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For Immediate Release January 25, 2005

Contact: Ann Sabbe

‘HyTrans’ delivers 21 per cent fuel saving over real-world urban delivery drive cycle

Ricardo UK, Ford Motor Company, Valeo SA and Gates Corporation today announced the results of their highly successful collaborative project, code named HyTrans, to demonstrate technologies for an affordable and production-feasible micro-hybrid diesel delivery vehicle.  Based on the existing Ford Transit, the HyTrans research vehicle – Europe’s first micro-hybrid diesel delivery van – was demonstrated at a launch event held today at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex.


With the increasing popularity of just-in-time commercial deliveries, Internet based home shopping and other direct to consumer channels, urban delivery is an increasing source of commercial vehicle fleet fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.  HyTrans has been a one year collaborative programme intended to develop and demonstrate a micro-hybrid research vehicle capable of delivering substantial fuel savings based on real-world drive cycles representative of this growing mode of vehicle application.  The usage in city driving conditions with frequent braking and stopping both in traffic and for deliveries, makes the implementation of a diesel stop/start strategy, enabled by an appropriately designed electrical system and regenerative braking, particularly attractive in terms of its potential to deliver substantial fuel savings at modest initial cost.  

In order to evaluate the HyTrans concept fully, the vehicle was assessed over two real-world drive cycles in addition to the legislated New European Drive Cycle (NEDC).  The two real-world drive cycles were based on the acquisition of in-service usage data from the commercial vehicle fleets of Transit customers within the urban delivery sector. Simulation work was carried out at an early stage of the project in order to refine the design in terms of its ability to deliver the targeted fuel consumption savings.  The results of simulated and measured fuel consumption savings for the HyTrans vehicle in comparison with a baseline diesel Transit are shown below for the two real-world urban delivery and NEDC drive cycles:                        

Improvement in fuel consumption

Improvement in fuel consumption


Simulation prediction

Test results 

Door-to-door delivery cycle 



Neighbourhood-to-neighbourhood cycle 






Hytrans2The HyTrans research vehicle is based on the T280 Diesel Ford Transit to which a Valeo 4kW 42V belt-driven combined starter/alternator (StARS) – which Ford refers to as a Belt-driven Integrated Starter Generator System (B-ISG) – has been fitted together with a Valeo 1.5kW 14/42V DC/DC converter, advanced 36V lead acid battery and Valeo Battery Management System (BMS).  The belt-driven combined starter alternator is connected to the engine through a Gates designed Front End Ancillary Drive (FEAD) system and the vehicle’s stop/start (referred to by Valeo as Start-Stop) and regenerative braking functions are managed by a Ricardo supervisory control system embedded in a production derived engine management unit.   

The partners estimate that the technology embodied in a future commercial product based on HyTrans would be reflected in a slightly increased purchase price compared to a conventional diesel vehicle, but that this would be more than off-set by fuel consumption savings over a typical service life of 3-4 years of urban delivery.  The practical design and construction of the HyTrans research vehicle also means that the projected non-fuel operating costs and maintenance procedures would be similar to the baseline diesel vehicle, making it particularly attractive to fleet managers in this sector.  

For drivers too, no special operation of the vehicle is required and performance should be identical to that of the baseline Transit.  Following an initial warm-up period where the vehicle control strategy prevents stop/start operation until the catalyst has achieved its light-off temperature, the engine will stop automatically whenever the vehicle is stationary with the engine at idle and with the gear lever in the neutral position.  Restart is effected as soon as the driver starts to depress the clutch pedal and, due to the high torque capacity of the belt-driven combined starter/alternator, the engine is already running before gear selection is completed.  In addition to providing substantial fuel consumption savings over real-world urban delivery cycles, the HyTrans vehicle also eliminates the tiresome idle noise and vibration which can contribute to driver stress and discomfort in congested traffic situations. 

“The HyTrans research vehicle has demonstrated that fuel consumption savings in excess of 20 per cent are achievable based on a real-world urban delivery drive cycle,” said Ricardo chief executive officer, Rodney Westhead.  “While more extensive hybridisation may be appropriate to many other duty cycles and applications, the diesel micro-hybrid offers a particularly cost-effective and practical solution for the rapidly expanding urban delivery market sector.” 

"As a member of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, Ford is working on vehicles needing less carbon fuel”, said Roger Putnam, chairman of Ford of Britain.  “The Ford Transit HyTrans concept is an excellent example of future technology answering a current business need.  You do not have to spend long on the high streets and side roads of Britain's towns and cities to see the huge number of vans delivering goods to householders and businesses.  We believe HyTrans is the way forward."

“Valeo engineering solutions reflect the company’s proven expertise in hybrid powertrain technology with particular emphasis on the integration of a belt-driven combined starter-alternator reversible system with design features such as the “Start-Stop”, regenerative braking and anti-stalling functions, that make significant contribution to the environmental aims of the project”, commented Martin Haub, Valeo group vice-president, R&D and product marketing.

The HyTrans research vehicle will now undergo a 12-month demonstration and test programme which will see it being driven and appraised by fleets and other prospective customers.  The viability of a product based on HyTrans going into production will be reviewed by Ford in early 2006.


Definition of ‘micro-hybrid’:  Ricardo defines a ‘micro-hybrid’ as being a vehicle in which an electric machine is used for applications such as stop/start and regenerative braking but is not used to supply additional torque when the engine is running.  To date most micro-hybrid applications have focused on small gasoline engine applications, but the achievement of stop/start in a diesel engine is a considerably greater challenge due to the much higher starting torque requirement.  A ‘mild–hybrid’ is defined as being when the electric machine is also able to provide up to approximately 10 per cent of the maximum engine power in the form of additional torque.  A ‘full–hybrid’ is defined as being one in which the electric motor typically provides around 40 per cent of the maximum engine power as additional torque.  

Background to the HyTrans Project: The HyTrans project was jointly funded by the project partners who between them contributed half of the costs in the form of materials and engineering resources.  Matching funds were provided by the UK Department for Transport, administered by The Energy Saving Trust, through grants from its TransportEnergy New Vehicle Technology Fund. 

Ricardo was the HyTrans project leader and took primary responsibility for vehicle modelling, control system design and integration of the micro-hybrid system including design and build of the converted research vehicle. Due to the central nature of the company’s involvement in the project, the bulk of the research and development work was undertaken at Ricardo’s technology centre at Shoreham, UK.

Gates’ role was the design and supply of a belt-drive system, based on the company’s Electro-Mechanical Drive (EMD) technology which employs new, high load capacity belts and a tensioner design able to deal with the unique demands of these systems.  The component supplier also provided a sub-system FMEA study.

Ford’s role was to supply the baseline vehicle, which was built at the company’s Southampton plant.  Ford was also responsible for testing the research vehicle at its European research and advanced engineering centre at Aachen, Germany, based on real-world urban delivery drive cycles representative of measured driving schedules.  Ford also provided input into a high level Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) of the micro-hybrid concept.  

Valeo’s role in the programme was to supply a complete system enabling hybridisation of the Transit's powertrain comprising the belt-driven, combined starter-alternator system including the electrical machine and the power electronics, a DC-DC converter and a Battery Management and Disconnect Unit (BMDU).  The Tier 1 supplier also provided baseline component specifications, performance and packaging data for the electrical components as well as engineering support for the electrical systems, control strategy and systems integration in addition to a sub-system FMEA study.