The DriveNow carsharing service – a joint venture between BMW and Sixt – has expanded to Brussels, Belgium. In addition, 20 percent of the entire DriveNow fleet is now made up of electric vehicles, and more than 150,000 of the service's 600,000-plus customers have had their first EV driving experience through DriveNow. Users in most of the 10 cities in which the program operates have access to the BMW i3, which have been part of the fleet since 2013. Read more from Green Car Congress.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is providing more than $13 million in funding for the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The DOE's Fuel Cell Consortium for Performance and Durability (FC-PAD) will help fund projects from General Motors, 3M, the United Technologies Research Center, and Vanderbilt University to reduce the use of platinum and increase the performance and durability of fuel cells. The DOE's Hydrogen Materials—Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC) is funding hydrogen storage projects by Argonne National Laboratory, Penn State, University of Hawaii, Manoa, and University of Missouri, St. Louis. Read more from the DOE.

The Advanced Diesel-Electric Powertrain (ADEPT) program's 48-volt lead-carbon battery will help next-generation cars meet future emissions requirements. ADEPT, of which Ricardo, Ford, and the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) are partners, will present its results at the Cenex LCV2016 low-carbon vehicle conference at Millbrook on September 14 and 15. The "intelligent electrification" mild hybrid system will be showcased in a Ford Focus demonstration car. The system provides fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions benefits comparable to that of a full hybrid diesel powertrain, but at a lower cost. In addition to the lead-carbon battery (which is lithium-free and easily recyclable), the mild hybrid powertrain uses a Ford ECOnetic 1.5TDCi engine, advanced belt starter generator, and Turbine Integrated exhaust Gas Energy Recovery System (TIGERS). Read more in the press release below.

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Hybrid vehicle with 48V advanced lead carbon battery on path to meet future ultra-low emissions targets

· ADEPT programme aims to demonstrate technology capable of providing near full-hybrid equivalent fuel economy at significantly lower cost

· UltraBattery® advanced lead-carbon battery pack, provides a high power, high endurance, easily recyclable, lithium-free low-cost energy storage solution.

· Results of almost three years of intensive development and road and laboratory testing of ADEPT technology will be revealed at LCV2016

Latest results show that a demonstration hybrid vehicle (HEV), utilising an advanced lead carbon battery, is on track to meet stringent air quality and ultra-low emission requirements for the next generation of road vehicles.

The results of the ADEPT programme, of which the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) is a partner, follow almost three years of intensive testing, development and validation of advanced mild hybrid technologies with 48V 'intelligent electrification' applied to a Ford Focus project demonstration vehicle.

The advanced lead-carbon battery (UltraBattery®) used as part of this package, provides a high power, high endurance, easily recyclable, lithium-free low-cost energy storage solution - the Ultrabattery® was invented by CSIRO in Australia, with battery modules supplied by ALABC member East Penn Manufacturing, USA.

The final results will be presented at the UK's premier low carbon vehicle event LCV2016 on 14-15 September, where industry executives, government officials and the media will have an opportunity to drive the vehicle.

ALABC, with important contributions from Provector (battery pack design and construction) and the University of Sheffield (battery evaluation and dynamic charge acceptance studies), is part of the ADEPT (Advanced Diesel-Electric Powertrain) research consortium led by Ricardo together with Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies UK Ltd, Ford Motor Company and the University of Nottingham.

The consortium aims to demonstrate the advanced 48V mild hybrid powertrain architecture fitted with an advanced lead carbon battery is capable of delivering near full hybrid-scale diesel fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions, through a highly cost-effective package, without compromising increasingly stringent European exhaust emission regulations, which currently require cars to meet Euro 6b air quality standards in terms of NOx, PM and CO.

In addition, the integration of hybrid and emissions control systems has the potential to deliver up to a 10-12 percent reduction in fuel consumption, equivalent to sub-80g/km of CO2 emissions (NEDC). Crucially, the technology can be delivered at lower costs than a more traditional approach of optimizing each system separately. Initial analysis shows that costs (based on Ricardo's estimation) of less than €80 per gram of CO2 reduction for every kilometre travelled is feasible through ADEPT technology. Ricardo believes the above package is very competitive with other fuel economy solutions such as full hybridization.

Alistair Davidson, of ALABC, said: "This clearly demonstrates that lead-carbon batteries are the most cost efficient way of meeting stringent future CO2 emission targets."

The concept of intelligent electrification enables highly aggressive engine downsizing and down-speeding beyond what might normally be possible other than through more expensive hybridization approaches. This is achieved through the use of torque assist from electrically harvested energy, temporarily stored in a 48V advanced lead-carbon UltraBattery® pack with a high rate partial state-of-charge capability similar to a supercapacitor, in combination with 48V electrified ancillaries.

With sophisticated electronic control of the powertrain systems, torque assist can be used to ensure that performance is maintained – or improved upon – throughout the duty cycle while also reducing fuel consumption. By basing the system on 48V electrical architecture, the ADEPT project aims to achieve a highly optimal cost and performance trade-off, including ultra-low emissions, while also delivering significant fuel savings.

Completion of development – testing ongoing
Following the announcement of the ADEPT project in September 2013, initial integration and development tests were carried out by the ADEPT team on an early 'functional integration' prototype, which was revealed at the LCV2014 show. This enabled the project to carry out de-risking of components and systems, and also provided a platform for evaluating control concepts.

The final ADEPT demonstrator vehicle, which has now been completed, provides the fullest implementation of systems to be carried out by the team. At the LCV2016 show, the final results of ongoing vehicle road and laboratory tests will be revealed for the first time. The project partners also intend to make the vehicle available for ride and drive demonstrations at LCV2016.

"We are really pleased to have achieved this important milestone of completion of the ADEPT demonstrator prototype," commented Ricardo Innovations MD Thomas Gutwald. "While much development attention is currently focused on full hybrids and battery electric vehicles – including by Ricardo and its customers – I firmly believe that the concept of 'intelligent electrification' will have an extremely high level of mass market appeal, providing arguably a greater overall fuel and carbon emissions saving in the near to medium term due to its highly cost-effective focus on the combination of near-market, available technologies. We look forward to sharing the results of the road and laboratory testing that is currently ongoing with the ADEPT vehicle, at the LCV2016 show in September."

The ADEPT research project is jointly funded by the UK Government's Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) implemented through the UK innovation agency, Innovate UK, with matching contributions from the participating partners.

ADEPT powertrain architecture
The baseline vehicle for the ADEPT research and development programme is based on an already downsized and competitively fuel-efficient diesel Ford Focus ECOnetic 1.5TDCi, homologated with carbon dioxide emissions of 88g/km.

Key features of the vehicle systems include CPT's water-cooled SpeedStart switched reluctance belt starter generator (BSG), capable of delivering in excess of 12kW of regenerative braking, as well as near instantaneous and near continuous torque assist levels of over 7kW – sufficient to enable significant engine down-speeding in addition to a highly capable start-stop functionality.

Further energy recovery is achieved from CPT's exhaust mounted 48V turbine integrated exhaust gas energy recovery system known as TIGERS. Rated at 2.4kW, TIGERS is capable of providing further power recuperated from the exhaust downstream of the turbocharger. The exhaust gas is diverted to the TIGERS unit via two bespoke emissions control valves developed by Faurecia Emissions Controls technologies for the ADEPT project. Again, the recovered energy is stored in the advanced lead-carbon battery pack, providing a high power, high endurance, easily recyclable, lithium-free energy storage solution at a competitive cost.

The ADEPT powertrain includes a range of electrical ancillaries powered from the 48V system rather than directly from the engine, including for example, the vehicle air conditioning compressor. In addition to powering these ancillaries and facilitating a significantly improved start-stop functionality, ADEPT's 48V architecture also provides significant levels of torque assist from the BSG to offset fuelling to the engine for improved fuel economy, and to increase overall powertrain torque capability for enhanced vehicle performance.

The control strategies deployed have been developed based on extensive vehicle systems simulation work. This has enabled the core powertrain and aftertreatment system, as well as the 48V BSG, ancillaries, battery pack and exhaust energy recovery system, to be operated in a seamless manner, while also providing a valuable computer-aided engineering (CAE) capability to explore further potential avenues of development and optimization opened up through intelligent 48V electrification.

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