporated into the LC Super Hybrid, which has taken 10 years of research to develop, has achieved its technical breakthrough in the cost effective reduction of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption without compromising the fun-to-drive factor and high energy density fuel tank range advantage of gasoline engines. The demonstrator embraces low voltage switched reluctance (SR) motor-generators, which are not currently employed by the automotive industry in mass production. The motors are of simple robust construction using steel, aluminium and copper and avoid the use of increasingly expensive rare earth materials required for permanent magnet motors. The SR technology is licensed from Nidec Corporation of Japan, one of the world’s leading suppliers of electric motors.

The micro-mild hybrid technology builds on previous work by CPT carried out with AVL, who were commissioned to build the LC Super Hybrid and handled the systems integration. The demonstrator incorporates CPT’s SpeedStart stop-start system, which includes intelligent torque and current control with enhanced stop-start capabilities. The SpeedStart system is the world’s most powerful belt-integrated starter generator (B-ISG) to operate at 12 volts, and the first and only system based on the highly controllable switched reluctance motor-generator technology, which resolves all stop-start issues including the notorious driver ‘change of mind’ problem. The Mubea belt tensioner system facilitates rapid reversals of the motor-generator, solves many packaging issues and virtually halves the belt loads, reducing friction of the front end accessory drive system while significantly improving belt durability. The lead-carbon battery design (supplied by Exide Technologies) provides a cost-effective solution, fully realising SpeedStart’s potential for high power generation, including regenerative braking, fast restart and torque smoothing.

Also on show at LCV2012 is the HyBoost demonstrator being presented by Ricardo (booth SP15 next to the conference entrance). The HyBoost project is similar to the LC Super Hybrid in a smaller class of vehicle. CPT’s involvement in this Technology Strategy Board project similarly demonstrates the benefits of extreme engine downsizing through the implementation of intelligent electrification. The Ricardo HyBoost project was developed in collaboration with Controlled Power Technologies, the European Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium, Ford, Imperial College London and Valeo.