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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