Irish Government, ESB, Mitsubishi Motors, MC Automobile (Europe) and MMC Commercials to Promote Electric Motoring in Ireland

The Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan; Electricity Supply Board (ESB); and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation; MC Automobile (Europe), N.V.; and MMC Commercials Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties to promote the electric vehicle (EV) industry in Ireland.

At the same time, Ireland’s first EV trial-project, conducted by Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) School of Engineering on behalf of ESB, was also announced.

As part of the trial, the electric i-MiEV will be used throughout Ireland to support the planning and implementation of the ESB nationwide charging infrastructure. TCD will research customer behavior and attitudes to gain an understanding of how customers want to use their EVs. The parties intend to make the vehicles available to a wide range of users—both residential and pilot corporate customers—and to promote EVs in light of the recently announced enhanced Irish Government incentives. The Irish Government has set a target of 10% for all vehicles on Irish roads to be electric by 2020.

A “Smart Home Charging” system will be trialed which will allow the cars maximize the amount of energy they get from renewable sources, while also facilitating the operation of the electricity system. ESB has committed to installing 1,500 publicly accessible charging stations, 2,000 domestic charging points and 30 fast charging units on a nationwide basis throughout Ireland by the end of 2011.

Mitsubishi Motors has made available 15 all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs in advance of the general European launch in October 2010.

Hyperbrake Hydraulic Braking System Technology Completes Preliminary Thermal Stress Testing


Cross-section of the current Hyperbrake. 1. Housing; 2. End Plug; 3. Inner Piston; 4. Outer Piston; 5. Threaded Plug; 6. Check Valve. Click to enlarge.

Janel Hydro Company, in conjunction with Automation & Control Services (ACSS) of Schererville, Indiana, has completed further preliminary tests of the Hyperbrake system this week in Griffith, Indiana. The preliminary test results indicate neither heat nor cold stressing will negatively affect the Hyperbrake system operation.

The Hyperbrake is a novel fully hydraulic braking system that increases the pressure of hydraulic fluid by means of a mechanical advantage inherent in a single or dual piston(s) with a large input ratio versus a small output ratio. The device multiplies output pressure through coupled pistons, an interconnecting cylinder and a spring loaded feedback valve.

In physics terms, it is analogous to a lever, the company says. It employs pure hydraulic forces, requiring no electric or vacuum assisted power. The Hyperbrake can be utilized in any hydraulic system, according to Janel Hydro, and is being used on several experimental automobiles.

The preliminary thermal stress tests of the Hyperbrake were very successful. Heating the unit to 202 degrees Fahrenheit and cooling the unit to -46 degrees Fahrenheit had no substantial adverse issues with the operation of the unit. The test ran just as we had expected.

—Roger Florkiewicz, ACSS President and Engineering Manager

Our initial milestones have been completed with our successful testing of the Hyperbrake. We will now move forward identifying potential development partners to work with us in bringing this product to the automotive, heavy equipment, aviation and other markets with hydraulic applications.

—Tan Chen, Janel Hydro President & CEO


The Hyperbrake multiplies pressure by taking in more fluid from the master cylinder than it delivers to the brake system. To realize the pressure increment, an auxiliary valving system is required, with a central check valve plays the crucial role. The current design uses two pistons to compact the design, so that the pistons have longer stroke without making the Hyperbrake oversized. Click to enlarge.

The Hyperbrake is installed between the master cylinder and the wheel cylinders of the automotive braking system. Receiving brake fluid under pressure from the master cylinder, the Hyperbrake delivers brake fluid to the wheel cylinders at an increasingly higher pressure. The harder the driver presses his or her foot on the brake pedal, the more the output pressure of the master cylinder is multiplied. In most stock braking systems, the vacuum power assist and master cylinder mechanisms on most cars and light trucks performs the same function. Use of the Hyperbrake thus allows the removal of the vacuum booster system which is currently standard on all new automobiles.

Through removal of the booster, weight and fuel savings are created while eliminating the cost of the vacuum booster. Preliminary on-vehicle testing shows stops of up to 166 feet less with the Hyberbrake system than vehicles without the Hyperbrake system installed, thereby increasing vehicular safety. The Hyperbrake has the potential to save precious underhood space, improve fuel economy, and reduce required parts and their associated costs, Janel Hydro says.

Janel Hydro Company was founded in 1991 in Detroit, Michigan by Leo Cooney. The original concept of the Hyperbrake technology was originally developed by Axel Jansson, father-in-law of Cooney, and also a former Chief Brake Engineer for General Motor Corporation.

2005, Chinese entrepreneur Tan Chen purchased the company, and began working with former professional racing driver Paul Goldsmith (Motorsports Hall of Fame 2008) to commercialize the technology.

Report: Daimler and Toyota May Partner on Fuel Cell Vehicles

The Financial Times Deutschland reports that Daimler and Toyota are planning a comprehensive partnership on fuel cell vehicles. Neither company would comment on the report.

It would be the first joint technical project of this size of the two companies and could give impetus to the alternative drive. Already, both automakers are among the main promoters of the technology.

With Toyota’s recently announced plan to invest $50 million in Tesla Motors following that company’s IPO (earlier post), both companies would also be investors in that electric vehicle company. Daimler took a 10% stake in Tesla last year. (Earlier post.)

Toyota started research in 1992 on fuel cell vehicles; Daimler started in 1994. Estimates peg both companies’s investment in the technology to date at more than €1 billion apiece, according to the report. Both companies are planning to introduce fuel cell vehicles to the market in 2015.

Report: UK Government May Scrap EV Discounts

The Guardian reports that the UK government is considering scrapping the £5,000 (US$7,200) discount on all new electric cars, which had been due to be introduced next year, as part of a cost-cutting drive.

The Department for Business has told car industry executives the planned offer was being reviewed. Scrapping the discount would be a set back for the electric car market, which accounts for 1% of the 26m cars on British roads. The industry has already begun marketing its new electric models on the basis that the offer would remain in place. Last month Nissan announced that its Leaf, a 100% electric five-seater, would go on sale next year for £23,350—including the £5,000 discount.

…The £5,000 discount—along with financial support promised to Vauxhall, Ford and Nissan by the previous government this year—is being reviewed and a decision is expected in “weeks not months”.

The government also announced that it was closing its grant program for households and firms installing thermal heat pumps and solar panels.

Future Air Travel will have Less Noise, Less Exhaust

Future Air Travel will have Less Noise, Less Exhaust

EU’s ‘Clean Sky’ – the 1-6 billion euro research project – with 86 participating partners from 16 nations – has goals like developing unique application-specific technologies and evaluation and advancement of the entire aeronautic system. Aviation experts from ACARE (Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe) are expecting to achieve 50% reduction of noise […]
Posted in: Future Energy, Industry, Transportation

Bob Lutz joins board of Transonic Combustion

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We all knew that when Bob Lutz finally stepped away from General Motors he wasn’t ging to fade away into the sunset. Just days after his going away party at the Renaissance Center, Transonic Combustion Inc, has added Lutz to its board of directors.

While Lutz helped shepherd the Chevrolet Volt from concept to production in his final years at GM, he is well aware of the fact that internal combustion engines will remain the dominant powertrain technology for years to come. With that in mind, any technologies that can provide a cost effective way to make engines more efficient and cleaner running have an opportunity to succeed in the market place.

Transonic is developing a fuel injection and control system that can operate seamlessly with a wide variety of fuels. The system can also operate at extremely lean air/fuel ratios without producing excessive amounts of NOx emissions. Stay tuned for more on Transonic Combustion.

[Source: Transonic Combustion Inc.]

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Electric Cars are Coming, But Where are the Fast Chargers?

In the brave new world of electric cars, charging is perhaps the most critical element of the equation. For early adopters, almost all of it will be done from the comfort of your own garage in the wee hours of the morning, and it will take no more effort than plugging in your cell phone at night.

But when it comes to “fast charging” while on the road, the charging world gets more than a little murky.


California ARB Backs White House Program for Medium- and Heavy-Duty and Next Phase of Light-Duty Vehicle GHG and Fuel Economy Standards; Looking for LDV Improvements on the Order of 3-6% Annually

California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols issued a statement applauding

President Obama’s announcement of the first-ever national policy to increase fuel efficiency and decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014-2018. (Earlier post.)

Nichols also said that California will work with Federal agencies on the next phase of light-duty vehicle GHG and fuel economy standards for model years 2017-2025. In April, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly established increasingly stringent fuel economy standards under DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Corporate Average Fuel Economy program and greenhouse gas emission standards under the Clean Air Act for 2012 through 2016 model-year vehicles. (Earlier post.)

California had agreed to defer to the proposed national standard through model year 2016 rather than proceeding with implementing the Pavley greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles. The 2016 endpoint of the two standards—Pavley I and the new national standard—are essentially the same, although the national standard is using an attribute-based approach (consistent with the new CAFE), while California’s standard used the older approach of vehicle type. The national program ramps up slightly more slowly than the California program envisioned, but does get to the same fleet average endpoint.

However, California is beginning work on the second phase of Pavley regulations (Pavley II), linked with the LEV III and ZEV initiatives. (Earlier post.)

California supports the emission regulations and fuel economy standards jointly adopted by United States Environmental

Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Department of Transportation’s National

Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), announced on April 1, 2010,

for model year 2012-2016 passenger vehicles. California has incorporated these

national standards into its motor vehicle emissions program. These new standards,

however, must be followed by additional action in order to continue the impressive

reductions already in place up to 2016. The process for developing new standards

must begin now so that the automobile industry will have ample time to develop and

implement the technologies needed to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and

improve fuel economy.

In exercising its longstanding Clean Air Act authority, California has initiated first steps

to develop the next combined emission standards for both criteria and greenhouse gas

pollutants for model years 2017-2025. Workshops have been held and more are

planned for the summer of 2010. The goal, as with California’s model year 2009-2016

emission standards, is that compliance with new national standards after 2016 may

serve to meet the new 2017-2025 model years California standards.

—Statement from Chairman Nichols to

The ARB says California commits to work in partnership with EPA and

NHTSA to develop a staff technical assessment to inform future rulemaking that

includes the following:

  • Evaluation of emerging technologies to further reduce greenhouse gas

    emissions and improve fuel economy of new passenger vehicles for the 2017-

    2025 model years;

  • Engage with manufacturers of passenger vehicles and other stakeholders, in

    partnership with EPA and NHTSA, to fully explore the capabilities to

    commercialize new greenhouse gas and fuel economy technologies over this

    timeframe and to identify costs and any market barriers;

  • Evaluation of possible approaches to help establish in the marketplace an

    increase in the use of advanced technologies, including plug-in hybrids, battery

    electric, and fuel cell vehicles; and

  • Identify potential greenhouse gas emission standards that could be practically

    implemented nationally for the 2017-2025 model years, with a current

    expectation on California’s behalf that the annual rate of improvement would be

    in the 3 to 6% range.

Nichols also sent a letter to Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator and

Ray LaHood, Secretary DOT, underscoring California’s support for the development of a national program comprising GHG emission standards and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for years 2014-2018, consistent with the following principles:

  • Starts in 2014 and be fully implemented by 2018.

  • Designed to increase the use of existing technologies in order to achieve significant GHG reductions and fuel efficiency improvements which, based on the measurement metric and baseline that are used, could result in individual GHG reductions as high as 20% and fuel efficiency improvements as high as 25%.

  • Establishes standards applicable to medium and heavy-duty vehicles in a manner that

    recognizes the commercial needs of the trucking industry and the demands of heavy-duty applications; recognizes technology improvement opportunities across the entire vehicle and its operation; is compatible with the complexities of the marketplace; and avoids unintended consequences.

  • Incentivizes the early introduction of advanced technologies (for example, hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles).

Lithium-powered Alpha Prius next year

The Toyota Prius Alpha won't just offer an extra row of seating, it will also utilize a lithium-ion battery.

The Alpha Prius

And the Toyota Prius expands

Next March Toyota will debut a new Prius-derivative, the Alpha Prius, that will offer an extra row of seating as well a new lithium-ion battery pack. And according to early reports, pricing on the new Prius will be aggressive.

While the new Prius will be built upon the same hybrid powertrain and platform as the current Toyota Prius, it will be about a foot longer, in addition to using the new lithium battery – the same battery technology that will also power the upcoming plug-in Prius.

According to MotorTrend the new battery pack will weigh 1/3 that of the current NiMH pack. And while Toyota will price the Alpha Prius aggressively to compete with any non-hybrid competition, the battery pack does add costs compared to NiMH. Consequently, Toyota will also offer a new five seat Prius derivative that will continue to use NiMH in order to achieve a cheaper price tag.