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The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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FEV undertakes collaborative project to develop range extender coupled with compressed natural gas

Development of a light commercial vehicle that is operated purely with regenerative energy: This is the goal of joint project GreenREX, in which experts from FEV – a leading development company for drive and vehicle technology – and its partners will revise a range extender for operation with compressed natural gas. The partners involved in the project include KSPG, StreetScooter, The Institute for Internal Combustion Engines (VKA) at the RWTH Aachen, Fraunhofer ICT and KIT (wbk Institute for Production Technology). The basis of this development is the V2 range extender with the FEVCom system developed by FEV and KSPG. The project will demonstrate its suitability for daily use in a commercial vehicle provided by StreetScooter.

 

There are various concepts for electric vehicles, including one that targets the current problems with commercially available traction batteries. Traction batteries have the disadvantage of a low energy density compared with other energy sources or storage devices. Designing a sufficiently large battery is an option, but this leads to increased vehicle weights and manufacturing costs. The disadvantages are being increasingly offset by the installation of a classic combustion engine in the electric vehicle. In the case of a near-empty traction battery, the combustion engine supplies it with electrical energy via a driven generator. This increases the range of the vehicle, hence the name, range extender for the internal combustion engine.

In a first step, the range extender developed by FEV and KSPG with its original petrol operation will be integrated into a StreetScooter commercial vehicle and presented to the public at the IAA Commercial Vehicles exhibition in Hannover. After that, the V2 KSPG range extender will be revised and optimized for operation with processed biogas by the Fraunhofer Institute in Karlsruhe, Germany, in close cooperation with FEV. The revised range extender will then be thoroughly checked on the test bench and afterwards integrated in another StreetScooter Work commercial vehicle.

The goal of the project is a commercial vehicle that is operated solely with regenerative energy

The majority of existing range extenders consists of petrol SI engines. This is usually due to cost-efficient manufacturing. The obvious disadvantage of this concept is that the range extender is dependent on a fuel supply from crude oil. Engines for natural gas operation – and certainly engines that meet the requirements of a range extender, which include low production costs, compact size and good NVH attributes – are currently unavailable.

The goal of the research project is to determine if a marketable vehicle that is completely operated with regenerative energy can be manufactured through a new combination of available mass production technologies. This includes the MOT approval, as well as first driving tests with documented CO2 savings for demonstration purposes and to illustrate the feasibility of the concept.

"The use of regeneratively produced methane as well as the easy storage of this fuel, for example in the natural gas network, is advantageous. Therefore methane complements conventionally generated energy sources in an ideal way," explains Stefan Pischinger, managing partner of the FEV Group Holding. "The project results yield the opportunity to offer low-emission, light commercial vehicles with long ranges."

The GreenREX project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Due to the early involvement of production specialists, it is further expected that an estimate about the additional cost in comparison to the base variant can be made by the end of the project.

27 August 2014


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