Iveco to begin limited hybrid production

  • 01-May-2009 03:30 EDT
Iveco Italian Job 0309 - 21.jpg

A prototype electric Daily has electrical components packaged in the engine bay. John Kendall

Versions of the Daily parallel-hybrid cargo van, EuroCargo parallel-hybrid light truck, and Citelis serial-hybrid city bus are among the projects under development at Fiat subsidiary Iveco’s Altra plant in Genoa, Italy. The hybrid projects are currently being prepared for limited series production.

Other projects under development at Altra include a light military vehicle hybrid, electric Daily bus for China, and a series of trials involving lithium-ion batteries for a range of applications.

Although fleet trials of the Daily and EuroCargo hybrid vehicles are currently under way, the most recent development phase plans to bring the vehicles into limited series production from the end of April. Production will be carried out at the Altra plant.

The Daily hybrid will be produced at 3500-kg (7720-lb) gross vehicle weight (GVW) and will be powered by the 114-hp (85-kW) variant of the company’s 2.3-L common-rail diesel, in parallel with a 32-kW motor/generator, developing 280 N·m (207 lb·ft). This model will be equipped with a ZF six-speed automated manual transmission, already in use in the Iveco Daily Agile models. Electrical storage will be provided by a lithium-ion battery pack. The electric drivetrain will provide a range of 2 to 3 km (1.2 to 1.9 mi) with a fully charged battery.

Iveco has recently published early results from the European fleet trial of the Daily hybrid with FedEx, which will continue until 2010. At the time of writing, each vehicle had covered an average of 7900 km (4900 mi) and fuel consumption had been reduced by an average of 26.5%.

Similar hybrid technology will be used in the EuroCargo hybrid light truck, to be produced with a GVW range of 7500 to 12,000 kg (16,500 to 26,500 lb). The internal-combustion engine (ICE) for this model will come from the EuroCargo’s regular diesel range, a 4.0-L Tector engine family diesel, with an electric motor/generator rated at 44-kW peak power. The EuroCargo is equipped with an Eaton automated manual transmission. Two prototypes are currently undergoing field trials: a 7500-kg (16,500-lb) GVW model with TNT in Turin and a 12,000-kg (26,500-lb) GVW model with Coca-Cola in Prague.

Altra is also developing a hybrid serial drivetrain for the Iveco Citelis city bus. As with the parallel hybrids under development for production, the Citelis hybrid will have a limited electric-only range. The 6.0-L Tector diesel engine provides power to the battery pack. A Meritor ultra-low floor axle provides the drive, equipped with two hub motors rated at a combined 180-kW peak power.

Energy consumption and emissions reduction is not the principal design consideration for the development of the parallel-hybrid light military vehicle. In this case, the design requirements were for a vehicle that could move silently and also provide additional power to supplement the ICE.

Power comes from Iveco’s 3.0-L common-rail diesel, used in the Daily range, where it is rated at either 146 hp (109 kW) or 176 hp (131 kW). In this application, a ZF automatic transmission and hydraulic torque converter is used.

Altra is carrying out an extensive evaluation and benchmarking program with lithium-ion batteries for electric-only drive applications. Among the targets are to improve performance and bring about electrical system life-cycle cost reductions to halve current costs from €600/kW·h.

Among the battery systems involved in the project are the onboard integration of a Korean Kokam lithium polymer system, in use with a prototype electric Daily, built by Naveco, the Iveco/Nanjing Automobile joint venture in China. Altra expects the batteries to deliver 1200 charge cycles. The project is designed to deliver a low noise light bus with a 100-km (62-mi) range. The asynchronous three-phase 60-kW electric motor transmits drive via a single-speed gearbox. Other features include electric air conditioning and regenerative braking.

Altra is also working on a Daily electric bus project in Brazil. This project should deliver two prototypes and 10 pre-production series vehicles.

Altra is undertaking a first evaluation of lithium-ion battery systems from Valence and Chinese battery supplier Thunder Sky. A further proposal for a lithium-ion system has been requested from Johnson Controls-Saft.

Similar project work for lithium-ion batteries is under way for hybrid drive systems. These include a Johnson Controls-Saft system for the Daily hybrid, an A123 Systems/Magna battery system evaluation for a heavy commercial vehicle project. In addition, a Thunder Sky/Axeon system is under development for a EuroCargo 4x4 hybrid demonstrator, and a Valence battery is undergoing a first evaluation for a plug-in hybrid light military vehicle.

Iveco expects all current electric drive systems to switch over to lithium-ion batteries in the long term. The cost target for the Altra hybrid-drive project is to reduce the cost today of some €300/kW to €65/kW.

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