Listen to “AD #3095 – Bosch Fights Sun Glare; How Color Influences Comfort; Hyundai’s New Engine Technology” on Spreaker.
Follow us on social media:
0:07 Active Aero To Become More Common
1:38 How Color Influences Comfort
2:32 How UPS Saves Millions in Gasoline Costs
3:53 Why Automakers Attach Screens to Dashboards
4:27 Nissan’s Universal Powertrain Mounting System
5:43 Hyundai’s New Engine Technology
7:29 Bosch Fights Sun Glare
8:22 JLR Creates “Morphable” Seat
8:57 Skoda’s Clever Snow Scraper
This is Autoline Daily, reporting on the global automotive industry.
ACTIVE AERO TO BECOME MORE COMMON
Automakers have understood the benefits of aerodynamics for over 100 years, and of active aero for over half a century. But due to cost and packaging considerations they never did much with it. Until now that is. With stricter fuel efficiency regulations and the need for longer range with EVs, active aero is a hot topic now. Magna is showing automakers its latest technology, including grille shutters, which are already quite common on pickup trucks. But it also has deflectors for SUVs which deploy ahead of the front wheels, a rear spoiler that extends out away from the roof, and a rear diffuser which drops down to reduce drag at highway speeds. Magna has also developed a bigger version that can seal off the entire front end of a semi. Directing air around the truck, rather than having it go into the engine compartment reduces drag dramatically. And at highway speeds when air going under the truck causes a lot of turbulence, it deploys a chin spoiler that directs air around to the sides of the truck which also reduces drag. Note how smooth the body was designed, with wheel covers and air deflectors under the trailer. While all these aero details add cost to making a truck, they more than pay for themselves with the fuel savings they achieve. And we predict that in the coming decade active aerodynamic devices will become quite commonplace on most cars.
HOW COLOR INFLUENCES COMFORT
We’ve talked in the past about how color can be used to alter passenger’s perceived comfort inside a car. And Ford is exploring how matching the right color to different driving situations could extend the range of electric vehicles. It created a minibus concept where passengers were subjected to a simulated winter’s day and summer’s day, along with changes in the ambient lighting and were asked to rate their comfort level. Ford found that red lighting reduced power usage of the HVAC system by 3.3% for cooling and blue lighting reduced power for heating by 2.5%. The minibus concept also has a number of other energy optimizing technologies, like using waste heat from vehicle components, outside air and cabin air, to extend vehicle range by up to 20%. Ford is planning road trials with the concept later this year.
HOW UPS SAVES MILLIONS IN GASOLINE COSTS
A while back UPS got an idea of how to save gasoline: make sure its drivers only made right hand turns. So every day they plan out delivery routes to have the most right hand turns possible. With left hand turns you have to wait for traffic to clear, so the engine spends more time idling, wasting gas. Also, left hand turns are more dangerous and a leading cause of head on collisions. Using navigation technology to design routes to maximize right hand turns saves UPS 10 million gallons of gasoline and 100 thousand metric tons of CO2 every year. And obviously, it saves them tens of millions of dollars.
WHY AUTOMAKERS ATTACH SCREENS TO DASHBOARDS
Want to know why automakers are bolting big screens to their dashboards instead of integrating them into the IP? That’s because those screens keep getting bigger and better at a faster rate than automakers redesign their cars. So if they were integrated into the instrument panel, they’d have to retool the IP to accommodate a bigger screen when it gets refreshed, and that’s expensive. Instead, just about every automaker is attaching them outside the dashboard so they can make a change cheaper and much more quickly.
NISSAN’S UNIVERSAL POWERTRAIN MOUNTING SYSTEM
Traditional automakers, like Jaguar and BMW, are building EVs on the same assembly lines as their ICE vehicles. But they often have to use off-line stations to install EV components. That’s why Nissan developed a Universal Powertrain Mounting System that can install 27 different powertrain combinations, including ICE, hybrid and pure electric. The entire powertrain is first mounted to a special pallet that can adjust for all the different combinations. It’s then placed under the vehicle it’s going into. After that, the system measures the car’s dimensions in real-time and robots are able to make micro-adjustments to the pallet, so it lines up with the vehicle. Nissan says the Universal Powertrain Mounting System will make it easier to offer customers a wider variety of powertrain options. But here’s our Autoline Insight. Automakers who dedicate assembly plants to making only EVs can remove 20-25% of the labor content. That’s why GM will dedicate its Hamtramck plant in Detroit to making only EVs, and why Ford’s plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico will only make Mustang Mach-E’s.
HYUNDAI’S NEW ENGINE TECHNOLOGY
Hyundai has achieved something of a breakthrough in valve technology for piston engines. While many automakers have variable valve timing, which affects when the valves open and close, Hyundai developed a system that affects how long the valve stays open. They call it continuously variable valve duration and it debuted on the 1.6-liter turbo in the 2020 Sonata. It improves fuel economy 5%, adds 4% more power and cuts emissions 12%. At constant engine speeds, it leaves the intake valve open longer to reduce resistance from compression. That boosts fuel efficiency. At high speeds, it shuts the valve at the beginning of the compression stroke to maximize the amount of air for the explosion, which boosts torque and acceleration. Hyundai’s valve system is incredibly complicated, but it gets the job done.
And be sure to tune into Autoline After Hours this Thursday afternoon for some of the best insider discussions in the industry. That’s 3PM eastern time on our website, Autoline.tv.
BOSCH FIGHTS SUN GLARE
Sun glare can be a very annoying problem while driving. In fact, it causes two times as many accidents a year compared to any other weather-related condition. And while sun visors do help, they aren’t always able to completely block out the sun and they can hinder your view of the road. That’s why Bosch has created a virtual visor that consists of a single, transparent LCD screen and a camera that features AI facial detection and tracking software. The system is able to track where the sun is hitting the driver’s face, darkening only the section of the display through which light hits the driver’s eyes. The rest of the display remains transparent, so the driver’s field of vision isn’t obscured. Pretty cool stuff but Bosch didn’t say when or if the technology will be available.
JLR CREATES “MORPHABLE” SEAT
More and more people worldwide are living a less active lifestyle, which can lead to a number of health issues, including weaker muscles, so Jaguar Land Rover developed a new seat that reduces health risks from sitting too long. The “morphable” seat uses a series of actuators in the foam to continually create micro-adjustments that make your brain think you’re walking. By simulating this, the system helps mitigate health risks from sitting down too long. The new seat is also customizable for the driver and passengers.
SKODA’S CLEVER SNOW SCRAPER
And Czech automaker Skoda, which is part of the Volkswagen Group, has come up with another smart, simple solution that its customers will find helpful. You may remember this washer fluid reservoir cap that also acts as a funnel. And now it’s offering a snow scraper that fits right behind the fuel filler or EV plug door. And the corners of the scraper can also be used as a tire tread depth gauge. It fits every Skoda model, except non-electric versions of the CITIGO. What a clever idea and I wish I had this for my car.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com
Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.