The Race for Hybrids
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|Anne-Françoise Pele||August 7th 2012|
Hybrid cars are still quite expensive, and not everyone can afford to buy one. But automotive supplier Valeo said it has recently launched an affordable hybrid concept for the mainstream. Interviewed by French radio station Europe 1, Henri Trintignac, Valeo’s director of Electric Vehicle Activity, claimed that Valeo SA has developed an electrification solution for the powertrain, Hybrid4All, which enables car manufacturers to turn a traditional engine—diesel or gasoline—into a hybrid engine, at an affordable price by using simple and standardized components.
The Hybrid4all architecture is based on a compact motor generator which uses a low voltage electrical system (48V). Costs are thus reduced, making this solution more acceptable for the mass market. In the Hybrid4all architecture, the electric motor, which assists the internal combustion engine (ICE), can be installed in different positions: in front of the ICE (on the accessory drive belt), after the gear-box or between the two. This solution integrates Valeo’s enhanced Stop-Start, regenerative braking, and torque assist functions.
The system is claimed to enable fuel savings of more than 15 percent on an average gasoline engine vehicle. The original Hybrid4all electro-technical architecture means that the motor generator provides a high level of power (up to 15kW) and takes up no more room than a conventional alternator. Valeo said that Hybrid4all recovers energy during deceleration (regenerative braking), and re-uses it during acceleration assisting the combustion engine. “This system enables to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent,” Trintignac told Europe 1. A car driver now spending €100 ($120) per month will see his/her fuel budget drop to €85 ($102), he continued.
Valeo has claimed a 15.5 percent CO2 reduction with a prototype car, a Peugeot 207 1.6L THP. The system is designed for small cars such as the Renault Twingo, Clio, and Opel Corsa. So far, these car models could not be equipped with hybrid engines because of the cost.
Cars equipped with the electrical system are expected to be available in 2017, Trintignac concluded.
Anne-Françoise Pele writes for EE Times, from which this article is adapted.