Ricardo Plc appears to be adhering to an "it takes a village" approach to ratcheting up US fleetwide fuel economy levels to the higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards the federal government set for 2025. Last year, the US government finalized the new CAFE standards, which call for increasing fleetwide fuel economy starting in 2017 and ending at 54.5 miles per gallon (about 40 mpg in "real world" terms) by 2025.

The UK-based technology consulting group, in presentations at the IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo (ITEC) in Michigan, said the goals can be reached with "minor" electrification, as opposed to the wholesale changes that some green car advocates are proposing as necessary.

Ricardo, under what it calls its HyBoost program, says an engine with the fuel economy of a 1-liter engine and the performance of a 2-liter engine can be built using a combination of lightweighting, electric supercharging, regenerative braking and stop-start functionality.

Ricardo launched the HyBoost project in late 2009, saying it'd be able to cut emissions by as much as 40 percent, compared to traditional engines, through its combination of methods. Check out Ricardo's press release below.
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Ricardo Projects 2025 Fuel Economy Standards Are Attainable with Known Technology and Minor Electrification

Ricardo presents technology approach at IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference for achieving necessary fuel economy improvements in an affordable and appealing package

Dearborn, Mich., June 18, 2013 - Ricardo Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Ricardo plc, a multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation and strategy, said today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are attainable using known technology and minor electrification. During the IEEE Transportation Electrification Conference and Expo (ITEC) in Dearborn, Mich., Ricardo presented a technology approach by which automakers can combine radical downsizing with intelligent boosting and electrification to achieve the necessary fuel economy improvements in a low-cost package.

"Getting to 2025 is a challenge for the entire industry. Not only are the standards attainable, but they can be achieved with a vehicle that appeals to the mass market," said Noel Mack, Ricardo hybrid and electric systems product group director, during his presentation at ITEC. "Lightweighting and engine improvements can only get us so far, but if we look to combine cost-effective technologies with a full-system approach, we can deliver a micro-hybrid operation that will provide the fuel economy we need to achieve the 2025 standards."

Mack showed how a mix of either proven or ready-for-implementation electric components can achieve a significant fuel economy improvement in a C-segment car while maintaining the same vehicle performance and driveability. He explained the HyBoost concept, which combines radical engine downsizing, electric supercharging, and intelligent energy capture and storage technologies while delivering the performance of a baseline 2.0L engine with the emissions and fuel economy of a 1.0L gasoline engine.

HyBoost, a joint research project among several industry partners and led by Ricardo, shows what can be achieved today in fuel economy improvements using a conventional powertrain architecture and available efficiency-improving technologies. The concept replaced a 2.0L naturally aspirated four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 1.0L three-cylinder engine with the objective of delivering the same driveability, performance and acceleration. With the downsized engine, the project team used a belt starter-generator to provide regenerative braking and stop/start capabilities, cost-effective lead-acid batteries and super-capacitors to provide energy storage. It also used electric supercharging to provide improved transient response and avoid turbocharger lag.
Mack concluded that the HyBoost approach can provide the benefits of electrification at a much lower cost than a full hybrid, making it more appealing to the mass market.

About Ricardo plc

Ricardo plc is a global, world-class, multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation and strategy. With almost a century of delivering value, we employ over 2,300 professional engineers, consultants and staff. Our people are committed to providing outstanding value through quality engineering solutions focused on high-efficiency, low-emission, class-leading product innovation and robust strategic implementation. Our client list includes the world's major transportation original equipment manufacturers, supply chain organizations, energy companies, financial institutions and governments. Guided by our corporate values of respect, integrity, creativity, innovation and passion, we enable our customers to achieve sustainable growth and commercial success. Ricardo's U.S. operation, Ricardo Inc., is headquartered in Van Buren Township, Mich. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 13 Hours Ago
      "said the goals can be reached with "minor" electrification, as opposed to the wholesale changes that some green car advocates are proposing as necessary." Someone forgot to tell Tesla and Nissan/Renault. Translation, we were paid by the conventional auto makers to decrease demand for real EV's and maintain the status quo of making lots of profits off our petrol piles. No need to drastically change you can still poison your cities with exhaust. We still like making profits off all those pollution pile filters, o2 sensors, mufflers etc... No need to stop using gas, you want your children to live forever? That would be terrible. Thank you please come again!
        • 13 Hours Ago
        someone forget to tell you, nissan have this already from 2010 in asia and europe, the 1.2 three cylinder Direct injection, super charger with stop-start. http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-reviews/40183/nissan-micra-12-dig-s-tekna
      • 13 Hours Ago
      The CAFE standards people really need to move to using the current EPA test cycle, instead of the old test cycle. It is absolutely silly that we talk about a 54.5 MPG fleet average based on an outdated test cycle, when cars getting around 40 MPG in the current EPA test cycle will meet that standard. All using the old standard does is confuse people, and feed political trolls who take advantage of the confusion to sow backlash against this perfectly reasonable MPG standard.
      • 13 Hours Ago
      "a belt starter-generator to provide regenerative braking and stop/start capabilities, cost-effective lead-acid batteries and super-capacitors to provide energy storage" Primitive, primitive, wait-what? Supercapacitors won't be cheap And electric supercharging is stupid, using electricity to stuff more air in an engine when it could be turning the wheels directly. Oh, except Ricardo doesn't have a transmission that can blend an electric motor and gas engine. The e-CVT of Toyota HSD, Ford Powersplit, and GM Voltec (and probably Honda's two-motor as well) is demonstrably better (who else makes a 50mpg car?), very reliable, and Ford and Toyota are in the mature, steadily-declining-cost phase with an easy route to plug-in. It sucks to be everyone else: you either don't get as good mpg, or you hope to leapfrog into confusing MPGe territory with a plug-in. Maybe I'm too cynical. It would be great if a mild hybrid plus engine improvements could get an $18,000 2.0L car to 45 combined EPA mpg.
      • 13 Hours Ago
      The Fusion hybrid and Avalon hybrid show that meeting CAFE is certainly doable for cars. But I haven't seen any 40 mpg pickup trucks or vans yet.
      • 13 Hours Ago
      Gotta trust Ricardo.
      • 13 Hours Ago
      Indeed . . . the standards are not that hard to meet. Yet the industry howled against them for decades. Of course when the industry went bankrupt due to a sudden rise in fuel prices then admitted there were some good reasons for better fuel efficiency. But now that fuel prices have been stable for a couple years and the news is filled with over-hype stories about shale oil, they are again starting to whine about CAFE standards.
      • 13 Hours Ago
      The Satz engine (U.S. patent 4,009,573) gets double the efficiency of the standard Otto cycle engine; this engine together with a hybrid power train is all that's needed to meet the 2025 CAFE standards.
      • 13 Hours Ago
      I really like the idea of electric-boosted turbos. That would give turbo cars low rpm performance similar to a supercharged engine. Solving the turbo lag problem would make turbo cars more popular. Of course you would entirely eliminate all turbo lag problems by using a PHEV design like the Volt, where the instant torque of the battery is what delivers all the power at low speeds. Tune the turbos to be the most effective at the fixed RPM that a charger motor would run at, and forget about ever powering the vehicle with the gas motor at low rpm. Problem solved!
      • 13 Hours Ago
      It might be cheaper that the vehicle design/development that plug in vehicles require, but making only minor drive-train improvements will not develop the technology platform that companies will need to compete ten years from now. Maximize short term profit, eat your seed corn and then bail when the market moves away from obsolete offerings.