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Can 48V Be the Auto Industry's Next Big Thing?

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Incremental is good
naperlou   7/30/2013 9:56:27 AM
Chuck, it seems that this would be an incremental increase (15%) that would be a lot less costly than a full hybrid or EV.  This is a good thing.  Couple that with increases in efficiency in the ICE and increased aerodynamics and you can easily reach the CAFE goals for a very reasonable price. 

I am also impressed that this system would run the A/C and other heavy loads on the engine.  The disturbing trend in autos today is increased power in the same displacement.  If instead of increasing power by 20%, the displacement was decreased by 20%, then fuel efficiency would go up almost for free (no new, exotic technology).  For example, the Chrysler 3.5L V6 that was first used in their LH cars produces 250HP.  As a comparison, my dad's 1970 Olds Delta 88 with a 5.7L (350 CuIn) V8 produced 250HP.  The newest 3.5L V6s produce about 300HP.  Now, if we just use a 3L at 250HP, then gas mileage would go up accordingly.  Believe me, 250HP is enough for a 3,600lb automobile to go fast.  If you take the load of the A/C and other items off the ICE, then you can lower the HP even more for the same performance. 

Why hasn't this happened?  Maybe the standards should be tighter, sooner.

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Miraculous EU Marketplace
Reliabilityguru   7/30/2013 10:53:20 AM
Extraordinary "in Europe, approximately 50 percent of the cars produced this year will be start-stop vehicles". That's about as universal as it gets in a free market. How are the EU consumers being coerced?

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Re: Miraculous EU Marketplace
tekochip   7/30/2013 1:55:13 PM
They pay more for fuel.

Charles Murray
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Re: Miraculous EU Marketplace
Charles Murray   7/30/2013 6:54:20 PM
I detect a trace of irony in your question, but as I think you are pointing out here, they're not being coerced. There was no mandate. Start-stop came into being as a way of lowering emissions, and then European consumers just wanted it.

Charles Murray
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Re: Miraculous EU Marketplace
Charles Murray   7/30/2013 6:54:58 PM
You nailed it, tekochip. That's the driver.

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42 Volts
apresher   7/30/2013 9:04:45 PM
Chuck,  I did an article on 42 volt systems 7-8 years ago, and the concerns were $ and safety. It looked at one point like 42v systems would be gaining a foothold, but within a year or two the tide had turned. Any idea if these factors (I'm sure $ is important) are still front and center? Thanks.

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Re: Incremental is good
ragtoplvr   7/31/2013 9:00:57 AM
As I recall, there were 2 issues on the 42V

1.  Higher voltage FETS were too expensive

2  42V incadescent light bulb life in automotive environment was too short.

Both these are no longer issues.



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Re: 48 Volts
Jim_E   7/31/2013 9:06:23 AM
I recall the earlier articles saying that 42v was the upper limit of safe voltage in the vehicle for the end user.  Now, 48v is okay?

I'm more concerned about a lithium ion battery in my engine compartment.  It's one of the worst environments for a battery with the heat from the engine, and being exposed to the elements.  After reading about the issues with lithium ion batteries catching fire, one place that I do not want a big one, is in my car, where I have plenty of gasoline and other combustible matter!

I hope that traditional compressor based air conditioning will someday be replaced by new technology.  Wasn't there some "sonic" air conditioner invented a while ago?  A peltier junction based system (or similar technology) with no refrigerant and associated piping would be a wonderful thing.


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Efficiency numbers
ungarata   7/31/2013 9:17:51 AM
Any time I see projected numbers like the efficiency numbers mentioned here, I immediately take the number down to 1/3 the projected number.  I've found that to be far more accurate when it comes to real-world results.  At times I've seen it be up to half the initial projected numbers, but that's about it.

If the people who are advocating new technologies would put out real-world expected gains instead of "up to" pie-in-the-sky numbers, their credibility for future projects would be helped.  "Up to" numbers assume that everything is ideal, works perfectly, etc., and they usually just are not valid.

For this project, if they're stating that fuel economy will go up by "possibly as much as 15 percent", then I would place a very large bet that the actual increase will be about five percent once the system is rolled out and all the real-world constraints come into play.

I would be far less skeptical of improvement claims if the projected improvement numbers weren't usually overinflated to get people to buy into the concept.

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it's about time for Regerative braking
wskehr   7/31/2013 9:22:48 AM
If 48V is what is needed to allow putting regerative braking in autos, then this could catch on quickly with drivers that spend most of their time in the city. 

The dual voltage idea is clever.  All the 12V lighting and other functions that currently exists don't need to be redisigned and people can appreciate that they are still interfacing with only 12V components.

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