Ricardo to bring intelligent electrification to diesel cars

Posted on 4 Sep 2013 by The Manufacturer

Advanced engineering company Ricardo today unveiled plans for a new powertrain technology which could transform the sustainability of diesel vehicles

Ricardo has developed the technology as part of its work for the Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium (ALABC) and a new low carbon technology research initiative worth £3.25m and is part funded by the Technology Strategy Board.

The aim is to bring low voltage intelligent electrification to diesel vehicles.

The Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain unveiled by Ricardo today will be known as ‘Adept’. It will combine several technologies which have previously only been demonstrated individually including carbon enhanced capacitive lead-acid batteries. The technology proving programme is now expected to last two years.

Ricardo’s new 48 volt powertrain has attracted the attention of several large automotive OEM’s including Ford Motor Company which is a member of ALABC and which has worked with Ricardo on previous innovation projects including the 24 volt HyBoost research and development programme. This delivered a breakthrough in gasoline fuel efficiency and CO2 reduction through the same concept of low voltage hybridisation.

Io demonstrate the new technology’s cost effectiveness, the consortium will need to achieve a cost of less than US$250/kWh an alternative to the much more expensive lithium-ion batteries.

Other partners in the two-year Adept proving programme include Faurecia, Controlled Power Technologies and the University of Nottingham. The partnership was announced today at the Cenex LCV2103 low carbon vehicle technology conference and exhibition being held at the UK’s Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

Allan Cooper European project coordinator ALABC said: “The Adept project takes a highly innovative approach to energy recuperation and energy storage requiring only a relatively small rechargeable battery compared to that required for a full hybrid or pure electric vehicle.”

This will allow vehicle manufacturers to avoid the considerable cost and complexity of electrically and thermally managing lithium-ion batteries as well as the environmental issues of manufacturing and disposing of them continued Mr Cooper.

If successful, the Adept project will help increase the market acceptance of low carbon vehicles and their contribution to achieving EU climate change targets say ALABC participants.

Potentially the low voltage technology combination could be applied to almost 50 million vehicles per annum.  The successful application of the technologies would allow a global vehicle manufacturer to reduce its in-use carbon footprint of a typical vehicle by 50g/km – a 30% reduction on today’s baseline.