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I don't think anybody intends for this to be instead of heat pumps, but in addition to. We know that it takes a lot more power to heat the cabin than it does to make passengers feel warm by having their touch points (seats, wheel, armrests) heated. But heat pumps won't do that job effectively, and automotive heat pumps have serious challenges that stationary ones don't: 1) size and weight limits of being mobile severely limit the heat exchange surface area, which seriously reduces efficiency and capacity, and 2) defrosting while in motion is difficult at best, 3) only in automotive applications do we require rapid heating of the conditioned space from -20C to +20C in a few minutes; we would expect and allow a stationary system to take a whole day of constant running to achieve that. I have an ultra efficiency heat pump on my home also, but due to the huge heat exchange coils the weight of that overall system approaches 200 kg. Also, the heating output of heat pumps is still inversely proportional to ambient temperature, even though demand for heat is directly proportional to ambient temperature. The latest heat pump technology helps with this issue, but still needs to be paired with resistance to address performance in extreme cold, defrosting, etc. And note that this article specifically mentions the tech being targeted at extreme-weather performance. Moderate cold is not such a challenge and is already being addressed with heat pumps (BMW i3, Nissan Leaf... others?). If this technology can make an electrically heated door panel armrest use less power by use of the Peltier effect rather than resistive heating, that's a win with or without a heat pump. Peltier effect heating (or cooling) is a simpler form of heat pump- lower capacity and efficiency, but can be applied in a lot of small-scale, localized jobs where a refrigeration type heat pump doesn't make sense. In a pure sense, resistive heating is always the same efficiency, but I can see this tech improving how it is targeted. For example, if the whole door panel is already made of plastic, and a section of it can be impregnated with stuff to make only the armrest section heatable, now you have a heated armrest without the weight, cost, and complexity of an add-on heater for the armrest section. And you get a huge amount of control over how and where the heat is distributed compared to with an add-on system.
Having driven this powertrain in the TSX I have a hard time imagining how slow it will be off the line in a heavy beast like this. As far as I'm concerned, Honda's all-power no-torque fixation started to hit the wall by about 2000 and now ruins the appeal of almost all of their vehicles for me. I find this platform sluggish even in with the V6, because it doesn't have much low-end either and the transmission is always trying to lug along like other manufacturer's do. But the lugging approach is acceptable in a vehicle with low-end torque, and Honda's dont have any these days. The last Honda I drove that had a good balance of power and torque for my use was a '97 Accord, which had 130 hp but didn't have to rev to get the car moving and wasn't always the last one across the intersection when the light turned green.
ejj, There's a difference between Ford deciding to retool one of their plants and Fisker not finding anyone in the US that would build their car under contract. Valmet is going to build Fisker's car entirely on their behalf. You think Ford wants to build Fiskers in the middle of their trucks and vans?
OK, I goofed my octane discussion. I said premium unleaded but then gave numbers for regular unleaded. Premium fuel in parts of the US (like California) is 95 RON, 91 R+M/2.
For comparison, natural gas (methane) is 120 octane under either system. That's why CNG vehicles desperately need high compression ratios to manage to ignite it!
State and federal tax credits on the natural gas version offset much or all of the price difference. Same story for installing home refueling equipment such as the Phill. The remaining price premium can be small enough that non-green buyers will go for them just so they can drive solo in the carpool lanes- that's why they've been able to sell some in California, Arizona, etc. Their challenge now is to be able to get considered as the world focuses on electric vehicles. I'd guess that the size of the price premium is somewhat dictated by the amount of tax credit available and the lack of competitors in the US market. I've driven bi-fuel and dedicated CNG vehicles in fleets, including previous generations of the CNG Civic, and found that CNG is best done as a dedicated fuel. The ignition characteristics of CNG and gasoline are too different (especially low-octane American gasoline); if you make an engine to do both, it will hate running on CNG- meaning that when running on CNG, it's hard to start, has much less power output, and gets poor fuel economy. By designing the engine for CNG only, most of the fuel economy penalty and power loss is eliminated, and the engine will start as easily as any gasoline car. Bi-fuel might might work better if the designer could be sure the engine would never see low-octane gasoline- this closes the gap between the combustion characteristics of the two fuels and allows use of a higher compression ratio. But American fleet buyers would never tolerate a requirement for premium fuel, and in parts of the US, premium fuel is still fairly low-octane (91 RON or 87 in the typical American R+M/2 units).
EPA does outline the cost of these measures- that's what's in the Regulatory Impact Analysis documents I mentioned... the cost-benefit analysis for each major regulatory action. So far the health benefits have always vastly outweighed the costs, at least based on their analyses. As for the Endangerment finding for greenhouse gases, that's not even supposed to be subject to comment. Look, Congress created an agency to protect the environment and gave it statutory instructions on how it was do to so. You really think its head is going to sit back and decide to do any less than use every bit of power assigned to her under the law to do her job to the fullest, especially when the cost-benefit analysis says that the regulation produces an overall social benefit? The *summary* of the research and analysis that they considered on that was 4,000 pages long. Is it backward of us to pay top-notch scientists, epidemiologists, doctors, etc., to do this research, write these documents, go through these huge formal processes, and then discount them when we don't like the conclusion? Despite all of the terror and talk, I work where the rubber hits the road for that regulation- we just submitted our first permit application that treated greenhouse gases as a pollutant along with all the other more traditional pollutants- and the cost in this case was zero, other than paying me to write the few extra pages it took. They aren't making my client do anything more for energy efficiency than they do anyway because it saves them money. There are absolutely some inconvenient, clumsy, expensive regs out there, but the greenhouse gas thing is just not that big of a deal for industry. My #1 target would be to amend the Clean Air Act to reflect 1990s science that shows that a one-size-fits-all approach to emissions control to limit ground-level ozone concentrations. The Act was written when the understanding was that the right mechanism to reduce ozone was to control VOC; now we know that in some (geographic) areas, that's totally ineffective, you need to control NOx instead. But the Act still requires VOC controls in all areas that have ozone problems, and EPA can't change the Act. Unfortunately I can't explain that problem in a sound bite that gets people all fired up, so it will never get the attention of Congress, even though that's a real problem that really could be fixed to save money AND improve environmental protection (rather than spending money on pursuing solutions that are known to not work). As for whether or not the science behind that change is good, it's not in dispute, and the guy that did the work was made a member of the National Academy of Sciences for it.
For reference and educational purposes, I will point out that EPA posts their Regulatory Impact Analysis for each action like this at http://www.epa.gov/ttnecas1/ria.html. There's really no way to make effective arguments about cost-benefit of these sorts of regulations without reading these. I will also say that while these are a done deal, new regulations are being made all the time and these sorts of analyses are being subjected to public review and comment. I have commented on numerous EPA rulemakings- helping business cope with air quality regulations is my job, and sometimes they ask me to help them comment on upcoming rules. I can report that if you can contribute real factual information that's relevant to the question at hand you can actually have some influence over the final form of the rule. The challenge is that, by definition, what they are doing is so technical that you need expertise in the subject area to be able to make an comment that's informed enough to carry much weight. "No, it's too expensive, don't do it" won't help; "Hey, you forgot to account for the cost of x, which would have a meaningful impact on your conclusions" will.
As for reducing ozone in the desert, they will require reductions in NOx and VOC emissions locally and in upwind areas (LA, San Diego, etc.) that contribute to downwind ozone formation. This is the same thing these areas have been doing to meet Clean Air Act requirements for 30 years. The change will pull the belt one notch tighter on how much they are allowed to emit in these areas. While it's not free it's straightforward to do technically and there is no debate about the underlying science. As for cost-benefit, the Clean Air Act specifically forbids EPA from considering cost in setting the standard of how clean is clean enough. Congress required that they do the cost-benefit analysis but not consider it when setting the standard. Only when they start working on how they will achieve that goal are they allowed to consider cost. However, the cost-benefit analysis. However, the cost-benefit on the 1-hour standard, the current 8-hour standard, and the 8-hour standard that Obama just put on hold were overwhelmingly on the benefit side, generally 5:1 or 10:1 benefit to cost.
Tom, Congress is in charge, so no, no rational person is in charge. It's a statutory duty of EPA to do this under the Clean Air Act. I work with the EPA on a daily basis and do grumble about the nitty gritty details of how they implement policies sometimes, but you have to know something about the Clean Air Act to be able to critique EPA. Most of what they do that's really unpopular is a statutory requirement that Congress put on the books, not something EPA itself has any discretion on. As for nomenclature, the Federal rulemaking process starts with a "Proposed Rule" except on totally noncontroversial (boring) subjects so that the public has an opportunity to comment before a final decision is made. If they didn't go through this proposed rule and then move to a final rule, a green group would just sue them for failing to live up to their statutory duties under the Clean Air Act, and they'd end up with a court order telling them to do the same thing. As for the standard being superseded, the Clean Air Act also says that there can be no "backsliding" against standards, even when the standards change, so nobody can be off the hook from the 1-hour standard until they demonstrate that they have met it. If you don't like that requirement, blame Congress (of a few decades ago), not EPA. I work with (not for) EPA on a daily basis and while I can assure you that while they make me grumble regularly about the details of implementation, they have a small army of lawyers on staff and are not stupid. EPA is just like IRS... they take a lot of heat for doing what Congress requires them to do, but they are generally only the messenger on these issues.
There's some data that indicates that the ORVR plus Stage II recovery at the stations don't work well together and that you're better off only having ONE recovery system. So it was fairly easy for EPA to sign off on the idea that Stage II can be phased out, the only question is when the right time to make the transition. Vapor recovery is very effective as a control measure for ground-level ozone, but only in areas where VOC emissions are the dominant factor controlling ozone levels. The major issue with the Clean Air Act now is that it was written under the assumption that all areas worked that way, and that's since been disproved for significant portions of the country (where NOx is the limiting reactant, and VOC is in excess thanks to biogenic sources alone). That's the #1 target that the state/local air quality regulators would like updated in the Clean Air Act- right now in some areas they are being forced to implement ozone control measures by statutory triggers in the Act that do not serve the intended purpose in their particular jurisdiction. They need more NOx controls, rather than to spend money on VOC controls that aren't achieving anything. Vapor recovery is used in more places than you might realize because it's mostly just California that uses the big rubber bellows over the spout. In other areas the system can be present without much sign to the driver that it's there (the vacuum system doesn't necessary require the bellows).
Incremental improvements are still improvements, and like it or not, people will keep buying these until something forces them to stop. Also, innovations that help and SUV can cross over and help the efficiency of other vehicle types. So the M-class may not be a "Green Car" but these developments are relevant to the greening of cars generally.
Waste is already being shipped that far from Los Angeles. The landfills in the more populated areas are either closed or closing because they're full.
I'm not sure I am happy about the loss of the mechanical parking brake as a fail-safe. I have experienced on two separate occasions loss of service brakes through sudden and catastrophic fluid leaks. In both cases enough fluid was lost that there wasn't sufficient fluid for the separate circuit of the hydraulic service brakes could do much, so in both cases the use of the parking brake was necessary to stop the car. Merging the parking brake function with the hydraulics seems to lose that redundancy in my book. I have also experienced sudden loss of electrical power at speed, which is why I scrutinize the electrification of braking systems for proper fail-safes. I did buy a Prius knowing that its service brakes were 100% electric controlled and assisted, but in that case the braking system has a capacitor to give you enough time to stop the car in the event of a loss of 12V power. And the Prius retains a cable-actuated parking brake as additional backup. I would not have been willing to buy the car had it been all-electric had it not also had both the backup power and a mechanical parking brake for redundancy. I have to wonder how long before somebody tries to sell a car with all-electric brakes in conjunction with electric parking brake? It looks like Leaf and Volt will go that way. I will want to know what additional redundancy has been provided before I trust these systems with my life.
If efficiency were the point, we wouldn't be funding grants to subsidize fueling of transit buses with natural gas over diesel. This article is about an alternative powertrain that can meet CARB's standards for smog-forming pollutants without aftertreatment, and can do so burning traditional liquid fuels. This powertrain can also use alternative fuels without the same fuel economy penalty typically seen in ICEs. This is a major issue because the obvious compliance path for meeting the standard for smog-forming emissions is to switch from diesel to compressed natural gas, which means switching from diesel cycle to Otto cycle and taking a huge efficiency penalty. Then there's the cost and packaging considerations of ultra high-pressure CNG tanks. As usual, we are so interested in efficiency and CO2 emissions that we forget that there are other pollutants that are still of concern, such as NOx.
There will likely be a balance shaft and some remaining unpleasant vibration under some conditions anyway. Isuzu makes a 5.2 liter four cylinder diesel for its tilt-cab trucks. I rented one such truck recently and found the level of vibration acceptable for the application under most conditions, though shutdown could be quite rough. Keep in mind that expectations for noise, vibration, and harshness are at a totally different level for commercial trucks than what is expected in passenger vehicles.
This article has completely mixed up its volts, Amps, and Hertz. Correction please!
Hmm. But what happens when you get into a car that's hot from being parked in the sunshine, but whose engine has cooled off? You'd have to wait for the engine to get hot before the A/C could work? I'm not very keen on that idea.
The article was driven by a press release that didn't contain that info. This is all the info that Ford has yet released.
I am still waiting for the first manufacturer to approach the issue of optimizing for gasoline and E85 by specifying a turbocharged engine that requires premium unleaded gasoline or E85, with no regular unleaded gasoline allowed. It's at least a first step toward narrowing the window of possible octane ratings and allows a step away from the lower compression ratios required for regular unleaded. The user would have an incentive to use E85 over premium to get maximum power output, but could operate with premium unleaded when E85 wasn't available.
There may be some savings by reducing the component count (pistons, connecting rods, valves) but there is no escaping the added cost of a turbocharger and Multiair components itself. This IS very high class engineering, as HG said, but I have a hard time imagining that the added costs of the technology won't outweigh the savings on reduced component count. The parts that are getting replaced are older-technology parts that are made in large numbers. The turbo and Multiair valve actuation components are fairly small-volume, cutting edge technology parts that are a long way from being commoditized.
Every ABS-equipped car I've ever driven regularly has exhibited this problem to some extent. Living in a city with very rough roads, I've had plenty of experience with the issue. It's not a hybrid-specific issue. When ABS sees the first indications of wheel slip at a single wheel, it cuts braking force at all wheels for fear of braking the two sides of the car unevenly and putting it into a spin, and waits for about a second to see how the vehicle responds before allowing firmer braking again. It's a logical and helpful reaction on icy roads, but when you hit a pothole while braking on a dry road and the brakes don't give you all the braking you wanted for a second afterwards, regardless of how much pedal pressure you apply, it's problematic. The worst car I drove/owned with this problem was a '94 Taurus, which did it frequently and dramatically, and felt like it was taking forever for braking to return. It provided plenty of scary moments. People do complain about the same feeling in the '04-09 Prius (I have an '07), but what I have experienced in that Prius isn't quite the same. The Prius has a hairtrigger reflex about cutting regenerative braking when you hit even the tiniest bump, but if you push the pedal a little more, full friction braking is available without hesitation. It's only scary to the extent that you have to add a little pedal pressure unexpectedly, but at least you get a response in actual braking to the extra pressure. I have not had any trouble with it triggering a full-blown ABS response to ripples and potholes in the way that my older ABS-equipped cars did. I would expect, if people are crashing the 2010 Prius in cases where they didn't crash the '04-'09, that this is the reappearance of the ABS over-reaction condition that has appeared in other ABS-equipped cars over the years, and not just the less-than-graceful transition from regenerative braking to friction braking that the earlier cars exhibit. If that's the case, this would not have been a recall without the current panic. I'm not aware of any other car that's been recalled for this issue, and that Taurus certainly tried to crash itself a few times on me!
@danm- It's not a takeover... more of a getting into bed together. Fiat gets a piece of Chrysler in exchange for bringing it technology it desperately needs. As for the "(once) American industrial giant"... I'm having trouble remembering the last time Chrysler was respected for having a full line of competitive and desirable products. The K cars saved them from closing their doors, and they made some money on minivans the 80s and early 90s. But I can't think of a time when they were really equals to Ford and GM, rather than just trying to keep up.
Am I missing something? This sounds just like what Toyota's had in their hybrids since the "Hybrid Synergy Drive" generation (i.e. 2004 Prius). That has a 208V nominal battery but boosts to 500V for the traction motor. The Highlander and Camry hybrids boost to 650V. I'm no electrical engineer but I remember that the IGBTs required were a major challenge for Toyota to develop and procure.
Hmm. Traditional solid fuel rockets are an environmental disaster, but where do these aluminum nanoparticles end up? It seems rather cavalier to call this environmentally friendly without some discussion of the fate and ecosystem effects of the nanoparticles.