Hybrid drives are economical, but still relatively expensive. Two years ago, Schaeffler, Continental and Ford demonstrated that there is efficient driving at a low price with the mild hybrid study "Gasoline Technology Car" (GTC). Now there is a further development of the savings car prototype.
Like its predecessor, the GTC II based on the Ford Focus uses a 48-volt hybrid drive, but improves it in detail. Thanks in part to a new drive train structure and an electrified clutch, the new version is said to be 13 percent more economical. Compared to the production vehicle with a pure petrol engine, the technology package ensures a reduction in consumption of 25 percent, according to the developers.
The main reason for the efficiency gain remains the mild hybrid system, which works with a voltage of 48 volts - significantly less than the otherwise usual 400 volts. The electric motor primarily supports when accelerating and starting, but thanks to the new electric sailing function, it can also take over the sole drive for a short time at low loads and low speeds.
In addition, the electric motor can work as a generator and supply the usual electrical system consumers with electricity. The mild hybrid drive is combined with other technologies, such as so-called coasting. For example, the engine is decoupled from the drive train when it rolls out in front of the traffic lights in order to minimize friction losses and instead achieve a higher level of efficiency in braking energy recovery. The additional energy gained in this way compared to normal recuperation systems can be used to heat the catalytic converter, which can reach its working temperature more quickly. Not least because of this, the study already achieved the Euro 2017c emissions standard, which was only effective in 6.
The 48-volt hybrid systems could go into series production in the current decade. In addition to the cost advantages in production and operation, they could also solve the capacity problem of the existing 12-volt electrical system, which has to supply more and more electrical consumers in the car and is slowly reaching its limits. What makes the technology appealing is also the low cost compared to a conventional hybrid drive. The vehicle study works with a voltage of 48 volts - significantly less than the usual 400 volts. The lowering makes measures for protection against accidental contact unnecessary, and mechanics do not need any special high-voltage training for maintenance.