Turbodiesel engines assisted by mild hybrid tech are an answer to dirty diesels

delphi mild hybrid cheaper faster cleaner hybrids
Out of the troublesome mix of emissions-cheating diesels, climate change fears, and ever-higher government fuel economy demands, an alternative technology called mild hybrids may tick all the boxes for car manufacturers, according to Ars Technica.  An efficient, small diesel engine with a mild hybrid power assist could be the best of both worlds. Automotive supplier Delphi is testing a mild hybrid system that it claims can provide most of the benefits of a full-power hybrid at a fraction of the cost.

Mild hybrids aren’t a brand new solution. General Motors showed a mild hybrid concept car in 2000 and has introduced different versions since then. Also referred to as BAS or Belt-Assisted-Starters, GM offered mild hybrid options for a 2007 Saturn and then for Buick models starting in 2013. The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickups offer a mild hybrid system called “eAssist.” One reason for the “mild” is the electrical system in a mild hybrids has lower voltage. Fully electrical cars and hybrids such as the Prius use 60V electrical systems. Mild hybrids use 36V to 48V systems that run in parallel to a car’s conventional 12 volt system.

Mild hybrid, BAS, and eAssist systems, while not identical, have roughly the same effect. A small electrical boost in power is added to a conventional engine on startup and takeoff. The electrical power is regained or “regenerated” during braking. The electrical power isn’t enough to run the vehicle alone, but it adds enough extra power so the car or truck is able to accelerate faster without increasing fuel consumption or emissions.

The two great advantages of diesel engines have always been fuel economy and pulling power, the latter also known as torque. Those two factors are why diesel motors are preferred for large trucks that pull or carry heavy loads. The two downsides of diesels are slower acceleration and more emissions than gasoline engines. Turbochargers added to diesel engines have been the most common way to boost acceleration. Running cleaner, however, requires lots of emissions control technology and software. We know where that has led lately.

But what if you combined a small diesel engine with a turbocharger and added a 48V mild hybrid setup? That’s what Delphi is testing now in a Honda Civic with a 1.6 liter turbodiesel engine. The 48V mild hybrid system has a lithium ion battery that provides power on takeoff and is recharged while braking. According to Delphi’s testing, the average fuel economy with the mild hybrid system is 10 percent improved, with up to a 35-percent improvement at some engine speeds.

Adding a 48V mild hybrid system that runs in parallel to the vehicle’s conventional 12V system and is used just for its power additive capability is significantly less expensive for automotive manufacturers than creating an entire 60V system. A full 60V system needs not only larger batteries, but also a full suite of new components to power everything in the car or truck.

According to Delphi’s calculations, a mild hybrid system with a diesel engine can accomplish 70 percent of the added fuel economy and lessened emissions of a conventional hybrid at only 30 percent of the regular hybrid’s cost over a conventional petroleum-fueled engine. So, cheaper, faster, and cleaner. That sounds like a win all around, and could be a way out for automobile manufacturers required to meet strict demands for better fuel economy and reduced emissions.


2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for December 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles, as well as bundles that feature games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.

Gateway’s born-again Ford Bronco boasts classic style, 2018 muscle car power

Illinois-based Gateway Bronco has received a license from Ford to make brand-new examples of the first-generation Bronco. Every build starts with a Ford VIN and a donor vehicle, but Gateway upgrades every part of the car.

Bloodhound’s plan to build a 1,000-mph car has run out of gas

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has officially shut down. The upside is you can now buy a 135,000-horsepower car powered by a jet engine and a cluster of rockets for $319,000.

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.

Allegro.ai is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named Allegro.ai. We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…