___It was the PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles) and the Big 3 at the time actually did build Diesel Hybrid’s that kicked @$$ in the FE department although there was a lot of specialty alloys to keep the weight down IIRC. A little Google shook some of the cobwebs off …
PNGV - Ford Prodigy
Ford Prodigy is a hybrid electric, low emission family car that can travel nearly 80 miles per gallon of fuel without sacrificing performance or functionality. The lightweight, aerodynamic and fuel-efficient Prodigy - unveiled at the North American International Auto Show - demonstrates Ford's progress in developing a hybrid electric family vehicle with mass appeal.
"Prodigy is an extremely fuel-efficient, full-function family vehicle," says Neil Ressler, vice president of Research and Vehicle Technology and Ford Motor Company's chief technical officer. "It represents an interim stage between our P2000 research programs and our plans for an affordable, production hybrid in 2003."
The stylish, roomy Prodigy is designed to be stingy on fuel without sacrificing customer appeal in areas such as performance, affordability and roominess. The sedan is built on a lightweight platform, features a modern, aerodynamic design and is powered by a low storage requirement (LSR) hybrid electric powertrain.
Ford became the first automaker to deliver a fully functional hybrid electric family sedan research vehicle to the U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) initiative. Called the Ford P2000 LSR, the vehicle demonstrated many production-feasible technologies necessary for a "no-compromise" family sedan with extremely high fuel economy.
Both Prodigy and P2000 LSR are powered by small, energy-efficient diesel engines. Prodigy's 78 miles per gallon diesel fuel economy is equivalent to better than 70 mpg on gasoline. PNGV's goal is to develop a production-feasible family vehicle achieving 80 mpg gasoline equivalent.
Prodigy improves on the P2000 LSR with advancements in powertrain refinement, aerodynamics and rolling resistance.
Prodigy's low storage requirement hybrid electric propulsion system includes an aluminum DIATA (Direct Injection, Aluminum Through Bolt Assembly) engine, starter/alternator, automatically shifted manual transmission and high-power battery.
The DIATA engine is about 35 percent more efficient than conventional gasoline engines. This four-cylinder, 1.2-liter compression-ignition, direct-injection engine generates 74 horsepower at 4,100 rpm.
Prodigy's starter/alternator, a small high-power electric motor packaged between the transmission and the engine, delivers additional power when needed. It delivers up to 47 horsepower for a total of up to 121 horsepower. The combination of these two power sources gives Prodigy customer-pleasing performance comparable to today's Taurus.
The starter/alternator and power electronics module gives Prodigy the capability of stopping at idle to conserve otherwise-wasted fuel. Prodigy's DIATA engine restarts less than 0.2 seconds - literally the blink of an eye - after the driver touches the accelerator pedal.
Prodigy's instrument panel features an energy-flow display that continually shows the flow of energy around the vehicle. When the engine is off, the display indicates the "ready" status of the engine and the state of charge for the battery electric drive system.
Because the engine shuts off when the vehicle is at rest - such as at a traffic light or when braking - the energy flow display assures the driver that power will be available when needed.
The automatically shifted transmission combines the operating ease of an automatic transmission with the efficiency of a manual transmission. It is 20 percent more efficient than a typical automatic transmission.
Since the vehicle's LSR design requires only very modest energy storage - less than half that of a conventional starter battery - the result is a lower-cost and less complex hybrid system.
Prodigy's aerodynamic design enhances vehicle aesthetics while reducing air resistance. Prodigy's 0.199 coefficient of drag (a measure of air resistance when a vehicle is in motion) represents a 33-percent improvement compared with the P2000 LSR. This helps improve the vehicle's fuel economy by 4 miles per gallon.
Helping to enhance the vehicle's aerodynamics are side-mounted cameras and onboard monitors used in place of conventional side-view mirrors. The cameras provide a needed side view for the driver while not hindering airflow around the vehicle.
Variable ride height, grille shutters and shields under the car also contribute to the vehicle's slippery aerodynamics.
The clean, simple exterior design of the Prodigy features trapezoidal headlamps and taillamps and a louvered grille that functions only when needed - opening and closing to allow air in and out. The taut surfaces coupled with the wider overall stance - with 19-inch, five-spoke chrome wheels and tires set to the very edges - give Prodigy a dramatic, sporty look. The exterior body panels are finished in Potomac blue.
Prodigy's platform is based on Ford's extensive lightweight materials research, which included the Aluminum Intensive Vehicle - introduced in 1994 - and the P2000. Prodigy's total weight is 2,387 pounds, which is approximately 1,000 pounds less than today's family sedan.
Weight reduction was achieved without sacrificing package efficiency. Prodigy is 30 percent lighter than today's Taurus sedan, but - thanks to creative packaging and lightweight materials - passenger space and luggage capacity are the same.
Each lightweight component in the Prodigy also was designed to deliver safety, strength, stiffness, durability and positive ride and handling. For example, the Prodigy uses a smaller engine to attain comparable performance. It also achieves good ride characteristics with lighter springs and shocks.
Aluminum has been used extensively for major components such as the engine and body. Additionally, carbon fiber, magnesium and titanium have been used in a variety of parts for further weight savings.
General Motors Corp. unveiled an experimental, teardrop-shaped sedan called the Precept, which is capable of getting 80 miles per gallon. The GM Precept, an experimental sedan built by General Motors Corp. travels about 80 miles on a gallon of gasoline.
The car was developed under the federally sponsored Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). Members of the industry-government collaboration, launched in 1994, are committed to building by 2004 production-ready prototypes that can offer triple the fuel economy of a typical family sedan without sacrificing performance.
Company officials say the Precept will probably never go into mass-production because of the high costs. But some of the advanced fuel-economy technology could wind up in consumer-ready cars and trucks.
"Eighty miles per gallon really pushes you to the edge of the envelope," said Robert Purcell, executive director of GM's Advanced Technology Vehicles. "Pieces of what we've got in Precept could find their way into production vehicles."
The hybrid-electric Precept is driven by a battery-powered electric traction system that moves the front wheels, and a lightweight, 1.3-liter, 3-cylinder diesel engine in the rear. The direct-injection engine, featuring turbocharged compression ignition, was developed by Isuzu Motor Co. Ltd., one of GM's Asian affiliates.
GM has developed the electric motor to run off either a nickel metal hydride battery, like the kind used in the new version of its EV1 electric car, or a lithium polymer battery. The electric traction system also captures energy from braking and sends it back to the battery.
Designers of the Precept took their overall design cues from the EV1 and constructed the car to be as aerodynamic as possible. Exterior door handles have been eliminated, and outside mirrors were replaced by a camera system. Because front-facing grills create wind drag, the Precept has special air openings behind the rear wheels.
Chrysler ESX HEV
The Chrysler concept vehicle ESX3 shows what is already possible if engineers integrate hybrid technology directly with a completely new automobile rather than using a production vehicle as its basis. Like HyPer, the ESX3 combines a high-performance diesel engine with an electric motor. Besides the special transmission technology, additional finesse has been added with a modern (and expensive) lithium ion battery and extremely lightweight materials for the body.
Fuel conservation in the ESX3 follows the same principle used in the DCX HyPer-regeneration. However, the use of lightweight metals, plastics and modern electronics also enabled the researchers to greatly reduce the sedan's weight.
The results are convincing: the comfortable five-seat sedan achieves 72 miles per gallon (3.3 liters/100 km), falling just short of the goal of the 80 mpg goal (2.9 liters/100 km) set by the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), a program sponsored by the U.S. government and the auto industry.
The ESX3's lightweight body is a result of DaimlerChrysler's commitment to the pioneering concept of injection molding thermoplastic technology, which substantially reduces weight and costs. Larry Oswald, director of body engineering at Liberty and Technical Affairs-DaimlerChrysler's advanced engineering unit-estimates the handmade ESX3 body weighs 40 percent less than conventional metal construction and would cost 15 percent less in production. Although the ESX3 weighs only 2,244 pounds (1,020 kilograms), it meets all official safety standards and offers the spaciousness and comfort of today's family sedans. The body, 80 percent of which can be recycled, isn't the only area where the design engineers reduced weight. The vehicle also shed a few pounds when researchers completely reworked its electronic and electrical systems. This step went hand-in-hand with an ergonomically advanced setup of controls, diagnostic gauges, high-performance audio and video systems and a modern telematics package. The savings, as compared to earlier versions, can be measured in more than pounds: the engineers and designers have cut costs in half over the past few years. In 1998, the ESX2 cost approximately $15,000 more than a comparable vehicle equipped with a conventional combustion engine. Today, the price difference for the ESX3 is only $7,500. Moreover, the difference between the 1996 ESX model and the ESX3 is an astounding $60,000.
Such savings by no means compromise the concept vehicle's performance. On the contrary, the ESX3 accelerates faster than its predecessors and offers a quieter and more relaxed drive, even though it is not as aerodynamically designed as the Dodge Intrepid ESX2. It is primarily the electro-mechanical automatic transmission (EMAT) system that contributes to driving comfort by linking two clutches via computer. The vehicle has the smooth shifting of an automatic transmission while still retaining the fuel efficiency of manual shifting-which is usually some 10 percent higher than automatic. The complex technology the ESX3 uses to shift is hidden from the driver, whose gearshift has the choices usually available in an automatic transmission vehicle: park, reverse, neutral and drive.
At the heart of the hybrid is a three-cylinder, 1.5-liter diesel direct injection engine made entirely of aluminum, and an electric motor with peak output of 15 kilowatts. The diesel engine weighs only 250 pounds (113 kilograms) and the air-cooled electric motor 76 pounds (33 kilograms). The ESX3's entire drive train therefore weighs less than the customary drive train installed in conventional vehicles with combustion engines.
At only 106 pounds (48 kilograms), the lithium ion battery weighs considerably less than a nickel metal hydride battery and is far more compact. Its disadvantage lies in its cost. Still, DaimlerChrysler researchers chose this battery for use in the concept vehicle because it can be fitted between the back seat and the trunk. The ESX3 boasts close to 16 cubic feet (450 liters) of trunk space. Tom Gale, Executive Vice President-Product Development and Design for DaimlerChrysler, sums up the quantum leap in technology represented by the ESX3: "DaimlerChrysler always focuses on the customer. That's why with the ESX3, we not only succeeded in reducing fuel consumption but also in incorporating this technology into an attractive design which is both environmentally friendly and safe. Today, the ESX3 can already offer the comfort and performance the customer demands, and customers will soon be able to afford such a vehicle as well.
The concept car has numerous comfort features that, in view of the PNGV guidelines, could only be realized through the vigorous energy management undertaken by the developers. For example, the driver can use the stored electric energy to cool a parked vehicle on a hot summer's day-even for a long period of time-without having to run the engine.
___Maybe I will make this into an article in the very near future?