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New Tech to be introduced into regular cars

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by kingjr9000, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. kingjr9000

    kingjr9000 Member

    We Peek Inside the Newest Racing Technologies To Find the Future of Regular Cars
    Tech from top-level motorsports eventually will trickle down to mass-produced cars. Here's what to expect.


    1. DC high-voltage output to the inverter
    2. Arming plugs, which are pulled out to disarm the battery to make it safe for travel and service and are pushed in to arm the battery for racing
    3. Electrical connections for the data logger and battery-management system
    4. In and out fittings for coolant flow to the battery's radiator

    We still think of racing as the pointy spear of automotive development, where new ideas are tested in a freewheeling, cost-no-object arms race. It’s a romantic notion, though, and somewhat outdated, as racing isn’t what it used to be. The age of rulebook tyranny has descended, in which the goals of improved safety and reduced cost take precedence over ever-higher speeds. Indeed, today’s rulemakers spend more time trying to slow cars down than speed them up, and they exert their dominion with picayune chassis and engine guidelines. The 2016 FIA technical regulations governing Formula 1 cars run to 90 pages; regulation 5.11.1 limits the number of spark-plug firings per combustion event to five, et cetera and so forth. The series then forces uniform electronic controllers onto the teams as embedded spies to ensure compliance. Electronic stability controls and active aerodynamics, now common on road cars, are almost universally banned in racing, meaning a Porsche 918 Spyder is closer to technology’s sharp end than most race cars.

    Considering that the field of the dazzling 1967 Indy 500 featured everything from pushrod engines to overhead-cam V-8s to one very fast turbine, today’s racing, by comparison, is tied to the technological post. And yet, the racing community is still pushing, and ordinary drivers will eventually benefit. Carbon fiber came from aerospace, went into race cars, and can now be found in BMW road cars, among others. Likewise, battery and power-control technology being explored in racing will have direct application to the coming wave of electric vehicles, and tires never stop evolving. Today’s pet racing technologies might not be as sexy as a turbine car fielded by guys wearing STP pajamas, but they may ultimately prove more relevant to the cars we buy in 20 years.

    Here are some examples:
    Formula E Batteries (shown above)

    Electric racing suffers from a somewhat amusing handicap: Formula E cars lack the endurance to run a full race, so the drivers must stop halfway through and hop into fresh cars with topped-up 28-kWh batteries. All that may go away by 2018, however, as the next generation of lithium-ion racing packs rolls out.

    Formula E’s Next-Gen Battery

    Supplier McLaren Applied Technologies, an offshoot of the road- and racing-car business, is mum on the details of the changes to the cells and the cooling strategy, which is vital to holding down the pack’s temperature and making the batteries last. Anything above a mere 144 degrees Fahrenheit would cook the current batteries. But it’s known that capacity will roughly double in McLaren’s new packs to 54 kWh, and it’s certain that voltage will go up to somewhere between 800 and 1000 volts. Higher voltage means lower amperage for the same power, allowing for thinner, lighter wiring and, with an optimized cooling system, less heat, which allows heavier-duty cycles with faster recharging. Higher voltages create an upward spiral of benefits that the automotive industry wants to jump on for production electric vehicles.


    Silicon-Carbide Power Inverters
    Increasingly, electricity is the race fuel of the future. Formula E recently saw an influx of automaker cash, money that’s being used to develop more-efficient electric-drive systems, just as in electric road-car research. Battery-pack voltage is climbing in Formula E, from around 670 currently to at least 800 by 2018, and turning the direct-current (DC) flow from the battery into the three-phase alternating current (AC) required by the motor takes power inverters that can handle a lot of juice without getting hot, as heat creates power-sapping resistance. These solid-state, high-speed switching mechanisms—basically semiconductors that have two terminals in from the battery and three terminals out to the motor—have to switch up to 40,000 times per second to keep up with the demands of Formula E’s furious drive motors. Use of silicon carbide in power inverters is the breakthrough. Formed at temperatures about 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, SiC semiconductors only 0.2 inch thick can handle hundreds of amps in a power inverter with 95 percent efficiency. The downside is cost; one Formula E team said its last chipset cost $18,000, so it may be a while before we see this technology in street electrics.

    Racing’s offspring:

    Formula 1’s carbon- carbon brake tech descended to production cars as carbon-ceramic brakes on mega-exotics such as the Ferrari Enzo in 2002. Carbon-ceramics are now a common option on performance cars, from Chevy Corvette
    to the BMW M3/M4.
    • Ferrari introduced paddle shifting to F1 in 1989, and by 1997 a street version was in production with the Ferrari 355 F1. Since then, single-clutch automated gearboxes have given way to smoother and quicker dual-clutch transmissions, and nearly every car, from the Bentley Continental to the Honda Civic hatch, has sprouted shift paddles.

    • Modern F1 steering wheels are renowned for cramming together knobs and buttons. Such driver-changeable modes have migrated to road cars, with systems such as GM’s Performance Traction Management giving Corvette drivers, for example, a wide range of stability, traction, and suspension modes to choose from. We can also thank racing for the development of launch control—even though it’s outwardly banned in most series nowadays.

    • Computer airflow simulation combined with actual wind-tunnel work is what gives some racers the edge in tightly regulated series. All this intense aerodynamic development in recent years has paid automakers real dividends, especially those trying to cut drag or induce downforce in high-performance models. Many production cars, such as the Acura NSX, have sprouted flying buttresses or grown under-car air tunnels.

    Carbon fiber became the standard material for F1 tubs in the mid-1980s and eventually filtered down. Its appeal to the wider auto industry has been obvious: high strength and low weight. Now that billions have been spent on its development, we see ever wider deployment, both as nonwoven molded composites for structural and closure panels and as woven parts for roof panels and other exterior pieces.

    Michelin Pilot Sport EV2
    Tire Basics 101 teaches that as grip goes up, so does rolling resistance, which negatively affects fuel economy. Racers, however, like car companies, want more grip with less resistance. Michelin, the supplier of the Pilot Sport EV to Formula E, claims to have delivered just that, reformulating the grooved spec tire with new compounds and construction that should increase corner speed while reducing rolling resistance. How? Michelin won’t say, exactly, but hints can be found in the new Pilot Sport 4 S, announced last fall as a replacement for the Pilot Super Sport. The 4 S shares an almost identical tread pattern with the racing Sport EV2, which is unlike most racing tires in fitting an 18-inch rim and otherwise having road-car dimensions. A new type of construction strategically places the grippiest rubber compound only where it’s needed, and the reinforcing strands of belt material preserve the shape of the tire so that those compounds do the bulk of the cornering work while standing by on straights. For greater endurance, the design also better distributes over the whole tire the heat generated by cornering loads. That’s about all we can say, since at Michelin, the secret sauce is so secret that the company no longer patents its best discoveries.


    Hitoe Sensor Shirt
    With most big-time series now regulating the amount of testing, teams use every on-track moment as an opportunity to collect data. Even the driver has now become a data point. A Japanese electronics and textile firm jointly developed Hitoe, or “one layer,” a flexible, breathable material in which the fabric nanofibers are coated with a conductive polymer able to transmit electrical signals. A fireproof version has been tested in IndyCar and was able, despite g-loadings and copious perspiration, to transmit data to the team on the driver’s heart rate and regularity. The shirt also delivered a continuous electromyogram, which measures the neurological activation of the muscles. The data showed that, at times, a driver is working about as hard as a sprinting runner, information that could help drivers extract even more performance from their g-loaded bodies. With wider tires coming to Formula 1 in 2017, the g squeeze is on more than ever. Such clothing may someday tell your Toyota Camry about your fading pulse rate and drowsy eyes and prompt it to act.


    1. TJI engines have a small prechamber above the combustion chamber where both an injector and a small spark plug are nestled together.
    2. A conventional injector sprays most of the fuel during the intake stroke. The remaining 5 percent or so is sprayed into the prechamber by the secondary injector, yielding a super-rich mixture that's easily ignited by the spark plug.
    3. Burning fuel exiting the prechamber through four to eight tiny orifices initiates combustion of the main fuel-air charge. The resulting flame front spreads quickly through the combustion chamber, allowing a much leaner overall mixture and improved fuel efficiency.

    Turbulent Jet Ignition
    Exactly what goes on under the carbon-fiber shell of a Formula 1 car is a matter of guesswork for observers, but they should know that it’s all about saving fuel. For a while last season, rumors persisted that Mercedes AMG Petronas, among others, was using homogeneous-charge compression ignition, or, essentially, combusting gasoline as if it were diesel under certain conditions and as a spark-ignited engine the rest of the time. Then it emerged that the team was actually onto something new, called Turbulent Jet Ignition, which extracts more energy from the fuel similar to Honda’s old Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion from the 1970s. For now, this is racing-only tech, since at the much lower speeds and power loads that road cars run, the combustion isn’t stable.


    1. Copper "fire rings" nestled into machined grooves at the top of the cylinder seal the combustion chamber.
    2. Small channels lead out to pressure sensors. When cylinder pressure exceeds the ring's sealing ability, the engine-control computer dials back turbo boost and spark advance.
    3. Once the leakage stops, the rings are able to go on with their job of sealing, unlike a traditional head gasket that fails only once. The malleable rings also act as detonation dampers, helping cushion the blow of premature fuel ignition.

    Prodrive Head-Gasket-less Engine
    We all know that head gaskets seal the cylinders of an engine block where it meets the head. But once the gasket is blown, it’s game over. England’s Prodrive, which builds and fields rally cars and built a special Subaru boxer-four for an Isle of Man TT time-trial car, wondered if it could create a smart head gasket that recognized imminent failure and was able to tell the computer to dial back the boost and spark advance accordingly. Its solution is an engine with no head gasket at all. The idea may someday find its way into mass production as automakers try to extract ever more performance from smaller turbocharged engines.

    Materials to know

    What comes after carbon fiber? Nobody is sure, but racers are looking at some new materials such as graphene, a latticework of carbon atoms that is both immensely strong and also highly electrically conductive, making it ideal for battery terminals, semiconductors, and possibly structural elements. Also, advanced electric motors are increasingly dependent on hyper-exotic steel alloys that are both strong and highly magnetic. Produced in sheets no thicker than tissue paper, the steel gets its required shape by being stamped from the sheet and then layered up by the thousands into ultra-efficient rotors and stators that generate more torque for a given current. The costs are high, however; one Formula E team says it takes about 100 pounds of such steel–at $140 per pound–to make each motor.

    Candid cameras

    NASCAR isn’t known for tech innovation, but its new Pit Road Officiating (PRO) video system substitutes a crowd of pit-lane officials with 40 to 50 cameras, depending on the venue, which monitor the pits during a race. The video feeds to a single trailer where computers can detect potential rule violations and flag them for closer examination by race officials. Instead of dozens of officials risking their safety in the pits, eight stewards in the trailer plus some sophisticated software handle the officiating in a fast-moving sport where there are no timeouts for review.


    Porsche 911 RSR
    Last year at Le Mans, Porsche could only stand by helplessly as Ford invaded its turf and cleaned up in the production-based GTE Pro class with a, ahem, barely legal purpose-built racer. Well, Porsche ain’t taking it lying down. It has unleashed the 911 RSR
    , which at this point it won’t even talk about. Why are we talking about it? Because it looks amazing in pictures, and it’s almost as if it’s powered by half a Porsche 917, with its naturally aspirated mid-mounted flat-six. Also, it has a radar-based anti-collision system that should help the driver avoid nasty interclass accidents, a common phenomenon at Le Mans. The 911 RSR takes advantage of radar, video, and computer-analysis tech that is increasingly deployed in road cars—there as steppingstones to future autonomy, here as a way to avoid becoming a bug splat on an LMP’s windshield.

    TAG-320 Controller

    A glimpse into one way that automotive electrical systems will change is provided by the TAG-320, a three-pound electronic megabrain that is required equipment in Formula 1, with similar controllers required by IndyCar and NASCAR. In 2008, F1 helped initiate the wave of race series moving to spec controllers by mandating that all teams use a common computer, then the TAG-320’s precursor, the TAG-310B. Made in England (where else?) by McLaren Applied Technologies, the TAG takes its name from Techniques d’Avant Garde, the meaning of the acronym in TAG Group S.A., a private investment firm long associated with McLaren and racing. The TAG box does what many automakers are looking to do in the future: integrate the proliferating number of black boxes in a car into as few units as possible to save weight, packaging space, and cost. Before the first TAGs arrived, F1 teams had to spend time integrating powertrain controllers from their engine suppliers with the body controllers they purchased separately, exactly what automakers do now when they try to get one supplier’s seat-control module to talk to the touchscreen controller from another supplier. The TAG, and especially the newer 320 that arrived in 2013, which must operate an F1 car’s enormously complex 1.6-liter turbo V-6 with its twin energy-recovery units, is powerful enough to run everything. The company lists its processing speed as “over 4000 MIPS” or millions of instructions per second. Not as impressive as, say, the 64-bit Apple A10 processor in an iPhone 7, but the 32-bit TAG-320 will crunch through somewhere north of 400 million calculations between now and the end of this sentence. Why is such computing power important? An F1 gearchange takes 0.001 second, says McLaren Applied’s Tim Strafford, and to do it right, the computer must know the exact position of every rotating component in the drivetrain. “Get it wrong and it’s catastrophic failure for the gearbox,” he says. Why is the TAG-320 shaped like half a stop sign? Because its first user, McLaren Mercedes, wanted it to fit on the floor under the driver’s thighs, and the shape stuck.

    Electrifying racing

    Highlights in the brief history of modern electric racing

    1998: Panoz Esperante GTR-1 Q9 electric hybrid, nicknamed “Sparky,” finishes second in class and 12th overall at the Petit Le Mans.

    2006: FIA chief Max Mosley says F1 cars should adopt regenerative-braking systems.

    2007: Toyota wins the Tokachi 24 Hours with its Supra HV-R hybrid, which uses in-wheel electric motors and supercapacitors.

    2008: Peugeot shows a hybrid-diesel Le Mans prototype, the 908 HY, but abandons plans to campaign it in the 2009 season.

    2009: FIA permits use of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) in Formula 1. It recovers braking energy and returns it as an 80-hp boost. Some teams use it, others don’t.

    2011: After 2010, in which no F1 teams used KERS, rule changes make it more attractive, and most teams adopt it this time.

    2011: New rules at Le Mans open the door to hybrids.

    2012: Audi and Toyota become the first big factory teams to field hybrids at Le Mans. Today, hybrids dominate the top LMP1 class.

    2014: First Formula E race held in Beijing. Entrants use a spec Dallara chassis and common 28-kWh battery and motor based on components from the McLaren P1 road car.

    2015: Formula E rules open up, allowing teams to develop their own powertrains.

    2016: Audi cancels its Le Mans program, moves to Formula E. Likewise, BMW jumps in and Jaguar announces I-type Formula E racer.



    “The car industry is undoubtedly heading in one direction. Automakers are choosing different alleys to get there, but it’s still a common direction toward electric technology. . . . But just as it is for the road-car industry, it is hard to guess the timeline in motorsport, which will take longer to adapt.

    Looking at Norway’s stance on sales of petrol cars from 2025 as one example [the country has proposed a ban on internal-combustion cars by then], government legislation and business in general will play a major role to create the framework for this shift to happen sooner rather than later. And motorsport will gradually and necessarily follow thereafter.” —Renato Bisignani, director of communications, Formula E
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    • kingjr9000

      kingjr9000 Member

      25 PHOTOS
      A dozen promising developments on display at Detroit’s annual Society of Automotive Engineers confab
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      After eight years of R & D and considerable testing with a Big Three OE, Minnesota-based Hansen Engine Technologies introduced its variable-displacement supercharger at SAE. The idea is pretty simple: Never tax the crankshaft with creating air pressure the engine can’t use. The unit employs a Lysholm type positive displacement twin-screw supercharger, but there’s a sliding window in one side of the housing. When that window is open, no pressure is generated, so there’s just a bit of frictional load on the crankshaft. The system is set up to use a typical throttle to control airflow into the engine. It gets to wide-open when the accelerator’s about a third of the way down. The additional airflow required for the next third of the pedal travel gets met by compressing the intake air, gradually closing the window in the blower housing. (Compression only happens in that portion of the housing that is closed.) Pressing the accelerator farther will trigger a downshift and higher-rpm engine speeds that would result in a typical turbo or blower opening its wastegate, but here the window just starts opening back up. The result is turbo efficiency with the superior full-range engine responsiveness of a supercharger. If further testing bears out initial results from converted turbo engines, this concept could become a real disruptor in the booming downsized pressurized engine market.

      Monolith One-Cycle Engine

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      Technically this engine, the brainchild of Waukesha, Wisconsin-based Monolith Engines, was not present at SAE, but its engine block was. Interesting in its own right, it was cast using Tooling & Equipment International’s 3-D-printed sand-casting molds. Inside this small casting is a single long cylinder. Two opposed pistons run in this cylinder, but the kicker is that they are each double-sided, so there’s a combustion chamber between the pistons and two more on the outer ends of the long cylinder. A pair of crankshafts flank the cylinder, connecting to the center of each double-piston. This symmetrical power takeoff ensures the pistons stay centered in the cylinder to minimize friction. The engine is fuel injected, and breathing is via ports, not valves. No oil is mixed with the intake air. The two-stroke concept comes by its “One-Cycle” nomenclature by virtue of the fact that the pistons are always being directly driven in each direction, never being towed or pushed by another piston’s work cycle. The 1.2-liter engine measures just 24-by-12-by-5 inches and is expected to weigh just over 80 pounds while producing 200 hp. It is envisioned as a stationary power generator or range-extender for hybrid electric vehicles.

      Rapa Active Shock Absorber

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      German Tier 1 supplier Rausch & Pausch GmbH (Rapa for short) has been making Active Body Control hardware for Mercedes-Benz and similar products for others, but a Mercedes SUV coming to market this summer (GLS-Class in all likelihood) will be the first to use a new active hydraulic shock absorber product that achieves similar aims. Instead of relying on centrally pumped and distributed hydraulic oil or air as previous ABC designs have done, each corner will get its own fast-acting, 48-volt, electric-powered hydraulic pump. These pumps are capable of switching directions five times per second (5 Hz)—quicker than the typical frequency of car body motions, which is generally 2–3 Hz. The shock absorber internals are fairly typical, but the flow of oil can obviously be driven so as to place a wheel down into a pothole sensed by forward-looking cameras then pull it back up out of that hole. Or, when driven passively, the gear-set oil pump can actually recuperate electrical energy from the suspension. As with other ABC systems, this one should greatly reduce or eliminate the need for anti-roll bars. Total system cost is expected to pencil out as neutral relative to previous ABC setups after production volumes ramp up.

      Caresoft Vehicular CT Scanner

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      Big car companies have whole departments dedicated to buying competitor vehicles, tearing them down, and analyzing what makes them tick and how much they cost to build. When they’re done, the vehicle is scrapped. Caresoft Global Inc., of Burr Ridge, Illinois, has a new, “minimally invasive” means of reverse-engineering competitive vehicles with the help of a giant 9 megavolt X-ray machine and a whole bunch of software to interpret the results. For scale, roughly 100 kilovolts is typically the power employed in medical CT scanners used to diagnose human ailments. Hence this machine lives in a big lead-lined concrete bunker. After three weeks of scanning a Tesla Model X P90D, the company had enough data to provide a geometric model of most of the constituent parts of the car (in any of several neutral file formats such as IGES and STEP, or Arcadia for the wiring). Some particularly close-tolerance parts must be disassembled and rescanned to guarantee accuracy—but at the end of the process, a complete CAD model of the vehicle is produced. The machine senses part density and hence can distinguish ferrous materials from aluminum, plastic, etc., but it can’t determine alloys, so producing a computer model suitable for crash-test analysis still requires destructive analysis of many body components. But Caresoft knows of no other technology that can produce a complete model of the entire wiring harness without taking anything apart. That’s pretty cool. And if you’re wondering, that megavolt scanning doesn’t negatively affect the battery pack or any other subsystem, according to extensive post-scan testing by Caresoft. The company’s proprietary costCompare value engineering software can even produce a cost estimate. Next up for electro-dissection are the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and Hyundai Ioniq. The cost of these initial scans is quite high but is expected to plunge quickly, and Caresoft hopes to soon be able to offer a more comprehensive competitive assessment package for less than the cost of an OE generating the info itself via traditional tear-down methods.

      Jaquet Turbine Speed Sensors

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      Turbocharger turbines can spin way over 100,000 rpm, but they all have a maximum safe speed. To keep turbos safe, large heavy-duty turbos usually include a speed sensor that looks for a flat spot ground into the turbine shaft to measure rpm, but there’s no room for such devices on most light-duty turbos. So they usually use math to infer the turbine speed given the boost pressure and air flow rates. Such calculations must include a safety factor to ensure the turbo doesn’t overspeed due to a misread of sensor data, and this safety factor can result in potential power being left on the table. The Swiss-based global speed-sensing experts at Jaquet are proposing moving the sensor to the cool side compressor housing and changing from variable reluctance to eddy-current sensing. This new type of sensor detects the tiny change in conductivity that occurs every time a compressor blade passes it. Advantages are that it works at very low speeds, where the shaft sensors only work at higher speeds. As OBD regulations tighten, manufacturers will need greater redundancy. This sensor helps provide that. It’s already in use in some high-end Bentley models, and it is expected to propagate through smaller, cheaper engines soon.

      Corning Gorilla Glass for Displays

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      Last year we reported on the migration of Corning’s Gorilla Glass from smartphones to automotive greenhouses, and this year the team returned to SAE to show the product coming full circle: being used in interior displays. If you love the scratch- and impact-resistance of your phone’s touchscreen, you’ll appreciate the same characteristics on your car’s infotainment screens. Gorilla Glass can be coated, painted, and decorated as a flat sheet and then curved to suit the interior design. (It’s way easier to print on flat surfaces than on curved ones.) There are a few caveats: There are limits to how much curvature it can tolerate, said curvature must be purely cylindrical—no compound curves—and the glass must be mechanically retained in that shape. If it comes out of its frame, it’ll spring back to the flat shape it was born with.

      NBD Nano InvisiPrint

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      Want to keep that Gorilla Glass display free of fingerprints? Well, the glass coating specialists at Massachusetts-based NBD Nano might have just the thing. The company specializes in coatings that attract or repel water, oil, etc. Unlike many fingerprint-reduction technologies that attempt to repel oil (oleophobic coatings), NBD’s approach with InvisiPrint is to attract and disperse the oil (oleophilic). We’re not getting into the nitty-gritty chemistry except to note that it’s a hybrid organic/inorganic compound. A significant part of NBD Nano’s secret sauce is a NanoGlue glass-grafting primer technology that makes its coatings last far longer than most. This primer involves molecules capable of establishing 64 to 200 cross-linking layers with the glass, whereas the molecules in most such primers can only manage a handful of such links. NBD Nano’s hydrophobic (water/dirt/bug-guts repellent) coatings are currently on test with numerous OEs for keeping camera and lidar lenses clear—an important prerequisite to autonomy.

      American Axle Manufacturing e-AAM Electric Axle

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      Plenty of vehicles boast combustion front-wheel drive with an electric rear axle, but the e-AAM unit adds an interesting twist—to the outside wheel in a turn. Yes, there’s a torque-vectoring mode, but it works differently than most. The motor connects to the axle with a single-speed gear reduction of between 9:1 and 11:1, but there’s also a planetary gear set that enables three modes: neutral (to disconnect the electric motor at high speeds or when it’s not needed), open-differential mode, and torque-vectoring mode. In this mode, spinning the motor in one direction or the other biases torque to the outside wheel in right- or left-hand turns. Note that the e-AAM isn’t providing any propulsion per se during such a torque-vectoring application. AAM has another version in the works, which adds a second electric motor to permit simultaneous propulsion and torque vectoring. The system is not yet in production, but more than one OEM is working to bring the concept to production in one of its many size and torque capacities.

      AAM Quantum Axle

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      This concept axle comprehensively rearranges the gears and bearings in a typical rear-drive axle to achieve a 20 percent increase in torque density with a 30-percent reduction in mass. It’s also smaller and more modular because many components and half the housing can remain the same while the other half provides the option of open gearing, electric or mechanical locking, or even torque vectoring. Cake icing: The shims that are used in a traditional axle to ensure that the hypoid gears are installed precisely for optimum durability and NVH get ash-canned while noise drops by 5 dB. AAM is in talks with several OEs targeting production in or before 2021.

      CPT SpeedTorq Switched-Reluctance Motor/Generator

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      Controlled Power Technologies blazes a new trail by proposing use of a switched-reluctance motor in a mild hybrid application. Switched-reluctance motors are less power dense than other motor types, but they’re simpler and cheaper to make because they involve neither permanent magnets nor electric windings on the spinning rotor. Instead, the ferrous rotor nodes are accelerated in either direction by stator winding currents that must be rapidly switched. They’re commonly used in stepper motors, disc drives, etc. They can also be motored or generate electricity in either direction, which makes this particularly useful for applications where the motor is applied after the transmission or on the axle (P3 or P4 hybridization). Envisioned as a 48-volt device, two sizes are currently offered, good for 7 or 15 kW peak motoring power 10 or 20 kW peak generating power at 80 and 88 percent efficiency, respectively.

      Evonik Acrylite

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      Modern car design is all about cool lighting, and cool lighting is all about not seeing hot spots: the source of the illumination. German chemical company Evonik’s Acrylite group showed off two products that aim to do that: EndLighten is designed to be lit by LEDs from the edge. When there’s no light, the plastic looks clear, but when edge-lit, particles in the acrylic sheet scatter light outward so the whole panel glows. Another product, Satinice, is designed to completely diffuse a light source so that there’s no trace of the source LED chips. This one’s 86 percent diffusion means that typical taillamp sources are not powerful enough for the light to reach regulation distances, requiring more powerful light sources or fitment to unregulated light sources. The final product on display was Resist AG 100, a tough, scratch- and impact-resistant acrylic product that is currently undergoing testing for approval in headlamp lenses. The material reportedly does not haze or turn yellow after prolonged exposure to UV radiation like today’s polycarbonate lenses do. It’s currently in use in some ATV models.

      Trensor SensorCap

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      Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that make a difference. California-based pressure-sensing experts at Trensor are proposing to integrate an air-conditioning pressure sensor into the access cap used to replace the receiver-drier unit. Doing so eliminates three potential leak paths (an O-ring, a valve, and a brazing joint), saves 1.4 ounce of aluminum, and simplifies the assembly process—all of which adds up to a savings of $2.50 per car. The system is mocked up on a Chevy Cruze condenser, but no production plan has been announced yet.
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