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August 28, 2017 News of the Day: Aston Martin to Put Hybrid Tech in Every Car, Smart Teases Autonomous EV Concept, VW Engineer Receives 40-month Prison Term

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【Summary】August 28, 2017 News of the Day

Original Eric Walz    Aug 28, 2017 4:39 PM PT
August 28, 2017 News of the Day: Aston Martin to Put Hybrid Tech in Every Car, Smart Teases Autonomous EV Concept, VW Engineer Receives 40-month Prison Term

Luxury automaker Aston Martin is finally embracing electric technology and pledges that every car in its range will use hybrid technology within a decade.

The luxury carmaker that produces a twelve cylinder engine will focus on battery vehicles and mild-hybrid cars that combine an electric battery with a petrol engine in its future vehicles.

"We will be 100 percent hybrid by the middle of the 2020s," chief executive Andy Palmer told the Financial Times.

The industry's move towards electric technology comes as governments look to ban sales of more polluting cars. Britain will ban the sale of non-hybrid cars from 2040, while France will go further and ban outright the sale of any car containing a combustion engine in the same year.

Carmakers are also developing electric cars to meet increasingly stringent air-quality and CO2 emissions rules.

Aston Martin's pledge bears similarities to that of Volvo, the Swedish carmaker, which recently said every car sold by the company would either be hybrid or fully electric from 2019. The difference is that Aston customers will be offered cars with a hybrid system as an option but non-hybrid vehicles will still be available.

About a quarter of the company's cars will be fully electric, without a petrol engine by the end of the next decade, said Mr Palmer.

Rather than buying in electric systems from technology partner Daimler, which currently supplies its V8 engine and some of the electronics, Aston plans to develop its electric driving systems in-house.

"You need to keep core technology inside the company," said Mr Palmer. "That's why we make our own V12 engine. We believe that EVs [electric vehicles] are a core technology, and therefore we want to do them ourselves."

The company plans to buy in electric cells from overseas, but has ambitions to make the packs and motors itself in the UK. The company's sport-utility vehicle, known as the DBX and set for production in 2019, may come fitted with a hybrid system in its later iterations, Mr Palmer suggested.

Smart Teases Autonomous EV Concept for Carsharing

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Smart captured the world's attention with its diminutive ForTwo subcompact car. Despite the attention, Smart has never really been able achieve commercial success as a arm of Daimler. However, the development of self-driving and shared urban mobility just may revive Smart.

Smart has announced plans to show a pure-electric concept car at September's Frankfurt Motor Show, and the vehicle is expected to incorporate full autonomy and built-in car-sharing capabilities. The concept car will also communicate its intentions to pedestrians and other motorists with a dynamic billboard-like display screen in the front grille.

Daimler says the Smart concept will be the company's first vehicle to reflect its new "CASE" corporate strategy: "Connected, Autonomous, Shared, and Electric." Smart recently made headlines in February by announcing plans to end sales of all gas-powered models in the U.S., as all 2018 model-year ForTwos will be electric only.

No word yet on what's under the hood of the unnamed concept car, but it could very well be a version of what powers today's production ForTwo Electric Drive, which employs a pure-electric powertrain offering 80 horsepower, 118-pound feet of torque, and a 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery good for 124 miles of range in the city.

VW Engineer Receives 40-month Prison Term & $200K fine for Diesel Cheating

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Former Volkswagen engineer and German citizen James Liang was sentenced on Friday in a Detroit, Michigan courtroom to 40 months in prison and a fine of $200,000 for his involvement in the Volkswagen Group's diesel scandal.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Sean Cox and was harsher than expected since Liang, who helped develop the defeat device software designed to hide emissions from regulators, had pleaded guilty to charges and was helping prosecutors with their investigations.

Prosecutors were seeking three years and a fine of $20,000, while Liang's lawyers had sought a lighter sentence of home detention in California, community service, and a nominal fine.

Cox wanted to send a message with the tough sentence to deter other auto industry engineers and executives from coming up with similar schemes. Cox described the scandal as a "stunning fraud on the American consumer" and a "very serious and troubling crime against our economic system."

Another VW employee, Oliver Schmidt, who is also a German citizen, is scheduled to be sentenced in Detroit on December 6th. He is facing up to seven years in prison and a fine of between $40,000 and $400,000 after pleading guilty to conspiring to mislead regulators and other charges.

Schmidt is a resident of Germany but was arrested earlier this year while on vacation in Florida. Six other current and former VW executives have been charged, however all of them reside in Germany and unlikely to be extradited.

The VW Group has admitted that it used various software systems to deceive regulators in the United States and Europe from 2006 to 2015. In March, the automaker pleaded guilty to three felony charges for which it received multiple fines.

Mahle: Optimization of the Combustion Engine Reduces CO2 Emissions by up to 6%

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German automotive parts supplier Mahle has further tapped the potential of the internal combustion engine, which the company calls ‘optimized mechanics'. The company's approach for the basic engine are optimizing friction and preventing oil from entering the combustion chamber. By doing so, CO2 emissions can be reduced by up to six percent.

These measures also demonstrate a sustainable impact on emissions and consumption in actual driving operation. Mahle will showcase specific solutions for the optimization of the combustion engine at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

The combustion engine has already developed into a highly efficient and clean drive, especially in the past few years. As a result of this development, the complete system, comprising the powertrain and its peripherals, has become substantially more complex. Therefore, in order to achieve greater efficiency and lower emissions in this system, more and more interactions and

relationships need to be taken into account. In many cases, inherently contradictory problems have to be overcome.

Since friction in an internal combustion engine adversely impacts the performance, a decrease in friction has a noticeable effect at every operating point and in every driving situation, for example, a drop in fuel consumption.

The power cell unit (PCU) from Mahle consisting of piston, piston rings, and piston pin, achieves a direct decrease in friction thanks to optimized clearance design, low-friction surfaces, and a decrease in friction contact surfaces. An increase in specific output with no change to the basic geometric dimensions leads to an improvement in specific frictional loss.

With the direct friction reduction in the PCU, Mahle can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2.5 percent.

Mahle has designed its new engine components to allow the use of low-viscosity oils and reduce the load on the oil circuit as the pistons require less cooling oil.  As a result, the oil pump can be controlled on demand at every operating point. This saves additional fuel, particularly under real operating conditions. Overall, this results in up to six percent less CO2 emissions.

If oil enters the combustion chamber via the piston ring group, oil ash or particulate emissions are produced. With its new generation of oil control rings, Mahle counters this phenomenon with a particulate filter, fewer regeneration phases are required and less back pressure builds up in the exhaust gas system, thereby improving the carbon footprint over the service life. Motorists also save money as the particulate filter rarely requires maintenance, or can even be operated maintenance free.

Elon Musk Uploads Picture of a Tesla Model S in His Tunnel Near Los Angeles

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Just last week, Elon Musk's Boring Company received a green light from the city of Hawthorne, California to build a 2-mile long tunnel. Now the CEO teased Tesla's all-electric Model S in the tunnel – giving us a glimpse of what his vision of a network of tunnels alleviating traffic in cities may look like.

The Boring Company already dug the entry of the tunnel and a first 160-ft phase underneath SpaceX's parking lot in Hawthorne, but the second phase would link the first phase to a new 2- mile (3.2 km) long tunnel under 120th street all the way to Hawthorne Boulevard.

While the tunnel boring startup has been mostly linked to Musk's SpaceX, it is also linked to Musk's other company, Tesla.

Musk's Boring Company will use Tesla's technology for its transportation system in the tunnel – on an electric skate platform to transport cars autonomously in the tunnel.

The electric skate platform is essential to their strategy since it will enable them to dig a tunnel just big enough to fit one car, which becomes clear with the picture Musk posted to his Instagram last night.

They claim that they can achieve a significant cost reduction by reducing the diameter – something they think will be possible by stabilizing the vehicles on electric sleds.

If the vehicle is locked on a rail instead of swerving between two lines, the tunnel's diameter can be much smaller. Musk estimates that reducing the diameter alone will alone reduce tunneling costs by 3-4 times.

Brett Horton, Senior Director of Facilities and Construction for both SpaceX and Boring Company, described the electric sled as "a Tesla Model S drivetrain, but with a platform instead of a cabin on top." These electric sleds could be traveling at up to 200 mph (324 km/h), according to Musk.

But the engineer is also flirting with the idea of reducing the pressure in the tunnels for long distance travel in order to achieve greater speeds – virtually creating an underground hyperloop.

Musk believes that they could even reach 800 mph (1,300 km/h) in a full-scale system. The CEO says that the company is already working on one of those underground Hyperloops between New York and Washington DC.

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