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The LC Super Hybrid, shown here at the Millbrook test facility in the U.K., is proving that cost-effective technology can lower emissions without sacrificing performance.
European ALABC Demonstration Projects Clearing the Way for Low Cost Hybrids
 
While automakers continue to debate how best to lower the cost of hybrid electric vehicles for more rapid acceptance among consumers, the European arm of the ALABC has successfully developed advanced lead-acid battery technology that can open the door for low cost hybridization.  The EALABC, in collaboration with several reputable automotive technology partners, is currently demonstrating this technology in a pair of recent projects that have already produced impressive results in terms of reducing CO2 emissions.
 
The HyBoost Project
In 2009, the EALABC partnered with automotive engineering pioneer Ricardo, along with Valeo, Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), Ford Motor Company and London’s Imperial College to use proven, cost-effective technologies to build a 1.0 liter hybrid engine and powertrain that could perform at the same level of (or better than) a conventional 2.0 liter system.  In a project co-funded by the government-sponsored Technology Strategy Board, the group retrofitted a 2.0 liter Ford Focus with a downsized 1.0 liter three-cylinder Ford Fox gasoline engine, a CPT variable torque electric supercharger (VTES), a Valeo Starter Alternator Reversible System (StARS), a 220 Farad super-capacitor, and an extended life flooded (ELF) battery.
 
The HyBoost demonstration vehicle was able to achieve significant emissions reductions with a downsized 1.0 liter engine, and still retain the performance characteristics of a comparable 2.0 liter model.
Nearly two years later, the HyBoost demonstration vehicle displayed impressive test results in comparison with the 2.0 liter Focus, with a 39% reduction in CO2 emissions without loss of vehicle performance.  While the project was a significant success, the EALABC continued testing a variety of carbon-enhanced VRLA batteries supplied by member companies as a potential replacement for the super-capacitor.  Once the team determined some of these advanced VRLA batteries could not only meet the current demands of the recharge cycle, but also store significantly more energy than the super-capacitor, the ALABC decided to commission its own vehicle with these batteries in an attempt to achieve comparable results at lower cost.
 
The LC Super Hybrid
On the heels of the HyBoost results, the EALABC and CPT decided to commission German automotive technology specialists AVL Schrick to convert a 1.4 liter Volkswagen Passat TSI with a similar system to attempt improved fuel efficiency with optimal performance at lower cost (and without super-capacitors).  The Passat made an ideal base vehicle, in part because it was already turbo-charged and fitted with start/stop technology, but it required some key modifications in order to achieve the desired parameters.
 
The LC Super Hybrid is scheduled to make its world debut at the 82nd International Geneva Motor Show in March 2012.
For one, the team replaced the existing integrated starter generator (ISG) with the CPT SpeedStart ISG for quicker response during start/stop events.  They also decided to replace the existing 68Ah VRLA battery with a 100Ah battery (two Exide 50Ah Orbital High Carbon batteries in parallel).  This battery would not only provide the hotel loads (or non-propulsion energy), but also capture the recovered or “regen” energy from the ISG to power the CPT electric supercharger, which acts to prevent turbo lag and lack of power at low engine revolutions.  (Incidentally, Valeo later acquired the electric supercharger business from CPT, indicating the genuine interest of a “Tier 1” supplier to OEMs – original equipment manufacturers – in promoting this technology.) 
 
AVL Schrick carried out the vehicle integration with Mubea supplying the belt tensioner technology and Provector assisting with the battery management system.
 
The resulting “LC Super Hybrid” performed even better than expected achieving a 7% reduction in CO2 emissions of the already fuel-efficient 1.4 liter Passat base vehicle while significantly improving performance.  However, the more impressive comparison is with the 2.0 liter Volvo S40, which the LC Super Hybrid clearly outperformed and still improved upon CO2 emissions by 26%.  The demonstration vehicle recorded significant performance characteristics while registering a fuel-efficiency mark of 50.5 miles per gallon with a gasoline-powered (rather than diesel-powered) engine, proving that such technology can offer the benefits of lower emissions and lower fuel consumption without having to sacrifice vehicle performance for the sake of the consumer.
 
Bringing the Technology to the Public
While the HyBoost demonstration vehicle was revealed to the general public at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2011 (LCV2011) event at Rockingham, U.K., the LC Super Hybrid is scheduled to make its world debut at the 82nd International Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, March 8-18.  Both vehicles are expected to remain a focal point for the ALABC’s demonstration programs as they continue to make the rounds at other events throughout the year.
 
Discussions are already underway with AVL Schrick to build a 48V demonstrator that promises even lower emissions, but the results of HyBoost and LC Super Hybrid projects have already proven that such technology can bridge the cost gap for automotive manufacturers searching for cost-effective HEV solutions.  Now that the ALABC and its partners have shown what can be accomplished with low-cost lead-acid battery technology and state-of-the-art vehicle performance systems, the potential for revolutionizing the consumer Hybrid market is closer than ever before. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium
1822 NC Highway 54E, Suite 120, Durham, North Carolina 27713 USA
Tel: 919-361-4647 | Fax: 919-361-1957 | www.alabc.org


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