Access to cloud data improves fuel efficiency

July 20, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
The combination of topology data from the cloud and advanced mild hybridisation technology allows electronic systems in the car to burn less fuel and achieve better driving comfort at the same time. At the IAA motor show in September, automotive supplier Continental will showcase a system that reduces fuel thirst by establishing a more far-sighted driving strategy.

The 48V split-level power supply for passenger cars has become synonymous with a new generation of mild hybridisation. One of the main features of this approach is a combined starter and generator which is no longer engaged by a pinion in the ring gear, but via a belt drive. This design makes the system very responsive in stop-and-go traffic situations: Since it can restart the engine within less than 0.2 seconds it is worthwhile switching off the engine even during short stops, leading to lower fuel combustion and likewise lower CO2 emission.

“The charm of connected energy management lies in the fact that we can optimise the driving strategy of the vehicle in terms of energy efficiency just by using an improved data basis”, said Oliver Maiwald, Head of Technology & Innovations at Continental’s Powertrain Division. “These data enable the electronic control unit to calculate which combination of unpowered coasting and energy recuperation achieves the best combination of battery charging status an low friction losses of the vehicle.

The technology has been demoed on a production model Volkswagen Golf with a 1.2 litre gasoline engine to which the components of the 48V hybrid drive have been added without significantly modifying the vehicle’s architecture. The combination of 48-V hybridisation and connection to a cloud-based topology data repository – in Continental phrasing, eHorizon – gives the driver the advantage of better fuel economy while at the same time making the vehicle more agile because of the electromotive support from the hybrid powertrain.

The reason why the 48V Eco Drive demonstration vehicle exhibited such a high energy efficiency was twofold: First, the vehicle recuperated energy when decelerating, transforming kinetic energy in electricity. Second, the hybrid 48V technology enables a driving strategy in which the combustion engine was switched off very frequently. This driving strategy, called coasting contributes significantly to low fuel consumption. At the end of such a coasting phase the engine is