As part of the transportation arrangements for the Beijing Olympics, 50 hybrid vehicles co-developed with Ricardo are being provided by Chery Automobile Company Ltd.
Known as the "Olympics Green Messengers," these vehicles are some of China's first hybrid-electric vehicles and will go into full production in the months following the games.
Ricardo was selected as an engineering partner due to its wide-ranging skills in systems integration and vehicle controls and electronics. Chery set out to develop two new vehicles based on its existing A5 sedan. The first is a stop-start hybrid based on a 12-volt belt starter-generator (BSG) linked to a 1.6 liter gasoline engine with a 5-speed manual transmission.
The second is a more comprehensive mild hybrid based on the same vehicle but equipped with a 1.3 liter gasoline engine and a 12 kw crankshaft-mounted 151-volt integrated starter-generator (ISG). These technologies provide significant fuel savings through the use of advanced powertrain control and energy management strategies.
In addition to developing these two new hybrid products, an important objective of the Chery program was technology transfer through integration of the joint program with its own engineering processes. A dedicated on-site engineering office was established at Ricardo's Cambridge Technical Centre in the U.K. Chery engineers worked alongside colleagues from Ricardo as well as with selected component and sub-system suppliers to undertake key aspects of the project.
The first prototype vehicle was run with production-intent hardware, complete with hybrid strategy and application software, just 10 months from the start of the project. In tests on the ECE Urban drive cycle, the BSG vehicle achieved approximately 7 percent improvement in fuel consumption over the baseline product. Improvements of greater than 10 percent are expected in real-world urban driving.
For the more complex ISG product, Ricardo assumed full system design responsibility, including specification and integration of the ISG system and the high-voltage battery pack and battery management system.
Ricardo also developed an integrated hybrid control unit that incorporates the motor drive power electronics and hybrid supervisory and safety functions into one compact package. The safety-critical application strategies and software were defined, engineered and validated through extensive vehicle and hardware-in-the-loop testing.
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