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Reducing the environmental impact of hybrid light duty vehicles

Proposals will have to address all the following technical areas:

  • Advanced energy generators in hybrid electric applications (excluding therefore simple derivatives of existing engines) to minimise total environmental impacts.
  • Evaluation and optimisation of related hybrid driveline technologies and topologies matching the characteristics of the innovative systems if these are significantly different from current implementations, based on real world operation.
  • Holistic management and optimisation of thermal functions of vehicles and systems in both battery- and engine-based operation. This includes battery thermal management, passenger comfort and safety functions (like demisting/defrosting) and real-world operation of after-treatment. The latter, for instance, could be achieved by storing and using available heat or electric energy to improve catalysts efficiency by maintaining them close to or above light-off temperature. Heat to power technologies that convert waste heat into electricity or useful work for driveline and ancillary systems can also be researched if a sufficient energy availability and cost-effectiveness can be proven.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 3 and 5 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Environmental impacts from cars and vans have historically been assessed through standardised testing or drive cycles. However, to assess total environmental impacts, real world behaviours and interactions beyond pure propulsion should be evaluated and optimised. This is particularly relevant for plug-in hybridised systems, where the discontinuous nature of operation and the possibility that users don't charge the battery poses significant problems in both the reduction and the assessment of emissions in real driving conditions. In addition, the possibility of converting engine waste heat to useful power or for vehicle functions such as heating or cooling can deliver improvements in energy efficiency but adds significant complexity to these issues. Innovative energy generators, specifically developed for hybrid applications can provide benefits in terms of energy efficiency, cost, size and weight in comparison with derivatives of existing engines as currently implemented in PHEVs. The challenge will be to optimise in real time which form of energy should be used under a range of specific conditions and what new in-engine or after-treatment approaches can be used to holistically minimise real world emissions of both greenhouse and toxic substances.

Proposed solutions should reach at least TRL7 at the end of the project.

  • Each developed technology should be implemented in an existing demonstrators vehicle (no vehicle or hybrid powertrain development is foreseen except as mentioned above for innovative technologies for which this is impossible) and independently tested in real driving conditions according to the methodologies developed for PHEVs in RDE regulation, with the following more stringent requirements:

- 15% higher V x apos values in urban, extraurban and motorway real driving segments;

- Use of raw emissions with no weighting;

- A 2000m limit on altitude gain;

- No time limit on 165 km/h maximum test speed.

  • Engine peak efficiency shall reach at least 47% to guarantee high efficiency also in areas not covered by battery propulsion (particularly in motorway driving).
  • A battery consistent with a WLTP range of at least 80km shall be incorporated or its mass simulated for RDE testing, which will however be performed in charge sustaining mode, with a full passenger load.
  • The resulting technology shall demonstrate a reduction of the real world environmental impacts of vehicles consistent with the level of ambition defined for the European Commission Horizon Prize for cleanest engine of the future[[, taking in the tables for each pollutant the higher value leading to the indicated score: for instance, a score of 1 for CO means ≤ 400 mg/km]] (with a minimum score of 3[[The reference document is under review and therefore please check if these values need to be updated correspondingly]] for each main pollutant PM/PN, NOx and hydrocarbons, and 1 for “other pollutants” i.e. ammonia, formaldehyde, nitrous oxides and carbon oxide) thus simulating compliance with possible future regulation and ensuring a low impact also when running on the combustion engine.