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Technical Paper

Lightweight Opportunities for Fuel Cell Vehicles

This paper examines the lightweighting opportunities for mid-size passenger direct hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and considers whether lightweighting would facilitate the early commercialization of fuel cell vehicles. The commercial viability of fuel cell vehicles is examined in the context of several advanced lightweight body-in-white (BIW) material options alone, as well as in combinations with improvements in fuel cell powertrain. A system level automotive cost model is used to capture the component level weight and cost implications at the overall vehicle level. Although lightweight materials alone may not be able to achieve the desired vehicle weight and cost goals, they are definitely anticipated to aid in the early commercialization of fuel cell vehicles by imposing less restrictive requirements in fuel cell improvements.
Technical Paper

Life-Cycle Cost Sensitivity to Battery-Pack Voltage of an HEV

A detailed component performance, ratings, and cost study was conducted on series and parallel hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) configurations for several battery pack and main electric traction motor voltages while meeting stringent Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) power delivery requirements. A computer simulation calculated maximum current and voltage for each component as well as power and fuel consumption. These values defined the peak power ratings for each HEV drive system's electric components: batteries, battery cables, boost converter, generator, rectifier, motor, and inverter. To identify a superior configuration or voltage level, life cycle costs were calculated based on the components required to execute simulated drive schedules. These life cycle costs include the initial manufacturing cost of components, fuel cost, and battery replacement cost over the vehicle life.
Journal Article

Life Cycle Energy and Environmental Assessment of Aluminum-Intensive Vehicle Design

Advanced lightweight materials are increasingly being incorporated into new vehicle designs by automakers to enhance performance and assist in complying with increasing requirements of corporate average fuel economy standards. To assess the primary energy and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) implications of vehicle designs utilizing these materials, this study examines the potential life cycle impacts of two lightweight material alternative vehicle designs, i.e., steel and aluminum of a typical passenger vehicle operated today in North America. LCA for three common alternative lightweight vehicle designs are evaluated: current production (“Baseline”), an advanced high strength steel and aluminum design (“LWSV”), and an aluminum-intensive design (AIV). This study focuses on body-in-white and closures since these are the largest automotive systems by weight accounting for approximately 40% of total curb weight of a typical passenger vehicle.
Technical Paper

Environmental Evaluation of Direct Hydrogen and Reformer-Based Fuel Cell Vehicles

Fuel cells have attracted a great deal of attention in the last few years as potential replacements for conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engines. This study evaluated the potential life-cycle environmental impacts of a fuel cell vehicle (FCV) using a 50 kW proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system (both with and without a fuel reformer), and compared them with those of a gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV). The fuels considered for the fuel cell systems were direct hydrogen (without reformer), and methanol and gasoline (with reformer). Exclusive of the propulsion systems, the rest of the vehicle was assumed to be the same across all the profiles.
Technical Paper

A Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Magnesium Front End Autoparts: A Revision to 2010-01-0275

The Magnesium Front End Research and Development (MFERD) project under the sponsorship of Canada, China, and USA aims to develop key technologies and a knowledge base for increased use of magnesium in automobiles. The primary goal of this life cycle assessment (LCA) study is to compare the energy and potential environmental impacts of advanced magnesium based front end parts of a North American-built 2007 GM-Cadillac CTS using the current steel structure as a baseline. An aluminium front end is also considered as an alternate light structure scenario. A “cradle-to-grave” LCA is conducted by including primary material production, semi-fabrication production, autoparts manufacturing and assembly, transportation, use phase, and end-of-life processing of autoparts. This LCA study was done in compliance with international standards ISO 14040:2006 [1] and ISO 14044:2006 [2].
Technical Paper

A Comparative Assessment of Alternative Powertrains and Body-in-White Materials for Advanced Technology Vehicles

The affordability of today's and future advanced technology vehicles (i.e., diesel, hybrid, and fuel cell) developed for improved fuel economy remains a concern with respect to final consumer acceptance. The automotive system cost model (ASCM) developed for the production cost estimates at a level of five major subsystems and 35+ components, has been used here to address the affordability issue of advanced technology vehicles. Scenarios encompassing five alternative powertrain and three body options for a mid-size vehicle under two different timeframes (i.e., 2002 and 2010) were considered to determine the cost-effectiveness of among the competing technology options within the same timeframe and between the two timeframes.