State of the Engine: Part III, Electrification Technology

September 21, 2015 - Author: Matt Rodgers, Lead Mechanical Engineer

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electrification technology, tractor trailer innovations

Does the 2025 EPA regulations force engine Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM’s) to give up on the internal combustion engine of today and go with hybrid technology and/or 100% battery powered solutions? The answer to this is not completely definitive; however, projections state that the consumer wants the combustion engine as the primary solution, often overlooking the higher cost of hybrids. The interesting statistic is the fact that in 2005 the spread between a hybrid midsize car vs conventional powertrain was ~25 MPG different. The comparison is much closer in 2015 with only a 15 MPG difference. So what does this say? Combustion engines are being integrated into vehicles more efficiently and OEM’s are building what the customer wants: a reasonably priced fuel efficient powertrain.

Part of the reason OEM’s are able to gain efficiency is because of electrification technology. Technologies gaining acceptance include 48V systems (lower amperage with reduced line losses), electric turbo-compounding (convert electric energy from exhaust gas), engine start/stop (engine turns off with zero vehicle speed), and electric oil/water pumps. As an example of this, Ford is delivering this type vehicle into production with the release of the Focus Estate (EU) by 2016. It will be interesting how many OEM’s will have these technologies come 2025.


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