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					Alternate-Fuel Technology: Where We Are…
Editor’s Note: This is the first in an occasional series of articles on alternate fuels, alternate fuel vehicles
(AFVs) and the new generation of vehicles for the 21 century.
                                                                                                                 and Where We’re Going
Alternate-Fuel                             The Status Quo                              gasoline and diesel fuels will continue
Technology:                                    To better understand
                                           where the alternative fuels
                                                                                          to have an advantage of cost and
                                                                                                convenience that is hard to
                                                                                                                                                  Networking List:
A Look Ahead
    The twin national goals of in-
                                           is going, we
                                                                                                      beat, now and in the
                                                                                                         near future.
                                                                                                                                              Sources of Information on
creased energy independence and
cleaner air are inspiring engineers and
                                           should first
                                           take a                                                              What’s in
                                                                                                                                              Alternate Fueled Vehicles
scientists, entrepreneurs and vision-                                                                                                   Interested in obtaining more information about Alternate Fueled Ve-
                                           look                                                                 Store?
aries, government policy makers and                                                                                                  hicles (AFV)? This partial list of info-sources should help get you started!
                                           at the                                                                     All the
vehicle manufacturers alike to come                                                                                                  The websites listed link to many further resources of AFV information,
                                           trans-                                                                  world’s car
up with innovative solutions to meet                                                                                                 associations, and coalitions.
                                           porta-                                                                  makers are
our energy challenges.                     tion fuels                                                              e xploring                AFDC – Alternative Fuels Data Center (Dept. Of Energy):
                                           of today.                                                                how to
Cleaner, Meaner…                                                                                                                                     
                                           America’s                                                                a c h i ev e
But Enough?                                automotive                                                           near-zer o ex-              ASE – National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence:
    The clean air arguments are well       fuel distribu-                                                   haust emissions                                        703-713-3800
documented and have influenced the         tion system is                                                  from future en-                               
design of automobiles since the            currently dedi-                                                  gine and power-
                                           cated to liq-                                                                                                   Clean Cities (Dept. of Energy):
1960s. Taken on whole, vehicles on                                                                           plant designs.                      hotline: 800 CCITIES (224-8437); 703-528-1222:
the road today are cleaner and more        uid fuels                                                         Nothing is being
                                           ( ga s o l i n e                                                                                            
efficient than ever. Manufacturers are                                                                        ignored. Tech-
to be applauded.                           and diesel).                                                       nologies of in-               EIA – Energy Information Administration (Dept. of Energy):
    So what’s causing all the concern?     For no w,                                                          terest run the                                     202-586-8800
    The gains in vehicle efficiency        gasoline is                                           gamut, ranging from the re-                         
have been more than offset by the in-      king, available at nearly 178,000 lo-       finement of the traditional internal
                                           cations in the U.S. Diesel fuel comes                                                             National Alternative Fuels Hotline – (Dept. of Energy):
creased number of vehicles on the                                                      combustion engine (IC), to electric
                                           in to play, to a lesser degree. It’s pri-                                                                  800-423-1DOE (1363); 703-528-3500:
road each year and the increased num-                                                  propulsion systems powered by fuel                  ;
ber of miles driven each year—re-          marily for diesel trucks, buses, off-       cells.
                                           road equipment, and for truck enthu-                                                           (Note: for more networking information, be sure to ask for their
ferred to as “vehicle miles traveled”                                                      Alternative fuels are equally as di-             publication Alternative Fuel Vehicle Information Sources.)
or “VMT.” Put succinctly, Americans        siasts who like big-engined pickup          verse: natural gas, propane, ethanol,
love their vehicles and love to drive      trucks and the largest SUVs. Diesel         methanol, bio-diesel, hydrogen, and                     NAFTP – National Alternative Fuels Training Program
them; transportation is still the pri-     is available at an estimated 39% of the     electricity all demonstrate the poten-                             (West Virginia University):
mary contributor to air pollution.         gasoline locations, or about 70,000         tial to play an important part in the                            304-293-7882; fax 304-293-6944
    Collectively, transportation is also   outlets.                                    future of transportation. The search                         
consuming record amounts of fuel.              Because of the investment dedi-         for cleaner fuels, lower emissions,
                                           cated to liquid motor fuel distribution,                                                       NATEF – National Automotive Technician Education Foundation:
U.S. dependence on foreign oil has                                                     greater fuel economy, and energy di-
                                                                                                                                                       703-713-0100; fax 703-713-3919
grown from under 20% in the 1970s,                                                     versity is on with a vengeance!
to over 55% by the end of 1998. Any-
one who experienced the gasoline                                                       Promising Examples                                   NREL – National Renewable Energy Labs (Dept. of Energy):
shortages during the ’70s or who was                                                       We may not be burning liquid fu-                         
affected by the Persian Gulf War can                                                   els in the future the way we do now.
appreciate the concern of excessive                                                    In some cases, gasoline may be used
dependence on foreign oil. The En-                                                     in a fuel cell where it will be reformed
ergy Policy Act of 1992 has already                                                    into hydrogen and reacted with oxy-         fur, no trace metals, and no aromat-       lenges and unique advantages. For the
started to influence what we drive and                                                 gen to make electricity, which then         ics. This would mean no particulate        technician who enjoys new technol-
what fuels we consume.                                                                 powers the vehicle. That develop-           emissions and almost no diesel odor.       ogy, the future promises to be an in-
                                                                                                      ment, as a practical ap-     Zero emissions, combined with              teresting time as each option is im-
                                                                                                      plication, is believed b y   diesel’s inherent fuel economy, could      proved upon. As this article points out,
                                                                                                      trend w atc hers to be       spell high demand for this synthetic—      it is common belief that gasoline and
                                                                                                      about 4 to 5 years away.     if distribution issues can be solved.      diesel, as transportation fuels, are not
                                                                                                          And tomorrow’s en-           Even today, we are seeing a con-       going away (at least not anytime
                                                                                                      gines and fuels will be      siderable increase in the number of        soon). But it’s also obvious that we
                                                                                                      much, much cleaner           alternative fuel vehicles availa ble       cannot continue to rely solely on the
                                                                                                      than we know today.          from the manufacturers. According to       traditional fuels. We can expect to see
                                                                                                      The OEMs are asking          U.S. Department of Energy, there are       a continued growth in the develop-
                                                                                                      for gasoline that con-       nearly 400,000 AFVs on the road to-        ment and introduction of AFVs.
                                                                                                      tains no more than 5         day. Most of these vehicles have found          Look to these pages for articles in
                                                                                                      ppm of sulfur. This has      special niches—public transportation       upcoming issues of TechNews explor-
                                                                                                      already been accom-          fleets, for example—where their ben-       ing specific alternative-fuel technol-
                                                                                                      plished in California.       efits far exceed their limitations. And    ogy.
                                                                                                          Synthetic diesel fuel    the best scientists and engineers are
                                                                                                      is being developed that      chipping away at the limitations, solv-
                                                                                                      is potentially 100% su-      ing technological problems.
                                                                                                      per-clean, with no sul-
                                                                                                                                   Many Roads
                                                                                                                                      There is no silver bullet, no single
Sign of the Future? The Dodge Power Wagon looks, at first glance, as though it has been machined from a billet of                  right answer for which fuel or which
stainless steel. But it is a fully working vehicle. The Caterpillar 6-cyl. TDI engine develops 250 hp and 780 lb-ft. of            technology is best. Each technology,
torque. It runs on a 100% synthetic diesel fuel, and can meet the EPA 2002 diesel emissions specs.                                 each fuel type has its own special chal-
Alternative Fuel Vehicles — A Market Overview
Editor’s note: In the last issue of TechNews, we discussed Alternate Fuel Technology and the twin goals of cleaner air and energy independence. In this issue
we discuss the market forces which both drive and inhibit integration of Alternate Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) into the marketplace. For more information, please
contact Bob Rodriguez at NATEF. Phone: 703-713-0100 ext 241. E-mail:

Mandates                                  the cost of installing fill and charging    vehicles: trucks, buses, shuttle vans,       wise, county and mu-
                                          stations. Under EPAct ’92, federal,         and similar applications                     nicipal governments
Alternate fuels are not new to the au-    state and municipal fleets, fuel sup-                                                    have incorporated
tomotive world. Both steam and elec-      pliers and others are required to in-       Factors affecting AFV                        AFVs for use by po-
tricity were powering vehicles a hun-     clude increasing percentages of AFVs                                                     lice, fire and rescue,
dred years ago. Today,                                    in their annual vehicle
                                                                                      market acceptance                            hospital, school bus,
both road and non-                                         acquisitions. Next             What we’ve learned over the years        parks and rec. and
road vehicles are pow-                                     comes proposals for        is that AFVs are not for everyone, but       other applications. Pri-                                                   erat-
ered by a variety of al-                                   advancing AFV use          that they are good for specific “niche       vate fleets like UPS,                                                  ing a dedi-
ternate fuels such as                                     among private fleets;       markets.” We’ve also learned that            SunLine Transit and Su-                                        cated AFV (more
propane, natural gas,                                    yes, private fleets are      mandating AFV use won’t work.                per Shuttle—those repre-                                     on this in future is-
electricity, ethanol,                                     expected to do their part   Rather, the market must embrace              senting hotels, food chains, cab                        sues) yet a few conver-
methanol, bio-diesel,                                      too.                       AFV use, and this will only happen           companies, fuel companies and oth-        sion companies are still in business
synthetics and even                                           Why all the empha-      when it is economically beneficial for       ers—have successfully converted to        supplying high quality products both
hydrogen. But availability, delivery to   sis on alternative fuels? Because we’re     fleet owners and operators to do so.         AFVs to move people, produce and          to OE manufacturers and to the after-
the end user, and sometimes price re-     spending too much on foreign oil, and       The generally higher initial (incre-         products. Those responsible for non-      market. Such companies have certi-
main obstacles to their widespread ac-    alternative fuels are the logical near-     mental) cost for some types of AFVs          road vehicle uses like airport baggage    fied their engine applicationsto EPA
ceptance. Federal programs have           term solution to our energy concerns.       has slowed purchases despite the man-        and warehouse material handling are       standards.
helped promote the use of alternate       The overall goal is to displace foreign     dates. Lack of range for EVs and CNG         also realizing the economic and envi-         Overall however, there has been a
fuels to help clean the environment       oil imports with domestically supplied      vehicles has hindered their accep-           ronmental advantages of AFVs.             significant drop in aftermarket con-
and to conserve energy. At the fed-       energy sources. Some alternate fuels,       tance. Even “flexible fuel” ethanol/             Despite the pollution created, liq-   versions, thus changing the AFV land-
eral level, the EPA’s Clean Air Act and   like petroleum, are non-renewable.          gasoline vehicles (FFVs) have been           uid energy petroleum fuels like gaso-     scape from what it was a few short
the CAA Amendment of 1990 target          Others, like ethanol, methanol, and         purchased with good intent only to           line and diesel years ago beat the com-   years ago. For example, a recent sur-
air quality improvements for non-         biodiesel are produced from wood,           find that operators must drive too far       petition for a longer lasting on-board    vey of gas utility fleet operators run-
compliance areas of our nation plus       agricultural products, used cooking         to a fill station, so drivers couldn’t (or   energy supply. With a vast system of      ning CNG vehicles (National Gas
offer benefits to fleets using alterna-   oil or even waste products. Hybrid ve-      didn’t) “use the fuel.” In most areas,       pipelines and storage facilities, the     Fuels Magazine, Sept. 1999) showed
tive fuel vehicles (AFVs) in support      hicles will cut down on energy con-         propane fill stations don’t exist, and       fueling infrastructure has long been      that the majority of CNG vehicles
of clean air.                             sumption, and further down the road,        EV charging stations are just now            well established, and thus more           presently in fleets (72%) are conver-
    While no less concerned with air      most of us may be driving hydrogen          starting to appear.                          readily supports a change to liquefied    sions. However, projected year 2000
quality, the U.S. Department of En-       powered fuel-cell vehicles—but we’re            In the absence of local fill stations,   bio, alcohol or synthetic alternate fu-   vehicle additions to the fleets include
ergy targets energy efficiency and the    not quite there yet.                        gaseous fueled vehicles—CNG and              els. Often, vehicles run well on these    only 27% aftermarket conversions, as
use of domestic fuel supplies to off-          For now, which vehicles have the       LPG (propane)—require centralized            fuels without major modifications. On     compared to 62% OE purchases. A
set foreign imports and related de-       greatest potential for displacing oil       refueling. Where less expensive slow-        the other hand, CNG and propane           1995 NATEF survey of training pro-
fense costs with its 1992 Energy          imports with domestic alternative fu-       fill CNG stations can be installed           must be either piped in or transported    viders found that over 70 offered
Policy Act (EPAct). Federal, state and    els? Obviously, those which rack up         wherever CNG is available, slow-fill-        in pressurized tanks, adding to the in-   classes on conversions and engine
local governmental incentives help to     high annual mileage and consume             ing means vehicles must be parked            convenience and cost of delivery to       management system integration; to-
offset the higher costs of AFVs and       large amounts of fuel—in short, fleet       typically overnight to get a full 3000–      the end user.                             day, only a handful offer conversion
                                                                                      3600 psi charge. The same situation                                                    training. Today, many training provid-
                                                                                      applies to electric vehicles in the ab-      AFV Conversions                           ers which offer alternative fuel pro-
                                                                                      sence of fast charging. A propane fill-          Given the initial lack of AFVs        grams have few or no takers. Those
                                                                                      up takes only minutes, but again, pro-       from OEs, fleet owners wishing to run     which are active are offeringAFV ori-
                                                                                      pane is not routinely piped to local fill    gasoline vehicles on compressed natu-     entation and safety classes, basic
                                                                                      stations, hence the name “bottled gas,”      ral gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas      theory and service heavy-duty vehicle
                                                                                      which adds to the cost.                      (LNG), or liquified petroleum gas         training for truck and transit compa-
                                                                                          Taking all this into account, it         (LPG – propane) had to convert their      nies, or are offering AFV training on
                                                                                      should be remembered that ultimately         vehicles. Conversion kits were sup-       non-road applications such as fork-
                                                                                      it’s the fleet owner and operator with       plied by a variety of conversion out-     lifts.
                                                                                      their concerns for safety, vehicle           fitters and some converted vehicles
                                                                                      driveability, fuel availability and con-
                                                                                      venience, and yes, economy, which
                                                                                                                                   ran well as bi-fuel or even as dedi-      The chicken and the egg
                                                                                                                                   cated AFVs. Some did not, however,             As the market for AFVs becomes
                                                                                      play a major role in integrating AFVs        sometimes due to faulty component
                                                                                      into the marketplace.                                                                  lucrative, we’ll see fleet operators and
                                                                                                                                   design, mismatched applications to        individuals alike accept their role as
This Ford Taurus flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) comes with the 3.0L V-6 engine                                                        engines, or simply due to faulty in-      responsible “environmental stewards”
and runs on ethanol (E85), gasoline, or any combination of the two fuels.
                                                                                      Successes                                    stallation and setup.                     by giving up imported petroleum
                                                                                                                  Government           While the fleet owner’s intent was    powered vehicles in favor of AFVs—
                                                                                                              fleets such as       to run cleaner and more economical        from line haul LNG powered trucks
                                                                                                              the GSA, the         vehicles, in reality, many converted      traveling interstate highway “clean
                      AFV Training for Automobile Technicians                                                 armed forces,        vehicles ran poorer, with higher          corridors,” to taxis and school buses,
                                                                                                              and the U.S.         tailpipe emissions than before they       to small neighborhood EVs and elec-
     In 1995, in anticipation of the increased need for skilled AFV technicians, the U.S. Department          Postal Service       were converted. This not only hin-        tric bikes. More AFVs means more
  of Energy launched the Certification of Higher-learning in Alternative Motorfuels Program                   have success-        dered the acceptance of AFVs, but         demand for alternate fuels from en-
  (CHAMP). Under CHAMP, NATEF worked with industry to establish voluntary national stan-                      fully integrated     also, once the EPA got wind of the        ergy providers available at convenient
  dards for AFV training.                                                                                     AFVs into their      problem, resulted in conversion stan-     fill / charging stations. With that, the
      The following AFV training providers have achieved ASE certification, or are in the final               motor pools;         dards being more tightly enforced,        loop closes and we’ll see more AFVs
  stages of becoming certified. Students and working technicians interested in AFV training should            the U.S Postal       which in turn drove many conversion       on the road as more fleet operators and
  contact these training providers directly for more information about their programs.                        Service has the      companies out of business.                individuals become willing to “make
                                                                                                              world’s largest          Today, more OEs are supplying a       the alternative choice”.
  AFV Training Provider                     Program Type Certified Courses+            Phone                  fleet of AFVs,       variety of AFVs to the marketplace,
  Long Beach City College,                                                                                    including EVs,       and the OE warranty serves as an
   Long Beach, CA                           Entry-level        CNG, LPG                562-938-3067           CNG, LPG, and        added enticement to purchase factory      Next issue—a deeper look at some
  College of the Dessert,                                                                                     alcohol fueled       equipped AFVs rather than to convert.     alternative fuel vehicles and the tech-
   Palm Dessert, CA*                        Entry-level        CNG, LPG                760-773-2596           vehicles. Like-      There are technical advantages to op-     nology driving them.
  Rio Hondo College, Whittier, CA           Entry-level        CNG                     562-692-3430
  Gateway Community Technical
   College, No. Haven, CN                   Entry-level        CNG                     203-234-3318
  Morton College, Chicago, IL*              Entry-level        CNG                     708-656-8000
  Northwestern College, Lima, OH            Entry-level        CNG, LPG                419-227-3141
  Cypress College, Cypress, CA*             In-Service         CNG, LPG, EV            714-484-7258
  Community College of Baltimore
   County, Baltimore, MD                    In-Service         CNG                     410-455-4747
  Central Community College,
   Columbus, NE                             In-Service         CNG, LPG                402-562-1280
  City University of New York,
   Bronx, NY*                               In-Service         CNG                     718-289-5411
  Mid-Del Technical Center,
   Midwest City, OK                         In-Service         EV                      405-672-6665
  New England Institute of
   Technology, Warwick, RI                  In-Service         CNG                     401-739-5000

  +Other AFV-related courses are typically offered by training providers.                                     “Fast-fill” compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling is as easy and as quick as gasoline refueling.
  *ASE certification in process.                                                                              This airport passenger van is typical of the vehicles best suited for alternate fuel use- it is
                                                                                                              centrally refueled, travels local routes, and racks up high mileage. Note the CNG diamond which
  Other schools offer entry-level and in-service technician AFV training as well. Contact NATEF               must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle. Watch for similar emblems required on LNG
  for a current listing. Phone: 703-713-0100.                                                                 and Propane powered vehicles as you travel the nation’s highways.

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 6 • Spring 2000                                                                                                                       
Alternate Fuel Technologies – Ethanol and Methanol
Editor’s note: This is the third in our series of articles on alternative fuels for the automotive service professional. Basic aspects of ethanol and methanol
(alcohol) motorfuels and vehicles are discussed. For more information, please contact Bob Rodriguez at NATEF. Phone: 703-713-3086. E-mail:

           s responsible professionals           For safety and vehicle performance                    ethanol (E85), or methanol (M85)              creased fuel injector
          wor king in the automo-                reasons, however, OEs go to great                     with gasoline. Unlike dedicated-gaso-         pulse width during
          tive service industry, we owe          lengths to optimize the vehicle for                   line vehicles, an FFV’s fuel manage-          cold weather alco-
it to ourselves and our customers to             ethanol and methanol’s unique prop-                   ment system must constantly adjust            hol startups. On
be informed about ethanol, methanol,             erties.                                               for varying fuel viscosity, energy con-       the other hand, dur-
and the unique                                                            For example,                 tent, octane and other factors. For ex-       ing hot w eather,
vehicles which                                                        the manufacturer                 ample, Chrysler’s FFV mini-van (with          alcohol’s higher la-
burn these al-                                                         may      modify                 the 3.3 liter engine) relies on the O2        tent heat of vaporiza-
cohol fuels.                                                            compression ra-                sensor to provide input to the PCM            tion means increased
They’re part of                                                         tio, cam profile,              for fuel trim and timing adjustments.         demands on the EVAP
the growing fleet                                                      piston and head                 Ford uses a separate “fuel sensor” to         system. On a hot day an
of alterna tive                                                      design, cooling                   determine alcohol content and fuel            FFV’s engine may be running                                   ronmental and eco-
fuel vehicles                                                        system, and spark                 temperature for making PCM calcu-             mostly on fuel tank vapors. You’ll find               nomic advantages to your cus-
(AFVs) on the                                                        plug heat range.                  lations. (See Ford schematic.)                a much larger EVAP canister on-board           tomers, and you’ll enhance your im-
road today, and                                                       Additionally, in-                                                              an alcohol vehicle.                            age as an informed professional in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                    business. Most of all, you’ll be better
from the out-                                                          jectors, AIR sys-               Fuel handling                                                                                prepared to diagnose, service and re-
side, they look                                                        tems, and cata-                 Alcohol fuels (unlike gasoline) eas-          The real world                                 pair this unique breed of alternative
pretty much lik e any other you’ve               lytic converters are likely to be rede-               ily absorb water. Extra care should be           Ethanol is sold mostly in the
seen; you may have already had one               signed and calibrated for alcohol fuel.                                                                                                            fuel vehicles.
                                                                                                       taken to prevent snow or rain from            cornbelt sta tes - that’s where the
in your service bay without realizing            Without advancing the ignition tim-                   dropping into fuel tanks where water          present feedstock is. Methanol is more
it. But once you know the differences            ing, gasoline-dedicated engines can-                                                                                                               A future TechNews edition will focus
in the fuels and the vehicles, you’ll            not take advantage of the higher oc-                                                                                                                    on gaseous fueled alternative
be more confident and better prepared            tane ratings of ethanol or methanol.                                                                                                                    fuel vehicles.
                                                                                                       Starting in 1998 all 3.3 liter equipped Chrysler
to answer customers’ questions, and              Because alcohol fuels provide less lu-                Town & Country, Dodge Caravan and
to service their alcohol-fueled cars.            bricity than gasoline, valves and/or                  Plymouth Voyager mini-vans are
    Both ethanol and methanol fuels              seats, pistons, and other parts may be                FFVs. Note the FFV                                                                           Environmental and
are important alternatives to petro-             hardened, and special lubricants may                  logo on the                                                                                  feedstock considerations
leum. They offer specific advantages             be specified along with more frequent                 door.                                                                                        As a technician you are concerned
for use in today’s alternative fuel ve-          service intervals. Recalibration of the                                                                                                            about tailpipe emissions: 5-gas read-
hicles, and are just two of a variety of         power-train control module (PCM) is                                                                                                                ings will verify that both ethanol and
domestically supplied “renewable”                required for optimum management of                                                                                                                 methanol burn relatively clean com-
alternatives to gasoline for internal            fuel, OBD-II and emission systems.                                                                                                                 pared to gasoline: HC and CO emis-
combustion engines. As the name im-                  Chemical attack is another con-                                                                                                                sions are lower for both fuels, and
plies, renewable fuels can be “replen-           cern for engineers who design alco-                                                                                                                NOx emissions are lower due to cooler
ished.”                                          hol-fueled vehicles. Gasoline fuel                                                                                                                 burning of alcohol, yet a problem of
     By contrast, traditional fossil fu-         system components—injectors, O-                                                                                                                    aldehyde emissions remains a chal-
els like gasoline or diesel were formed          rings, fuel lines, hoses and tanks—                                                                                                                lenge.
over millions of years: once they’re             could possibly be ruined if exposed                   in the fuel will cause gasoline-alco-         difficult to find. Locating either an              From a global perspective, alcohol
gone, they’re gone!                              to high concentrations of alcohol.                    hol blend phase separation, leading           ethanol or methanol filling station can        fuels reduce greenhouse gas emis-
                                                                                                       to “water bottoms” in the tank and            be a challenge, but if you or your cus-        sions. According to the DOE, substi-
                                                                                                       subsequent driveability problems.             tomer needs to find one, check the             tuting ethanol for gasoline would re-
                         FFVs Currently Available                                                      Unlike gasoline, alcohol is easily ab-        web for AFDC’s refueling site map,             duce the production of greenhouses by
                                                                                                       sorbed into the human body; thus in-          the alcohol fuel associations’                 35-46%, and according to the Ameri-
   If you want to see an E85 flexible fuel vehicle close-up, watch for these.
                                                                                                       gestion, inhalation and exposure of           websites, or with your alcohol fuel            can Methanol Institute, substituting
Note: FFVs look like any other vehicle, and OEs may not aggressively advertise
                                                                                                       the skin to alcohol fuels should be           producers. Obviously, as more FFVs             methanol for gasoline would cut
them as FFVs—check the fill cap or the owner’s manual to be sure.
                                                                                                       avoided. Neat (100%) alcohol fuel             are purchased and driven, more refu-           greenhouse gas emissions by 50%.
                                                                                                       burns cooler than gasoline and with           eling sites will appear. Federal and               Ethanol may soon be economically
   OE                  Year                        Model                             Engine            very low luminosity (difficult to see         state fleets, fuel providers and utili-        produced from waste feedstock like
   Chrysler       1998 and newer           T & C, Caravan, Voyager                   3.3 liter         in sunlight), so a fire would be diffi-       ties, are now mandated to use alter-           corn stover, normally left in the field
   Ford           1996 and newer                          Taurus                     3.0 liter         cult to spot. But the gasoline-alcohol        native fuel vehicles which include al-         after corn is harvested, or waste sugar
   Ford           1999 and newer                          Ranger                     3.0 liter         blend, i.e. E85 & M85, makes flames           cohol-burning FFVs. Numerous fi-               (bagasse) which is normally landfilled
                                                                                                       more visible. Because alcohol fuels           nancial incentives exist to promote            or burned. Yard clippings and tree and
   Chevrolet            2000                         S-10, Sonoma                    2.2 liter         are water soluble, a small fire may be        such purchases, and cost/payback               pulp mill wastes are other possible
   Mazda                2000                              B 3000                     3.0 liter         doused with water; a larger fire is ex-       models are available “on-line” for             ethanol feedstocks. Agricultural and
                                                                                                       tinguished with dry chemical or with          fleet owners, managers and operators           forestry “energy crops” like rice straw,
Source: U.S. DOE’s Alternative Fuels Data Center                                                       foam.                                         wishing to explore the alternative fuel        wheat, milo, hay, and straw may be
                                                                                                                                                     choices; go to the [www.ccities.               grown specifically for ethanol produc-
                                                                                                        Fuel properties                    ] website for more informa-             tion. The Coors Brewery in Golden,
    You may already be familiar with             Methanol especially will attack cer-                                                                tion.                                          Colorado has partnered with two other
ethanol and methanol. Ethanol was                tain metals; both fuels will possibly                 Alcohol fuels offer both advantages
                                                                                                       and disadvantages to vehicle perfor-              The increased use of alternate fu-         companies to recycle its 22 million
commonly blended with gasoline as                soften or dry elastomers, polymers                                                                  els will help America to achieve en-           gallons per y ear of “beer spillover”—
a fuel extender during the gas short-            and coatings leading to the possibil-                 mance. Ethanol, and especially
                                                                                                                                                     ergy independence and reduce fossil            otherwise wasted 7% alcohol conden-
age in the ’70s when a 10% ethanol               ity of contaminated fuel and fuel sys-                methanol, fall short on Btu energy
                                                                                                                                                     fuel defense spending. As an automo-           sate—into a pure ethanol gasoline
blend known as gasohol was sold.                 tem component failures, or worse yet:                 content compared to gasoline. This
                                                                                                                                                     tive service professional, you may not         additive.
Since the phase-out of lead, refiners            hazardous fuel leaks. It is imperative,               translates to an estimated 27% to 30%
                                                                                                       loss of vehicle miles-per-gallon trav-        see many AFVs just yet, but they are               Methanol is principally produced
sometimes blend high-octane ethanol              despite their similar appearance, that                                                              finding their way into the market-             from natural gas, or from coal or re-
with gasoline as an octane improver.             you use only replacement parts de-                    eled compared to gasoline; it’s even
                                                                                                                                                     place. In the meantime, you may wish           sidual oil. Future sources include en-
Sometimes ethanol serves as an oxy-              signed and intended for alcohol fu-                   worse for methanol. On the positive
                                                                                                                                                     to learn all you can about alternate           ergy crops like grasses and trees. In-
genate in reform ulated g asoline                eled vehicles.                                        side, with ethanol and especially
                                                                                                                                                     fuels, and flexible fuel vehicles using        dustrial and municipal waste may also
(RFG) to lower CO emissions. Metha-                                                                    methanol’s higher octane ratings, ve-
                                                                                                       hicle operators are impressed with im-        ethanol or methanol. In so doing,              be used to produce methanol.
nol on the other hand is probably best           Vehicles in the                                                                                     you’ll be able to explain their envi-
known as the racing fuel for Indy cars                                                                 proved torque and horsepower over
and as a de-icer.                                marketplace                                           much of the engine speed range.
    Both ethanol and methanol are al-            In some countries, neat (100%) etha-                      Extreme cold-weather starting is
cohol based, but they should not be              nol/methanol is widely used in dedi-                  difficult with alcohol fuel due to its               Ethanol (C2H 5OH) & Methanol (CH3OH): Pros & Cons
confused with one another. The y                 cated E100/M100 vehicles. Here in                     lower RVP, so OEs may recommend
come from different feedstocks and               the U.S. you’ll see flexible fueled ve-               using a winter blend of up to 30%             Pros                                         Cons
thus have somewhat different proper-             hicles or FFVs (see FFV chart). These                 gasoline, for colder climates. At least
                                                                                                                                                     Higher octane than gasoline                  Degrades zinc, brass, lead, alum. etc.
ties which affect engine operation.              look like dedicated gasoline vehicles,                one OE equips its FFVs with block
Ethanol is often called grain alcohol            but can burn a mixture of up to 85%                   heaters and programs the PCM for in-
                                                                                                                                                     Increase of HP & torque                      Lower energy ratio
and is principally made from fer-
                                                                                                                                                        (~5% or more)                               (E=93%; M=66%)
mented corn, but it is denatured to pre-
vent human consumption. Methanol
                                                                  E85 Ford Taurus Flexible Fuel Vehicle                                              Fewer VOC compounds                          Lower RVP; difficult cold starting1
is known as wood alcohol and is prin-                                                                                                                Cleaner burning/less deposits                May require special motor oil &
cipally made from natural gas, but                                        Stainless Steel &                                                                                                          service
                                                                           Teflon Braided                                           Anti-Siphon
feedstocks like forest residues and                                           Fuel Lines                                          Device Installed   Lower tailpipe emissions of                  Toxic, aldehyde emissions,
municipal waste can also be used                        % Alcohol                                                                    Fuel Filler
                                     Block           Instrument Panel                                                              Pipe Assembly
                                                                                                                                                       HC & CO                                       low flame luminosity
to produce methanol.                Heater                Readout
                                                                                                                                                     Dries water in gas line and tank             Water soluble 2
Ethanol and methanol                                                                                                                                 Reneweable                                   Limited availability/distribution
engine/system                                                                                                                                        1
                                                                                                                                                       Cold starting—At least one OE recommended that fuel providers supply a higher gaso-
requirements                                                                                                                                         line blend with ethanol (E70) during the winter, and equipped its FFV vehicles with en-
Some in the aftermarket                                                                                                                              gine block hea ters.
may claim to have burned       Unique Calibrations                                                                                                     Absorbs water—a blend of 10% ethanol in gasoline can hold almost 4 teaspoons of
                                   for Ethanol                                         Fuel Delivery                                                 water per gallon in solution. That can be good news for preventing gas line freeze up, but
ethanol fuel successfully                                                                Module        Enlarged Steel               4-Liter
                                       3.0L V-6 FF Engine     Dielectric Sensor &                                                                    bad news if the station operator hasn’t kept his tanks free of moisture.
without modifying engine                                                                                 Fuel Tank             Carbon Canisters
                                          Upgraded for          Mixer Assembly
parts or engine re-tuning.                Alcohol Fuel

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 6 • Summer 2000                                                                                                                                              
Alternative-Fuel Technology – Natural Gas
Editor’s note: In previous issues of TechNews, we discussed Alternate Fuel Technology goals, provided an AFV market overview, and discussed alcohol fueled
vehicles. This issue deals with natural gas and NGVs (natural gas vehicles). For more information, please contact Bob Rodriguez at NATEF. Phone: 703-713-3086.

    f you’re a technician and           Fuel Definitions and                            Compared to gasoline, NG con-       being established at strategic lo-
    haven’t yet seen a natural gas      Characteristics                              tains considerably less thermal        cations on certain interstate high-
    powered vehicle (or NGV),           In the utility industry, natural gas         energy. At 29,000 Btu per gallon;      ways forming a system of “Clean
you soon will... especially if you      is sold in standard cubic feet, or           a bi-fueled vehicle running on         Corridors.”                                                                 about
work in a fleet environment. Be-        SCF. In the automotive industry,             CNG has somewhat limited range.                                                        NGVs and perhaps drive a
ing familiar with NGVs—what             gaseous CNG is sold in gasoline-             A dedicated NGV with cranked up        Want to Learn                                   few during a “ride ‘n’ drive.”
they look like, and how they            gallon-equivalents, or GGE. The              compression ratios, however, can       More about NGVs?                                Ask lots of questions to learn
work—before they show up at             DOE states that “The GGE of CNG              take advantage of NG’s 120–130         For in-depth information, search                about natural gas vehicles: you’ll
your shop, could make a differ-         is 123 CF …(based on 929 Btu/                (R+M)/2 octane rating for a con-       the Web [],                     be better prepared for them
ence in whether you confidently         CF of CNG and 114,264 Btu/Gal-               siderable improvement. Natural         visit a dealer selling NGVs, or at-             when they show up in your ser-
and successfully service them, or       lon of gasoline).” By mass, a GGE            gas is not visible, so suppliers add   tend an NGV or Clean Cities Con-                vice bay… if they’re not there al-
turn them away.                                      of NG has been defined          Mercaptan (with its familiar rot-      ference- you’ll quickly learn                   ready!
Here we’ll explain the                                as 5.66 pounds.                ten-egg scent) to NG so it can be
basics of natural gas                                     Pipeline NG is typi-       detected; building codes may re-
(NG) and NGVs to                                      cally 95-96% methane           quire methane detectors if NGVs            The Nuts and Bolts of CNG Vehicles
help you feel confi-                                 (>88% is required for           are to be stored indoors.              The outstanding difference between a dedicated gasoline auto and an
dent enough to look                                  motorfuel); LNG (see                                                   NGV is the pressure at which CNG is stored on board—typically 3000
under a few hoods                                     below) is about 99%            Infrastructure                         to 3600 psi. The robust cylindrical tanks required to contain such pres-
and attend some                                       methane. NG’s simple           Stationary and mobile vehicle          sures take up space, add weight, and affect handling. The two or more
classes. Having done so, you’re         chemical makeup (CH4) is easily              “fast-fill” compressor stations can    tanks needed for gasoline-comparable range may be located between
sure to appreciate the safety and       broken down during combustion,               be set up wherever NG is avail-        the frame rails and/or behind the rear axle. Light-duty CNG vehicles
clean performance of natural gas        thus it’s very clean burning for             able. These tend to be expensive,      often have tanks behind the back seat or in the trunk/pickup bed. Some
motorfuel over liquid gasoline.         domestic or vehicle use. While NG            but overnight “timed-filling” of-      low-ride buses have CNG tanks on the roof.
                                        is piped into the home at <1 psi,            fers a less expensive option. Only        CNG tanks may be constructed of steel or aluminum and/or com-
Overview                                the same gas is either compressed            a small compressor is required for     posite materials. Tanks are manifolded together and safety valves, regu-
Natural gas vehicles have filled a      to 3000-3600 psi for on-board                timed-filling; “at-home” filling is    lators and other unique components ensure safety and reliable opera-
“niche” in the marketplace for          storage, or chilled to minus 260 de-         not uncommon. Because natural          tion of the NG fuel system. On bi-fuel vehicles, the NG components
many years; until recently, most        grees Fahrenheit to become a clear           gas temperature and pressure are       parallel the normal gasoline delivery system. If the vehicle is aftermar-
NGVs were converted from dedi-          cryogenic liquid (LNG) at 1/600th            inter-related, fast-filling raises     ket converted to natural gas, NFPA-52 regulations determine how, and
cated-gasoline to bi-fuel vehicles      its gaseous volume. While LNG                tank temperature and pressure,         often where, CNG components are to be installed.
so the driver could select either       saves space, it requires double-             thus affecting fill capacity. By
fuel. Conversion system suppliers       walled insulated tanks to keep it            contrast, timed-filling keeps tank     A Word on Tank Safety
still sell quality products to the      cryogenic; if not, it boils off. LNG         temperatures down so more NG           Some people have anxieties over servicing (or driving) an NGV, usually
marketplace, but with tighter EPA       is considered impractical for pas-           can be compressed and stored for       over possible tank rupture and fire. These fears are understandable, but
standards and OBD-II, the buy-          senger cars because of tank size,            greater vehicle range. For refuel-     extensive tests show NGV fuel systems to be safer than gasoline sys-
ing trend has shifted towards OE        but an attractive alternative for            ing of line-haul trucks and buses,     tems. Very few tank-related incidents have occurred. Just like SCUBA
designed and built NGVs.                truck and bus use.                           both CNG and LNG fill-sites are        tanks, however, CNG tanks must be handled properly and be periodi-
                                                                                                                            cally inspected, tested and replaced. Tanks are robust and are rated well
Vehicle Applications                                                                                                        above working pressures, are equipped with pressure relief devices (PRDs),
According to the DOE, there are             ASE F-1 Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Exam
                                                                                                                            and are vented to the outside.
an estimated 102,000 compressed            ASE’s “F-1” Light Vehicle Compressed Natural Gas technician exam
natural gas (CNG) vehicles in the          is crafted by NGV industry experts. The exam focuses on knowl-                   The NG Fuel System
U.S. Common on-road applica-               edge of NGV conversions; engine performance, diagnosis and re-                   On-board CNG tanks are filled from a fast-fill, or a time-fill compressor
tions include taxicabs, vans,              pair; and NGV safety (see test specs below). Those interested in                 station. A standardized quick-connect fill-valve (with breakaway pro-
school buses, coaches, refuse &            taking the F-1 exam may obtain more test information from ASE’s                  vision) is located at the normal gasoline cap location (or possibly in the
delivery trucks, police & munici-          Official ASE Preparation Guide available at or call              grill or under the hood), and feeds CNG to the on-board tanks. Each
pal vehicles. Non-road applica-            703-713-3800.                                                                    tank has its own pressure relief device and shutoff valve. From the tanks,
tions include material and bag-               Subject matter expertise can be obtained from many sources, in-               CNG is routed through hefty stainless steel lines to an externally acces-
gage handling vehicles. The obvi-          cluding the National Alternative Fuel Training Consortium                        sible quarter-turn manual shutoff valve, then to the engine compart-
ous reason: fleet vehicles can be          [], 1-304-293-7882; and the National Fire Pro-                  ment.
centrally NG refueled at lower             tection Assn [], 1-800-344-3555 (ask for publica-                        All NGVs use pressure-reducing regulators to drop and stabilize fuel
cost, there’s reduced fuel pilferage,      tion NFPA-52).                                                                   pressure to workable levels (typically ~100 psi). A primary or multi-
and extended vehicle range is not                                                                                           stage regulator, located along the frame rail and/or under the hood, is
a requirement.                                            ASE “F-1” (CNG Technician) Test Specifications                    usually warmed with engine “coolant” to prevent freeze-up. On natu-
                                                                                                                            rally aspirated NGVs, a secondary regulator drops pressure to near at-
Why Switch?                                Content Area                                          No. of Q’s   % of test
                                                                                                                            mospheric. A vacuum or ignition controlled valve serves as a fuel “lock-
Admittedly, EPACT mandates that            a. Vehicle Conversion Compatibility Analysis               4              7%     off ” to shutoff the fuel supply to the engine.
federal, state and municipal (and          b. Conversion Parts Fabrication                            3              5%         Fuel is delivered to the intake system via either a fuel mixer, a “throttle
certain private) fleets use alterna-                                                                                        body” injector assembly, or port injectors. Naturally aspirated bi-fuel
                                           c. Conversion Equipment Installation                       9             16%
tive fuel vehicles. Yet, financial                                                                                          vehicles often feed NG into the intake system via a variable venturi
                                           d. Leak Testing and Repairs                                7             13%
incentives do help make AFV pur-                                                                                            “mixer,” which sits above the gasoline system’s throttle body or carbu-
chases attractive, with natural gas        e. Conversion Initial Adjustments and
vehicles (NGVs) being one such                Performance Verification                                8             15%                             Exit Vent
option. The fuel is generally less         f. In-service system Diagnosis and Repair                 17             31%     Natural Gas     Check
                                                                                                                                                                                       Solenoid   Mixer Throttle
                                                                                                                             Fill Valve     Valve
expensive and considered by                g. Cylinder Safety                                         7             13%                                                                 Valve            Body
many as safer than gasoline. It                                                        Total        551         100%
burns clean, is domestically
sourced, abundant, and often lo-           1
                                               Does not include up to 10 questions used for statistical research.
cally available.

                                                                                                                            High Pressure
                                                                                                                              Cylinders                         Manual Shutoff Valve

                                                                                                                            retor. Sometimes gaseous fuel is released to the intake air stream using
                                                                                                                            a fixed venturi “spray bar” or a “fuel ring,” which resembles a stove-
                                                                                                                            top burner.
                                                                                                                                Electronically controlled systems may use a bank of EFI gaseous in-
                                                                                                                            jectors (similar to gasoline port-injectors) for metering the fuel to the
                                                                                                                            intake. Some engine families use port NG injection systems. Because
                                                                                                                            NG is gaseous, it displaces incoming air. Thus, bi-fuel vehicles tend to
                                                                                                                            lose power (~10%) on NG because of lost volumetric efficiency. Only
                                                                                                                            dedicated NGVs can make up for this loss with raised compression ra-
                                                                                                                            tios. Dedicated NGVs may also use a unique catalytic converter, but no
                                                                                                                            EGR or knock sensor.

                                                                                                                            Combustion and Emissions
                                                                                                                            Ignition demands are higher for NG: it’s harder to ignite, and the tim-
                                                                                                                            ing curve must be adapted (advanced) for the slower and longer burn-
                                                                                                                            time. NG’s higher stoichiometric ratio (17.2:1) requires closed-loop bi-
                                                                                                                            fuel adaptation via added electronics for HO2S, knock sensor, and EGR
                                                                                                                            functions. OBD-II systems must remain intact, and engines must be
                                                                                                                            certified under EPA regulations. Natural gas vehicle (NGV) pre-cat HC
                                                                                                                            and CO emissions are inherently low. Dedicated NGV tailpipes easily
                                                                                                                            pass a “white glove” inspection; in fact, Honda calls their dedicated Civic
                                                                                                                            GX the “cleanest on earth.”
                                                                                                                               From the exterior, most CNG and LNG vehicles look similar to gaso-
Whether converted or OE, dedicated or bi-fuel, NGVs serve a variety of needs in the marketplace. The AFDC website           line or diesel vehicles, minus the pollution and the noise. All can be
( lists NGV models from manufacturers like Honda, DaimlerChrysler, Ford,                identified by a diamond-shaped label on the rear of the vehicle.
GM, and Toyota.

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 6 • Fall 2000                                                                                                                        
Alternae Fuel Technology – Propane
                            Editor’s note: In previous issues of Tech News, we discussed Alternate Fuel Technology goals, provided an AFV market overview, discussed alcohol and natural gas-fueled vehicles. This issue
                            deals with liquified petroleum gas (propane) and LPG-powered vehicles. For more information, please contact Bob Rodriguez at ASE. Phone: 703-713-3086. E-mail:

     f you’re a technician from the                              Fleet operators especially benefit                                                                               p r o p a n e ’s
     Southwest U.S., chances are you                         from propane’s relatively low bulk                                                                                   HD-5 fuel
     already know about propane-                             price. Plus, centralized on-site pro-                                                                                quality
powered vehicles and equipment. But                          pane refueling offers reduced pilfer-                                                                                standard,
if you’re in the automotive profession                       age and potential energy security in                                                                                 calling for
and are not yet familiar                                                  the event of a petroleum                                                                                95% pro-
with propane vehicles,                                                     shortage. Some federal,                                                                                pane, is
read on. In this article                                                   state, and local govern-                                                                               still being
we’ll explain the basics                                                   ment fleets use propane                                                                                debated
of liquified petroleum                                                   vehicles to comply with                                                                                  within the pro-                                     ];
gas (LPG), or more                                                        EPAct mandates since                                                                                    pane industry,                                         or the Alt Fuels
simply “propane,” and                                                      propane is considered an         Schwan’s has the largest propane powered fleet in the                 and as yet no na-                 Data Center: [].
of propane-powered                                                         alternative fuel, and pri-       country, with 98% of its 3000-plus delivery vehicles                  tionwide distri-                  Consider attending the annual Propane
vehicles. Hopefully, you’ll come to                          vate fleet operators may likewise              running on propane.                                                   bution system                     Vehicle Conference or the Clean Cit-
appreciate the relative safety,                              choose propane to take advantage of                                                                                  exists for pro-                   ies Conference to learn more. These
economy, and clean performance gas-                          financial incentives promoting its use.        Propane is primarily a bi-product of       pane as a motorfuel.                                         conferences offer “ride-’n-drive” op-
eous propane offers.                                         Check the Web []               natural gas, but is also extracted from                                                                 portunities so you can become famil-
                                                             for programs which help fleets to re-          crude oil. At atmospheric pressure,        Want to Learn More                                           iar with propane vehicles—vehicles
Overview                                                     cover incremental propane vehicle              propane remains a vapor down to            about Propane                                                which you’ll ultimately diagnose and
Farmers and construction outfits have                        and fuel purchasing costs.                     –44º F. Under moderate pressure            Motorfuel?                                                   repair along with your customers’
used propane trucks, tractors, and                                                                          (typically well below 200 psi at 70º       There’s a great deal to learn about pro-                     other fleet vehicles, vehicles which are
other equipment since the ’20s and                               Propane Conversions                        F) propane shrinks to a liquid 270         pane fuel and vehicles. In-depth infor-                      helping us meet EPA mandates for
’30s, and many automotive techs are                              Presently most over-the-road propane       times more dense than when gaseous,        mation is available both from vehicle                        clean air and EPAct mandates for AFV
somewhat familiar with propane. In                               vehicles are bi-fuel vehicles converted    making it ideal for compact on-board       OEs, and from fuel associations and                          use.
the ’70s, some OEs called for mak-                               from gasoline. Bi-fuel means the           vehicle storage. If vented, it boils off   the DOE. Start on the Web with the
ing “propane enrichment” carburetor                              driver can select either gasoline or       as a gas.                                  Propane Education and Research                               Future issue(s): Electric Vehicles,
adjustments; and we routinely use                                propane depending on which fuel is             Propane is safer (slower burning,      Council: []; the Propane                         Hybrid Electric Vehicles, and Fuel
propane to find elusive vacuum leaks                             available and less costly. A number        higher ignition temperature) than          Vehicle Council [www.propane                                 Cell Vehicles.
or to check fuel mixture problems.                               of reputable suppliers offer propane       gasoline, and because of its relatively
Propane motorfuel is used widely                                 conversion components and fuel sys-        simple chemical makeup (C3H8), it is
overseas, and here in the U.S. an esti-                          tems to the marketplace.                   potentially cleaner burning. Oil & fil-
                                                                                                                                                                                           Propane Fuel System
                                                                                   The lion’s share of      ter changes can be extended when                                      Safety Release                      Converter
                                                                               earlier conversions were     engines are run exclusively on pro-                                                                                      Vapor
                 Propane Tank Pressure                                         bolt-on, open-loop car-      pane. Likewise, longer engine life (of-                               Outage                                                     Propane
                       Varies with Temperature                                                                                                                                     Valve                                                      Mixer
                                                                               bureted systems. Unfor-      ten 180,000-200,000 miles) is ex-
       350          A Pressure Relief Valve vents propane vapor
                    whenever the tank pressure exceeds 312 PSI.                tunately, improper kit or    pected. Winter start-ups are easier
                    This prevents excess tank pressure.
       300                                                                     component selection          with gaseous propane, but during hot
   Propane Pressure (PSI)

       250                                                                     and/or installation some-    weather, propane displaces already
                                                                               times caused tailpipe        thin intake air which leads to hot start
                                                                               emissions to go up,          “enleanment.” There’s also a poten-
                                                                               rather than down. The        tial loss of power at WOT with a 5–                                                              Fuel
                                                                                                                                                                  Remote Filler                              Line
       100                                             Tank Pressure           EPA’s expected reaction      15% lower volumetric efficiency.                                                                                               Coolant
                                                                                                                                                                   Connection                                                            Connections
                                                                                                                                                                                                   HYdrostatic                Fuel
                                                                               dealt a blow to many         While this hurts bi-fuel vehicle per-                                     LP Fuel
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Relief Valve               Lock
                                                                               converters and kit suppli-   formance, dedicated propane vehicles
         –40 –20   0      20     40     60      80    100 120 140 160          ers who could not afford     can run higher CRs to maximize
                                                                                                                                                       Propane fuel systems may be carbureted as shown here, but the newest
                       Propane Temperature (deg F)                             to EPA certify their         propane’s 104 octane rating and re-
                                                                                                                                                       systems use gaseous or liquid propane injection for improved performance
                                                                               equipment to specific        cover some lost power. Propane lacks
   Propane tank pressure rises rapidly as tank                                                                                                         (Chart courtesy: Western Propane Gas Association)
                                                                               OE engines.                  lubricity, so some OEs use hardened
   temperature increases. Tank pressure feeds
                                                                                   Today, however,          valves/seats and guides; nor does pro-
   propane to the carburetor; injection systems
                                                                               closed-loop gaseous and      pane provide for intake cooling, as do
   require a fuel pump. (Data courtesy NAFTP)
                                                                               liquid propane fuel injec-   vaporizing liquid fuels.                                                            Nuts and Bolts
                                                                               tion systems with adap-          Liquid propane is pumped on-
mated 270,000 propane-powered ve-                                tive electronics enable conversion kit     board under pressure and is stored           Aside from the fuel, emissions, and electrical system components, you
hicles are on the road. Non-road pro-                            suppliers to comply; they have taken       under 200 psi in one or more moder-          won’t see much difference between a gasoline vehicle and one running on
pane “industrial trucks” (forklifts,                             steps to correct the problem or even       ate-sized steel tanks. Propane’s “stor-      propane. Where a bi-fuel gasoline/propane vehicle has two distinct fuel
tugs, etc.) amount to another 395,000                            to certify their conversion systems.       age ratio” to gasoline is roughly 1.1        systems, the dedicated propane vehicle has only propane components which
… that’s a lot of vehicles!                                      Some suppliers are “qualified vehicle      to 1, thus a bi-fuel propane vehicle         include:
                                                                 modifiers” (tier-one suppliers) who        tank doesn’t take up as much cargo
Applications                                                     install their systems on OE vehicles;      space as tanks for CNG. If exposed           Propane Tank(s)
Propane fuel has long been known                                 they often sell kits to the aftermarket    to summer heat and sunshine, propane         Propane tanks are constructed of steel and are typically charged to 80%
for its portability, making it the bottled                       as well. Such systems are used in con-     tank temperatures/pressures can rise         capacity. The remaining volume is for gas expansion caused by ambient
fuel-of-choice for outdoor recre-                                junction with OE sensors, actuators        radically. These conditions are              heat (see chart). A fully charged tank will show a wide range of pressure,
ational use, for rural homes, and for                            and powertrain electronics, thus al-       handled by the tank’s 20% “expansion         typically from 50 psi when cool to 175 psi when warm. Generally, the tank
countless industrial and commercial                              lowing vehicles to remain OBD-II           volume” and the vehicle’s fuel pres-         pressure relief valve vents at 312 psi.
customers. Propane as a motorfuel                                compliant. A variety of light and me-      sure regulator(s). Because propane                Usually the tanks are located under the vehicle along/between the frame
is often used by fleets for powering                             dium duty OE bi-fuel and dedicated         gas is not visible, suppliers add an         rails. Light-duty pickups might have them in the pickup bed; medium duty
tractors and tugs, pickups, delivery                             propane vehicles are available.            odorant, mercaptan, to enable human          vehicles may have them behind the cab or along the frame rail. The fuel-
trucks, police vehicles, shuttle vans,                                                                      detection. As with gasoline vapors,          fill connection for receiving pressurized propane is gas tight and prevents
school buses, coaches, and fire/rescue                           Fuel Definitions and                       propane is heavier than air, so gas          VOC emissions.
equipment. Propane provides almost                               Characteristics                            leakage may collect in low places
the same range as gasoline and much                              LPG contains about 90% propane,            such as service pits; building codes         Shutoff Valves
more than that of CNG, ethanol, or                               with small concentrations of ethane,       may mandate floor-located detection          An externally accessible shutoff valve (see vehicle schematic) must be in-
methanol.                                                        butane, propylene, and other gases.        equipment.                                   stalled, and a visible label is required to indicate its location. An ignition or
                                                                                                                                                         engine-controlled fuel shut-off valve serves to seal off the fuel supply when
                                                                                                            Refueling                                    the engine is not running.
                                                                                                            Infrastructure                               Regulators
    U-haul is installing retail propane                                                                     Propane is distributed by rail and truck     Propane fuel systems use a pressure-reducing regulator, possibly serving
   vehicle refueling sites such as these                                                                    to local retailers. Modern propane dis-      as a “vaporizer” as well. The regulator is likely warmed with engine cool-
with an eye on nationwide availability.                                                                     pensing equipment, similar in appear-        ant (to prevent freeze-up). The regulator drops tank pressure to fuel rail
                                                                                                            ance to gas pumps, is designed for           pressure for injected fuel, or to essentially atmospheric pressure for carbu-
                                                                                                            simple emissions and error-free refu-        reted systems, allowing liquid propane to change to a vapor.
                                                                                                            eling at a rate of about 12-18 gallons/
                                                                                                            minute. Propane refueling sites are          Fuel Delivery System (Simplified)
                                                                                                            found at public fill stations and truck      Propane may be fed into the intake system via a variable venturi “mixer”
                                                                                                            stops in certain areas of the country,       which sits above the bi-fuel vehicle’s gasoline throttle body or carburetor.
                                                                                                            at equipment rental outlets, and at RV       Sometimes gaseous fuel is released to the intake stream through a fixed
                                                                                                            dealers and some campgrounds.                venturi “fuel ring” or “spray bar” in the intake. Other systems may use a
                                                                                                            Prices vary widely. Some bulk sup-           sequence of EFI-controlled fuel injectors (appearing similar to gasoline
                                                                                                            pliers of propane offer direct retail-       EFI port injectors) for central-point injection of gaseous propane. Newer
                                                                                                            ing. LPG for rural domestic and farm         multi-point gaseous and liquid propane injection systems help to restore
                                                                                                            use is normally trucked in and stored        power lost due to lower volumetric efficiency on propane (see main text).
                                                                                                            on site.                                         Beyond the intake of propane and air, the process is as with gasoline.
                                                                                                                While the actual propane content         Gaseous fuels place higher demands on the ignition system, and a modi-
                                                                                                            of such fuel may vary, LPG intended          fied timing curve (advanced) is required for the slower/longer burn time of
                                                                                                            for motorfuel use must be of high            propane. Propane’s different burn characteristics require that adaptive
                                                                                                            quality (>88% propane minimum)               powertrain electronics be added, yet systems must remain OBD-II compli-
Refueling a propane vehicle is quick and easy: the standardized ‘no-bleed’                                  with little sulfur, paraffin, or olefin      ant and certify under clean air regulations.
nozzle screws in place for emission-free fueling.                                                           content. The implementation of

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 6 • Winter 2000                                                                                                                                                              
Alternate Fuel Technology – Battery Electric Vehicles
      This is another in a series of articles on alternate fuels. For comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-713-3086 or

         lectric vehic les on the                                                                                                       electrical load to provide tailored
         road?… You’ve got to be kid-                                                                                                   charging.
         ding! Such is the reaction of
most people who envision undersized,                                                                                                        EV service
limited-range vehicles, with no place                                                                                                   In many ways, EVs
to charge them up. Despite that repu-                                                                                                   are like car s and
tation, electric vehicle (EV) technol-                                                                                                  trucks you already
ogy has progressed steadily, making                                                                                                     service. Just as
EVs popular once more. But accord-                                                                                                      with today’s ICE
ing to the U.S Department of Energy,                                                                                                    vehicles, the mal-
owners of electric vehicles are faced                                                                                                   function indicator
with a lack of skilled EV service tech-                                                                                                 lamp (MIL) pro-                                                         ards en-
nicians. Interested in knowing more                                                                                                     vides the technician                                                countered
about EVS?… Read on.                                                                                                                    with specific diagnos-                                           with EV service,
                                                                                                                                        tic trouble codes (DTCs)                                       no attempt should
           Applications                                                                                                                 to facilitate troubleshooting.                            be made to provide ser-
Electric motorcars are hardly new:                                                                                                      As always, safety precautions pub-             vice without having received spe-
they were introduced in 1834. Elec-                                                                                                     lished by manufacturers must be ad-         cialized training.
tric “motor fuel” pre-dates gasoline         Battery electric vehicles like these are finding increased acceptance where low            hered to. This doubly applies when
and diesel, and offers strong benefits       operating cost, low noise, and zero emissions are important. Top, l to r: GM’s EV-1        working on high voltage wiring or                        Summary
over fossil fuels and the internal com-      sports coupe and Ford’s Ranger EV pickup; bottom: Nissan’s Altra SUV/wagon                 components like batteries, motor, con-      Battery electric vehicles are not suited
bustion engine (ICE). Experts quickly        and Toyota’s E-Com neighborhood EV (prototype).                                            troller, etc., or when jacking or lifting   for every driving purpose, but they are
agree however that battery EVs will                                                                                                     the vehicle. Insulated rubber gloves        very ef ficient and emission free.
not replace ICE vehicles. Environ-                  Why drive a battery                         And let’s not forget that EVs are       are required for servicing high volt-       We’re sure to see more neighborhood
mental and technical drawbacks aside,                  powered EV?                          fun to drive. Acceleration is quick to      age systems, which are recognized by        commuter EVs and low speed EVs as
the gasoline powered vehicle is our            For one, BEVs are clean: The Elec-           the point that top speed must be regu-      orange-colored insulation or convo-         the charging infrastructure develops
jack-of-all-trades, plus, quick fill ups       tric Vehicle Association of Canada           lated. A survey by the California’s         lute wire wrap (in general, anything        and as gasoline prices continue to
and extended range are too convenient          reports that, depending on power plant       Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduc-          over 50 volts is considered danger-         soar. Are you ready and willing to
to give up. Conversely, we now rec-            source emissions (from coal, gas,            tion Review Committee (MSRC)                ous). Because of the “potential” haz-       provide the service needed?
ognize the value of using “niche” ve-          nuclear, etc.), a 55% to 99.9% im-           found that 80% of those surveyed are
hicles to efficiently fill specific needs.     provement in CO 2 emissions takes            more satisfied with their EV than with
Obvious EV examples include well-              place when driving a battery EV over         their current gasoline-powered ve-
known golf carts, shopping carts,
forklifts and donkeys, aircraft tugs,
                                               an ICE vehicle. According to the             hicle, and that 70% of owners and
                                                                                            leaseholders use their EV as their pri-
                                                                                                                                              Nuts and Bolts – BEVs
                                               American Council for an Energy Ef-
parking meter-pa trol vehicles and                                                          mary vehicle.                                 Auto shop instructors often teach EV basics to students by having them
                                               ficient Economy, GM’s EV-1 and
such, but also innovative battery EV                                                                                                      convert VWs, pickups and kit cars into EVs. Wet-cell, lead-acid batteries
                                               Nissan’s Altra battery electric vehicles
applications like electric bicycles and        (see above) scored the highest in                     The Real World                       and a DC motor are commonly used, with designs not unlike those familiar
                                                                                            If EVs are so great, why aren’t bat-          to us who tinkered with model electric trains or remote controlled cars. But
scooters, and lawn and garden trac-            “green” ratings. The California Air
tors. Also, watch for neighborhood                                                          tery electric vehicles more widely            things are different today.
                                               Resources Board mandates that by the
(NEVs) and low-speed electric ve-                                                           used? The act of “plugging in” to re-             Today’s EVs are masterpieces of sophisticated engineering. A new gen-
                                               year 2003, at least 10% of new car
hicles (LSVs), which make lots of                                                           charge is more than most want to deal         eration of lead-acid (non-flooded) 8- and 12-volt batteries are used for im-
                                               purchases there be zero-emission ve-
                                                                                            with. But the most obvious reason is          proved range and cold weather performance. Some OEs use “advanced”
sense for “gated” communities (cam-            hicles (ZEVs) such as battery EVs.
                                                                                            that motorists won’t tolerate the typi-       batteries like 6-volt nickel-cadmium (NiCad), the 12-volt nickel metal hy-
puses, resorts, business parks, retire-        Densely populated and polluted cit-
ment communities, boat clubs, mili-                                                         cal limited range of 50–150 miles;            dride (NiMH), or the 3.6 volt lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries in their EVs.
                                               ies may one day end up banning all
tary bases, zoos, etc.) desiring to re-                                                     anything less than 200–250 miles per          Other types include the lithium sulfide or the space-saving/conformable
                                               vehicles except ZEVs from operating
duce traffic, noise and pollution. In                                                       “fill-up” is not acceptable to motor-         lithium polymer type battery. Such advanced batteries don’t come without
                                               within their beltways. Where charg-
                                                                                                              ists. Also, the rela-       a penalty, as they may require liquid cooling or forced air cooling and
some cases, computers are used to
                                                                                                              tively long charging        heating, along with sophisticated computer-controlled load and charging
track the whereabouts of loaner EVs
and do the scheduling.                                                                                        time required for sus-      algorithms.
    Battery-powered automobiles,                                                                              tained use is a handi-          Traction batteries are wired in series to produce anywhere from 150 to
pickups, vans and SUVs have been                                                                              cap. Most battery EV        over 500 volts DC; they are not grounded to the EV chassis. Individual
                                                                                                              manufacturers adver-        cells form batteries, and batteries are assembled into packs or modules
made available for sale or lease to fleet
                                                                                                              tise a full-charge time     which are stored in one or more battery trays/tubs under the vehicle. A
                                                                                                              of 6-8 hours or more.       battery tray typically weighs 1000 to 1400 pounds or more, thus R&R
                                                                                                              In short, nothing now       requires a special lift table to be used under the vehicle. The added weight
                                                                                                              beats gasoline as a         of batteries affects payload, handling and ride height, so low-resistance
                                                                                                              fast-fill, high energy-     tires and a stiffer suspension are used.
                                                                                                              density fuel. The               Normal (level two) charging typically requires 240 volt 40–60 amp ser-
                                                                                                              challenge is to store       vice depending on the vehicle, and is delivered from wall or post-mounted
                                                                                                              enough kilowatts for        chargers. At least one OE supplies a 110 volt (level one) charger with its
                                                                                                              practical range, with a     vehicle for emergencies, and one supplier offers (level three) 440 volt equip-
                                                                                                              quick-charge.               ment for a 50–85% capacity charge in 10 minutes for quick vehicle turn-
                                                                                                                  Also, the bulk and      around. Another company lays claim to a new charging algorithm for de-
                                                                                                              weight of on-board          creasing charging time to less than one-half of present requirements. An
                                                                                                              traction batteries          on-board “fuel gauge” tells the driver the traction battery voltage/percent
                                                                                                              work in opposition to       of charge or distance to empty. Despite improvements in range (sometimes
                                                                                                              extended EV range,          to over 200 miles), studies show that most EV drivers tend to recharge
                                                                                                              yet advanced battery        sooner than required for fear of running low.
                                                           The jury is still out on which of these                                            Charging also occurs during coasting and (regenerative) braking; drag
                                                           SAE-approved charging connectors will              research has yielded
                                                                                                               promising results (see     of the motor-turned-generator slows the vehicle and helps extend vehicle
                                                           be accepted by users: inductive "paddle"                                       range by as much as 15%–20%. A DC – DC converter supplies charging
                                                                                                               Nuts and Bolts).
                                                           (l) or conductive connector (r).                                               current for the 12-volt auxiliary system and battery used for non-traction
                                                                                                               While motor and
                                                                                                           controller manufacturers       related functions like lighting and entertainment. Since there’s no engine
                                                                                            are now claiming 90-95% efficiency            vacuum or belt drives, EVs use electricity for power steering, power brakes
                                                           ing sites are available, con-
                                                                                            of components, better computerized            and a resistive or heat pump HVAC system.
                                                           sumers are using battery
                                                                                            management of overall systems is still            Assuming that charging stations are conveniently located for EV “re-
                                                           EVs for commutes to
                                                                                            needed (see below).                           fueling,” charging port design still varies. Presently, directly connected
                                                           malls and metro stations;
                                                                                                Until then, what may convince             “conductive”, and indirect, magnetically-coupled “inductive” charging sys-
                                                           some suggest that a battery
operators and car rental agencies. The                                                      commuters to “think green” and make           tems are recommended by the SAE and are used; both are safe in all
                                               EV (BEV) is a logical second-car
U.S. Postal Service ordered 500 Ford                                                        the switch to EVs will be vehicles            weather. The market must decide which charging port standard will pre-
                                               choice for suburban households.
Ranger EV chassis for use as mail                                                           which meet their needs, conveniently          vail (just as with the 8-track/compact-cassette debate of the ’70s). In both
                                                   BEVs are less expensive to oper-
                                                                                            located charging stations, off-peak           designs, the external charger and the vehicle communicate via an RF or IR
delivery vehicles—the largest single           ate and maintain: “Fuel” costs less.
                                                                                            electric utility rates and lucrative tax      communications link to determine battery charging parameters, to per-
procurement of EVs to date. With               Based on seven cents per KW hour
their ever improving range and faster                                                       incentives to offset vehicle cost.            form fault detection, and to control charger activation and deactivation
                                               compared to 22 mpg @ $1.25 per gal.
charging batteries, EVs are becoming                                                                                                      and other functions.
                                               for gasoline, the DOE calculates a bat-
popular choices among municipalities                                                          Batteries and Technology                        AC motors require a DC to AC traction inverter module; improved effi-
                                               tery powered EV will travel 43 miles
                                                                                                                                          ciency DC motors are also used for traction. The motor is typically coupled
for fleets of shuttle busses and vans.         for a dollar; a gasoline vehicle will        The mainstay wet cell 12 volt lead-
                                                                                                                                          directly to a single speed transaxle; final drive ratios are lower than for ICE
     Sale of battery EVs to individu-          travel 18. At $1.60 per gallon of gas,       acid (PbA) battery has progressed
als will no doubt increase once charg-                                                                                                    vehicles. Reverse “gear” is actuated by either reversing DC motor polarity
                                               you’ll go under 14 miles/dollar, or          over the years, but is being replaced
ing stations are more widely available                                                                                                    or the phase sequence of the 3-phase AC motor. Batteries may pack over
                                               only one third the distance of a bat-        by advanced design batteries. Even
and purchase prices become compa-                                                                                                         500VDC, while the traction motor pulls anywhere from 50 to over 400
                                               tery EV.                                     so, one company claims that battery
                                                                                                                                          amps from the batteries to deliver 60–150 horsepower.
rable to ICE vehicles. Battery EVs are             Unlike the hybrid EV with two            efficiency still peaks at around 65%,
                                                                                                                                              The controller is the brain of the vehicle, providing management of all
not intended for extended or long-             drive systems or the ICE vehicle, bat-       typically much less, severely limit-
range use; the better alternative would                                                                                                   vehicle functions. It not only contains power contacts and connectors for
                                               tery EVs have far fewer parts to wear        ing BEV range. With modern “load
be the hybrid electric vehicle (HEV).                                                                                                     the traction motor, but manages charging, regenerative braking, auxiliary
                                               out, and they’re less complicated—           control technology” applied to con-
Hybrids are powered by batteries, plus                                                                                                    systems functions and on-board diagnostics. Improved controller design is
                                               once you’ve had the training. Main-          troller design, factors like weather,
                                                                                                                                          one of the keys for unlocking extended EV driving range; watch for im-
an ICE or fuel cell. (Hybrid EVs and           tenance costs are slashed driving a          traffic conditions and driving style
                                                                                                                                          proved designs which continue to be made available.
fuel cells will be covered in future edi-      battery EV (not counting “advanced           are monitored along with individual
tions of Tech News).                           battery” replacement costs).                 cell state-of-charge, temperature, and

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 7 • Spring 2001                                                                                                                             
Alternate Fuel Technology – Hybrid Electric Vehicles
   This is another in a continuing series of articles on alternate fuel vehicles. For comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-713-3086, or

Look out, hybrid                        up to reach peak torque and horse                     overnight recharging. Nonethe-            Component layout
                                        power; whereas, an electric mo-                       less, by mating an electric drive         There are two basic HEV configu-
electric vehicles are                   tor delivers full torque at low                       with another power source, hy-            rations: The series-hy-
coming… here!                           speeds, providing excellent accel-                    brids serve as a means of realiz-         brid system uses a
                                        eration—with low noise to boot.                       ing the advantages of battery EVs         small fuel-burning

       o, what’s a hybrid? A “hy-       The traction storage batteries                        while minimizing the range and            engine to drive a
       brid” is normally an off-        serve as an “on-demand” power                         weight issues. One industry               generator for
       spring of two dissimilar         source under load.                                    spokesperson stated that the              electricity—sent
plants or animals, but the US              Thus, with the hybrid, the heat                    strengths of two-drive systems            to one or more
Dept. of Energy defines a hybrid        engine can be downsized and run                       make hybrids an important step            electric motors
as a type of electric vehicle (HEV)     at peak efficiency (peak-torque                       in our on-going quest for cleaner         which drive the
which “…combines two or more            RPM) to propel the vehicle and to                     air, greater fuel economy, and en-        wheels. When the                                                      soon.
energy conversion technologies          run the battery-charging genera-                      ergy independence. As David               traction storage                                                   (More on
(e.g., heat engines, fuel cells, gen-   tor. In some cases, planetary gear                    Baxta at Toyota stated “…we               batteries need re-                                              this in a fu-
erators, or motors) with one or         sets and continuously variable-                       must work to reduce CO2 [global           charging, the engine                                        ture issue).
more energy storage technologies        speed transmissions (CVT) further                     warming] by building lighter ve-          starts up to run the                                         Lightweight
(e.g., fuel, batteries, ultraca-        optimize economy and perfor-                          hicle     packaging,     making           generator for recharging.                            direct-injection gaso-
pacitors, or flywheels).” Hybrid        mance. All components are har-                        powertrain improvements, and              Some vehicles can be intentionally      line (SIDI) and diesel (CIDI) en-
power is hardly new; it’s been          moniously “load-controlled” by                        more intelligently managing ve-           operated in an all-electric (zero-      gines, micro-turbines, and hydro-
around for years. Pre-nuclear era       sophisticated computer algo-                          hicle systems.”                           emissions) mode around town.            gen fuel-cell hybrid vehicles are
submarines are diesel-electric hy-      rithms programmed into high-                                                                       In the parallel-hybrid system        being evaluated in various cities
brids; so are most of our railroad      speed integrated power modules.                       Configurations                            there are two power paths. Either       and regions. Government funded
locomotives, many industrial            These modules oversee and man-                        Most production hybrid-electric           the fuel burning (heat) engine, the     research continues with partner-
                                                                                                                                                                                ships between our nation’s labs,
                                                                                                                                                                                universities and industry to find
                                                                                                                                                                                better HEV component designs,
                                                                                                                                                                                lighter and stronger materials,
                                                                                                                 Hybrid EVs from                                                cleaner fuels and improved power-
                                                                                                                                                                                electronics programming.
                                                                                                                 Toyota and Honda                                                  Engineering students are ap-
                                                                                                                                                                                plying hybrid vehicle design con-
                                                                                                                                                                                cepts to working vehicles as they
                                                                                                                 Clockwise from top left:                                       compete in the U.S. Council for
                                                                                                                                                                                Automotive Research (USCAR)
                                                                                                                 Toyota Prius HEV. Toyota’s 4 cyl. “Generation 1”               challenge. The U.S. Department of
                                                                                                                 hybrid seats 5 and gets around 50 mpg.                         Energy’s Office of Advanced Au-
                                                                                                                 Toyota Prius Underhood. Not exactly what you’d                 tomotive Technology, GM, Ford,
                                                                                                                 expect when you pop the hood of a Toyota… You’re               Chrysler and the National Renew-
                                                                                                                 looking at the engine on the left and the inverter             able Energy Lab are all working
                                                                                                                 module on the right.                                           together under the President’s
                                                                                                                 Honda Insight HEV. Honda’s 3 cyl. seats 2 and gets             PNGV initiative (Partnership for
                                                                                                                 around 70 mpg.                                                 a New Generation of Vehicles) to
                                                                                                                                                                                produce by 2004 a variety of au-
                                                                                                                 Honda Insight Underhood. Look close… under the
                                                                                                                                                                                tomobiles featuring all the com-
                                                                                                                 cover is the Insight’s 3 cyl. Engine.
                                                                                                                                                                                fort and performance of today’s
                                                                                                                                                                                passenger cars, yet achieving 80
                                                                                                                                                                                miles per gallon. The use of pro-
                                                                                                                                                                                duction-feasible hybrid-electric
machines, etc. From an automo-          age virtually all vehicle functions,                  cars use a relatively small (~1 li-       electric propulsion system, or          propulsion system technologies,
tive perspective, hybrids are still     possibly including ICE shut-off                       ter) gasoline or diesel ICE in con-       both, power the wheels. For             lighter and stronger materials
rare, but that’s changing. Let’s        when the vehicle is cruising,                         cert with batteries and electric          longer trips, the heat engine pro-      throughout, aerodynamic styl-
look closer at HEVs—what they           coasting, traveling at low speeds,                    traction motor(s). Some HEV               vides primary power to the vehicle      ing, advanced electronics and spe-
are, where they are, and why            or isn’t moving. Coasting and                         gasoline and diesel engines use di-       with the electric motor assisting       cial tires all help to achieve this
they’re showing up on our high-         braking conditions further en-                        rect fuel injection (into the com-        under peak loads.                       aggressive goal.
ways. After reading this, you           hance operating efficiency by al-                     bustion chamber). Diesel-electric            Variations to these two basic
might even find yourself shop-          lowing a return of energy to the                      hybrid transit busses are now us-         systems exist. DaimlerChrysler’s        Way down the road…
ping for one.                           batteries. All these strategies make                  ing relatively small engines for          “through the road” system uses          Will internal combusion engine
    Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs)     perfect sense for drastically cut-                    lower emissions, and one bus              an ICE to power the vehicle’s rear      (ICE) hybrids take over and domi-
are somewhat similar to today’s         ting fuel consumption and emis-                       configuration instead uses a pair         wheels and generator, while the         nate the vehicle landscape of the
conventional automobile except          sions.                                                of propane-powered micro-tur-             electric propulsion system pow-         future? Experts say probably not.
for their two “engines” (sources           Unlike battery EVs most hy-                        bines to generate the needed              ers the front wheels. Military and      While HEVs featuring various
of power). Production and proto-        brids are not set up for off-board                    power.                                    commercial customers are testing        heat engines—using a variety of
type HEVs are now on our streets                                                                                                        hybrid electric vehicles with indi-     fuels—will penetrate the market-
and highways. Some are using                                                                                                            vidually controlled in-wheel trac-      place, Ben Knight of American
gasoline or diesel internal combus-                     Hybrid-Electric Vehicle Power Flow                                              tion motors (E-wheels). While not       Honda summed up industry
tion “heat” engines (or ICEs), a few                                                                                                    new for non-road applications,          speculation when he stated that
use electricity-generating micro-                                                                                                       wheel-hub motor placement can           the heat-engine hybrid is a
turbines, and a few are using fuel                                                                                                      eliminate the need for a torque         “bridge” technology ultimately
cells. The fuel cell is an electro-                                                                                                     converter, transmission, transfer       paving the way for hydrogen pow-
chemical generator of electricity                                                                                                       case and drive shafts, thus offer-      ered fuel-cell hybrids. The fuel-cell
which uses pure hydrogen as fuel.                                                                                                       ing engineers radical space and         vehicle (FCV) is projected to take
While there’s a lot of R&D focused                                                      Inverter                                        weight savings design flexibility,      market share from conventional
on developing fuel cell “engines”                                                                                                       and improved vehicle handling           heat engine vehicles, ICE hybrids
for hybrids, various power                              Gasoline Engine                                                                 and traction.                           and other alternate fuel vehicles,
sources may be used with trac-                                                                     Electric                                Both battery EVs and hybrid          but not for some time to come. A
tion batteries to power an electric                                                                 Motor                               EVs use advanced electronics to         lot of this has to do with vehicle
motor connected to the wheels.                                                                                                          optimize load control and charg-        and component costs and fueling
    In today’s gasoline-only ve-                                                                                                        ing system operations under dif-        station infrastructure. An Ameri-
hicles, the ICE is “sized” to the ve-                                                                                                   ferent driving conditions. “Fuzzy       can Methanol Institute report pre-
hicle for peak load demands like            Series Hybrid System                                                                        logic” programs remember indi-          dicts that by 2020, seven to 20%
accelerating, hill climbing etc.                                                                                                        vidual motorist driving styles and      of all new cars sold will be pow-
Under straight and level cruising,                                                                                                      are sometimes called upon for in-       ered by fuel cells. As stated by
only a fraction of the horsepower                                                                                                       put to the integrated power mod-        Hiroyuki Watanabe at Toyota,
is used, making the ICE mostly an                                                                                                       ule. Advanced design batteries like     “…there will be a time when vari-
oversized and overweight parasitic                                                                                                      nickel-metal hydride and lithium-       ous engines and power sources
load. While “pure” battery electric                                                                                                     ion are often used in hybrid EVs        will exist simultaneously.”
vehicles (BEVs) are considered pol-                                                                                                     (as in battery EVs) for high-power         For now, those who service and
lution free, they unfortunately                                                                                                         energy storage.                         repair today’s vehicles will have
                                                                                        Inverter                                                                                plenty of work to do. And for
lack extended range, quick re-
charge, and a charging infrastruc-                                                                                                      Where are we at with                    those trained and equipped for hy-
                                                       Gasoline Engine
ture… plus the batteries are heavy.                                                                                                     hybrids?                                brid vehicle service and repair, hy-
    To overcome these obstacles,                                                                                                        There’s a lot going on. Two pro-        brids have two power sources to
the lighter, cleaner, more fuel ef-                                                                                                     duction HEVs are Honda’s gaso-          work on.
ficient hybrid-electric vehicle pro-                                     Transmission   Electric Motor/                                 line-electric Insight 2-seater sports
vides an alternative: the HEV uses                                                        Generator                                     coupe, and Toyota’s Prius 4-5           Editor’s Note: Further details on
an electric motor to serve as a                                                                                                         passenger sedan. Both are on the        hybrid-electric vehicles and hydro-
                                            Parallel Hybrid System                                                                                                              gen fuel-cell vehicles will be covered
supplemental power source for                                                                                                           road and buyers are standing in
peak-load conditions. In a conven-                                                                                                      line. We’ll see more HEV autos,         in future editions of
tional vehicle, the engine must rev                                                                                   Courtesy Toyota   vans, pickups and SUVs for sale         TechNews.

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 7 • Summer 2001                                                                                                                         
Alternate Fuel Technology – Hybrid Electric Vehicles
This is another in a continuing series of articles on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced technology vehicles. Please direct comments or questions to ASE’s
Bob Rodriguez at 703-713-3086 or

      ising gas prices have gen-        to augment the primary power              ratio. The engine runs whenever         wards achieving near pollution-
      erated a wave of public in-       source. Under prescribed driving          the vehicle is underway, but shuts      free (hydrogen pow-
      terest and publicity about        conditions, the secondary source          off under “idle-stop” situations.       ered) transportation
gas-saving hybrid electric vehicles     will assist or even take over pro-        Power assist comes from a 10 KW         and cargo han-
(HEVs), and for good reason: Hy-        pulsion of the vehicle. In some           PM motor. The 5 speed manual            dling. Projections
brids make good sense. Yet J.D.         hybrid designs, secondary power           trans and NiMH batteries help the       indicate that hy-
Powers studies show that only           is used exclusively at low speeds         Insight get 70 EPA test mpg and         brid-powered
19% of people interviewed are           or in urban traffic environments          over 600 miles of driving range.        vehicles will take
“somewhat knowledgeable”, and           to reduce pollution and save fuel.        A lightweight aluminum chassis          market shar e
51% are not familiar at all about       While a variety of primary and            and special low rolling resistance      from conven-
HEV technology. If you read the         secondary power sources may be            tires help to achieve this goal. The    tional vehicles
preceding issue of ASE TechNews         employed (including plug-in               Insight demonstrates the fuel           over the next 10–
(Summer 2001), you’re already           power), the ultimate focus of R&D         economy gains possible using            20 years. Purchase
ahead of the curve.                     seems to be on developing zero-           hybrid technology. Insight’s Inte-      prices will depend on
                                        emission hydrogen fuel cells for          grated Motor Assist (IMA)               economy - of-scale,                                      power as re-
                                            hybrid EVs. Besides the basic         powertrain will be in the 2002          and government and OE                                quired or serves as a
                                               series and parallel hybrid         Civic, and will likely spread to        subsidies. While some hybrids           generator to recharge the batter-
                                                         powertrain sys-          other Honda models. A continu-          offer modest fuel economy im-           ies. Power reaches the wheels
                                                                  tems de-        ously variable automatic trans-         provements; others meet or exceed       through an automatically shifted
                                                                   scribed        mission will also be offered.           the stringent 80-mpg Partnership        manual trans, and the sleek Pre-
                                                                     e a r-           Toyota’s Prius is a 4-5 passen-     for a New Generation of Vehicles        cept uses a 3 camera rear-vision
                                                                       l i e r,   ger sedan touted as the “vehicle for    (PNGV) benchmark. Fuel cell hy-                  system to eliminate drag
                                                                       hy-        the millennium.” The gasoline-          brids will be discussed in a                              associated with
                                                                      brids       electric HEV features a 1.5 liter,      future TechNews ar-                                             exterior
        Ford Escape                                                  a r e        16 valve, 4 cylinder “low-rev ”         ticle, but heat-                                                 rear-view
                                                                     often        engine with reduced pumping             engine hy-                                                         mirrors.
    You’ll recall that hy-                                         config-        losses and maximized thermal ef-        b r i d s                                                            GM is
brids are here, and many                   ured to operate in a variety of        ficiency and fuel economy. A            com-                                                                 a l s o
more are coming. In this                cross configurations.                     “high expansion ratio cycle”            i n g                                                               work-
article you’ll find out who’s do-           To give you an idea of the ex-        Atkinson cycle engine with vari-                                                                          ing on its
ing the R&D, what kind of vehicles      tent of HEV activity going on,            able delayed intake valve closing                                                                       Pa r a d i G M
to expect, and perhaps most im-         listed below are U.S. market-re-          and 13:1 CR provide 70 HP / 82                                                                hybrid system for
portant, how to tap into the            leased hybrid automobiles, and            lb. ft. of torque. The gasoline en-                                                   2004, featuring a 3.6 liter V-
wealth of knowledge available on        some of those (hopefully) becom-          gine only runs when needed.                                                       6 powered hybrid SUV with 2
hybrid EVs and keep up to date.         ing available soon. Note that             Power also comes from a 33 KW                                   GM Precept      electric motors for a 20% mpg im-
    Hybrid vehicles use “two or         specifications are drawn from a           / 258 lb. ft. PM electric motor. The                                            provement. GM claims it will also
more energy conversion technolo-        variety of data sources; because          planetary type “power-split” elec-                      in the next couple of   offer a full sized Silverado/Sierra
gies.” Often, an internal combus-       the HEV landscape changes al-             tronically controlled variable                       years might include:       style HEV pickup in 2004 with a
tion or “heat” engine (ICE) using       most daily, the information in-           transmission (ECVT), regenerative           Ford: Escape is Ford’s hybrid       15% mpg improvement over the
gasoline or diesel fuel develops pri-   cluded is subject to change. For the      braking, and NiMH batteries help        SUV to be released in 2003. Ford        conventional ICE designs.
mary power for traction and driv-       most current data, it’s best to           current U.S. models get around 50       cites the Escape as getting “nearly         Pininfarina: Metrocubo is a
ing the on-board generator. Other       check with the OEs (See the               –56 mpg and a driving range of          40 mpg under city driving condi-        mini 5 passenger sedan with a
fuels used include natural gas,         sidebar listing online resources.)        550-600 miles. (Images of the In-       tions.” Prodigy is Ford’s family        505 cc, 2 cylinder Lombardini
propane, ethanol, methanol and                                                    sight and Prius appeared in the         PNGV hybrid entry. It uses the en-      Motori MPFI engine, and a Sie-
dimethyl ether, and other engine        U.S. Sold ICE Hybrid EVs                  Summer 2001 ASE TechNews)               ergy efficient DIATA 1.2 liter, 4       mens 35 KW liquid cooled motor
types include natural gas and pro-      Honda: The Insight is a gasoline-                                                 cylinder diesel engine (which           which runs up to 10,000 rpm.
pane powered micro turbines, and        electric 2-seater parallel HEV                                                    shuts off at vehicle standstill), a     Metrocubo has regenerative brak-
hydrogen fuel cells (more on fuel       sports coupe featuring a 12 valve,
                                                                                  ICE Hybrid EV Automobiles               combination manual/automatic            ing and a single-speed fixed ratio
cell vehicles in future editions).      3 cylinder, 1 liter gasoline “VTECtm      under Development for the               trans, and aerodynamic features         transmission.
    Hybrid EVs also use a source        - E lean burn” engine. Insight’s          U.S. Market                             to get nearly 80 mpg. The prodigy
of stored secondary backup power,       engine provides 67 hp / 66 lb. ft.        Most industry experts recognize         utilizes Ford’s LSR (low storage re-    Medium and H-D Hybrid
such as advanced batteries,             of torque, has variable valve tim-        the heat-engine (ICE) powered hy-       quirement) powertrain technol-          EVs under Development for
ultracapacitors, or even flywheels,     ing, and a 10.8:1 compression             brid EV will be an interim step to-     ogy to help reduce vehicle weight       the U.S. Market
                                                                                                                          and meet PNGV objectives. Ford
                                                                                                                                                                  Medium and HD applications are
                                                                                                                          also has announced a HEV Ex-
                                                                                                                                                                  also rapidly moving to HEV tech-
                                                                                                                          plorer for 2004 using V   olvo’s hy-
                            Want more Info on Hybrids?… Online Resources                                                                                          nology (see page 6), and promise
                                                                                                                          brid design system.
  Hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) R&D is going on in many countries. To find out where and by which OEs,                                                            to provide an even greater return
                                                                                                                              DaimlerChrysler: Durango
  do an on-line data search using key words like “hybrid electric vehicle.” Listed below are some websites to                                                     on HEV research investment.
                                                                                                                          hybrid SUV slated for 2003 uses
  get you started.                                                                                                                                                Trucks and buses typically rack
                                                                                                                          the “through the road” system
                                                                                                                                                                  up highway mileage with its as-
  Hybrid Electric Vehicle Information                                                                                     (described in the previous article)
                                                                                                                                                                  sociated emissions, and stop-and-
   EIN Publishing —                                for a modest 15% mpg gain and
                                                                                                                                                                  go urban vehicles operate where
   ETVI — (click on the electric car picture> “Just the Facts”> “What is a Hybrid EV”)                      reduced tailpipe emissions. A 3.9
                                                                                                                                                                  tailpipe emissions must be cur-
   EV World (news) —                                                                   liter engine powers the rear
                                                                                                                                                                  tailed. Both driving situations lend
   Hybrid Vehicles (news) —                                                                       wheels, and a 3 phase AC motor
                                                                                                                                                                  themselves to hybrid technology.
   Intertech —                                                             the front. Combined city/high-
                                                                                                                                                                  Engine manufacturers like
   NE Sust. Energy —                                                                                       way mileage of 18.6 mpg is re-
                                                                                                                                                                  Cummins, GM and others, along
   NE Vehicle Consort. —                                                                                    ported. The Dodge RAM hybrid-
                                                                                                                                                                  with truck & coach and drive sys-
   NREL —                                                                                              electric pickup features a 15% mpg
                                                                                                                                                                  tem manufacturers are working
   PNGV —                                                                                             improvement, but can supply up
                                                                                                                                                                  together to produce HEVs, often
   RP Publishing —                                                                                   to 20 kilowatts of electrical energy
                                                                                                                                                                  co-partnering with state and fed-
   SAE — (search: hybrid vehicles)                                          for auxiliary power use. Dodge’s
                                                                                                                                                                  eral agencies. Along with clean
   SW Research Inst. —                                                              ESX3 is an exciting PNGV 5 pas-
                                                                                                                                                                  fuel diesel ICEs, natural gas or
   U.S Dept. of Energy —                                                                 senger family sedan entry which
                                                                                                                                                                  propane fueled microturbines are
   Your Next Car (org) —,,                                    gets 72 mpg and features an all-
                                                                                                                                                                  being used for electro -motive
                        —                                                              aluminum 1.5 liter diesel (6 gal-
                                                                                                                          lon tank of zero-sulfur fuel) and
                                                                                                                                                                      The military is testing a hybrid
  Vehicle-Specific HEV Sites                                                                                              lithium-ion batteries; its range is
                                                                                                                                                                  version of its HMMWV, powered
    DiamlerChrysler —                                        400 miles. DaimlerChrysler also
                                                                                                                                                                  by a 1.9 liter diesel and two 125
    Fiat —                                                                  will offer its 8 passenger Powerbox
                                                                                                                                                                  hp brushless DC motors—one for
    Ford — (click on: environmental vehicles)                                                               SUV with a 2.7 liter V-6 CNG fu-
                                                                                                                                                                  each axle. Using one-half the fuel
    GM —                                              eled ICE, and a 70 hp electric mo-
                                                                                                                                                                  normally needed, it gets around
         —                                              tor to get 25 mpg GGE (gasoline
                                                                                                                                                                  15 mpg, can travel at 70 mph and
           release_hybrid080200.html                                                                                      gallon equivalent), and a 350 mile
                                                                                                                                                                  climb a grade of 60% while fully
    Honda —                                                                                         range. Rated SULEV, the
                                                                                                                                                                  loaded at 10 mph. It can operate
    No. Am. Bus Ind. —                                                                                     Powerbox’s top speed is reportedly
                                                                                                                                                                  in a battery-only “stealth mode,”
    Nissan —;                                                       125 mph, doing 0-60 in seven sec-
                                                                                                                                                                  or can serve as a 55 KW field gen-
            —                                                         onds.
    Renault —                                                             General Motors: Precept –a
    Solectria —                                                                                         highly technologically advanced
    Toyota —                                                                                            PNGV 5 passenger mid-size 4WD           Overseas Offerings—
                                                                                                                          car- is reported to achieve around      For Sale, or Soon to Be…
  HEV Training                                                                                                            80 mpg, and over 90 on the high-        An admittedly partial list of over-
   OE technician training — American Honda; Toyota Motor Sales USA                                                        way using a 3 cylinder, 1.3 liter       seas ICE powered hybrid automo-
                                                                                                                          CIDI Isuzu diesel engine paired         biles to keep an eye on might in-
  Aftermarket training                                                                                                    with two electric motors. One           clude the following:
    Automotive Career Development Center —                                                         electric motor powers the front
    Mid-Del Technology Center — (click on “hybrid technology”)                                        wheels and the other adds motive        (continued on page 6)

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 7 • Fall 2001                                                                                                             
Alternate Fuel Technology – Hybrid Electric Vehicles (continued from page 5)
    In Japan, Toyota’s Prius (sup-    to hybrid mode once outside city      the use of bi-directional multi-
posedly achieving 80+ mpg)            limits. Renault’s Koleos is an all-   plexing (Prius) and fiber optics         U.S. Hydro-Electric Trucks and Buses On The Road (or soon to be)*
and Honda’s Insight are sold          terrain hybrid 4WD, 2 liter tur-      communications between compo-
with somewhat different configu-      bocharged SUV with lithium ion        nents is being used to save power        OEM                      Model                          Power
rations and reconfigured soft-        batteries powering a 30 KW mo-        and weight, and vehicles will soon       Advanced Vehicle         AVS-22 shuttle bus;            CNG, LNG
ware. This summer Toyota will         tor driving the rear wheels. In       switch (as early as next year-            Systems                 AVS-30,35, and 40              (microturbine),
also sell the hybrid Estima van.      Italy, Fiat’s Multipla hybrid sedan   Nissan) to badly needed 42 volt                                   transit bus                     diesel
Nissan is offering the frugal com-    (not yet released) can be plugged     charging / 36 volt battery sys-
pact 5 passenger Tino HEV             in overnight, and can be run in       tems. The higher voltage system          APS                      22 to 40 foot transit bus
minivan featuring a 1.7 liter gaso-   three different modes—including       allows for the ultimate elimina-         DUETS project            urban transit bus (3 types)    NG
line engine, 17 KW motor,             battery-only for ZEV compliance.      tion of engine drive belts, and the
lithium-ion batteries and a con-      In Germany, BMW, Opel,                addition of components/features          ISE Research-            TB-30H bus and                 NG & propane
tinuously variable transmission       DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes Benz,       like electronically controlled vari-       Thundervolt            801H truck                     (microturbine)
(CVT). Hino is developing a hy-       et al. are involved in hybrid EV      able valve timing(no camshaft),          New Flyer                transit bus                    diesel
brid bus for mountainous roads        research—check the web for fur-       electric steering and AC. Drive-by-
and extended highway travel. The      ther details.                         wire and brake-by-wire systems           Novabus                  urban transit bus              diesel
HEV bus features a small super-                                             will become commonplace as will
                                      Other developments                                                             Orion                    urban transit bus              diesel
charged diesel engine and a high                                            navigation, communication, and
degree of regenerative braking        To further shave weight, improve      collision avoidance systems.             TransTeq                 45 foot (specialty)            CNG
(used on downslopes) to save          economy, and lower emissions of           If you think these hybrid                                     transit bus
brake lining wear and provide al-     hybrid (and other) vehicles, you’ll   electric vehicles with their futur-
most complete battery recovery.       see “ultracapacitors” being used      istic designs and systems are            Van Hool N.V.            A308H (low floor)              CNG
Hyundai is reportedly developing      not only for traction power re-       way down the road, think again.                                   shuttle bus
a 30 KW microturbine powered          serve, but also at accessory loca-    Some are already here, with
SUV called the Sante Fe.              tions (power door/trunk locks         more just around the corner.             * This list is offered for information only and is not to be considered all-
    In France, Renault has two new    and window lift motors) to store      Technologies only dreamed of a             inclusive.
hybrid vans, the Modus and Oper-      up to 10X electrical energy reserve   few years ago are becoming re-
          andi, which use only bat-   until it is needed. Flywheel “bat-    ality. Stick around—it’s an excit-
             tery-electric power in   teries” are still under development   ing time to be an automotive           (Future TechNews articles will cover Fuel Cell (hybrid-electric) Vehicles (FCVs)
             the city, then switch    but look promising. Increasingly,     technician!                            and other alternative fuels.)

6                                                                                                           ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 7 • Fall 2001
Alternate Fuel Technology – Fuel Cell Vehicles
   This is another is a series of articles on alternate fuel vehicles, and part one of two discussing Fuel Cells, Fuel Cell Vehicles, and hydrogen motorfuel.
For comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-713-3086 or

              hile running a vehicle         tion, and the environment, fuel               buses, vans, automobiles, auxil-          ’97 Chevrolet Lumina sedan.
              on water may have              cells are gaining popularity for              iary power units (for trucks),            They demonstrated
              seemed the stuff of            commercial applications. We’re                even wheelchairs, are undergoing          that a pure hy-
folklore a few years ago (remem-             told that three major fuel cell               tests in various locations and cli-       drogen vehicle
ber rumors of the elusive “water             “growth markets” will emerge in               mates in the U.S. and abroad.             could carry 5
carburetor?”), it’s                                                                                                                  passengers
now a reality thanks                                                                       Why Use Fuel Cells?                       and still pro-
to the hydrogen fuel                                                                           No noise, no pollution, energy        vide accept-
cell electric engine. If                                                                   independence, abundant sustain-           able perfor-
you want to know                                                                           able fuel…take your pick! Fuel            m a n c e ,
more about how hy-                                                                         cells are relatively efficient, cur-      trunk space,
drogen fuel and fuel                                                                       rently around 40% and potentially         range and
cell powered vehicles                                                                      much higher than the internal             good mileage.
will change our                                                                            combustion engine; the FCV is at          (They named it                                                   Related
transportation land-                                                                       least 1.75 times more efficient           “ANIMUL H2”—                                                 issues…
scape, read on.                                                                                                                               for Lu-                                            When        and
    The fuel cell “en-                                                                                                                        mina, spelled                                where will we be able
gine” runs on pure                                                                                                                            backwards!)                        to purchase hydrogen to fuel
hydrogen, perhaps                                                                                                                                 The PNGV goal of see-       FCVs? Where do the oil compa-
                            Ford’s Focus FC-5 sedan is fueled with methanol.
the most abundant It’s a 2000 model prototype FCV.                                                                                            ing manufacturers build         nies stand on sustainable hydro-
element on earth,                                                                                                                             mid-sized vehicles achiev-      gen and alternative feedstocks for
and oxygen. What’s                                                                                                                             ing 80 miles per gasoline-     H2? Will hydrogen be stored off-
more, hydrogen has “three times              the not-too-distant future:                                                                       equivalent-gallon is be-       board or on-board, and by what
the energy content per pound as              portable power for electronic                                                                     coming a reality by using      means? What about hydrogen
either gasoline or diesel fuel”, and         devices, stationary power for                                                                     fuel cell engines. U.S., Eu-   safety issues? These issues are still
has “71% less greenhouse gas                 homes and industry, and                                                                           ropean, and Asian vehicle      being debated. We’ll cover these
emissions per unity energy over              transportation (motive)                                                                           manufacturers are build-       topics, and more, in a future edi-
the whole fuel cycle relative to             power.                                                                                            ing and testing both direct    tion of ASE TechNews. For now,
gasoline”1. The fuel cell itself emits           According to the Society                                                                      and reformed2 hydrogen         you can do your own research on
                                                                                           GM’s HydroGen I is a good example of
no pollutants.                               of Automotive Engineers (SAE),                a fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle. It   FC vehicle models for release to the     fuel cells, FCV developments, and
                                             “Most major auto manufacturers                runs on liquefied (cryogenic) hydrogen    market as early as 2003–2004. (A         the H2 infrastructure on the
What Is A Fuel Cell?                         have… announced plans to com-                 and the emits only water and oxygen.      fuel cell bicycle will be available      Internet by referring to our “More
    Simply put, a fuel cell (abbrev.         mercialize [fuel cell powered] cars                                                     soon in 2002.)                           Info” sidebar.
FC) is a chemical reactor that gen-          in 2003 or 2004.” Research is fo-             than present ICE (internal com-
erates electricity. Some call it a fuel      cused on developing practical and             bustion engine) vehicles. The only
                                             reliable FCs that can operate un-             “pollutants” from direct hydrogen           Nuts and Bolts:
                                                        der a variety of automo-           fuel cells are water and some
                                                        tive load and tempera-             heat…a major plus for the envi-
                                                                                                                                                   How a Fuel Cell Electric Engine Works
                                                        ture conditions. Lower-            ronment. What’s more, unlike                    A hybrid-electric vehicle runs on batteries, plus another (pri-
                                                        ing fuel cell production           petroleum, hydrogen is virtually            mary) power source. The fuel cell electric engine can serve as the
                                                        and materials costs is a           unlimited in supply. And unlike             primary power source. Just as a single internal combustion engine
                                                        prime goal as well.                “pure” battery-electric vehicles            cylinder lies at the heart of an ICE package, the single fuel cell lies at
                                                            The polymer electro-           (BEVs), fuel-cell vehicles can be re-       the heart a fuel cell electric engine.
                                                        lyte membrane (PEM)                fueled quickly and offer greater                Each individual cell (see illustration) generates electrical power
                                                        type fuel cell (see sidebar)       range. Some are working on de-              by converting the chemical energy of a fuel continuously into elec-
                                                        seems to be one of the             veloping a “closed loop,” captur-           trical energy by way of an electrochemical reaction, silently, and
How’d you like to work under this hood? You’re          best suited for automo-            ing the fuel cell’s water emission          without combustion. Fuel cells typically utilize hydrogen for fuel,
looking at a Chevy Suburban converted to an FCV         tive applications because          and then reusing the water by-              and oxygen (usually from air) as the oxidant in the electrochemical
by Virginia Tech engineering students.                  of its relatively low op-          product for more fuel.                      reaction. Hydrogen and oxygen are combined to generate electric-
                                                        erating temperature and               If you haven’t guessed by now,           ity. The hydrogen used comes from processed (reformed) hydro-
cell “engine” (see “Nuts and Bolts”          quick response to load changes.               this is an exciting time—we are             gen-rich feedstocks such as natural gas, methanol, gasoline, pro-
sidebar). Fuel cells did not gain            Many think 50 KW of output is a               on the leading edge of the “hydro-          pane, or other products including water. Reforming may occur off-
popularity until NASA’s space                minimum for acceptable automo-                gen age” and all its implications.          board, or on-board the vehicle.
program began using them for                 bile performance. Market demand               We’re shifting from fossils fuels               Different types of fuel cells exist, but the PEM type is regarded
electrical power (and water) dur-            for fuel cells and FCVs (fuel cell            and heat engines to clean hydro-            as the most practical for vehicle applications. It consists principally
ing space flight. But the compara-           vehicles) has resulted in an in-              gen power. According to Dr. Doug            of two electrodes—the anode and the cathode—separated by a poly-
tively high costs involved pre-              creasing number of companies                  Nelson at Virginia Tech, “These             mer electrolyte membrane (PEM). Each of the electrodes is coated
vented commercial acceptance.                striking innovative deals to bring            fuel cell systems…are [a] new               on one side with a platinum-based catalyst. Hydrogen fuel is fed
Today, with renewed concern over             fuel cell technology to the mar-              technology, not yet off-the-                into the anode and air enters through the cathode. In the presence
energy prices, energy conserva-              ketplace. FC powered transit                  shelf…but one of the few ways               of the platinum catalyst, the hydrogen molecule splits into two
                                                                                           to get a true zero emissions ve-            protons and two electrons. The electrons (current) flow from the
                                                                                           hicle.” In his view, the systems are        hydrogen molecule through an electrical circuit with a potential of
                           —— More Info ——                                                 maturing relatively rapidly. GM’s           about 0.7 volts (or more) per cell. Protons from the hydrogen mol-
      Studies show that U.S. fuel cell markets will more than qua-                         Vice Chairman Harry Pearce sees             ecule are transported through the polymer electrolyte membrane
   druple between now and 2004. To learn more about fuel cell devel-                       great potential too. “The fuel cell         and combine at the cathode with the returning electrons and oxy-
   opments, visit these selected Internet sites.                                           will revolutionize power genera-            gen from the air to form water and generate heat.
                                                                                           tion, not just for automobiles, but             Many individual cells are “stacked” in series to generate useful
   American Hydrogen Assn                                       for homes, businesses, and virtu-           power—50KW is considered desirable for automotive applications.
   American Methanol Institute                                   ally every power need.”                     The complete fuel cell engine package may include a fuel reformer,
   Apollo Energy Systems                                                                                 a compressor, a heat exchanger and other ancillary devices to make
   Ballard Power Systems                                          The Fuel Cell Electric                      it work under varying automotive temperature and load condi-
   Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited                          Vehicle, or FCV                             tions.
   Electric Transit Vehicle Institute                                    If you’ve read previous EV and
   Energy Partners                                         HEV articles in the ASE TechNews,
   Fuel Cells 2000                                              you have a basic idea of how hy-
                                              brid vehicles (HEVs) work using
   Breakthrough Technologies www.yournextcar.orgPageOne.html                               an internal combustion engine.
    Institute                                                                              The ICE powered hybrids are lead-
   H-Power Corp                                                    ing the way to market acceptance
   International Fuel Cells                        of FCVs. The fuel-cell vehicle is
   International Assn for Hydrogen Energy                            likewise a hybrid, but uses the
   National Hydrogen Assn                                      “electric engine” instead of a heat
   Plug Power                                                   engine. The FC supplies primary
   Rocky Mountain Research                        power for the electric traction
     Institute                                                                             motor(s) and for charging the
   U.S. Dept. of Energy –                                                                  vehicle’s battery modules. As in
     H2 Info Network                         other hybrids, battery modules
                                        ser ve as backup secondary
   U.S. Fuel Cell Council                                           power—a kind of “electric super-                Many applications could utilize the heat generated by the fuel
                                                                                           charger.”                                   cell for water and space heating and for industrial uses. Fuel cell
                                                                                               Competition for developing              systems are attractive power generation devices because of their
1. “Design and Development of the 2000 Virginia Tech Fuel Cell Hybrid Electric Future      economical and practical fuels cell         inherently high efficiency, zero or very low noxious emissions, low
    Truck”, SAE 2000.                                                                      vehicles is intense. Virginia Tech          noise, ability to utilize by-product heat (co-generation) and “modu-
2. If liquid or gaseous fuels like gasoline, natural gas, propane, methanol, etc. are      engineering students won honors             larity of construction.” Such features allow fuel cells to be manu-
    stored on-board the FCV, a fuel reformer is normally required to extract the hydro-    in the 1999 Partnership for a New           factured in virtually any size and even clustered to suit application
    gen for use by the fuel cell. By contrast, the direct hydrogen FCV stores gaseous or   Generation of Vehicles (PNGV)               requirements.
    liquid (cryogenic) hydrogen on-board. Several companies make fuel cells which          Student FutureCar Challenge with                                            (Courtesy of H-Power Corporation)
    accept hydrogen rich feedstocks directly.                                              their 20 KW series hybrid fuel cell

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 7 • Winter 2001                                                                                                                        
                                         ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                         Hydrogen: The Ultimate Alternate?
                                         built. As with natural gas, gaseous           Synthetic fuels may also be used      can be stored at
                                         hydrogen can be compressed and            for producing hydrogen for fuel           pressures of
                                         stored for fast-fill or timed-fill dis-   cells: economic production of H2          10,000 psi,
                                         pensing.                                  might be accomplished through the         providing an
                                                                                   photosynthesis of green algae,            acceptable
                                         Reforming                                 which can then be stored in carbon        vehicle range
                                                                                   nanotubes built into the automo-          of around 400

     n the previous ASE Tech News        Gasoline or diesel fuel could be used
     (Winter 2001) we discussed fuel     to produce hydrogen at refueling          bile. One company has announced           miles. Con-                                                             action
     cells and fuel cell hybrid-elec-    sites. Those against the idea of re-      the success of using aluminum ox-         formable com-                                                        that re-
tric vehicles (FCVs), but FCVs can’t     forming fossil fuels say it creates       ide for FCs with reportedly superior      posite H2 cylin-                                                  leases the hy-
be driven without fuel. Considering      pollution and that supplies are lim-      energy output compared to pure            ders have evolved                                             drogen for the fuel
our nation’s energy concerns, now’s      ited and expensive to produce and         hydrogen.                                 from years of re-                                          cell.3
a good time to learn more about the      protect. Also, impurities like sulfur                                               search and develop-                                     Hydrogen for fuel cells
benefits of hydrogen. The conver-        and carbon must be completely re-         Electrolyzing Water                       ment, and manufacturers have a            may soon be produced at home
sion to hydrogen for powering both       moved during reforming or the fuel        Where economical, an electrolyzer         proven safety record.                     from natural gas or propane for pri-
on and non-road transportation is        cell stack will be ruined. Other hy-      can be used to split fresh water              Instead of high-pressure gaseous      mary or standby power needs, or for
said to be our nation’s “ace-in-the-     drogen-rich feedstocks (natural gas,      (H2O) into hydrogen and oxygen.           storage, hydrogen may be chilled to       powering buildings in remote or in-
hole.”                                   propane, ethanol/methanol, gaso-          Electrolyzing typically takes a lot of    ~minus 423 degrees F as a liquid          accessible areas. Homeowner co-ops
    Like natural gas, pure hydrogen      line/diesel, coal, ammonia, synthetic     energy, so it’s preferably done where     (known as LH2) for storage in insu-       will sell electricity back to the grid,
is being burned in internal combus-      gas and others) are suitable for re-      sustainable electric power (from          lated tanks similar to those used for     and we’ll possibly refuel our FCVs
tion engines (ICE). Hydrogen can         forming but would require new dis-        hydro, solar, or wind turbines etc.)      liquefied natural gas. H 2 is very        at home. As with CNG vehicles, sev-
also be mixed with natural gas           tribution channels. Alcohol-based         is available. At Sunline Transit and      dense, and is especially suited for
                                                                                                                             high mileage routes where trucks,                      (continued on page 6)
(methane) to create Hythane® fuel        feedstocks like ethanol or methanol       at Honda in Southern California,
for improved ICE clean-air benefits.     are easier to reform into hydrogen.       solar arrays provide the needed en-       buses, etc. are likely to use the fuel
Some say that many different hydro-      Plus, such feedstocks — being made        ergy for producing and compress-          before it warms up and boils off.
gen engines will be in use in the fu-    from corn, cellular waste products        ing hydrogen. 1                                                                         Fuel Cell Vehicles –
ture, but hydrogen’s motorfuel at-       or energy crops, sewage, landfill and     Another com-                                               Other H2                   A Sampling of Prototype
tributes are best realized when “re-                                                                                                          Storage                         Car Models
acted” in the fuel cell engine.                                                                                                               Methods
                                                                                                                                                                          BMW              750hL (sedan)
                                                                                                                                               Hydrogen may be
A Hydrogen Infrastructure                                                                                                                      stored in “contain-        DiamlerChrysler
How and where will motorists be                                                                                                                ers” (option C),                                   NECAR
able to find a hydrogen “gas” station?                                                                                                         such as metal hy-                       (models 1 thru 4)
Options include:                                                                                                                               drides or in carbon                     Jeep Commander
A. Produce gaseous hydrogen (H2)                                                                                                               nanofibers. While
                                                                                                                                                                                        MB Sprint (van)
    or liquefied hydrogen (called                                                                                                              such media are said
    LH2) fuel from hydrogen-rich                                                                                                               to allow for dense         Ford             P2000 (sedan)
    materials (feedstocks) off-board                                                                                                           storage of hydrogen
                                                                                                                                                                          Ford/Th!nk Technologies
    at centralized locations or at the                                                                                                         at reduced pres-
                                                                                                                                                                                            Focus H-FCV
    refueling site; store pure gaseous                                                                                                         sures (for increased
    or liquefied hydrogen on-board                                                                                                             vehicle range and          GM              Precept (sedan)
    the vehicle                                                                                                                                safety), further                       Zafira/HydroGen I
B. Ship hydrogen-rich feedstock(s)                                                                                                             R&D is required                                  (minivan)
    to refueling sites; store              From this …                                                                                         before these media
    feedstock(s) on-board the ve-                                                         … to this!                                           are practical for au-      Nissan            Xterra (SUV)
    hicle for use in a “reformer” to       Sunline Transit uses solar panels and an electrolyzer to split water (H2O) into hydrogen and        tomotive use. An-
                                           oxygen. The hydrogen fuels Sunline’s fuel cell and Hythane® buses.                                                             Honda                 FCX – V4
    extract hydrogen fuel as needed                                                                                                            other option in-                     (4 passenger vehicle)
C. Ship/store pure hydrogen on-                                                                                                                volves containing
    board within a variety of non-                                                                                             hydrogen in ping-pong ball sized           Hyundai          Santa Fe Sport
    conventional media                     municipal waste, etc., —are renew-        pany claims to use tap water or salt      pellets, which are stored in on-                                     (SUV)
    To avoid contamination, most           able.                                     water, requiring only modest              board water tanks. When H 2 is
                                              Rather than reforming to H2 at         amounts of electricity, and says the                                                 Mazda       Demio FCV (SUV)
fuel cell stacks must use pure hydro-                                                                                          needed, one or more pellets are
gen (see Winter 2001 Tech News).           refueling sites, some favor on-board      process can be made portable.             sliced open starting a chemical re-                       Premacy FC-EV
                                                                       reform-                                                                                                       (5 pasenger vehicle)
                                                                       ing (op-      Direct Methanol Fuel Cells                                                           Renault Leguna Estate FCV
                                                                       tion B).      Direct fuel cells may use methanol        1. Sunline Transit:
                                                                       Those         (or ammonia, or other feedstocks)         2. Actually it wasn’t the hydrogen,        Toyota          FCHV-3 (SUV)
                                                                       opposed       introduced directly into the fuel cell        but the Hindenburg’s “gunpow-                                 FCVH-4
                                                                       to    re-     stack, thus allowing liquid-fuel              der/rocket fuel” based paint,                          (passenger car)
                                                                       forming       tanks on-board instead of bulky/              which was ignited by static elec-
                                                                       point out     heavy hydrogen tanks or reforming             tricity.                               Volkswagen Bora Hymotion
                                                                       that an       apparatus. Direct methanol fuel cells     3. Powerball technologies Inc:                              (Jetta - sedan)
                                                                       o n -         are costly and are not as efficient as
                                                                       board re-     pure hydrogen FCs, but are still con-
                                                                       former        sidered emission free engines.
                                                                       a d d s                                                               More Websites for Hydrogen, Fuel Cell
                                                                       weight,                                                                       & FC Vehicle Information…
                                                                                     On-Board Pure Hydrogen
                                                                       b u l k ,
                                                                                     Storage                                                       (see also Winter 2001 TechNews)
Sunline is road testing this ZE Bus (zero emissions) powered by a complex-
hydrogen fuel cell electric engine. Other companies are running                      Gaseous hydrogen can be stored on-           California Fuel Cell Partnership:
                                                                       ity and
similar tests around the country.                                                    board in tanks. Some decry the idea
                                                                       expense                                                    U.S Dept. of Energy: 
                                                                                     as a serious public safety hazard, cit-
                                                                       to each                                                    Honda:  
                                                                                     ing the infamous Hindenburg inci-
Delivering pure hydrogen (option           vehicle. Proponents of reforming
                                                                                     dent.2 In truth, gasoline is perhaps         HbT:                         
A) requires an entirely new hydro-         say the near-term introduction of
                                                                                     more dangerous. Hydrogen is the              Millenium Cell:     
gen infrastructure. Presently, 95% of      reformate H2 can pave the way for
                                                                                     simplest element (one proton and
our nation’s hydrogen is extracted         pure hydrogen FCVs once a refu-                                                        National Hydrogen Association: 
                                                                                     one electron) yet powerful, burns
by industry from natural gas (CH4)         eling infrastructure is in place.                                                      Powerball Technology:                     
                                                                                     colorless, and has a wide range of
through steam “reforming” (or              GM, Toyota, Renault, VW,
                                                                                     flammability (3–78%). Hydrogen               Proton Energy Systems:               
other means) for private use. For          BMW and others seem to lean to-
                                                                                     gas dissipates quickly into the atmo-        Schatz Energy Research Center:   
vehicle use, hydrogen could be simi-       wards reforming of gasoline;
                                                                                     sphere, rather than “puddling” as do                                                                     h2fuel.html
larly produced and shipped using           DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Nissan and
                                                                                     gasoline vapors. Pure hydrogen is
pipelines, railcars and trucks for         others are trying methanol. Some                                                       Stuart Energy:                        
                                                                                     admittedly difficult to store because
storage in high-pressure tanks at          carmakers have tried compressed or                                                     Sunline Transit:  
                                                                                     its tiny molecules weep through
refueling sites. Already, several pri-     liquefied H2. At present it seems                                                                                                     cf_index_frameset.html
                                                                                     normal materials and escape, and
vate pure-hydrogen producing/dis-          none have locked-in on any one H2
                                                                                     over time hydrogen can crystallize           Xogen Power Inc.:                            
pensing “gas stations” have been           storage and delivery method.
                                                                                     metal. Yet today, gaseous hydrogen

                                    Part of a continuing series on alternate-fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology. If you have comments or questions,
                                                            contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at or 703-669-6634.

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 8 • Spring 2002                                                                                                                   
                                          fuel cells in the 1960s. The cost of    electric vehicles (Insight and Prius,     brid-electric urban transit buses      use of fuel cells and hybrid-electric
Alt Fuels                                 platinum (for catalysts) and other      et al) offer significant fuel savings     and short-haul trucks on our city      FCVs will enhance our nation’s en-
(continued from page 5)                   material costs must still come down.    and serve as bridge-technology for        streets, and FC powered equipment      ergy independence, conserve energy,
                                          Technology breakthroughs are            FCVs. But pure hydrogen FCVs do           at airports, parks etc. With only      and provide meaningful clean air
eral companies offer H2 “extractors”      needed to make the fuel cell practi-    not burn petroleum and are thus           water coming from the tailpipe, they   benefits...all compelling goals.
which run on 220 volts and use            cal for varying climates and vehicle    zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). Un-        are (as with battery EVs) zero emis-   Hopefully you are now prepared to
CNG or water “from the garden             uses. The FC’s intolerance to fuel      fortunately, despite the almost daily     sion vehicles (ZEVs) serving both      share the good news about fuel cells,
hose” for feedstock.4 Ultimately, hy-     impurities is critical, as is warm-up   announcements of new develop-             our on- and non-road transporta-       FCVs, and the benefits of moving
drogen will likely be used as a “car-     time; FCVs may have to run on bat-      ments and 2003/2004 launch dates          tion needs.                            to hydrogen fuel with others.
rier” (storage media) for electricity.5   teries until the FC warms up.           for FCVs, insiders say that given fuel        Finally, hydrogen offers us the
Check the Internet for a wealth of            With the aid of government          availability, mass commercialization      chance to level the energy/econom-
                                                                                                                                                                   4. Stuart Energy:
further information.                      funding, public and private labs,       is eight to ten years away. It’s said     ics playing field. The U.S. now im-
                                          universities, and organizations are     that by 2020 fuel cell vehicles will be   ports 56% of its oil—600,000 bar-      5. Schatz Research Energy Center:
Where are we now?                         all working hard to bring increas-      the dominant mode of transport, at        rels of crude a day from Iraq alone—      w w w. h u m b o l d t . e du / ~ s e r c /
      NASA’s space program dem-           ingly small, less expensive and more    least in California.                      and spends almost $2 billion dollars      h2fuel.html
        onstrated the practicality        reliable fuel cells and vehicles to         In the much shorter term, expect      each week on oil imports, mostly for   6. According to the DOE’s Clean
          (if not the economy) of         market. Gasoline powered hybrid-        to see centrally refueled fuel cell hy-   cars and trucks.6 The widespread          Cities

6                                                                                                                       ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 8 • Spring 2002
                                           ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                           Clean Diesel Technology
                                           Market Forces and                        Cleaner fuels have been mandated            “over-the-
                                           Technology                               by the federal government3 , but OEs        counter” ser-
                                           The oil embargo of the 1970s awak-       and fuel producers are at odds over         vicing of in-
                                           ened Americans to the need for           the issues of “when and how” EPA            jectors,
                                           greater fuel economy and manufac-        standards will be met. (More on this        pumps,
                                           turers responded with a new breed        in a future issue). Non-road equip-         gover n o r s
“Clean Diesels?” You may think             of diesel cars ranging from VW’s 55      ment emissions regulations will             and turbos),
we’re joking, but diesel engine            mpg diesel Rabbit to Lincoln’s           likely follow suit.                         progressive
manufacturers have been working            BMW-powered five-cylinder luxury             The medium and heavy on-road            SDs now offer
overtime to clean up the “dirty-           sedan. GM, Olds and Cadillac;            diesel market has not been as               drive-through
stinky-noisy” perception of diesels        Isuzu, Mercedes Peugeot, Toyota          plagued with jaundiced perceptions          diesel vehicle
over the last few years; and market        and other diesel cars were also mar-     or federal regulations as have diesel       service and repair.                                       Alternate
acceptance of light duty diesel ve-        keted. But once gasoline again be-       automobiles. The OEs have been              As always, there is a                                  Viewpoints
hicles is picking up. Fact is, diesel      came plentiful, U.S. motorists tired     converting existing engine plat-            need for qualified diesel                   To meet EPAct, clean air, and cost
OEs (original equipment manufac-           of the hassles of pre-glowing, igni-     forms from the use of in-line injec-        technicians, and programs exist for       requirements, some fleet owners
turers) in the U.S. and Europe are         tion “rattle,” foul exhaust, and soot    tion systems to common rail, with           becoming certified.5 Diesel fuel in-      have opted to run dual-fuel diesels.
                                                                                    improved emissions and little re-           jection test equipment is increas-        A number of suppliers offer OE
                                                                                    quired in the way of engine redesign        ingly sophisticated, more precise,        and/or conversion systems for dual-
                                                                                    and tooling. Today’s trucks must be         and more expensive as aftermarket         fuel operation. With such a system,
                                                                                    OBD II compliant, with electronic           fuel system calibration is increas-       the ignition cycle starts with a very
                                                                                    systems managing the engine and             ingly expected to equal highly pre-       small (as little as 3%) pilot-spray of
                                                                                    powertrain. Some incorporate au-            cise factory calibration standards.                    (continued on page 6)
                                                                                    tomatic start/stop of engines of
                                                                                    parked vehicles (based on engine
                                                                                    and cab/coach temperature and bat-
                                                                                    tery voltage) to lower diesel tailpipe                   Clean Diesel Technology
  Not Just for Big                                                                  emissions.                                        The “Nuts and Bolts” of Clean Diesel Technology
  Rigs Anymore…
                                                                                    Consumer Perceptions                                       hat’s so special about today’s diesel engines? The new breed
                                                                                    Along with the era of clean diesel                         of “clean diesels” have the ability to more completely and
                                                                                    technology comes changing percep-                          efficiently burn fuel within the engine. Primary enhance-
                                                                                    tions of diesels by some U.S. light           ments include improved fuel delivery systems, improved configuration
                                                                                    vehicle drivers, and for good rea-            of combustion chambers, and turbocharging.
                                                                                    sons. VW with its 1.9 TDI (Turbo-                 Fuel delivery systems have gone largely from RPM and load depen-
                                                                                    Diesel Direct Injection) hallmarked           dent mechanical governing systems to electronic diesel control, or EDC.
                                                                                    direct injection and EDC in a diesel          Fuel injection is now done under much higher pressures for complete
                                                                                    passenger vehicle. Reportedly, VW’s           atomization of fuel sprayed directly into the superheated air of the com-
                                                                                    four-cylinder diesel engine pro-              bustion chamber. Furthermore, electronic control means varying rates
                                                                                    duces 25 more horsepower than did             of fuel delivery per cylinder and crankshaft degree can be done under
                                                                                    the 1978 Olds V-8 diesel, but is ex-          varying speed and load conditions for quieter and smoother perfor-
                                                                                    actly one-third the size.4                    mance. To reduce ignition clatter at idle, a smaller “pilot” spray initiates
                                                                                        Other OEs have joined the race:           the combustion cycle, with greater amounts of fuel following ignition.
VW started the light-duty diesel revival with its modern 1.9 liter 4 cylinder       diesel 2WD and 4WD pickups and                Delivery tapers off near the completion of the combustion cycle for
turbo-diesel direct injection (TDI) engine, used here in the Golf. Also shown:      SUVs have become popular alterna-             complete burn and low emissions.
Dodge Ram with Cummins 24 valve diesel; Ford HEUI Powerstroke; and                  tives to gasoline powered cars. Join-             EDC enables cleaner, more complete combustion with lower emis-
GMC Duramax 6.6 V8 applications.                                                    ing the traditional farm and con-             sions, greater economy and power, and lower noise not previously
                                                                                    struction light diesel vehicle mar-           achievable with either direct or indirect (pre-cup) combustion cham-
                                                                                    kets are commuters, outdoorsman,              bers. The fuel injection industry is moving away from mechanically
predicting a diesel “mega-boom.”           on their driveways. Well-known en-       sports enthusiasts and the like seek-         governed in-line and distributor-type injection pumps to common rail
Read on to find out what’s been            gine failures and under perfor-          ing greater economy or hauling,               systems (CRS), hydraulic electronically controlled unit injectors (HEUI)
happening, and why.                        mance hastened the demise of the         towing and off-road power in                  and much more.
    Here in the U.S., sporty diesel        American flirtation with diesel cars,    their diesel vehicles. The Chevy                  The shape and depth of the combustion chamber and piston, the
pickups and SUVs are more and              and sales plummeted.                     Duramax, Ford Powerstroke, and                number and placement of valves, and intake ports designed for greater
more seen fueling up alongside me-             Despite their shortcomings,          the Dodge/Cummins 24 valve                    swirl, and placement of the injectors all play a role in clean-diesel de-
dium and heavy diesels. Why? Be-           however, diesels of all types have       turbo-diesel packages offer popular           sign and reduction of PM and NOx.
cause today’s diesel vehicles are qui-     remained a staple in our nation’s -      “premium diesel” options to suit                  Turbocharging (for improved swirl and greater air volume) and air-
eter, more powerful and less offen-        and the world’s – means of getting       buyers’ wants and needs, and are              to-air intake intercoolers (to cool down the compressed intake air) in-
sive, thanks to the electronics            work done. Globally, drivers opt for     selling briskly.                              crease volumetric efficiency and reduce NOx. Turbos also mean more
needed to meet stricter EPA stan-          the fuel economy of diesels to off-          In the service sector, diesel injec-      power can be derived from smaller displacement (less weight) engines
dards. While petroleum-diesel fuel         set high motorfuel prices. But the       tion service dealers (SDs) have               for greater fuel economy.Aftermarket accessories and electronic “chips”
is not considered an alternate fuel        stage was set for today’s popularity     taken note of the market trend.               are increasingly popular for improving performance within clean air
(as is synthetic or bio-based diesel       for light-duty diesels here in the       Where once reluctant to do on-                limits for the popular clean-technology diesel engines. OBD-II is now
fuel), it is getting cleaner. Dual-fuel    U.S. around 1997. Tightening             vehicle repairs (preferring instead           standard.
diesels are using alternate fuels like     tailpipe emissions standards re-                                                           Reportedly, the EPA’s 2007 on-road diesel tailpipe standards will cut
natural gas for even lower overall         sulted in advances in on-board                                                         NOx and PM emissions by 98% compared to 1988 levels. Meeting these
emissions. In Europe, seven out of         clean diesel technology, and the ro-                                                   standards will require a systems approach. Refinements to systems now
10 luxury cars are now diesel pow-         bust economy of the time didn’t                                                        used, or new ones soon-to-come, include various types of exhaust af-
ered, and new diesel passenger car         hurt either.                                                                           ter-treatment (catalysts) for NOx, and particulate traps for reduction
sales are reportedly near 40 percent;          According to the Diesel                                                            of PM.
by 2010 they’ll reach 50 percent.1         Technology Forum, new on-                                                                  Thanks to electronics and the inevitable incorporation of 42 volt
    The growing popularity of light        road diesel engine PM                                                                  systems, expect to see the incorporation of “instant-hot” glow plugs;
diesel trucks in the U.S. is forecasted    (Particulate Matter)                                                                   variable valve timing, EGR cooling; electronic variable geometry/elec-
to continue with diesel powered            emissions have been re-                                                                tronically assisted turbocharger nozzle and waste gate management;
vans & SUVs. Diesel automobiles            duced 83 percent and                                                                   electric water pumps, PS pumps, and A/C compressors; drive-by-wire,
are also making a comeback. Sec-           NOx by 63 percent since                                               Dual Fuel        brake-by-wire; collision avoidance; increased OBD (the entire
ond-generation “refined power”             1988. “The emissions re-                                           Technology.         powertrain will be monitored); satellite connectivity; and more. The
diesel engines with greater efficiency     ductions achieved from                                     Westport’s dual-fuel        OEs are saying that on-board technology can’t do it alone and that the
and improved overall performance           1990 through 1994 [alone]                                     diesel/natural gas       much lower sulfur content in diesel fuel will help (More on that in an
are part of the reason. Diesel engines     were massive.”2 Moreover,                             HPDI injector for heavy-         upcoming issue of ASE TechNews).
for light duty hybrid electric vehicles    HC, CO and C0 2 emis-                                duty diesel engines. Check            Dual-fuel diesels may make use of direct-replacement high-pres-
(HEVs) developed both by Ford and          sions, already inherently                          the business end: the center        sure injectors or use electronically controlled port-type gaseous injec-
DiamlerChrysler for the ill-fated          low with diesel engines,                       pintle sprays a small amount of         tors. A pilot ignition spray of diesel fuel starts combustion, followed by
Partnership for a New Generation           have improved. At this point,                          liquid diesel fuel to start     a main spray (typically around 88 percent) of the mix. (See main text.)
of Vehicles (PNGV) have achieved           continued clean air gains hinge on            combustion; the circumferential              And all of these developments should mean favorable job opportu-
upwards of 70 mpg. No doubt en-            the availability of cleaner low-sul-        holes inject the main spray (up to         nities for talented truck technicians who keep ahead of the technology
gines like these will find their way       fur petro-diesel fuel, or the use of        97%) of high pressure natural gas          curve with on-going training and study.
into production vehicles.                  synthetic and bio-diesel fuels.           to complete the combustion process.

                                      This is another in a series of articles on alternate fuels, AFVs, and advanced technology vehicles. For questions or inquiries,
                                                       contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634, or e-mail him at

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 8 • Fall 2002                                                                                                                        
                                          emissions. They also claim that          tion unit/electronic injectors are
Alt Fuels                                 while after-treatment of diesel ex-      phasing in. Admittedly, both gaso-                                      Diesel NOx Emission Reductions and Enabling Technologies
(continued from page 5)
                                          haust may reduce pollution levels        line and diesel power will eventu-                                                 (Heavy-duty Highway Diesel Engines)
atomized diesel fuel, followed by a       locally, the resulting altered pollut-   ally make way for clean, zero-pol-
main-spray of gaseous fuel such as        ants transport to other areas, rais-     lution fuel-cell engines. But with                                                         12
natural gas or propane. (See illustra-    ing pollution levels regionally. The     clean diesel technology and cleaner

                                                                                                                                  Grams (of emissions) per brake horsepower
tion.) One company, Westport In-          Natural Resources Defense Council        diesel fuels available here and now9,                                                      10
novations, makes a “drop-in” re-          and the Coalition for Clean Air8 re-     diesels will remain competitive in
placement injector for dual-fueling       port they measured high levels of air    the marketplace for years to come.                       hour of engine output.             8
heavy duty diesels like Cat,              toxics, NOx and PM both inside and       As if to lend testimony, one spokes-
Cummins and Detroit Diesel with           behind new school buses, claiming        person recently said: “Dinosaurs be-
natural gas. 6 They’re also demon-        that even “so-called ‘clean and green’   came extinct due to changes in cli-
strating light-duty dedicated com-        diesel school buses remain dirtier       mate, and [clean] diesel technology                                                                            4.00
pressed natural gas (CNG) diesel          than alternative fuel school buses”      is changing the business climate.”                                                          4
vehicles using “glow plugs” for ig-       such as those powered by natural
nition. Other companies offer gas-        gas. John Deere, Cat and other OEs                                                                                                   2
eous fuel conversion systems which        offer dedicated CNG engines for              1. Engineering Clean Air: The                                                                                                                           0.20
use gaseous fuel port injectors for       medium duty applications like            Continuous Improvements of Diesel                                                           0
diesels. The decision to run dual-        school buses, trash haulers, etc. tra-   Engine Emission Performance, The                                                                1988         1998                 2004                   2007
fuel natural gas or propane depends       ditionally powered by diesel. An         Diesel Technology Forum, Herndon,
                                                                                                                                 Calendar Year 1998                                                 Calendar Year 2004            Calendar Year 2007
upon costs saved on vehicle pur-          “apples and oranges” debate rages        VA;                      • Computer-controlled high pressure fuel injection                 • Exhaust gas recirculation   • Low sulfur fuel
                                                                                                                                 • Improved combustion chamber configuration                                                      • Oxidation catalysts
chase, number of miles driven an-         between advocates of clean diesels           2. Engineering Clean Air, ibid.           • Injection timing retard                                                                        • Selective Catalytic Reduction
nually, disparity of fuel costs to die-   and CNG powered vehicles as to               3. Standards drop from present            • Low sulfur fuel
                                                                                                                                 • Air-to-air charge cooling                                                                      Courtesy Diesel Technology Forum
sel fuel, state/local tax incentives,     which pollute less.                      on-road limits of 500 ppm (federal)
and other factors.7                                                                sulfur content to 15 ppm by 2007.
    Some are unimpressed by the           Where We’re Headed                           4. Bill Visnic, The Plain Dealer,    jection and related systems techni-                                              sults using 12% petro-diesel and 88%
obvious improvements demon-               For improved emissions and engine        March 7, 2002.                           cians. Visit and                                                 natural gas.
strated by clean diesel technology.       performance, mechanically gov-               5. ASE offers certification pro-                                                                      8. No Breathing in the Aisles,
Clean air advocates point out that        erned rotary and in-line injection       grams for diesel vehicle technicians,        6. Westport High Pressure Direct                                             NRDC, Los Angeles, CA:
      even the cleanest diesels emit      pumps are being phased out; com-         and the Association of Diesel Special-   (HPD) Injection:                                      
         smog forming NOx and as-         mon-rail systems, electronic unit-       ists (ADS) offers credentialing via          7. SAE paper 972664 discusses                                                    9. Clean fuels will be covered in a
            yet unregulated tailpipe      pump systems, and second-genera-         their TechCert program for diesel in-    Caterpiller’s favorable engine test re-                                          future issue of TechNews.

6                                                                                                                                                                ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 8 • Fall 2002
                                               ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                               Clean Vehicles/Fuels and Clean Air
                                             the introduction of so-called Tier         hydrocarbons (HC) are deadly and                Inasmuch as
                                             One vehicles in 1999 hydrocarbon           were the first to be regulated and          conditions
                                             (HC) emissions have been reduced           measured in the service bay; high           have changed
                                             by 98% compared to pre-control era         readings are the result of partially        when mea-
                                             vehicles. Likewise, automotive emis-       burned or unburned fuel, respec-            suring emis-
                                             sions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx)          tively. Later, monitoring of O2 (oxy-       sions, so have
Editor’s Note: In this installment,          have been reduced 90% below con-           gen) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) was           the measure-
author Bob Rodriguez (brodriguez             trol pre-levels.” 2 Because of             added to better understand the              ment tech- looks at the impact of         California’s severe air quality issues,    combustion process; high O2 means           niques. His-
cleaner vehicles and cleaner fuels on        tougher laws enacted there have led        a possible misfire, while increasing        torically, auto-                                                           provides
the air we breathe.                          the nation; and some northeastern          CO2 indicates increased combustion          motive techni-                                                           pollutant
                                             states have adapted tougher-than-          efficiency. Diesels of course are also      cians have used                                                        readings in

      n the previous edition of the          federal standards like those in the        monitored for particulate matter as         “concentration” sam-                                           grams per mile.
      ASE TechNews, we discussed             Golden State. OEs may thus find a          small as 2.5 microns (PM2.5). CO2           pling to measure the level of                          CVS uses a “make-up” air
      the opportunities for replacing        given engine package certifies for         is now recognized as a contributing         exhaust pollutants, expressed as ei-          system to supplement the volume of
petroleum with cleaner renewable             sale under federal emissions stan-         greenhouse gas.                             ther a percentage or in parts per mil-        exhaust from the tailpipe, regardless
liquid bio and synthetic fuels pro-          dards, but not for California, et al.3         NOx is the greenhouse gas most          lion (1% equates to 10,000 ppm).              of engine displacement, so that ex-
duced from a whole variety of plen-          According to EPA figures, the aver-        associated with photochemical               Concentration sampling is an inte-            haust volume has no bearing on
tiful feedstocks including energy            age 2000 and 2001 model year ve-           smog and ozone. NOX comes from              gral part of emissions programs us-           overall emissions readings. The vari-
crops, forestry waste, newsprint,            hicle emitted between 27.4 and 36.3        1) “area sources” (gas stations, open       ing the two-speed idle test (TSI) and         ance in displacements of smaller
refuse, landfill gas, vegetable oils and                                                                         fires, etc.); 2)   also the more recent ASM test. A              versus larger engines is no longer an
fats, and so on.1 To be sure, using any                                                                          “stationary        shortfall of the concentration                issue. CVS is an integral part of the
of these domestically available alter-                                                                                                                                            I/M240 test performed at central-
natives to petroleum bolsters our                                                                                                                                                 ized testing facilities.
                                                                                                                  SULEV Sticker:
nation’s security and helps fleets
                                                                                                                  Watch for a sticker like this when at the showroom.
comply with the Energy Policy Act                                                                                                                                                 New Vehicle Emissions
                                                                                                                  SULEVs (Super Low Emission Vehicles) offer great
enacted by Congress in 1992. But                                                                                                                                                  Certification
                                                                                                                  fuel economy and are reportedly 75% or more cleaner
long before EPAct came along, Con-                                                                                                                                                Vehicle emissions are monitored
                                                                                                                  than ULEVs. Both are much cleaner than most
gress recognized the need for clean                                                                                                                                               and measured by the EPA using a
                                                                                                                  vehicles now on the road.
air and environmental protection                                                                                                                                                  standardized federal test procedure
from motor vehicle emissions. In                                                                                                                                                  (FTP) on virtually all vehicles sold
1970 the Clean Air Act (CAA) was                                                                                                                                                  or brought into the U.S. Evapora-
enacted and the EPA was established                                                                                                                                               tive emissions—volatile organic
to address air quality issues. As a                                                                                                                                               compounds (VOCs)—are mea-
result of advancing vehicle technol-         Toyota Prius: Gasoline-electric                                                                                                      sured in a sealed test cell (known as
ogy, today’s vehicles are vastly             hybrids from Toyota (shown                                                                                                           a “shed”), and tailpipe emissions are
cleaner. But clean fuels also play a         here) and Honda come with                                                                                                            measured on a dyno using the con-
role. Let’s look closer at how using         continuously variable                                                                                                                stant volume sampling (CVS) or
alternative fuels help us address our        transmissions and regenerative                                                                                                       “mass” method. CVS measures the
environmental concerns.                      braking for enhanced fuel                                                                                                            relative weight of pollutants in
                                             economy. Hybrids are among the                                                                                                       meaningful grams per mile during a
Clean Air Legislation and                    increasing numbers of SULEVs                                                                                                         load mode test. Vehicles must be
Pollutants—A Review                          available. (See “Greenest                                                                                                            precisely driven at a variety of
Tightened emissions standards re-            Vehicles” chart on this page.)                                                                                                       speeds and loads following a “trace”
sulted first in evaporative emission                                                                                                                                              designed to simulate real world con-
control systems and sealed crank-            pounds of smog forming pollution           sources” (power plants, boilers,            method is that it measures the con-           ditions. Based on these results, ve-
cases. A switch to unleaded fuel (no         (primarily NOx and HC) for every           manufacturing, etc.); 3) “off-road          centration of pollutants only; it does        hicles are classified as to their clean
small accomplishment) enabled                15,000 miles—about the average             mobile sources” (construction, ag-          not account for the difference in ex-         air potential (see below).
manufacturers to use catalytic con-          driven per year.                           ricultural, ground power, marine            haust volume between smaller and
verters, and then came closed loop               Knowledgeable automotive               equipment, etc.), and 4) “mobile            larger engines. For example, if a 2.0L        Vehicle Clean Air Ratings:
engine management systems with               technicians monitor five automo-           sources” (cars and trucks). NOx is          engine and a 6.0L engine showed               What’s It all About?
oxygen sensors, and reformulated             tive tailpipe emissions important for      caused by high combustion cham-             the same concentration readings,              Ever tightening emissions standards
gasoline blends. According to                air quality: CO, HC, O2, CO2 and           ber temperatures (over 3000 de-             the 6.0L engine would theoretically           for on-road vehicles have resulted
Downstream Alternatives: “With               NOX. Carbon monoxide (CO) and              grees), hence the need for relatively       produce three times the pollution             in EPA compliance timetables with
                                                                                        lower compression ratios, retarded          because it has three times the dis-           designations like Tier O, Tier One,
                                                                                        ignition timing, and EGR systems to         placement.                                    LEV, ZEV and so forth.4 (See chart.)
                        Emission Standard Programs                                      reduce nitrous oxide emissions. En-             To offset the shortfall of concen-        Under the National Low Emissions
                                                                                        vironmentalists are also concerned          tration sampling, constant volume             Vehicle (NLEV) program, manufac-
  Tier 1              The least stringent emission standards
                                                                                        about as-yet unregulated emissions          sampling (CVS) was adopted, which                          (continued on page 6)
  National Low        A voluntary program to sell cleaner vehicles nationwide.          like aldehydes and sulfur dioxide.
  Emission Vehicle    The average emission level must meet LEV, or better,              Emissions standards have tightened
  Program (NLEV)      emission standards (see table below).                             with each year’s passing and tend to                               The Greenest Vehicles of 2003
  California          California has special authority under the Clean Air Act to set   vary according to state and locality,
                                                                                                                                                                                   Emission     MPG: MPG: Green
                      their own emission standards because of unique air quality        along with how they are to be mea-            Make & Model          Specifications         Standard     City Hwy Score
                      problems.                                                         sured.
                                                                                            Different emissions tests are per-        Honda Insight         1.0L 3, auto CVTa      SULEV          57      56      57
  Tier 2              New standards for cars and trucks, to be phased in from
                      2004 through 2009, that are optional from 2001 to 2003.           formed in various state and locali-           Honda Civic GX        1.7L 4, auto CVT       SULEV*         30      34      53
                                                                                        ties. Some programs may call for                                    [CNG]b
                                                                                        simply monitoring emissions with              Toyota RAV4 EV        Electricc              ZEV            3.7     2.9     52
                           Emission Standard Level                                      the vehicle unloaded and taking               Toyota Prius          1.5L 4, auto CVTa      SULEV          52      45      52
                       (listed from least clean to cleanest)                            samples at two different engine               Honda Civic Hybrid    1.3L 4, auto CVT  a
                                                                                                                                                                                   SULEV          48      47      51
                                                                                        speeds. This is usually referred to as
                                                                                                                                      Honda Civic HX        1.7L 4, manuala        ULEV*          36      44      43
  T1                  Tier 1               The least stringent emission standards       a two-speed idle (TSI) test. More
                                                                                        recently, emissions tests have gone           Nissan Sentra         1.8L 4, manuala        SULEV          28      36      42
  TLEV                Transitional Low     More stringent than Tier 1 standards for
                                                                                        increasingly high-tech to match the           Toyota Echo           1.5L 4, manuala        LEV*           35      43      42
                      Emission Vehicle     hydrocarbons (HC)
                                                                                        more sophisticated technology used            Toyota Corolla        1.8L 4, manuala        ULEV*          32      40      41
  LEV                 Low Emission         More stringent than TLEV standards for       in engine control systems. This has           Honda Civic           1.7L 4, manuala        ULEV*          32      38      40
                      Vehicle              both hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen          brought about the need for dyna-
                                           oxides (NOx)                                                                               Ford Focus            2.3L 4, manual         SULEV          25      33      39
                                                                                        mometer-based emissions tests,
                                                                                                                                      Ford Focus Wagon      2.3L 4, manual         SULEV          25      33      39
  ULEV                Ultra Low            More stringent than LEV standards            otherwise known as loaded-mode
                      Emission Vehicle     for HC                                       testing. Initially, EPA accepted only         a
                                                                                                                                        Configurations of these models with other transmissions and emission
  SULEV               Super Ultra Low      Even more stringent standards than           the I/M240, an emissions test per-              standards score nearly as well.
                      Emission Vehicle     ULEV for both HC and NOx                     formed under varying loads and                b
                                                                                                                                        Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuel economy given in gasoline-
                                                                                        speeds. Eventually, EPA also ac-                equivalent miles per gallon.
  ZEV                 Zero Emission        The strictest emission standard,                                                           c
                                                                                                                                        Electric vehicle fuel economy given in miles per kilowatt-hour.
                                                                                        cepted the ASM (Acceleration
                      Vehicle              permitting no emissions                                                                    * California-certified vehicle available nationwide.
                                                                                        Simulation Mode) test, which
  Source: EPA;                                      evaluates emissions with the vehicle          Source: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy;
                                                                                        at a steady speed and load.

                                                        Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology.
                                           If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 9 • Summer/Fall 2003                                                                                                                            
                                           AUTO TRAINING RESOURCES
                                   Automotive Test                     and repair, parts identification, and the use of metrics in the        will receive all the materials and tools needed to conduct both
                                 Solutions’ Circuit                    shop. Bosch Pre-Tech provides the information necessary to             driver and mechanic safety programs.
                                Training                               bring all technicians to a common level of competency and                 On the second and third day, attendees will be trained and
                                  Automotive Test Solutions’ E-        understanding; Pre-Tech can also be used to advance the prod-          prepared to conduct cylinder inspections on their organization’s
                                 Trainer™ with FAULTMASTER™            uct knowledge of experienced technicians, and as support               NGVs. The training includes hands-on safety inspection of
                              technology will help both today’s        materials for courses taught in vocational/technical institutions,     NGV fuel cylinders.
                            and tomorrow’s technicians under-          Bosch says.                                                               Throughout the course, attendees will have their vehicle
                        stand and repair automotive computer           Diesel Fuel Injection Videos. These videos were originally de-         safety questions answered; discussions and presentations also
systems, ATS says. The E-Trainer is a hands-on automotive elec-        signed to provide reference support for the Bosch network of           included.
trical training system with light circuits, relay motor circuits       Authorized Heavy-Duty Diesel Equipment Repair Facilities.                 For registration information, go online to
and a full engine simulator. It installs or removes faults, fail-      Their self-paced, performance oriented approach is suited to           or call the NGV Institute at 800-510-6484 (NGVI).
ures and problems into or out of all circuits. Simulations of          either the experienced technician who wishes to upgrade his
hundreds of faults include power circuit, ground circuit, open                                    or her skills or for the apprentice
circuit, short circuit, battery,                                                                  shop technician or trade-vocational         Wells’ Counter-Point Newsletter
charging system, lamp, re-                                                                        student who needs a firm grounding          Wells Manufacturing Corp., Fond du Lac, WI, an original
lay, electric motor, no                                                                           in diesel basics. An overview of all        equipment supplier since 1903, is a fully QS-9000 certified
cranking, no start, OBD II                                                                        Bosch diesel products is provided, of-      manufacturer of ignition and engine management systems
coded drivability, no-code                                                                        fering students a foundation on             components. In November 1997,
drivability and intermit-                                                                         which to build their professional ca-       Wells introduced its
tent drivability faults.                                               reer. The videos are designed to be used in concert with the           Counter Point, a quar-
Also included are emis-                                                Pre-Tech Diesel Service Training programs.                             terly technical newsletter.
sion and data bus failures,                                               Bosch offers a wide array of training materials covering au-        Today, it is a highly re-
PCM failures, PCM re-                                                  tomotive electrical, gasoline and diesel fuel injection products.      garded resource of up-to-
sets, and additional simulated faults, failures and problems.             Check out Bosch’s complete ACCESS catalog of training               date information used
    The E-Trainer is able to give a technician the equivalent of       materials at                    regularly by nearly
years of experience resulting in a clear and concise understand-       accesshome.htm or call Robert Bosch Corporation at 800-937-            50,000 technicians to
ing of both today’s and tomorrow’s complicated computer cir-           2672.                                                                  solve drivability problems, officials with Wells note.
cuitry, notes ATS. E-Trainer prepares techs to diagnose and                                                                                   Each issue contains a feature article, which addresses diagnos-
repair the electronic systems of all of today’s automobiles. The       Natural Gas Vehicle Institute –                                        tic procedures and specific topics critical to today’s technician.
beginner and advanced student alike will learn to troubleshoot         NGV Safety Training                                                    Some of the subjects covered in the most recent issues include:
computer problems.                                                     The three-day NGV Safety Training course is designed for staff             • OBDII: An Introduction, Parts One and Two
    The E-Trainer comes complete with both Teacher and Stu-            who are responsible for driver and technician safety training              • OBDII: Diagnostic Strategy Case Study
dent Training Manuals and a RS-232 cable for downloading               and/or responsible for                                                     • OBDII: Oxygen Sensor and Oxygen Sensor Heater
new updates.                                                           cylinder inspections.                                                                    Monitors
    For more information about E-Trainer, phone 1-800-572-             The course covers all of                                                   • OBDII: Catalyst Monitors
6112 or visit                         the key factors to in-                                                     • OBDII: Fuel System Fuel Trim
                                                                       sure safe natural gas
                                                                       vehicle fleet operations, says company officials:                         For a complimentary subscription, fax your name and
Bosch Diesel Training Materials                                           • Safe Driving                                                      address to 920-922-3585; you may also e-mail it to
Bosch Diesel Pre-Tech Self Study Training That Works. The Bosch           • Safe Fueling                                             or write to:
CD-ROM based Pre-Tech Diesel Service                                      • Safe Maintenance                                                     Gavin Spence, V.P/ Sales Counter Point Subscription/Dept.
Training program is an informational                                      • Detailed Fuel Tank Inspection Procedures                          ASE, Wells Mfg. Corp., P.O. Box 70 Fond du Lac, WI 54936-
diesel fuel injection course designed for                                                                                                     0070.
technicians and students. Pre-Tech pro-                                    During the first day, attendees will be prepared to train natu-
vides the user with basic diesel theory,                               ral gas vehicle drivers in safe driving and fueling. They will             (To order the Wells binder shown in photo, send a check or
pump and governor operation, nozzle                                    also be prepared to train vehicle techs on the safety features of      money order for $9.95, along with your name and street address
and nozzle holder (injector) operation                                 NGV fuel storage and delivery system. Additionally, attendees          to above address. No P.O. boxes, please.)

                                           pally battery electric vehicles (BEVs)    ozone, officials collaborated with a       erature notes that its Civic GX (a         ence alarming numbers of “code
Alt Fuels                                  or could be hydrogen fuel cell ve-        local fuel supplier to deliver fuel        dedicated CNG vehicle) has “the            red” ozone-level days when chil-
(continued from page 5)
                                           hicles (FCVs); even wind and solar        which exceeded present fuel stan-          world’s cleanest burning internal          dren, the aged, and those with res-
turers may sell a variety of vehicles      powered vehicles might one day be         dards: “Our testing has confirmed          combustion engine …with an emis-           piratory problems are urged to stay
and average their emission levels; in-     included.                                 it to be low-sulfur and low-benzene.       sions level of just 1/10 the ULEV          indoors. Thus health, environmen-
deed, manufacturers sell flexible-                                                                                              standard.” See the accompanying            tal and conservation organizations
fuel vehicles (an FFV can burn up                                                                                               charts for a better understanding of       alike actively support the use of
to 85% ethanol) and apply clean air      Do alternative fuels offer emissions benefits? This diagram shows the                  Vehicle Emission Standards, how al-        clean fuels and vehicles.7
credits against their more polluting     percentage of combined carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxide                         ternate fuel emissions compare to              We, as automotive professionals,
yet popular gas guzzlers.                (NOx) ozone-forming emissions for various alternative fuels as compared                RFG, and which vehicles are the            can partner with these efforts by
    Vehicles are rated according to      to reformulated gasoline (RFG).                                                        cleanest.                                  staying well informed, trained, and
vehicle emission standards as LEV,                                                                                                 Over the years impressive strides       equipped to keep today’s vehicles
ULEV, SULEV, or ZEV; ratings are                                                                M85                             towards clean air improvements             running properly for low emissions.
based on vehicle year of manufac-                                                               60%                             have been made, thanks to im-              Furthermore, we can opt for using
ture, by the maximum allowable                                                                                                  proved vehicles - and clean fuels.         cleaner/greener fuels in our vehicles,
amount of VOCs evaporated, and                                                                                  RFG             More vehicles are being driven more        and promote the clean fuels choice
tailpipe emissions. For example, ve-                    CNG                40%                                                  miles however, and clean air prob-         whenever possible to our custom-
hicles rated                                            20%                                                                     lems for major metropolitan areas          ers. – B.R.
SULEV                                                                                       E85                                 persist. Each summer cities experi-

                                              Source: U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center,
                                                                                            1. See Spring 2003 ASE TechNews for coverage on bio and synthetic fuels.
                                                                                                                                2. Changes in Gasoline III Year 2000 Supplemental Update; Downstream
are ahead of the 2004 schedule and         Clean Fuels                               When it was introduced in the fall            Alternatives Inc., Bremen, Indiana. 800-378-9974; reynoldsatdai@
qualify as such because they emit          Obviously, along with clean/green         of 1999 (about 6 years ahead of EPA 
virtually no VOC emissions and             vehicle technology, cleaner petro-        tier II sulfur standards), it repre-       3. One example: DaimlerChrysler’s 3.3 liter Mitsubishi-built engine is feder-
very low tailpipe emissions—about          leum fuels help to reduce emissions.      sented the first time such a proac-           ally certified as a flexible-fuel E85 engine for their ’98 and newer minivans;
75% less than a ULEV. The gasoline         The EPA regulates the amounts of          tive move was made by a fuel sup-             however, these applications were not certified for ethanol use in Calif., N.Y.,
powered 2000 Nissan Sentra CA              pollutants (like sulfur) in both gaso-    plier and retailer.” said Tim Gerlach,        Mass., and Vermont.
(clean air) qualifies as SULEV be-         line and diesel fuel. In geographical     Twin Cities Clean Cities Coordina-         4. Tables showing the pollution limits for each vehicle type and year of manu-
cause of its zero evaporative emis-        areas where CO and NOx have con-          tor and Director of Outdoor Air               facture can by found on the EPA’s website. Go to:
sions and use of three catalysts.          tributed to “non-attainment” (i.e.        Programs for the American Lung                title2.html for more information.
Toyota’s gasoline burning Prius            where ozone levels exceed EPA lim-        Association of Minnesota.                  5. Using high oxygen content methanol-based MTBE and ethanol based ETBE.
qualifies as SULEV because the             its) these areas have benefited from          Alternate fuels burn even                 (MTBE, reportedly linked to ground water contamination, has been banned
Atkinson Cycle engine only runs            the use of oxygenated gasoline.5          cleaner. Despite the cleanest of gaso-        in California).
part-time for extremely low grams          Likewise, the use of reformulated         line or diesel fuel, engines properly      6. RFG generally contains lower amounts of sulfur, aromatics (esp. benzene),
per mile. A small percentage of zero       gasoline (RFG) has helped certain         outfitted and integrated with alter-          olefins, and reduced vapor pressure (RVP).
      emission vehicles (ZEVs) are         areas to meet clean air standards.6       nate fuel systems show a drastic re-       7. For example, the American Lung Association supports the use of alternate
        presently mandated in Cali-        When the Minneapolis-St. Paul area        duction of tailpipe emissions when            fuels. Go to: for more in-
           fornia; ZEVs are princi-        had concerns about rising levels of       burning alternate fuels. Honda’s lit-         formation.

6                                                                                                                        ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 9 • Summer/Fall 2003
                                            ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                            The Race to Hydrogen – Who’s Winning?
                                          ising than for hydrogen. (See previ-     integration), and incremental costs.      placing petroleum
                                          ous ASE Tech News articles.1) For        Installation costs for compressor         until hydrogen
                                          example, both natural gas pipelines      and fill sites can be high as well.       arrives.4 & 5
                                          and ethanol’s fledgling distribution         On the other hand, operators of          As of January
                                          infrastructure will serve us. Liquid     indoor vehicles have taken note of        2003, there were
                                          ethanol (and also methanol) is a         the clean air benefits of CNG, and        more than three
                                          good “energy carrier” for storing,       some are switching over from pro-         million FFVs on
Editor’s Note: In this installment,       transporting and reforming to hy-        pane. Liquefied natural gas (LNG)         the road, and
part 14 of a continuing series on         drogen. Electricity, the cleanest al-    is successfully being used to power       more are coming.
Alternate Fuels, AFVs, and Ad-            ternative, is obviously used in both     medium and heavy-duty vehicle             Reportedly there are
vanced Vehicle Technology, author         gasoline-electric hybrids and fuel       applications like refuse haulers and      about 300 public and
Bob Rodriguez looks at the alternate      cell vehicles and is used for electro-   line-haul trucks. Natural gas is also     private E85 refueling
fuel winners in the race to a hydro-      lyzing water into hydrogen.              used for producing propane, for liq-
gen economy.                                  Let’s take a closer look at some     uid fuels, and is itself a prime source
                                          of these alternate fuels and vehicles    for hydrogen.

     n his 2003 State of the Union        in the context of who’s competing                                                                           What are Hybrids?
     Address, President Bush an-          and winning in the race to hydro-        LPG/Propane could be a winner
     nounced that hydrogen would          gen.                                     among motorfuel alternatives—if             In the hybrid, electricity is generated and stored in battery modules, or
be America’s alternative energy                                                    you can find the fuel, and at com-          ultra-capacitors, which serve as “electric superchargers” to augment ICE
source for the future, and he chal-       Natural Gas (methane) is clean and       petitive motorfuel prices. Propane          power under load. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) typically get 25–40
lenged Congress to appropriate            plentiful (for now at least) and is      vehicles have been around for years,        percent (or more) better economy and lower emissions thanks to en-
funding for research and develop-         certainly one of the winners among       and propane is a favorite for bi-fuel       gines that are “super tuned” for peak volumetric efficiency and clean
ment to get us there. Like a lighten-     alternative fuel choices, thanks to a    or dedicated light and medium duty          performance. Atkinson Cycle variable intake valve timing (Toyota –
ing rod, his announcement electri-        strong distribution (pipeline) infra-    vehicles of all sorts, with just under      VVTi) technology and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) help
fied the alternate fuels community        structure and strong trade support.      300,000 vehicles in service as of last      keep engines running at their most efficient speeds to achieve super-
and charted a course amid other-          Compressed natural gas (CNG) has         year. Propane is also the fuel of           low emissions (SULEV). Regenerative coasting and braking add to al-
wise uncertain energy times. With         found favor among federal fleets         choice for many non-road vehicles.          ready impressive MPG, vehicle performance, and range.
unreliable petroleum imports now          (USPS), municipal fleets (buses,         An estimated 95 percent of the                  Various HEV drive configurations are possible—series, parallel, full,
topping 65 percent, OEMs are com-         police cruisers, etc.) and private       nearly 500,000 forklifts in use run         partial, through-the-road, etc. (See ASE Tech News, Summer 2001 and
peting in the race to put sustainable     fleets (taxicabs, etc.) for both light   on propane,3 not to mention tugs,           Fall 2001 for greater detail. Visit to view or download the
hydrogen-powered vehicles on the          and medium duty vehicles. The            ice sweepers, etc. The Propane Ve-          articles.) In a “full hybrid” vehicle like the Toyota Prius and the Ford
streets.                                  population of registered natural gas     hicle Council touts propane as the          Escape, the engine shuts off at low vehicle speeds for zero emissions (or
    People are asking how soon we’ll      vehicles (NGVs) has grown to an          “Exceptional Energy” choice, and if         for stealth operation in military vehicles.) Full hybrids qualify as SULEV
see hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, and,     estimated 130,000 operating in the       a nation-wide propane vehicle-re-           and P-ZEV vehicles. Partial hybrid vehicle engines, as used in the Honda
more immediately, how do we make          U.S. every day.2 Some say growth has     fueling infrastructure ever materi-         Insight or Civic, don’t shut off when under way. The OEs will be offer-
the transition from gasoline engines      flattened, however, as fleet owners      alizes, they could be right.                ing increasing numbers of hybrids soon, but so-called “plug-in hybrids”
(ICE’s) to fuel cells? It is taking a     switch back and forth from gaso-                                                     being tested in Europe are not likely here for some time.
variety of alternate fuels to usher in    line/diesel to CNG, prompted by          Ethanol/E85 could become a real
the hydrogen economy, making the          fluctuating fuel prices, equipment       winner, too, being well promoted by
outlook for these fuels no less prom-     problems (due to poor fuel system        trade associations and seen as a vi-
                                                                                   able alternative to gasoline in the       stations in the U.S. The Department       ognized as meeting federal EPAct
                                                                                   agricultural corn belt of America.        of Energy (DOE) and original              mandates when used as B20 (20 per-
                                                                                   Ethanol markets have grown ten-           equipment manufacturers (OEs)             cent splash blended) or neat (100
                     Hybrids’ Presence Grows                                       fold (about 10 million gallons a          have joined forces to develop E85         percent). Bio is a winning alterna-
                                                                                   year) during the past five years; ad-     markets in six major areas includ-        tive fuel for diesel engines, although
  Environmentally friendly vehicles are gaining in popularity, seeing a            mittedly 98 percent of the ethanol        ing Denver, Chicago, and Minne-           older engines may require fuel sys-
  54-fold increase in popularity in the past five years, according to an           presently produced is used as the         apolis. Many more motorists would         tem modifications, since bio could
  R. L. Polk & Co. study done in 2003. Gasoline-electric hybrid-electric           additive in E10 (Gasohol). Ethanol        likely opt for using ethanol if refu-     cause seals to deteriorate. OE war-
  vehicles (HEVs) accounted for nearly 83 percent of green vehicles reg-           is a good energy carrier for reform-      eling stations were accessible and        ranties generally accept up to five
  istered in 2002. Toyota’s Prius led with approximately 17,500 registra-          ing into hydrogen, once fuel cell ve-     cost-per-mile prices were made            percent biodiesel blended with
  tions, and Honda’s hybrid Civic had nearly 10,000. Hybrid-electric ve-           hicles arrive.                            more competitive with gasoline.           petrodiesel. The market for
  hicle sales are expected to grow by over 2000% over the next ten years.              Ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles                                                  biodiesel is now small, and bio
                                                                                   (FFVs), which are conventional ICE        Biodiesel, made principally from          prices are about 30 percent more ex-
  • Toyota reportedly has plans to offer six different hybrid engines us-          vehicles with provisions for alcohol      soybeans or recycled vegetable oils
    ing two or three versions of their hybrid-drive system in the next             use, will play a winning role in dis-     and fats, has more recently been rec-                 (continued on page 6)
    two or three years; models include a mini van, a luxury sedan, and
    an SUV.
                                                                                        Hybrids best serve our needs when used for stop-and-go driving, in smaller-lighter
  • Honda has aggressively marketed both its Insight and Civic gaso-                               passenger vehicles, and where stealth operation is needed.
    line-electric hybrid vehicles and was the first OE to certify a (hy-
    brid) hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle with both EPA and CARB. The FCX
    is powered by gaseous hydrogen and uses ultra-capacitors (rather
    than battery modules) to store electrical energy.

  • Ford plans the release of a hybrid SUV in July 2004.

  • GM will offer hybrid trucks in 2004; a hybrid version of the Saturn
    VUE sport utility vehicle begins in 2005; the Chevy Equinox SUV
    appears in 2006; and the Chevy Malibu Sedan comes on line in 2007.
                                                                                     Urban transit companies and city dwellers alike benefit
  • Hybrid electric trucks and buses are proving popular for urban and
                                                                                     from buses like these New York City diesel powered
    suburban use. In May 2003, FedEx Express introduced a hybrid
                                                                                     hybrid buses made by Orion and using BAE drive
    medium-duty delivery truck (see photo) using Eaton’s electric
    powertrain. Hybrid trucks are expected to account for 39 percent of                                                                          FedEx partnered with Environmental Defense and
    HEV sales by 2005.                                                                                                                           Eaton to build this diesel powered hybrid-electric step-
                                                                                                                                                 van which achieves remarkably low emissions and
  • For non-road use, Deere and Co. has taken delivery of a hybrid ver-                                                                          excellent fuel economy.
    sion of their Gator® Utility Vehicle using wheel motors. Also, a hy-
    brid 7000 series farm tractor and a 300 series lawn and garden trac-
    tor have been demonstrated.

  • For military use, hybrids offer superior fuel economy and electric-
    only stealth capability. The U.S. Army is purchasing a militarized                                                                           This GM Silverado-based DuraMax diesel parallel
    diesel-electric hybrid version of Chevy’s Silverado crew cab (see pic-                                                                       hybrid military crew-cab can operate on batteries
    ture) complete with a 5 KW fuel-cell APU. A diesel-electric hybrid                                                                           only for covert "stealth" operation, reportedly gets
    Humvee is also being tested.                                                                                                                 25–40% better fuel economy, and includes a fuel-
                                                                                                                                                 cell auxiliary power unit.

                                                      Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology.
                                         If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or                                                          5
ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 10 • Winter/Spring 2004                                                                                                              
                                            AUTO TRAINING RESOURCES
                                    Changes in Gasoline                    ASP’s online eTech Network enables technicians to assess           cluding Enhanced ASP
                                  Manual Now Available                 their skills, sign up for local classes, and track their training      Technical Assessment/
                                 for Free Download                     progress any hour of the day or night. ‘Core Services,’                Training, National
                               As ethanol use expands and en-          ‘Drivability,’ and ‘Emissions’ assessments direct techs to             Manufacturer Pro-
                              ters new markets, it’s bound to          the courses best suited to their skill level. The eTech Network        grams, Technical Sup-
                             trigger some questions you may            is included at no additional cost with a basic ASP membership.         port, and Specialized Pro
                           have about ethanol and other fuel               Information on the Elite Parts Force Training Program, the         Training Clinics, is available online at
                      quality issues. The Changes in Gasoline          eTech Network, and other ASP educational opportunities, in-   or by calling 1-888-505-1364.
manual series has achieved a circulation in excess of a half mil-
lion copies, making it the most widely circulated gasoline ref-
erence manual used by the auto service and repair community.                       Auto Manufacturer OEM Service
Containing information on new fuels and gasoline quality, ve-                            Websites Launched                                                Listing of OEM Service Websites
hicle performance and driveability, along with information on
                                                                         The National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) has                  Acura –
power equipment and recreational engines, Changes in Gaso-
                                                                         announced a posting on its website ( that                 Audi –
line covers a wide spectrum of topics that impact you directly
                                                                         summarizes OEM service website access charges. All                      BMW –
as a service technician.
                                                                         automakers now make service information available online,               Chrysler/Dodge/Eagle/Jeep/Plymouth –
                                  “Changes in Gasoline” is avail-
                                                                         notes NASTF. This includes service manuals, technical ser-         
                                able for a free download from
                                                                         vice bulletins, training materials, reprogramming informa-              Ford/Lincoln/Mercury –
                                 the Renewable Fuels Associa-
                                                                         tion and other related information.                                     General Motors – Buick/Cadillac/Chevrolet/Geo/
                                  tion at
                                                                             The access charges for the OEM service websites vary by                  GMC/Hummer/Oldsmobile/Pontiac/Saturn –
                                    Click on the link marked
                                                                         manufacturer. To view the summary of access charges, go to         
                                                    “Auto Me-
                                                                and select “Summary of OEM Service Web                    Honda –
                                                    c h a n i c s .”
                                                                         site Access Charges.”                                                   Hyundai –
                                                    Once there,
                                                                             According to NASTF, most automakers currently offer                 Infiniti –
you will also find other related documents covering different
                                                                         subscription rates for information on all their models                  Isuzu –
topics on gasoline and its uses.
                                                                         based on daily, monthly, or yearly access. Some offer other             Jaguar -
    La versión en Español ahora está disponible para que usted
                                                                         subscription options, such as on a per-document basis,                  Kia –
la obtenga libre de cargo.
                                                                         single-model basis, etc. Several websites are available free of         Land Rover –
                                                                         charge.                                                                 Lexus –
                                                                                                                                                 Mazda –
IAPA Offers Career Training Online                                           To access the automaker sites, log onto and
                                                                         click on “OEM Service websites.”                                        Mercedes Benz –
IAPA, through its Automotive Service Professionals (ASP) pro-
                                                                             NASTF was established in 2000 to facilitate: (1) the iden-          Mini –
gram offers two new training opportunities via the Internet:
                                                                         tification and correction of gaps in the availability and ac-           Mitsubishi –
The Elite Parts Force Training Program and the eTech network.
                                                                         cessibility of OEM automotive service information; (2) tech-            Nissan –
    Designed as “basic training” for counterpeople, service ad-
                                                                         nology training for                                                      Porsche –
visors and entry-level technicians, the Elite Parts Force Train-
                                                                         technicians;                                                             Saab –
ing Program provides a better understanding of automotive
                                                                         (3) availabil-                                                           Subaru – Click on “home” and
systems and increased customer service skills.
                                                                         ity of both                                                                  then “technical information”
    The program, divided into technical and non-technical
                                                                         OEM and                                                                  Suzuki –
training, brings counterpeople and service advisors up to speed
                                                                         generic di-                                                              Toyota –
on systems and components they’ll sell and install. Entry-
                                                                         agnostic tools and equip-                                                Volkswagen –
level technicians receive instruction in merchandising, cus-
                                                                         ment; and (4) communication                                              Volvo –
tomer service and selling skills. Participants receive a 19-chap-
ter manual; each section concludes with a test that can be mailed        outreach to automotive service professionals.                           Source: National Automotive Service Task Force,
to IAPA headquarters or taken online. Cost for this training,                Go to for details or contact NASTF’s John       
which includes an insignia leather jacket and diploma upon               Cabaniss at or call him at 703-247-2107.
course completion, is $99.00 for ASP member shops.

Alt Fuels                                                              Hybrid Training
                                                                                                                                propane powered ICEs, or even pro-
                                                                                                                                pane micro-turbines, in conjunc-
                                                                                                                                                                          Honda’s VP of Government and
                                                                                                                                                                          Industry Relations, describes it best
(continued from page 5)
                                              With increasing numbers of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles on the               tion with a variety of innovative         when he cites Honda’s three-fold
pensive than petrodiesel. Biodiesel           highways, perhaps you’re wondering where to get training on servicing             electric drivetrain configurations.       vision for R&D and marketing: 1)
markets are expected to grow to over          these vehicles. Along with OE factory schools for dealer personnel, here          Biomass-ethanol FFV hybrids are           Maximize efficiency of internal
40 million gallons this year. Pres-           are some training sources. Also, check the Internet for the latest, key-          proposed by some6 as the best way         combustion engines; 2) Expand the
ently over 100 major fleets use               word search on “Hybrid Electric Vehicle Training.”                                to turn off the oil-importation           market for gasoline-hybrids, and; 3)
biodiesel; many are federal govern-                                                                                             spigot, but we haven’t seen any of        Advance alternate fuel and fuel cell
ment agencies like NASA, the Na-              AR&D – Sterling Heights, Mich.                                                    these on the OE horizon. Nonethe-         technology.7
tional Park Service, and the military.        Text books and courses on HEVs, etc. Contact Chris Bina at (586) 615-             less, expect to see a large variety and       Clearly these are exciting times:
However, municipalities using                 3834, or for information on training courses.                number of gasoline-electric hybrids       automotive history is being written
biodiesel realize benefits because bio        Mid-Del Technology Center – Midwest City, Okla.                                   to enter markets soon in the race to      before our eyes. As the alternatives
offers an inexpensive way to meet             Courses on BEVs, HEVs, FVCs, and EMS/First Responder training.                    hydrogen (see sidebar).                   to petroleum jockey for market po-
their EPAct mandates (and help                Contact Sandy Stephens at (405) 672-6665.                                             The race for advanced transpor-       sition, we as technicians can do our
clean the air).                                                                                                                 tation technologies and hydrogen is       part by supporting the leaders in the
                                              National Alternative Fuels Training Program – Morgantown, W.Va.                   definitely on and the course is           race to fuel cell vehicles and, ulti-
Electricity is an excellent clean and         Twenty-plus training locations around the country. Contact Al Ebron               clearly defined. Edward B. Cohen,         mately, a hydrogen economy.
sustainable energy carrier. Emis-             at (304) 293-7882.
sions are low as fossil fuel emissions        Veejer Enterprises – Garland, Texas.
are scrubbed at the source, or even           New publication Essential AC Electric Theory and Basic Circuits of Hy-            Footnotes:
zero when solar, wind, or hydro               brid/Electric Drive Vehicle; training courses. Contact Vince Fischelli at
(river or tidal) power is used to gen-        (972) 276-9642;                                                   1. Thirteen previous ASE TechNews alternate fuels and advanced technology
erate it. But electricity is expensive                                                                                             vehicles articles describe in greater detail developments and market forces
to transport (via the “grid”) and             York Technical College – Rock Hill, S.C.                                             affecting the industry. Visit our website at to view and down-
even more difficult to store. It serves       Contact Director Bob Kosak at (803) 325-2865 for details about their                 load past articles in this series.
as an auxiliary power source when             EV, HEV, FCV training curricula and programs.                                     2. According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition’s 2003 Purchasing Guide,
used with gasoline in hybrids (see                                                                                                 available from the NGVC in Washington, D.C. Visit (“Tools
below).                                    pioned BEVs have since been re-           cell vehicles, and clearly lead the race      and Resources”).
    Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)       written, and OEs have been cancel-        as the most practical near-term an-        3. Bill McGlinchey, “Teaching Forklift Maintenance is Vital,” LP Gas Maga-
have evolved greatly from simple           ing leasing programs. The good            swer for reducing and eliminating             zine, May 2003.
DC motor golf carts, but high ve-          news? BEVs have proven themselves         petroleum use. Today’s gasoline-           4. Contact the Alt Fuels Data Center at 1-800-42301363 to obtain a VHS or
hicle costs and limited battery ca-        in “niche markets” serving munici-        electric hybrids have a miserly fuel          DVD copy of John Davis’ informative MotorWeek cable TV presentation
pacity still limit BEVs to a range of      palities, gated communities, stop-        appetite and are rated super ultra            about ethanol-burning FFVs.
100 miles or so. Making things             and-go delivery fleets and as com-        low emission (SULEV) and partial           5. To regain lost vehicle range when burning lower BTU ethanol in FFVs, com-
worse, advanced-battery problems           muter cars. Plus, BEV technology          zero emission (P-ZEV) for their ul-           pression ratios could be raised (to take advantage of ethanol’s higher-than-
like heating/cooling issues forced         transfers readily to hybrid-electric      tra clean emissions. Smaller passen-          gasoline 100 octane) by employing variable vale timing principles, as used
some OEs to revert to heavier lead-        vehicles (HEVs).                          ger vehicles benefit most from be-            by Toyota (VVT-I) and Mazda (S-VT).
acid batteries, which adds more                                                      ing “hybridized” as do urban stop-         6. Former CIA Director James Woolsey and Sen. Richard D. Lugar, “The New
weight and reduces vehicle range           And The Winner Is…                        and-go transit buses, refuse haulers,         Petroleum,” published in Foreign Affairs. Visit for
      further. The 10 percent zero-        Hybrid Electric Vehicles!                 and other such vehicles. These                the full text.
          emission-vehicle mandates        Today’s HEVs are early models for         heavier hybrid applications use            7. From a presentation delivered June 18, 2003, at the Advanced Transporta-
            in California that cham-       tomorrow’s hydrogen-electric fuel         ethanol, clean diesel, natural gas and        tion Technology Forum, Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.

6                                                                                                                     ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 10 • Winter/Spring 2004
                                                ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                                Wanted: Clean Indoor Vehicles…
                                                                 ...and the EPA means business!

                                                  As of this year (2004), 50-State     units use propane, with a small             Technicians
                                              non-road vehicle Tier 1 mandates         number running on natural gas.2             and Training
                                              are in place for new (zero hours of      Traditionally, OEMs of spark ig-            At present, equip-
                                              use) LSI equipment sold. Equip-          nited units and equipment have re-          ment is typically
                                              ment affected includes that for ma-      lied on low-tech open-loop carbu-           run day-in, day-
     Editor’s Note: In this installment,      terial handling (forklifts), electric    reted fuel systems with little if any       out in small busi-
     part 15 of a continuing series on Al-    generation, airport ground support,      emission controls. Studies have             nesses with only one
     ternate Fuels, AFVs, and Advanced        ice and floor sweeping, farm and         shown that most emissions failures          or a handful of units.
     Vehicle Technology, author Bob           construction, industrial, and much       on older industrial engines are             Thus there’s likely no
     Rodriguez looks at opportunities         more.1 Forklifts, for example, are       simple to fix with only minor ad-           highly qualified techni-
     awaiting those qualified to service      FTP 75 Transient Test Cycle tested       justments bringing them into cur-           cian on staff and little attention is       engines and equipment. Having
     non-road alternative fueled units.       on the dyno—a start / stop test some     rent specs.                                 given to “tune-ups.” These days,            such qualifications will open the
                                              consider more demanding than that            For new units, however, stan-           turning a fuel mixture screw until          door of opportunity for automotive
     Opportunities for skilled automo-        used for automobiles.                    dards call for extended emissions           the engine idles smoothly won’t cut         technicians willing to service non-
     tive technicians are looking good…           Tier 2 standards take effect in      warranties and more, and for on-            it.5 In the non-road sector, there’s a      road equipment.
     Why? In case you haven’t heard,          2007 and are more stringent than         board diagnostics capable of alert-         serious shortage of trained techni-
     both CARB (the Califor-                                                                     ing operators of malfunc-         cians, and even though converting           Footnotes:
     nia Air Resources Board)                                                                    tions in the engine’s emis-       older units isn’t that difficult, own-      1. Visit the EPA website for specific
     and the EPA have for the                                                                    sion-control system.              ers and operators are scrambling to            regulations.
     first time crafted and are                                                                  Gasoline-fueled Tier 2            find technicians with the training,         2. Both outdoor and indoor non-
     enforcing emissions stan-                                                                   engines must also have            know-how and tools to service                  road vehicles and equipment
     dards for several classes of                                                                EVAP systems.                     units, and install and integrate               may be battery-electric powered,
     non-road vehicles. Af-                                                                          In order for engines to       closed-loop retrofit kits. Attitude            but hydrogen fuel-cell equip-
     fected applications in-                                                                     meet the new emission             may be a contributing factor to the            ment is starting to appear in the
     clude:                                                                                      standards, use of automo-         shortage: One forklift maintenance             marketplace.
     1. units or equipment                                                                       tive technology such as           trainer reports that students tell          3. Stoichiometric air/fuel ratios are
         with large industrial                                                                   EFI, 3-way catalysts and          him, “If I was going to have to learn          sometimes referred to as
         spark ignited engines                                                                   closed loop systems is re-        computerized engine controls, I                Lambda = 1. Lambda 1 for gaso-
         (known as large SI en-                                                                  quired. To give new low-          would go to work for an automo-                line is 14.7:1; for propane 15.7:1.
         gines, or simply “LSI”)                                                                 emissions life to pre-            bile dealership,” and, “We don’t               Lambda 1 for natural gas (meth-
         from 19 kw (25 hp) to                                                                   emission controlled               have an emissions analyzer, we just            ane) is 17.2:1.
         130 kw (175 hp)                                                                         equipment, LSI retrofit           tune by ear.” Reportedly, one year’s        4. Propane fuel quality tests spon-
     2. recreational engines                                                                     kits may include an O2            worth of PERC sponsored forklift               sored by PERC are now under-
         and units like motor-                                                                   sensor, a feedback carbu-         training of technicians alone could            way by the Southwest Research
         cycles, ATVs, and                                                                       retor or modified pres-           reduce CO output by anywhere                   Institute.
         snowmobiles                                                                             sure regulator, a control-        from an estimated 3,000 to 68,000           5. Fuel systems on open-loop in-
     3. recreational marine                                                                      ler (module), and more. A         tons.6                                         dustrial engines tend to drift
         diesel engines           Environmentally friendly propane-powered forklift.             variety of suppliers now               Admittedly, indoor vehicle ser-           rich, causing excessive fuel con-
                                  (Photo courtesy of Hyster Co.)                                 offer such equipment,             vice and repair is a niche market.             sumption and driving CO and
         In this article, we’ll                                                                  which costs anywhere              To be successful, technicians should           HC “through the roof ”—not so
     discuss the first category of LSI        CARB’s, covering even engines and        from a few hundred to thousands             be able to service not only engines            good when operating units in
     units and equipment, and how au-         equipment in the field. Tier 2 tests     of dollars. With the installation of        and fuel systems, but also maintain            consumer outlet warehouses,
     tomotive technicians with fuel and       for reductions of HC by 70%, CO          these closed-loop “kits,” older en-         and repair the mechanical, hydrau-             enclosed trailers or loading
     emission system know-how may             by 90% and NOx by 85%. While             gines (assuming good mechanical             lic and electrical systems on these            docks, etc.
     help the non-road vehicle and            both propane and natural gas units       condition) easily pass the required         units. Technicians with the ability         6. Bill McGlinchey, AFV Interna-
     equipment sector to clean up its act.    have the potential for extremely low     smog tests. Once kits are installed,        to service emissions systems, and              tional LLC; Estimate of the Envi-
     If you qualify and are interested,       HC, CO, and NOx emissions well           “Lambda Testers”—simplified low             propane and CNG fuel systems, are              ronmental Impact of a Forklift
     read on.                                 below 2004’s Tier 1 standards, all       cost exhaust gas analyzers which            well positioned for servicing LSI              Technician Training Program.
                                              but the newest LSI engines now in        read O2 content—are now available
     Non-Road “Vehicle”                       use would fail the EPA’s air quality     to enable technicians to adjust fuel
     Legislation                              standards.                               mixtures for “Lambda = 1” stoichio-
     In October of 1998 California                                                     metric operation.3                                                       Want More Info?
     adopted for the first time a 2001–       Non-Road Vehicle                             Muddying the water for an in-
                                                                                                                                       1. For further information on fuel and emission system training for
     2004 phase-in of clean air regula-       Technology                               dustry scrambling to meet air qual-
                                                                                                                                          non-road applications, visit the Web (see below), or contact any of
     tions for non-road equipment pro-        Non-road outdoor units are typi-         ity standards, the fuel used may be
                                                                                                                                          these specialized training providers.
     duced and sold. Previously no such       cally gasoline or diesel, propane or     anything but consistent in quality.
     regulations existed. California also     battery-electric powered. Indoor         In the case of propane and natural                  • AFV International: Bill McGlinchey at 304-296-6568 or
     wants older units to be retrofitted      units (estimated at around 800,000)      gas, impurities (fuel by-products)          
     with systems in order for them to        are used as forklifts, manlifts, ice and and contaminants picked up in the                   • NAFTC (National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium): Al
     meet the standards, and other states     floor sweepers, baggage handlers         fuel delivery “pipeline” leave oil,                   Ebron at 304-293-7882 or
     may follow suit. Whatever CARB           and the like. A smaller percentage       sludge or wax deposits in pressure                  • PERC (Propane Education and Research Council) at 202-452-
     mandates typically becomes federal       of these are battery powered, but        regulators, injectors, etc., causing                  8975 or
     (and beyond), and under pressure         most have ICEs (internal combus-         equipment problems and headaches
                                                                                                                                                 (Ask about PERC’s Forklift Technician Maintenance Training Pro-
     from environmental groups, the           tion engines). For air quality and       for owners trying to keep engines
     EPA has followed suit.                   safety reasons, most ICE powered         running clean and efficient.4
                                                                                                                                           • Texas Railroad Commission – Alternate Fuels Education and
                                                                                                                                             Research Program: Franz Hofmann at franz.hofmann@

                                  Conversion Components                                                                                2. For more information on retrofit closed-loop systems and products
                                                                                                                                          for non-road/industrial engines, these and many other company’s
                                                                                                                                          websites should prove helpful:
                                                                                                                                           • Bridge Analyzers Inc. website for info on how Lambda is calcu-
                                                                                                                                             lated and on their hand-held exhaust gas analyzers: http://
                                                                                                                                    idgeanalyze r nts/White_Pape r s/
                                                                                                                                           • IMPCO Technologies – Spectrum:
                                                                                                                                           • Safe Controls for information on propane and natural gas engine
                                                                                                                                             control solutions: and
                         Components like these, along with an 02 sensor, wiring harness and control                                
                         module, are what it takes to convert open-loop propane engines to closed-loop
                                                                                                                                           • Tech Edge for information on their inexpensive Lamba Analyzer:
                         for passing EPA standards. Left to right: fuel vaporizer-regulator, mixer, and
                         throttle body assembly. Images courtesy of Safe Controls, LLC.

                                                          Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology.
                                            If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

     ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 10 • Summer/Fall 2004                                                                                                                   
asetech Summer04 final             5                                                                                           6/1/04, 1:55 PM
                                            ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                            Service Hybrid Electric Vehicles – Safely!

                                              Of course, the correct answer is         Scan tools are a fact of life in         While perhaps
                                          C. As with any vehicle, hybrids need     today’s service bay, helping us “see”    at first intimidat-
                                          routine LOF service, tire rotation,      into the world of invisible electron-    ing, black (inflat-
                                          alignment, brakes etc. On the other      ics and diagnose problems. “The          able) lineman’s
                                          hand, servicing high voltage battery     scan tool will remain the mainstay       gloves rated for
Editor’s Note: In this installment,       packs, hybrid drive systems and          of the technician’s arsenal, for ana-    1000 volts should
part 16 of a continuing series on Al-     motor electronics introduces new         lyzing and diagnosing a hybrid and       be worn whenever
ternate Fuels, AFVs, and Advanced         challenges for technicians. If you’re    [its] electric power system.”2 You’ll    servicing the high
Vehicle Technology, author Bob            unfamiliar with hybrids, you may         not only be accessing familiar en-       voltage system to avoid
Rodriguez offers tips to automotive       want to review our basic informa-        gine data—Engine RPM, MAP/               shock or electrocution.
technicians considering servicing hy-     tion covered previously in ASE           MAF, injector pulse width, etc.—but      Chemicals associated with Nickel-                   tected HV components
brid electric vehicles.                   TechNews articles.1) In this article,    also comparable data about the elec-     Metal Hydride batteries are caustic        and wiring, hybrids have an excel-
                                          we’ll discuss more need-to-know          tric drive components: Encoder Sig-      and will react with certain metals or      lent safety record. As with natural
With record high prices for crude         about hybrid systems and compo-          nal, Current Sensor, Pedal Position,     liquids. Safety goggles, rubber            gas, propane and hydrogen fueled
oil, and at the pump, consumers are       nents in HEVs from Toyota, Honda,        Commanded Current, Phase Faults,         aprons, and other gear is required         vehicles, safety sensors, fuses,
placing record numbers of orders          General Motors and Ford. The gen-        Slip %, and more.3 To interpret such     when working with or around such           switches and shutoff devices protect
for gas saving light-duty hybrid          eral outline presented here does not     arcane data, specialized HEV train-      batteries.                                 vehicle owner and technician alike.
electric vehicles (HEVs). But how         replace authorized HEV factory           ing is a must, and numerous train-
prepared are shops when it comes          training, but it will help you get       ing providers now offer it (see Win-     In An Emergency                                            (continued on page 6)
to servicing these?                       started.                                 ter/Spring 2004 ASE Tech News).
                                                                                                                            As with any new technology, there’s
                                          The Nature of Hybrids                    Components                               a lot of mystique about hybrid ve-
                                                                                                                            hicle safety. HV battery packs, 3-             For PDF files of previous ASE
  Technician A says general au-           For improved fuel economy and            Yes, hybrid systems and compo-           phase AC, converters, inverters, con-          TechNews AFV articles, contact
  tomotive knowledge and skill            emissions, hybrids use specially de-     nents are unique. These include the      trollers… all present new challenges           the author at ASE.
  may be sufficient when per-             signed tires and wheels, “slippery”      3-phase AC drive motor(s), the (fi-      and concerns for today’s techni-               Automotive Research and Design
  forming routine maintenance             body styles, regenerative braking,       nal) drive unit with reduction gear-     cians. But there’s no need for alarm-          Company, Detroit, Mich.
  on hybrid electric vehicles.            engine start/stop features, etc. Hy-     ing, the AC (alternating current)        ist reactions. The fact is, with redun-        < >
                                          brid gasoline engines (ICEs) feature     power inverter, the DC/DC inverter,      dant safety systems and well-pro-              Ibid
  Technician B says that special-         electronic throttle controls, variable   the starter/generator and its control
  ized training is needed when            valve timing, lean burn combustion       module, a continuously variable
  performing service on high              designs, and more, making them           electronic transmission (CVET),
  voltage systems on hybrid elec-         more complex, and challenging!           electric or electro-hydraulic power                                     HV shutoff devices
  tric vehicles.                          Despite the sophisticated nature of      steering, a high voltage battery pack,
                                          hybrid systems, technicians should       special cooling systems, high volt-        The best way to prevent high voltage/current from flowing in a hybrid
  Who is right?                           be qualified for routine hybrid ve-      age cables and connections, safety         electric vehicle is to simply turn off the key, disconnect the negative 12
   (A) A only                             hicle service. Don’t expect to see       and cutoff switches, electric air con-     VDC battery cable, or turn off switches as shown here.
   (B) B only                             belts and pulleys under the hood,        ditioning compressor… the list goes
   (C) both A and B                       however, as space is often domi-         on.
   (D) neither A nor B                    nated by hybrid drive and electrical         The electric drive motor(s)—
                                          components.                              either induction (IM) or permanent
                                                                                   magnet (PM) type—partially or
                                                                                   totally propels the vehicle using
                                                                                   high voltage 3-phase alternating                                                        Toyota Prius
                                                                                                                                                                           In the trunk, remove the 3 clips
  Schematic of Components on the 2005 Ford Escape                                  current. The power inverter changes
                                                                                                                                                                           holding the upper left portion
  Hybrid Electric SUV                                                              the battery pack’s high voltage DC
                                                                                                                                                                           of the trunk side cover. Toyota
  Key components for different hybrid makes                                        into 3-phase AC for the drive
                                                                                                                                                                           advises to use rubber lineman’s
  and models will be located in various places.                                    motor(s), and the motor controller
                                                                                                                                                                           gloves to pull this (partially
  This shows how Ford’s hybrid Escape                                              supplies the motor varying amounts
                                                                                                                                                                           hidden) orange handled plug.
  SUV is laid out.                                                                 of AC and voltage (in both direc-
                                                                                   tions) to determine vehicle speed
                                                                                   and direction as requested by the
                                                                                   motorist. Much like a torque con-
                                                                                   verter slips to add torque when ve-
                                                                                   hicle load increases, the electric
                                                                                   motor uses “slip angle” to multiply                       Ford Escape SUV
                                                                                   torque. The drive/gear reduction            In the rear of the vehicle under
                                                                                   unit is coupled to the motor shaft          the right side carpet, locate this
                                                                                   and reduces high RPM to useable                  handle and rotate it to the
                                                                                   axle RPM.                                       “service shipping” position;
                                                                                       In most HEVs, small low-voltage                           then lift it out.
                                                                                   Nickel-Metal Hydride battery “mod-
                                                                                   ules” are wired in series to produce
                                                                                   the battery pack’s high DC output
                                                                                   voltage. NiMH battery temperatures                                                      Chevy Silverado/
                                                            (Courtesy Ford)        are controlled, as are other power                                                      GM Sierra pickup
                                                                                   electronics devices. A DC/DC con-                                                       Under the rear passenger
  Key to components:                                                               verter supplies 12 volts for conven-                                                    seat, remove the marked
  1. Rear Inertia Switch – disconnects high voltage system and fuel pump           tional automotive devices. In the                                                       cover on the Energy Storage
     in the event of a collision.                                                  case of GM’s hybrid pickup, three                                                       Box; turn the green Service
  2. High Voltage Service Disconnect Switch – orange handled battery dis-          12-volt lead acid batteries are wired                                                   Disconnect Switch to
     connect switch under carpet.                                                  in series and stored in an energy                                                       horizontal for power off.
  3. High Voltage Battery – 300+ volts (250 x 1.3 volt sealed Ni-MH mod-           storage box (ESB) under the passen-
     ules connected in series).                                                    ger seat, and a 42-volt starter/gen-
                                                                                   erator keeps them charged. In all                              Honda Civic
  4. High Voltage Wiring – orange colored wiring connects HV battery to
                                                                                   hybrids, emergency disconnects en-           It’s better to remove the main
     Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT);
                                                                                   able high voltage systems to be iso-           fuse (#1) in the driver’s side
     ECVT to DC/DC Converter.                                                                                                    underhood fuse box. If that’s
  5. 12 Volt DC Battery – lead acid 12 VDC service battery provides power          lated (see images). Sensors monitor
                                                                                                                                 not possible, remove the rear
     to the vehicle and accessories.                                               what’s happening in all areas for load
                                                                                                                               seat cushion and back; remove
  6. ECVT – contains the drive motor, the starter/generator, and electronics.      management and safety.
                                                                                                                                         the metal switch cover
  7. DC/DC Converter – provides 12 VDC to charge the service battery                   Before servicing even non-high
                                                                                                                                (marked “up”) and flip down
     and run 12 V accessories.                                                     voltage related systems, technicians
                                                                                                                                    the Battery Module Switch
  8. Front Inertia Switch – disconnects high voltage systems and fuel pump         should follow OE procedures if
                                                                                                                                 behind the red locking cover.
     in the event of a collision.                                                  shutting off the vehicle’s high volt-
                                                                                   age components.

                                                      Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology.
                                        If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 11 • Winter/Spring 2005                                                                                                                
                                                                                                      A Word to First Responders…
Hybrid Vehicle Service
(continued from page 5)                            Hybrid OEMs go out of their way to provide         and HV cables are orange for easier identifi-         sponse Guides for the most accurate and
                                                   the industry with first responder information      cation. HV cables are typically routed along          up-to-date information.
One example is GM’s hybrid pickup with its         contained in Emergency Response Guides             frame rails or down the vehicle mid-section—
120 AC auxiliary power outlet (APO) provi-         (ERGs) available on the Internet.a Familiarity     but certainly not in vehicle doors as some have       Editor’s Note: The Inter-Industry Con-
sion. Ground fault detection and a “high volt-     with ERG procedures protects both motor-           mistakenly asserted—but in any case, orange           ference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR)
age interlock loop” continuously monitor the       ists and rescue personnel in the event of a hy-    cables should not be cut. According to GM,            also offers training and information for
120 volt AC wiring harness’ integrity; a fault     brid vehicle mishap.                               “Today’s ‘rip and tear’ techniques to gain [ve-       emergency responders on proper proce-
automatically shuts off the utility circuit’s          In accordance with OEM procedures, if an       hicle] entry are less effective and potentially       dures for disabling high-voltage systems.
power                                              HEV is involved in a collision, first turn off     dangerous. Access is often much easier than it        Visit
                                                   the ignition key. This shuts down the high volt-   appears. A more appropriate adage is to ‘Try
Summary                                            age supply. Next, stabilize the vehicle, and as    before you pry.’ Avoid cutting the vehicle un-
                                                   required, further isolate the high voltage sys-    til all electrical systems have been deactivated      a
                                                                                                                                                                Hybrid vehicle emergency response guides
There is no need for skilled automotive tech-      tem using the HV shutoff devices (see pho-         and isolated. Cutting into the areas of the ve-           (ERG) can be found at these Internet websites:
nicians to fear hybrid electric vehicles. That     tos). You may also want to neutralize the SRS      hicle prior to disconnecting and isolating the            • Ford: http://
said, anyone going beyond “routine” vehicle        system(s) by disconnecting the 12 VDC bat-         electrical energy sources may cause an elec-      
maintenance on hybrids should get authorized       tery negative (or both) cables.                    trical arc and/or personal injury.”b                        vdirs/quickref/ guide-escape.pdf
training, so why not get started? We’ll see many       In an emergency, accessing HV shutoff               First responders should also know that               • GM:
more gasoline (and diesel) electric hybrids        compartments behind seats or in trunks may         some vehicles (not just hybrids) may use dual-              EMT%20PHT.pdf
pretty soon, all leading the way to the hydro-                                                                                                                  • Honda:
                                                   not be an option. Emergency personnel using        stage steering column air bags or side-curtain
gen fuel cell vehicle (FCV), which is itself                                                                                                                      emergencyservice/
                                                   saws / jaws to extricate victims must be famil-    airbags which use pyrotechnic or gas propelled              Honda%20ERG%20Civic%20Hybrid.pdf
another form of hybrid. “Learn more to             iar with respective ERG guidelines. High volt-     actuators in the A, B or C pillars... not the kinds       • Toyota:
earn more” to service the new and increas-         age (50 volts or higher) systems are isolated      of things you’d want to cut into.                           vehicles/prius/safety/prius_erg_2.pdf
       ingly popular breed of hybrid electric      from the grounded 12-volt on-board system,              Always refer to the OEM Emergency Re-            b
                                                                                                                                                                General Motors’ ERG, see above.

6                                                                                                                  ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 11 • Winter/Spring 2005
                                                                           ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                                                           The Quiet Diesel Evolution
                                                                           Copyright 2005 ASE

                                                                        line is ingested with air into engine        inder pressure suddenly rises and         BTDC) to achieve
                                                                        cylinders with a relatively low com-         “rings” the cylinder. In gasoline SI      ignition with re-
                                                                        pression ratio (~9:1) to avoid pre-          engines, such pressure spikes lead to     duced noise; 2)
                                                                        ignition and possible detonation             destruction of pistons, rings, and        the “main-injec-
                                                                        (knock) of fuel during the compres-          bearings, but the diesel engine is        tion” of fuel to
Editor’s note: In this article, author                                  sion stroke. Because the diesel takes        more robust. Today, to reduce the         develop engine
Bob Rodriguez discusses how today’s                                     in air alone, it can tolerate much           annoying rattle (along with emis-         torque and com-
diesel engines have become as quiet                                     higher compression ratios (23.5:1            sions), engineers have smoothed the       plete the power                                                          sures.
and smooth as gasoline engines—                                         and higher) to achieve “more bang            combustion process. Much as a bas-        stroke; and 3) an addi-                                            The older
without sacrificing power or                                            for the buck.” Air is compressed un-         ketball is best dribbled with a           tional injection pulse for                                       mechanical
economy—for today’s light-duty ve-                                      til “white hot” (Charles’ Law), so it’s      smooth downward motion of the             after-burning of pollutants in the                     pump/governor + injec-
hicles.                                                                 hot enough to auto-ignite the fuel           hand and wrist (rather than by slap-      converter. Prior to microelectronics,      tion lines + nozzle holder assembly
                                                                        when it arrives. Fuel injection pres-        ping it), a piston should move            injection systems used a variety of        systems cannot meet today’s peak
Clean biodiesel fuels, dual fuel                                        sure must be high enough to over-            smoothly from its upward compres-
CNG/diesel injection systems and                                        come compression, for proper mix-            sion stroke to its downward power
similar innovations are helping to                                      ing, and correct compression-igni-           stroke. (Graph 1) Smooth up-down
clean up diesel emissions—and so                                        tion timing. But injection is not in-        piston transition requires not only
are microprocessors. The improve-                                       stantaneous; “injection lag”—the             precise timing of fuel injection, but
ments made in the last few years to                                     time required to build injection             also of the delivery rate, for differ-
light-duty diesel engines are very                                      pressure and get it to the nozzle and        ing speed and load conditions.
impressive. Automobile technicians                                      “pop” it open—delays things. Once                Traditionally, light and medium-
sometimes tend to avoid servicing                                       fuel is injected, “ignition lag” also        duty diesel engines for motor ve-
diesels, but it’s time to reconsider;                                   occurs. (Graph 1) Injector design            hicles have used “indirect injection”
today’s diesel technology is fascinat-                                  and spray pattern, compression               (IDI). With IDI, fuel is injected into
                                                                                                                     a red-hot pre-combustion chamber
                                                                                                                     (“pre-cup”) or a swirl chamber for
                                  Traditional Compression and Combustion Pressures                                   less noisy combustion. (Illustration
                                                          (non-rate shaping)                                         1) IDI engines use a “throttling”
                                                                                                                     pintle-type nozzle to introduce a
                                                                                  Combustion                         very fine “pilot-injection” of fuel for
                                                                                                                     less abrupt ignition (Image 1). Once
    Combustion-chamber pressure

                                          Start of combustion
                                                                                                                     ignition starts in the pre-cup, the
                                                    Ignition lag                       End of ignition               rate of fuel delivery is increased, and     Image 1. Throttling Nozzle Spray Pattern.
                                                                                                                     a rich expanding/swirling flame is          The throttling-pintle nozzle is used for indirect-injection (IDI) of fuel in
                                               Injection lag
                                                                                           End of combustion         then “blown” through an orifice into        earlier light-duty diesel engines. A pilot-injection “pre-spray”(left) starts
                                                                                                                     the main chamber to drive the pis-          ignition prior to the main-injection (further right). Direct-injected (DI)
                                                                                                                     ton downward. Delivery of fuel then         engines achieved similar pilot-injection using a two-spring NHA. (See
                                          Start of inj.                                                              tapers off until combustion can no          text.) Today, microprocessors manage rate shaping electronically for
                                            pressure                                                                 longer be sustained in the excess of        much greater precision.
                                                                Start of Compression                                 air (as much as a 40:1 ratio at idle),
                                                               injection   pressure                                  making the IDI diesel a relatively
                                                                                                                     quiet and economical diesel en-           mechanical methods for achieving           pressure demands of
                                   BTDC                              TDC                            ATDC             gine—but still not acceptable to          relatively quiet diesel combustion         over 30,000 psi (VW
                                                                                                                     many American motorists, or for           (see sidebar).                              (continued on page 6)
                                                                Piston Travel                                        the EPA.                                      Main-injection of fuel must be
                                                                                                 Courtesy of Bosch
                                                                                                                         High injection pressures are          delivered directly onto (or into) the
  Graph 1. Pressure rise graph on the piston.
                                                                                                                     needed to rapidly swirl and mix the       piston in relatively few degrees of
  Compression and combustion pressures on the piston should affect one
                                                                                                                     fuel-air mixture for complete ho-         crankshaft rotation. In short: deliver
  smooth motion—much like the dribbling of a basketball. Prior to
                                                                                                                     mogenizing and burning of fuel for        more fuel, in less time, with
  microprocessors, compression and power-stroke pressures would rise as
                                                                                                                     economy, low emissions and less           higher injection pres-                                                Image 2.
  shown. Injection and ignition “lag” contribute to noisy combustion—
                                                                                                                     combustion noise. Yet peak injec-                                                                           Piezo nozzle
  called “diesel clatter.”
                                                                                                                     tion line pressures (before the                                                                 holder assembly (NHA)
                                                                                                                     nozzle opens) for IDI are limited—                                                   Faster reacting piezo type nozzle
ing, and a deeper understanding        temperature, fuel cetane rating, and                                          some in-line pump injection sys-                                             holder assemblies (NHA) such as this allow
could prove beneficial.                more influence ignition lag.                                                  tems could climb to near 12,000 psi;                                    even more (5 -7) pulses per cycle for quieter and
    You may recall from an earlier          The “lag” during the compres-                                            smaller engines using distribu-                                      cleaner compression ignition. Diesel vehicles will be
TechNews Clean Diesels article that    sion stroke tends to cause diesel fuel                                        tor type (rotary) pumps                                                          using these soon. (Courtesy of Siemens)
a diesel mega-boom is forecast.1       to ignite spontaneously, thus creat-                                          would run lower pressures.
The demand is driven by the need       ing the familiar diesel knock or                                              Both in-line and rotary pumps use
for better fuel economy, without       “clatter” sound; upon ignition, cyl-                                          individual high-pressure (injection)
sacrificing power and vehicle                                                                                           lines to deliver fuel to nozzle-         Killing the Clatter…
space. Before long we’ll be see-                                                                                        holder-assemblies (NHA) on the              Prior Efforts
ing more light-duty diesel pas-              Diesel Indirect Injection                                                  cylinder head, but such long in-         Various mechanical designs have been tried to reduce diesel ignition
senger vehicles, SUVs/crossovers                                                                                        jection lines radiate undesired          clatter:
and light trucks. All this, thanks
                                            Pre-Combustion Chamber                                                      noise and add to injection lag,          • Most passenger diesel engines traditionally have used the Ricardo®
to improved engine design, im-                                                                                          and parts sometimes suffered                 style “pre-cup” IDI design or similar with a “throttling” pintle-type
proved air management systems                                                                                           from cavitation erosion.                     nozzle to help reduce ignition noise. (Image 1)
(variable rate turbos), more so-                                                                                                                                 • Peugeot diesels using distributor-type pumps incorporated a “quiet-
phisticated fuel injection (FI)        Heat
                                                                                                                       Solving Noise Problems                        idle” device as an early attempt at rate-phasing to suppress noise: At
                                      shield                                                                           To overcome these limitations,
systems, after-treatment devices                                           nozzle                                                                                    low “throttle” settings, a small portion of fuel delivered from the
(for NOx and particulates) and                                                  Glow                                   today’s direct injection (DI) sys-            pump was routed to an accumulator of sorts, reducing the initial
electronic controls that have re-                                                plug                                  tems have much shorter injection              amount of fuel injected per crankshaft degree to help reduce clatter.
invented the once noisy-stinky                                                                                         lines, if any at all. Plus, the fuel      • Some Mercedes-Benz engines used a so-call CHIP (for “center hole
diesel. Here, we’ll look into one                                                                                      injection process is much more                in pintle”) nozzle for similar reasons. Combustion started with pi-
aspect of the diesel’s improved                                                                                        precise to quiet the “clatter.” Much          lot-injection of a very fine pre-spray from a tiny hole drilled up the
performance—the quiet diesel                                       Swirl Chamber                                       like electronic Pulse Width                   center of the nozzle pintle. As the nozzle pintle lifted further, main-
evolution. Diesels are so im-                                            Courtesy of Bosch
                                                                                                                       Modulation (PWM) electroni-                   injection took place. Often the center-hole became caked with car-
proved they’re now being ac-                                                                                           cally shapes voltage, fuel injection          bon, resulting in all-too-familiar ignition clatter—and vehicle owner
cepted “uptown” by discriminat-     Illustration 1. Pre-combustion chamber.                                            timing and delivery is “rate-                 heartburn.
ing luxury car owners who’ve de-    For light and medium-duty diesel                                                   shaped”—hydraulically speak-              • Volkswagen’s 1.9 Turbo-Direct Injection (TDI) engine clatter was
cided to “buy in.”                  vehicles, indirect injection of fuel into a                                        ing—to allow softer/quieter com-              softened by use of a two-spring nozzle holder assembly. With fuel
                                    pre-combustion/swirl chamber results in                                            bustion. Fuel is now delivered in             pressure applied, the first spring compressed and the needle lifted
A Bit of Theory                     relatively quieter combustion compared                                             pulses: 1) a “lean” pilot injection           enough for a pilot-injection of fuel and ignition; once the second
Recall that gasoline engines are    to direct injection into the piston.                                               of fuel (between 1 and 4 cubic                spring compressed, main-injection completed the event.
spark ignited (SI). Usually gaso-                                                                                      mm) and up to 90 degrees

                                                                                   Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology.
                                                                     If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 11 • Summer/Fall 2005                                                                                                                                                    
Quiet Diesel Evolution                           tion/combustion noise; electronics            (and others) introduced EDC (elec-
(continued from page 5)
                                                 has taken over.                               tronic diesel control) to manage              Killing the Clatter…
                                                    Thanks to high-speed micropro-             their TDI (Turbo-Direct Injection)
Touareg’s V-10 engine) for ultra-ef-             cessors, OEMs have achieved re-               diesel engine/injection system. To-
                                                                                                                                                Today’s Technology
ficient injection and combustion of              markable improvements to meet                 day Common-Rail (CR) and Unit                 Two types of fuel injection systems have emerged:
fuel. Left unmanaged, such pres-                 and exceed demands for quiet, clean           Injection (UI) systems are likewise           • Akin to an EFI fuel rail, the diesel Common-Rail (CR) system uses a
sures would radically increase igni-             engine power. In 1982 Volkswagen2             microprocessor controlled to man-               high-pressure pump to deliver pressurized fuel to a robust fuel rail
                                                                                               age “rate shaped” delivery to indi-             (serving as an accumulator) and to individual “nozzle holder” as-
                                                                                               vidual cylinders. Fuel is dynamically           semblies. Individual injectors are electrically triggered, and hydrau-
                                                   Image 3a (left). “V10- TDI”                 delivered using varying rates of                lically actuated, for greater precision. Electronic diesel controls—
                                                   gives it away—it’s a turbocharged           multiple injections (up to 5 or                 engine and fuel system sensors, actuators and ECU(s)—complete
                                                   10 cylinder direct-injected diesel.         more) in fractions of a crankshaft              the system.
                                                                                                                     degree!3 (Graph         • Unit Injectors (UI) combine the pumping element and nozzle (with
                                                                                                                     2) The result is          no injection lines) to handle considerably higher injection pressures.
                                                                                                                     drastically               Individual UIs—one for each cylinder—are mounted on the cylin-
Image 3b (right). You cant see                                                                                                                 der head. UIs may be camshaft actuated; some are hydraulically con-
much of Touareg’s engine unless                                                                                      smoothed idle
                                                                                                                     rpm and rough-            trolled by fuel pressure. Ford’s Powerstroke® engine (and others) use
surrounding under hood sound                                                                                                                   so-called HEUI injectors (Hydraulically actuated, Electronically con-
baffles are removed. The engine uses                                                                                 ness; far less
                                                                                                                     combustion                trolled, Unit Injector) which rely on engine lube oil pressure to con-
10 combined Pumpe-Düse (pump-                                                                                                                  trol the injection rate per crankshaft degree; the total quantity is
nozzle) camshaft-actuated unit                                                                                       noise; no smoke,
                                                                                                                     less odor and             determined by the ECM. Unit injectors are often electronically ac-
injectors. Duration of injection is                                                                                                            tuated using solenoids, but today, piezo-electric injectors cut actu-
electronically controlled.                                                                                           emissions; and
                                                                                                                     improved fuel.            ating time to a fraction of earlier designs for extremely accurate rate-
                                                                                                                     Thanks to tech-           shaped timing and metering of fuel.
Image 3c (below). Volkswagen’s 10-
cylinder Touareg SUV has plenty of                                                                                   nology, most
power, without the noise.                                                                                            people standing
                                                                                                                     next to a newer
                                                                                                                     idling diesel car
                                                                                                                     cannot tell it
                                                                                                       from its gasoline counterpart.
                                                                                                       (Image 3c)
                                                                                                           Helping to make today’s
                                                                                                       diesels even more clean and
                                                                                                       quiet while offering 20 per-
                                                                                                       cent better mileage are new
                                                                                                       “piezo” style injectors which
                                                                                                       no longer rely on mechanical
                                                                                                       or solenoid actuation. (Image
                                                                                                       2) Piezo common-rail and
                                                                                                       unit injectors offer even more
                                                                                                       improved rate-phasing char-
                                                                                                       acteristics (they’re more than
                                                                                               four times faster responding) for
                                                                                               each injection cycle. According to
                          Fuel Injection Rate Shaping                                          Denso, pilot spray intervals as small
                                                                                               as 0.1 milliseconds are possible4, and
    Needle lift
                                                                                               even more impressive designs are on
                                                                                               the way. According to Bosch, we can
             Pressure at the needle                                                            expect to see a piezo common-rail
                                                                                               injector with two nozzle needles and          This ad communicates how quiet diesels are today compared to the 1970s.
                         1            2                                                        two sets of spray holes; finer-sized
                                                                                               holes are used for pilot-injection,
                                                                                               and larger holes for main-injection.
                                                                                               Reportedly, we can expect to see                                                     3
                                                                                                                                             ASE TechNews, p5; Fall 2002. Go            Go to
                                                                                               even further reduction of noise and
         Crank rotation                   BTDC         ATDC                                                                                  to, or contact the             5.pdf for more information on
                                                                                               up to 70% lower emissions than
                                                                                                                                             author. For more information, go           rate-shaped injection.
         1        Pilot injection                                                              presently possible.5                                                                 4
                                                                                                                                             to                    Automotive Engineering Interna-
                                                                                                   Little wonder then that techni-
         2        Main injection                                                                                                         2
                                                                                                                                             Volkswagen is the only OEM that            tional, pp 53-54, February 2005,
                                                                                               cal engine improvements, the late
                                                                                                                                             has unceasingly (since the late            SAE International.
         3        Peak injection pressure                                                      2006 arrival of ultra-low sulfur die-                                                5
                                                                                                                                             ’70s) marketed diesel passenger            Go to
         4        Post injection (for emissions reduction)                                     sel (ULSD) fuel6, and the growing
                                                                                                                                             cars in the U.S.; Mercedes Benz is         en/motorshow/2004/presskit/
                                                                                               demand for more power and vehicle
                                                                           Courtesy of Bosch                                                 once again offering impressive             product/common.html.
                                                                                               space with improved economy all                                                      6
    Graph 2. Rate-shaping injection.                                                                                                         luxury diesels, and Jeep is ventur-        ULSD fuel has 15 ppm sulfur (or
                                                                                               are contributing to experts’ predic-
    Much as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) shapes voltage output,                                                                              ing into the market with the Lib-          less); that’s a 97% reduction from
                                                                                               tions for a U.S. diesel mega-boom.
    hydraulics shapes injection rates. Here, injection pressure (red line)                                                                   erty. Go to:          the present 500 ppm federal stan-
                                                                                               Yes, diesels (once again) are coming.
    is pulsed for pilot-injection, again for main-injection, and yet again for                                                               crd/. Other OEs are waiting for            dard. ULSD is expected to arrive
                                                                                               And to make things even more ex-
    post-injection (for treatment of emissions in the converter). Lift of the                                                                ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel               late 2006 to help 2007 diesels
                                                                                               citing, perhaps before long we’ll see
         nozzle needle (orange line) starts fuel injection.                                                                                  (ULSD) to arrive in 2006 before            meet clean air regulations.
                                                                                               a few diesel hybrids!
                                                                                                                                             importing their diesel cars.

6                                                                                                                                 ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 11 • Summer/Fall 2005
                                            ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                            Reduce the Use–
                                            It’s Everyone’s Business
                                                                                                     that got better        alone consumes
                                                                                                     mileage), gains        approximately
                                                                                                     were offset by mo-     960 million gal-
                                                                                                     torists driving ever   lons of diesel fuel
                                                                                                     more miles and         each year.” By us-
Editor’s note: In this article author                                                                their love affair      ing an APU in-                                                           l e m
Bob Rodriguez reviews the reasons                                                                    with larger, heavier   stead of idling a                                                       diag-
and means for using less petroleum.                                                                  vehicles.              truck’s engine over-                                                  nosed
Some recent industry solutions are                                                                      Congress is         night for heating and                                            and repaired
also discussed, and consumer tips are                                                                again considering      air conditioning of a                                       to avoid wasting
presented.                                                                                           raising CAFE ve-       sleeper cab, the operator can reduce                    fuel—to say nothing
                                                                                                     hicle standards,       fuel consumption by 80–90 per-              of catching minor problems be-
In recent months we’ve seen some                                                                     and some states        cent.4 The use of small diesel-engine       fore they become more costly.
real upheavals in the supply of do-       Author Bob Rodriguez seen driving a demonstration          have passed laws to    or fuel-cell APUs not only reduces        3 Routine maintenance performed
mestic gasoline and diesel fuel to the    three-cylinder turbo-diesel Smart Car which reportedly blend alternatives         costly engine idling, but also helps        on any vehicle will also help save
marketplace. These disruptions have       gets around 80 MPG.                                        like ethanol and       clear the air. According to calcula-        fuel. For example, low tire pres-
caused price spikes at the pump, and                                                                 biodiesel with pe-     tions by the U.S. Department of En-         sures seriously affect fuel con-
experts tell us relatively higher gas     East, and because emerging econo-       troleum based fuels. Truck and bus        ergy “...a power unit with fuel cell        sumption; Besides reducing tire
prices are here to stay. As technicians   mies such as India and China are        idle-reduction laws are also being        technology could reduce the emis-           wear, Ford Motor Co. says
and shop owners, you know how to          using increasing amounts of fuel,       passed to reduce the use and cut          sions of carbon dioxide from a              “...keeping pressures up to spec
get maximum mileage out of your           there’s greater competition. Making     down on air and noise pollution. At       single truck by between 20 to 30            can reduce the average amount
vehicles, and how to help your cus-       matters worse: stagnant refining ca-    the other end of the supply chain,        tons annually. In the same manner,          of fuel you use by 3–4 per cent.”
tomers do the same. You may want          pacity stateside and domestic sup-      consumers are responding enthusi-         the emission of nitrogen oxides             Keeping wheels in alignment
to be able to explain why prices have     ply disruptions due to natural ca-      astically to OEM’s hybrid offerings       could also be reduced significantly.”5      minimizes wear and a loss of
fluctuated as well. In this article,      tastrophes.                             and are showing a renewed interest                                                    economy from added rolling re-
we’ll review some market basics,              Oil shortages in the US are not     in smaller (less thirsty) conventional    Customer Education                          sistance.
then examine a few recent industry        new. During World War II gasoline       vehicles.                                 With high gasoline prices, routine        4 For larger vehicles, using wider
approaches to solving this on-going       was rationed, and during the ’70s                                                 maintenance and service should be           “single-wide” tires instead of
challenge, and summarize a few            Oil Embargo, customers waited in        The Industry Responds                     easier to sell. The customer will see       “duals” helps reduce rolling re-
consumer-friendly tips.                   lines to gas-up on allotted days.       On-board technology is helping            longer vehicle life and optimal mpg;        sistance and weight for better
                                          Congress enacted the Energy Policy      many newer vehicles deliver im-           the environment is helped through           economy. According to the EPA’s
High Fuel Prices                          Act in 1992 (“Epact 92”) as an in-      proved performance and fuel               less emissions; the nation becomes          SmartWay program, using a
Some don’t understand why gas             centive to scale back our use of pe-    economy, and reduced emissions.           a bit less dependent on imported oil;       combination of aluminum
prices have been going up. It’s basic     troleum. Fleets were encouraged to      The nation’s package delivery fleets      and you help your business. In              wheels and single-wide tires can
supply and demand. The U.S. con-          use “alternatives” like natural gas,    are testing medium-duty hybrid-           short, everyone benefits.                   shave 250 pounds (or more) per
sumes about 25 percent of the             propane, ethanol and methanol in-       electric vehicles; and refuse haulers         The basics of getting good fuel         axle off of overall vehicle weight.6
world’s oil supply, but we’re only        stead of petroleum-based gasoline       are testing heavy-duty hybrid-hy-         economy are familiar, but bear re-          Improved vehicle aerodynamics
about three percent of the world’s        or diesel fuel, but EPAct fell short    draulic vehicles to speed up start-       peating to your customers:                  with spoilers, fairings and
population; other countries want oil      of intentions.1 While Congress at-      stop route times and save on fuel.2       1 All vehicle operators can save fuel       (pickup truck) tonneau covers is
too. Since we import about 65 per-        tempted to reduce fuel consump-         Both types use regenerative braking           and energy by simply practicing         another easy way reduce fuel
cent of our petroleum from outside        tion by raising CAFE standards (and     to store kinetic energy of braking to         sensible driving habits. Aggres-        consumption.
the U.S., much of it from the Middle      the industry responded with cars        help launch the vehicle.                      sive driving is hard on vehicles            Share this information with
                                                                                      Vehicles with automatic cylinder          and other motorists, and cuts           others; they’ll also appreciate
                                                                                  deactivation (sometimes called                deeply into fuel economy.               ideas on how to “reduce the use.”
                                                                                  DOD or “displacement-on-de-               2 Remind your customer if his or
                                                                                  mand” systems) help save fuel.                her vehicle starts performing
                                                                                      Six-speed automatic transmis-             poorly, it’s important to take im-
                                                                                  sions now available on Corvette and           mediate steps to have the prob-
                                                                                  Cadillac models help improve accel-
                                                                                  eration, and according to GM “...can
                                                                                  enhance fuel economy by 4 percent.”
                                                                                  Expect to see wider use of both these
                                                                                  and ECVTs (electronically con-
                                                                                  trolled continuously variable trans-
                                                                                  missions) in the future.
                                                                                      Off-board, software like the
                                                                                  United Parcel Service’s “package
                                                                                  flow” system with specialized hand-
                                                                                  held hardware is helping map out
                                                                                  shorter and more efficient routes for
                                                                                  drivers and “significantly” reduce
   The IdleAire® ds delivery module includes just about everything but the        miles driven. According to UPS,
   kitchen sink!                                                                  once it’s completely implemented          Some states have anti-idling laws. An on-board auxiliary power unit (APU)
                                                                                  “package flow technologies will re-       like this can save 80 percent on rest-stop fuel expenses, reduce engine hours,
                                                                                  duce the mileage of package cars by       maintenance costs, and driver fatigue. Cabin HVAC, battery charging and
          For truckers, IdleAir                                                   more than 100 million miles each          engine warming can be powered by the APU when the truck engine is shut
          offers in-cab climate                                                   year and is expected to save UPS 14       down.
         control and a variety                                                    million gallons of fuel annually. The
            of services to make                                                   environment becomes the real win-           Footnotes
        rest stops comfortable,                                                   ner as this fuel savings translates         1
                                                                                                                                See previous ASE Tech News articles for background information;
         safe and economical.                                                     into an annual reduction of 130,000           contact the author.
                                                                                  metric tons of CO2 emissions.”3             2
                                                                                      When resting at truck stops so            2005annualreport/online/hybrid _trucks.html.
                                                                                  equipped, truckers can use “shore           3
                                                                                                                                For more information go to
                                                                                  power” systems for cab HVAC and               mediakits/factsheet/0,2305, 1134,00.html or contact UPS Public Re-
                                                                                  reefer power, thus enabling engine            lations at 404-828-7123.
                                                                                  shutdown for fuel savings, lower            4
                                                                                                                                For information on APUs, truck-stop electrification, HVAC, and other
                                                                                  emissions and less noise.                     services for drivers, go to
                                                                                      When loading, unloading, or just        5
                                                                                                                                Quoted at
                                                                                  keeping warm, trucks or buses                 06-05_11.
                                                  Shutting down engines           standing idle for extended periods          6
                                                                                                                                 See SmartWay E-Update, Volume 2 Issue 2, Spring 2005. The
                                                  and reefers reduces non-        can be shut down and use auxiliary             SmartWay program offers incentives and recognition for fuel re-
                                                  road engine hours, noise,       power units (APU) to reduce engine             duction. Visit EPA’s SmartWay program website at www.epa. gov/
                                                  pollution... and fuel costs.    hours and save fuel. According to              smartway.
                                                                                  the EPA, “long-haul truck idling

                                                     Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology.
                                       If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 12 • Winter 2006                                                                                                                    
                                             ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                             Global Oil Peaking…
                                                      Are We There Yet?
                                           crease with time. Accordingly, ge-       per year and import two thirds of         The Race for
                                           ologists know that at some future        its oil, we’re on a collision course      Alternatives
                                           date, conventional oil supply will       with dwindling supply. Hirsch             Is On
                                           no longer be capable of satis-                                                           Alternative
                                           fying world demand. …World                                                               fuels can
Editor’s note: In this article author      oil peaking is going to               “The earth’s endowment of oil                      help dis-
Bob Rodriguez brings us up to date         happen…[and] at that point             is finite and demand for oil                      place oil im-
on the issues being discussed in Con-      world conventional oil                                                                   ports and con-                                                    In the
gress and around the world about the       production…will begin to de-        continues to increase with time.” sumption. Natu-                                                             near term, an
controversial topic of Global Oil          cline.” Hirsch also observes,                                — U.S. Dept. of Energy ral gas (another fos-                                     interim “liquid
Peaking and its potential impact.          “...The world has never faced                                         sponsored report sil fuel) has long been thought                    hydrogen carrier”—
Views expressed are those of the au-       a problem like this.”2                                                                   of as a less expensive alterna-    some say methanol, others say etha-
thor and cited experts.                                                                                                             tive. But it too has gone up in    nol—is needed to pave the way to a
                                           Not If, but When?                        states “Peaking will result in dra-       price as availability has tightened;     hydrogen economy. For now, liquid
Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-         When will global oil peak? The an-       matically higher oil prices, which        we’re told that natural gas produc-      alternatives like ethanol and
Md.) recently stated, “[T]he need to       swer depends on who you ask. Some        will cause protracted economic            tion will also peak within the fore-     biodiesel hold promise for reducing
address global peak oil is growing rap-    say it’s happening now; others op-       hardship in the United States and         seeable future.                          petroleum use, and some states have
idly.” In a recent speech to the           timistically say within 20 years. Oil    the world.”4                                 Hydrogen, supported by our            already passed statutes requiring
Brookings Institution Leadership Fo-       executives say we have plenty of             Unlike the artificial shortage cre-   country’s Administration, may well       that a percentage of these sustain-
rum, Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.)        heavy-oil in tar sands, in oil shale,    ated by the Arab oil embargos of the
said, “Within 25 years, the world will     in deep offshore areas – oil that can    1970s, or markets made nervous by
need 50% more energy than it does          be extracted using improved oil re-      today’s threatened disruptions, the
now,” and added,“ the absence of      covery methods. But exploration,         problems associated with oil peak-
a major reorientation in the way we        drilling and production are risky        ing will not be temporary, nor will
get our energy, life in America is go-     and increasingly expensive. Predict-     they be easily and quickly overcome.
ing to be much more difficult in the       ing how much “sweet” oil remains         Because virtually our entire U.S.
coming decades.”1                          is as much an art as a science; and      economy runs on oil, all economic
    If these Congressmen are con-          the facts are muddied by political       sectors will be affected by oil peak-
cerned about our energy future, per-       and economic interests. (See graph.)     ing. The world’s economic, politi-
haps it’s time we take a closer look.      Investors get nervous about untried      cal and social landscape will likewise
The social, economic and political         technology, environmental issues,        be affected. Some predict oil wars
impacts associated with oil peaking        weather and geological disruptions,      will happen between nations, states,
are formidable. Oil peaking occurs         political upheavals (sabotage) and       towns and neighbors.
when approximately half the total          so forth. When speculators get ner-          Even now, developing countries
recoverable oil reserves are used.         vous, oil prices go up.                  are increasingly competing with the
                                                                                    U.S. for the world’s remaining
                                                                                    sources of oil. China’s oil consump-
                                                                                    tion reportedly went up 15% last
                                                                                    year, and 25% of their oil was im-
                                                                                    ported; pipelines are being laid to
                                                                                    the Middle East. This increased con-      Peak Oil – The Growing Gap. As seen here, world oil peaking has occurred.
                                                                                    sumption and resulting tightening         Oil consumption continues to go up as discoveries of new reserves goes down.
                                                                                    of reserves of refined oil is behind      (Source: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett: Congressional Record, “The Peaking of World
                                                                                    recent price spikes.                      Oil,” Feb 8, 2006. Page H207.) PeakOilSpcl
                                                                                    What’s the Next Step?
                                                                                    “Withdrawal from oil dependency          be the long-range answer for world         able biofuels be blended into petro-
                                                                                    will be an immense challenge             energy (indeed, hydrogen fuel cell         leum sold at the pump—to both
                                                                                    that will require cooperation and        vehicles are already on the road), but     help reduce consumption and help
                                                                                                          compromise         large-scale hydrogen production            agriculture.
                                                                                                          on everyone’s      and local H2 refueling sites are still        But there are environmental and
                                                                                                          part. Efforts      some 20 years away, say industry           cost concerns associated with a shift
                                                                                                          will be needed     leaders. What’s more, hydrogen pro-        to biofuels. For one, debate rages
                                                                                                          both to create     duction is energy intense; the cost        over the “net energy balance” (NEB)
This Dodge Sprinter Plug-in hybrid van, being
                                                                                                          supplies of al-    to produce, transport and store hy-        of how much petroleum is needed
tested in the U.S., is one answer to conserve
                                                                                                          ternative fuels    drogen is very high, and fuel cell         to plant and harvest such crops as
petroleum and reduce imports from overseas.
                                                                                                          and to reduce      costs must still come way down.7                      (continued on next page)
Plug-in hybrids can be recharged in standard
                                                                                                          the demand
electric sockets with 70 cents per gallon (gasoline
                                                                                                          for oil.” 5 Ge-
equivalent) of electrical energy and then be                                                                                                             Some Thoughts…
driven 20 to 60 miles without using gasoline.
                                                                                                          economists            While not a popular notion, we can all conserve precious energy by
                                                                                                          and increas-          being energy wise and cutting back on consumption with less driving,
Mounting Evidence                              Until now pump prices have re-       ingly politicians who study the is-         and shorter commutes coupled with mass transit, where available.
Are we really running out of oil?          mained (relatively) low partly be-       sues say action is long overdue;                Energy can also be saved by reclaiming and recycling. In Europe,
Some say we’re already entering the        cause oil companies (and even gov-       we’re told we need to address oil           virtually all materials used in the making of automobiles (including
second half of the oil age, but oth-       ernments) have issued optimistic         peaking with an “Apollo Mission”            plastics) must by law be identified, reclaimed and recycled. Reclaiming
ers disagree. The evidence is mount-       reports (see Kuwait oil graph) about     sense of urgency by greatly reduc-          materials from scrapped autos means expending far less energy to pro-
ing. Rep. Bartlett, referring to Shell     extensive oil reserves. But in a post-   ing consumption through conser-             duce raw materials (aluminum, steel, plastic etc.) Materials reclama-
Oil geologist Dr. Marion King              Enron environment, investors are         vation and developing sustainable           tion is a thriving industry. According to the holding group SDH, “The
Hubbert, notes, “Hubbert predicted         more skeptical and question such         energy alternatives. President Bush         global market for reclamation products, services and technologies is
in 1956 that the United States would       reports. A. M. Samsam Bakhtiari, an      has already noted, “The storms              estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.”a
peak in oil production in 1970 and         acknowledged authority on Middle         [hurricanes] have shown how frag-               Conservation can be achieved in other ways as well. Transportation
he was right on. Oil production in         East oil says, “It is now common         ile the balance is between supply           consumes much of the world’s petroleum, some to move consumer
the United States has declined ev-         knowledge that the lion’s share of       and demand [of oil] in America.             goods (to “big box” stores) across the globe. In order to mitigate such
ery year since then.” Regarding glo-       remaining conventional oil reserves      … We can all pitch in by being bet-         petroleum use, some advocate an alternative to a global economy
bal oil supply, Bartlett adds, “Thirty-    is concentrated in the Middle East.      ter conservers of energy….”6 (See           through “relocalization” efforts; that is, to produce goods locally as much
three of 48 major oil producing na-        All major reserves’ assessors agree      “Reduce the Use” in the previous            as possible.b
tions have now peaked. Experts only        on this crucial point…”3 And it          ASE TechNews). Again, Hirsch:                   And changes in land use policies could encourage denser housing
differ on the timing of global peak        seems even the extent of Middle          “While greater end-use efficiency           closer to employment centers, but at what cost and changes to
oil, but many predict it’s imminent.”      East reserves are in question.           is essential, increased efficiency          Amercians’ way of life?
In a widely circulated U.S. Dept. of                                                alone will be neither sufficient nor            Much remains uncertain.
Energy sponsored study known as            What Happens when                        timely enough to solve the prob-
the Hirsch Report, one reads, “The         Peaking Occurs?                          lem. Production of large amounts            a
                                                                                                                                    Go to,%20LLC/AutoEvolve main.html
earth’s endowment of oil is finite         If the U.S. continues to increase        of substitute liquid fuels will be re-      b
and demand for oil continues to in-        consumption by about two percent         quired.”

                        Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology; all past articles in this series are available at
                                        If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 12 • Summer/Fall 2006                                                                                                                 
Global Oil Peaking… Are We There Yet? (continued from previous page)
compared to comparative heat en-          (GGE) basis, but continued re-          emissions). The disadvantage of           Sprinter plug-in hybrid delivery        will likely become part of our ev-
ergy of biofuels. According to the        search and economies of scale are       electricity is that it’s not readily      vans are being tested here in the       eryday landscape.
DOE’s National Renewable Energy           bringing costs down. Landfill gas,      stored or transported as is a liquid      U.S., and other companies are pro-          In summary, narrator Frank
Lab (NREL), biofuels have poten-          cow manure and similar feedstock        energy carrier. Battery technology        moting conversion of the Prius to a     Sesno pointed out in CNN’s Cable
tial for a very favorable NEB.8 But       release methane gas sometimes           has made great strides, but compa-        plug-in.10 But such conversions are     TV special We Were Warned that
others argue that the amount of           used for power generation, and          nies making lithium-ion batteries         expensive. Then, too, not everyone      Americans are so accustomed to
land required to grow dedicated           trash is burned to produce electric-    for deep-cycle applications need fi-      may be ready or willing to “plug in”    cheap and plentiful oil that they
energy crops for transportation fu-       ity at some power stations. But for     nancial incentives to scale up for        his or her car. Still, plug-ins hold    consider it a birthright.11 We could
els could be staggering, and point        now, all such energy alternatives       mass production.9 Hybrid-electric         promise for commuters and local         indeed take warning: according to
out that it still requires petroleum      will need financial incentives to       vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrids          fleets. Further advances in battery     Peter Cooper of,
to plant, fertilize, harvest such crops   help make then competitive with         (PHEVs), and “pure” battery-elec-         design, longevity and cost will help    “The natural world has an uncanny
and to transport the end-product.         oil.                                    tric vehicles (BEVs) are ideal for        commercialize PHEVs. In the             ability to hit back at the arrogance
                                                                                  conserving fuel. Some so-called hy-       meantime, market interest may be        of man, and perhaps a reassessment
                                                                                  brids have 42-volt start-stop fea-        kindled as motorists realize they can   of reality at this point is called for,
                                                                                  tures; “mild” hybrid vehicles use an      plug into the grid for one-third the    rather than a reliance on oil statis-
                                                                                  electric motor to assist the gasoline     energy cost and “be green” in the       tics that may owe more to political
                                                                                  engine; “full” hybrids run on bat-        process. As we approach global oil      manoeuvring than geological
                                                                                  teries alone for short distances. Sus-    peaking, flex-fuel plug-in hybrids      facts.”12
                                                                                  tained public interest in hybrids
                                                                                  caught many auto manufacturers
                                                                                  by surprise, but OEMs are fever-
                                                                                                                            For technicians, these are exciting and stressful times, as new technologies
                                                                                  ishly designing and selling HEVs
                                                                                                                            and solutions emerge. But just as service repair professionals have met the
                                                                                  for reasons of economy or for
                                                                                                                            challenges of ABS, computerized engine controls, OBDII, airbags and the
                                                                                  added power. Mid- and heavy-duty
                                                                                                                            like during the past decades, technicians will rise to tomorrow’s challenges.
                                                                                  fleet vehicles (buses, delivery, refuse
                                                                                                                            The key will be adaptability—a willingness to learn new techniques and new
                                                                                  hauling, etc.) are especially taking
                                                                                                                            technologies. One thing is certain in all this flux: Vehicles, regardless of
                                                                                  advantage of the quick launch,
                                                                                                                            powertrain or fuel-source, will be a part of the landscape for years to come,
                                                                                  lower fuel cost (40–60% according
                                                                                                                            and they will need service and repair to keep Americans moving.
                                                                                  to International Truck & Engine
                                                                                  Corp.) and tax advantages of using
                                                                                  electric- and even hydraulic-hybrid
    Kuwait Oil Reserves from Political and Technical Sources. OPEC and            drives. Some European OEs are               Footnotes:
    oil companies say there’s plenty of oil in Kuwait (green line), while         combining the economy of diesel
                                                                                                                              1. Go to and
    technical data (pink line) tells a different story. The Kuwait Oil            engines with hybrid drives for
    Company says the world’s second largest oil field (Burgan) is “exhausted      added fuel savings.
                                                                                                                              2. Robert Hirsh et al; Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Miti-
    and past its peak output.” Investment banker and geologist Matthew                                                            gation & Risk Management. Feb. 2005, Hirsch, Bezdek, Wendling.
    Simmons in his book Twilight in the Desert says that Saudi oil fields         Plug-in Hybrids?
    face a similar fate. (Source: ASPO “Kuwait and Oil Reserves.” Report at       Where earlier battery electric ve-
                                                                                  hicles (BEVs) failed to deliver the         3. Go to                                                                                                  200603.pdf for more information.
                                                                                  promised range desired by most of
   Another alternative under con-            Electricity has the edge as a        the motoring public, in Europe and          4. Robert Hirsch (ibid).
sideration is the conversion of trash     clean and relatively inexpensive        Japan “plug-in” hybrid electric ve-         5. See
and waste products into liquid or         energy source (see below), and ever     hicles are cruising on battery power        6. Go to
gaseous fuels. Ethanol is being           increasing projects with solar, wind,   alone at one third the “fuel” cost.         7. See ASE TechNews article, Hydrogen: the Ultimate Alternate?
made from waste starch, cellulose         tidal, and geothermal power are         OEMs like Toyota are said to be con-        8. Do a web search for various papers by NREL’s Michael Wang, or
or sugar based biomass, and waste         getting an added incentive thanks       sidering the possibility of plug-ins            contact the author.
materials. Such feedstocks seem to        in part to the Energy Bill passed by    for the U.S. as well. Unlike pure (bat-     9. See Energy Storage Research and Development; Freedom CAR and
offer a higher net energy balance         Congress late 2005. Even coal and       tery-only) EVs, a plug-in hybrid is             Vehicle Technology Program 2004 Annual Progress Report.
than corn. Biodiesel is being made        nuclear power is getting a boost        charged up overnight from the elec-         10. Go to and
from waste cooking oil and grease,        (future generations will have to        trical grid. Once on the road, bat-             readnews.asp?page=PR_032905.htm
animal fats, etc. and has an even         deal with the waste). Still, electri-   teries alone may run the vehicle for        11. We Were Warned, CNN Cable TV, March 18–19, 2006.
better NEB. Costs to bring these to       cal energy for vehicles is cheaper      20 or more miles; then, the gasoline,
                                                                                                                              12. Go to
        market are still high on a        and cleaner than oil (lower stack       diesel, or biofuel engine starts up
         gasoline-gallon equivalent       emissions compared to tailpipe          and recharges. DaimlerChrysler’s

6                                                                                                                  ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 12 • Summer/Fall 2006
                                            ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                            Safe Vehicle Service
                                                                                                                                 vehicles). Addition-
                                                                                                                                 ally, HV wiring is
                                                                                                                                 typically shielded
                                                                                                                                 to ground and
                                                                                                                                 runs along ve-
                                                                                                                                 hicle frame rails
                                                                                                                                 for added pro-
                                                                                                                                 tection. Even if a
Editor’s note: In this article, author                                                                                           hybrid should get
Bob Rodriguez discusses the real                                                                                                 hung up on rocks or                                                   amiss.
and imaginary dangers of servicing                                                                                               a guardrail, circuit in-                                           Still, if ser-
today’s vehicles, including AFVs. The                                                                                            terlocks and ground fault                                      vicing the high-
information presented should be of                                                                                               interrupters isolate and shut down                         voltage circuits and
special interest for mechanical and                                                                                              high voltage circuits if anything goes                (continued on next page)
collision specialists, custom installers,
automotive dismantlers, and emer-
gency responders. This information          “What’s wrong with this picture...?” Cutting and spreading apart this fully
is intended to stimulate discussion         SRS equipped vehicle could detonate the side air bags, which deploy straight                        Hazards for Vehicle Service Providers
and is not a substitute for qualified        up from inside the door. The rescue tool would likely be propelled straight
professional training.                      back into the face of the firefighter, or into the vehicle. At a crash scene this        While far from a comprehensive list, here are a few things vehicle service
                                            could injure the firefighter or kill victims trapped in the car. Knowing a               and rescue personnel should think about.
Automotive technicians voice con-           vehicle’s SRS layout and the potential hazards is essential before performing
cerns about their personal safety as        vehicle modifications, collision repairs, dismantling or extrication.                   1. Studies show that as vehicles get older, pressurized fuel systems and oil
they consider working on or around                                                                                                    leaks cause vehicle fires. The unsuspecting person who opens a hood to
compressed natural gas vehicles             have made diagnosing and servicing         vehicle crash tests. In a vehicle fire,         extinguish such a fire may be injured or killed when a gas-charged hood
(CNGVs), propane vehicles (LPG)             today’s vehicles more difficult—and         pressure relief devices (PRDs) vent            strut overheats as the fire gets added oxygen, explodes and takes off
or ethanol. Even greater concerns           in certain cases more hazardous.           cylinders before they get too hot and          like a rocket. The same can occur with rear-end-crash vehicle fires.
are voiced about servicing hybrid-          Knowing the facts will help to re-         over-pressurized. Stainless steel fuel      2. Non-metal (plastic) fuel tanks melt at elevated temperatures (over
electric vehicles (HEVs) with their         lieve the anxiety; in this article we’ll   lines and fittings are tested to four           about 400 degrees) and can release gasoline to feed a vehicle fire.
high-voltage batteries. What is             discuss some of the potential safety       times the normal working pressure,             Tires burn fiercely and explode forcefully. Magnesium is used in
interesting is that while these and         issues in store for automotive tech-       and on-board vehicle shutoff and               certain vehicle areas (like brake and clutch pedal support brackets)
most all vehicles sold in the US            nicians, custom equipment install-         check valves are required. Because             to save vehicle weight, but magnesium burns intensely (a type “D”
today are safer to drive than just a        ers, collision specialists, dismantlers    natural gas is lighter than air, in the        fire) and poses fire-fighting hazards, especially when hit with water.
few years ago, they may not be as           and rescue personnel.                      unlikely event of a leak, NG rises             Reinforced window and door pillars may consist of five or more layers
safe to work on. No doubt that ABS,                                                    into the atmosphere rather than                of sheet metal plus a solid metal rod for support, making them almost
active suspension systems, supple-          Alternative Fuel Vehicles                  pooling and spreading along the                impossible to cut through; the same goes for some roof rails.
mental restraint systems (SRS) and          (AFVs)                                     ground. That said, shops servic-            3. Installers of custom interiors must deal with occupant classification
increased crash worthiness have all          With natural gas and propane-pow-         ing CNG vehicles should comply                 systems (OCS) and side curtain airbags. By law, these systems must
reduced traffic deaths and injuries.          ered vehicles on the road, shop own-      with local codes and NFPA-52                   remain operative. But recyclers and rescue personnel must render these
Yet these same safety improvements           ers will inevitably see them come in      standards.1                                    systems inoperative when cutting into the front, side or rear pillar--or
                                                               for routine service.        Propane (liquid petroleum gas,             even the roof rails of a vehicle. Cutting into a high-pressure cylinder
                                                               To identify these       or LPG) vehicles store fuel on                 containing thousands of pounds of pressure designed to deploy one or
                                                               vehicles, look for      board at much lower pressures                  more airbags poses great risks. Make sure you know exactly where and
                                                               a diamond-shaped        (several hundred pounds) than                  what to cut before attempting to forcibly open a crashed vehicle.3
                                                               sticker on the back     CNGVs. Here again, systems are              4. If not completely electrically disabled after a crash, SRS systems
                                                               of the vehicle. Some    designed to be fail-safe. Service              designed to save lives can detonate as emergency responders work to
                                                               people get nervous      personnel should realize, however,             free crash victims. Dual-stage airbags, back-up SRS battery systems
                                                               being around cars       that propane is heavier than air               and other safety devices such as seatbelt pretensioners and automatic
                                                               with highly charged     and if fuel leaks, the propane will            rollover protection systems are a concern for rescue persons who
                                                               compressed gas          pool and spread much like invisible            might otherwise not be aware of them. Airbags deploy with deadly
                                                               cylinders on board.     water. Unsuspecting dangers await              force, so stay clear of all airbags not completely disarmed.
                                                               (Even I was con-        service and emergency responders            5. A so-called “smart key” used on some vehicles may prove hazardous.
                                                               cerned when I           not properly trained with handling             After a crash, even with the ignition off, a person approaching the
                                                               first learned that      propane vehicles and fires. NFPA                vehicle with the key in his or her pocket may activate the electri-
 Supplemental restraints and related components as             CNGVs carry 3,600       58 details the standards for these             cal system and cause harm to first responders at work. Emergency
 shown on this Volvo C70 have proven their value in            pounds/sq. inch of      vehicles.                                      response trainers tell us to throw such keys far from the vehicle to
 saving lives. Yet such safety features can hinder or          compressed gas in           Ethanol-powered vehicles are               avoid an accidental startup of a hybrid’s high-voltage system.
 be hazardous to vehicle technicians, dismantlers or           cylinders in the        essentially like gasoline vehicles.         6. Even after electrical cables have been cut to disable a hybrid-electric
 rescue personnel. At a crash scene, important vehicle         trunk or under the      One-hundred percent ethanol                    vehicle, it should not be rolled, pushed, or towed. Rotating the wheels
 information as seen here can be accessed from a               car, until an indus-    (grain alcohol) may not be deadly              could cause electric power to be generated and spark, thus igniting
 special database. Hazardous front and side airbags,           try expert pointed      if ingested, but E85 (85% ethanol)             leaking fuel or oil. At an accident scene, chock the wheels of such a
 gas struts, and explosive tensioners are outlined in          out that as a SCU-      is “denatured” with 15% gasoline               vehicle first.
 red; strengthened pillars and beams in blue-green;            BA diver, I carry a     for easier cold weather starts and          7. The OEMs publish Emergency Response Guides for AFVs and hy-
 electrical objects in yellow, and so forth.                   similar tank—on         to increase luminosity; ethanol’s              brid vehicles. Obtain and study them before attempting any kind of
                                                               my back!) Most          flame is hard to detect when it’s               service.
                                                               concerns about          burning under bright light condi-
                                                               AFV safety are un-      tions, which makes a vehicle fire
                                                               founded; dedicated      hard to detect.
                                                               gaseous (non-gaso-                                                  Footnotes:
                                                               line burning) AFVs      Hybrid Electric Vehicles                    1. The National Fire Protection Association standards recommend that
                                                               are safer than those    (HEVs)                                         shops have methane or propane detectors and other safety features
                                                               that use gasoline.      Because rumors about hybrid ve-                installed if servicing gaseous-fueled vehicles. Check also with your
                                                                   CNG tank fail-      hicle safety persist, we discussed in          local Fire Marshall and county officials for proper adherence to
                                                               ures (leaks) are        a previous TechNews article some               building codes.
                                                               mostly caused by        of the high-voltage safety features         2. See earlier ASE TechNews article “Service Hybrids… Safely” at
                                                               bad judgment by         used on hybrids. Some people fear     The article includes a list of hybrid vehicle training
                                                               vehicle operators.      being electrocuted while perform-              providers and sources of vehicle Emergency Response Guides.
                                                               Industry films doc-      ing even the simplest of service, or        3. Cutting into a high-pressure cylinder to extricate a victim is not
                                                               ument CNG tanks         if caught in a hybrid vehicle during a         a good idea. Second batteries in some vehicles keep SRS systems
 In this image of a Ford Hybrid Escape SUV, the 12             being dropped,          flood. In fact, hybrids are safer than          alive even after the main battery cable has been cut. OEMs publish
 VDC and high voltage batteries (at the rear) are              shot at, and burned     most vehicles. Some HEV wiring                 Emergency Response Guides for hybrid vehicles, yet locations of
 shown in yellow; the curtain airbags in the roof rails        in fires without in-     carries several hundred volts AC               the high voltage shutoff switches are not standardized and may
 in blue. Note also the outlined (in red) tensioner            cident. CNG and         or more; any wiring carrying over              be impossible to get to after a crash. Check out specialized first
 at the seatbelt buckle, and the keyless entry feature         compressed hydro-       50 volts is considered potentially             responder training and information sources on how to locate haz-
 (shown in yellow).                                            gen high-pressure       lethal and is identified by orange              ardous areas on a vehicle. Go to and
                                                               cylinders have been     insulation or wire wrap (reportedly   for more information.
 (Images courtesy of Moditech:               confirmed safe in       blue for Saturn; yellow for Lexus

                            Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology; all past articles in this series are available at
                                              If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 13 • Winter/Spring 2007                                                                                                                   
Safe Vehicle Service
(continued from page 5)
components on hybrids, be sure to      hazards that are present on today’s
get professional training before-      vehicles.
hand.2                                     Emergency responders should
                                       attend specialized courses on rescue
Beyond AFVs: Other                     operations in order to:
Vehicle Hazards
When it comes to safety concerns,      • Deactivate safety systems swiftly
AFVs and hybrids get our atten-          and accurately to avoid undesir-
tion. But what safety concerns ex-       able side effects.
ist for servicing any vehicle, even    • Work at a safe distance to reduce
non-AFVs? Vehicles sold in the US        risks to a minimum.
have any number of systems and         • Have access to valuable informa-
components designed to protect           tion and avoid delays.
vehicle occupants, yet ironically,     • Avoid environmental damage
these same systems pose significant       when working with hazardous
safety hazards for vehicle service       materials.
providers (see sidebar). Installers,
service technicians and collision          There is a great need to share
repair specialists, dismantlers—all    information about the risks of
should get professional training       extinguishing vehicle fires and ex-
before working on or around SRS        tricating victims from today’s SRS
systems. “Be prepared” by knowing      equipped vehicles.3 What you don’t
and understanding the potential        know could hurt you… or worse.

          ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 13 • Winter/Spring 2007
                                         ALTERNATE FUEL TECHNOLOGY
                                         Biodiesel: What’s the Story?
                                         liquid (GTL) diesel that are not                       sel) to maximize the cost/benefit.       Clean Air
                                         derived from petroleum are being                       Some operators use 100 percent          Act Amend-
                                         developed and adopted.”1                               biodiesel.                              ments.
                                             Most biodiesel in the U.S.                                                                 Biodiesel
                                         comes from soybeans. But other                         How is Biodiesel Made?                  that meets                                                           or B20,
                                         “energy crops” include corn,                           Biodiesel is produced by pre-pro-       ASTM D6751                                                          and in
Editor’s note: In this article author    cottonseed, canola (rapeseed),                         cessing oils and fats (feedstock) to    and is legally                                                      Europe,
Bob Rodriguez explains the basics        flax, and sunflower. Fir tree bark,                      remove water and contaminants.          registered with                                                Scania and
of biodiesel, along with the how         sawdust and shavings can be                            A “trans-esterification” process        the Environmental                                          VW permit most
and why it’s becoming a valuable         used, as can animal tallow, white                      then reacts it with alcohol (typi-      Protection Agency is                                  of their diesel engines
alternative to petroleum. Read ear-      grease (lard), poultry fat and                         cally methanol). “The process           a legal motor fuel for sale and              to operate on 100 percent bio
lier TechNews article about Clean        yellow grease; in short, most any                      leaves behind two products—             distribution.” Biodiesel is bio-          (so-called “neat” biodiesel).
Alternative Fuels (Spring 2003)          source of triglyceride. (Caution:                      methyl esters (the chemical name        degradable (in case of spill) and
at under “Service            biodiesel is not the same thing                        for biodiesel) and glycerin (a          non-toxic if ingested, so there’s         Does It Cost More?
Professionals / Clean Fuels/Clean        as raw vegetable oil. Untreated                        valuable byproduct usually sold         no threat to human health.                The cost of biodiesel has tended
Vehicle Technology.”                     vegetable oils can ruin an engine;                     to be used in soaps and other                                                     to be a few cents per gallon higher
                                         see below). Other countries grow                       products).”3                            What about Engine                         than petrodiesel. The price dif-

             e’ve been hearing a         energy crops suited to their region                        Some people “home-brew”                                                       ference depends upon crude oil
             lot about “biofuels”        and economy.                                           biodiesel and swear by it. Kits are     According to the NBB, “Most               prices; biodiesel feedstock market
             as a replacement for                                                               sold for on-board heating and           engine companies have adopted             supply and demand; federal, state
petroleum. Research and develop-         Why Use Biofuels and                                   use of “raw” vegetable oil. But be      D6751 to define biodiesel and             and local incentives for using
ment continues around the world          Biodiesel?                                             aware that the glycerin in “unre-       provide information to customers          alternate fuels, etc.
to find alternatives, and one is         The National Biodiesel Board                           fined” vegetable oil, greases, oils      regarding biodiesel. Other ‘bio-de-           Compared to costs associated
biodiesel. Domestic use of bio-          sees a number of benefits to using                      and fats and can prove harmful          rived’ materials that do not meet         with other alternative fuels and
fuels can help reduce petroleum          biofuels. They guarantee the lon-                      to fuel systems and engines even        D 6751 may cause engine and fuel          systems, fleet managers have
imports, support our domestic            gevity of the supply system; bio-                      if used at levels as low as 10 to 20    system problems and void engine           found biodiesel to be a low-cost
farm economy, help clean the air,        fuels are produced domestically,                       percent. Long-term engine depos-        warranties.” VW’s TDI equipped            means of complying with state
reduce global warming, and more.         and the feedstocks for them are                        its, ring sticking, lube oil gelling,   vehicles, DaimlerChrysler’s Jeep          and federal EPAct regulations.
With low-sulfur diesel fuel now          grown domestically, which helps                        other maintenance problems and          Liberty, and others come with             Use of biodiesel does not require
mandated, we can expect a surge          reduce our country’s trade deficit                      reduced engine life may result.4        B5 from the factory. Most engine          major engine modifications, so
of clean diesel vehicles to enter the    and creates jobs. The agricultural                         Fuel-grade biodiesel must be        manufacturers approve use of              operators can keep using existing
U.S. market, and some of these           sector benefits, since biofuels are                     produced to strict industry speci-      B5. Some OEMs permit use of               diesel vehicles and parts. Also,
vehicles are even delivered with a       made from crops and agricultural                       fications (ASTM D6751) in order          higher concentrations such as B10                   (continued on next page)
blend of biodiesel in the tank.          residues providing options and                         to ensure proper performance;
    We can expect vehicle owners         new valuable uses. Using biofuels                      raw vegetable oil cannot meet
to begin asking questions: What          helps clean the environment and                        these biodiesel fuel specifications.                    Biodiesel Fuel Talking Points
is biodiesel? What’s it made of?         reduce carbon emissions since                          Furthermore, home brewed diesel
Is it safe? Does it affect a vehicle’s   biofuels are “renewable,” meaning                      fuel is not registered with the EPA       Biodiesel Advantages
warranty? What’s the advantage?          they can be replaced by growing                        and is not a legal motor fuel.            • Can be used with the current fueling infrastructure
Is it more expensive? Where can          more. The National Renewable                                                                     • Adds lubricity (helpful when using ULSD); a 1% blend increases
I buy it?                                Energy Lab (NREL) observes,                            Biodiesel Properties and                     lubricity by 60%
                                         “[T]here is enough feedstock                           Precautions                               • Reliable engine performance—high cetane number and flash
What’s the Difference                    to supply 1.9 billion gallons of                       Biodiesel has a high BTU heat                point
between Petrodiesel and                  biodiesel (under policies designed                     value, somewhere between No.              • Reduced engine combustion “rattle” when cold and at idle.
Biodiesel?                               to encourage biodiesel use). This                      1 and No. 2 petrodiesel and               • Safe to handle—is less toxic than table salt and it biodegrades
Back in 1900 Rudolf Diesel dem-          represents roughly five percent of                      has similar physical properties.             faster than sugar
onstrated his compression igni-          on-road diesel used in the United                      Biodiesel is sulfur-free and offers       • Less offensive exhaust smell (reportedly like french fries or
tion engine with biodiesel (pea-         States.”2                                              excellent lubricating qualities.             popcorn)
nut oil). Fast-forward 100 years,            With little or no modification                      Lubricity is what keeps extremely         • Offers emissions benefits—lower greenhouse gas emissions than
and we’re again using biodiesel.         (depending on the age of the                           fine-tolerance fuel injection com-            petroleum-diesel fuel: no sulfur oxides or sulfates
According to online sources, “The        engine’s fuel system), biodiesel                       ponents moving (unlike today’s            • Is registered as a fuel/fuel additive with the EPA; meets CARB
term [petrodiesel] typically refers      can be blended in any concentra-                       Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel, or ULSD;            clean diesel standards
to fuel that has been processed          tion with petroleum diesel fuel                        see below). Reportedly, a one per-        • Recognized by the US-DOE and DOT as an alternate fuel
from petroleum, but increasingly,        (petrodiesel) from one, two or five                     cent blend of biodiesel increases         • EPA / EPAct credits available to suppliers and users
alternatives such as biodiesel or        to 20 percent (20 percent biodiesel                    the lubricity of petrodiesel by 60        • Domestic renewable / sustainable fuel supply
biomass to liquid (BTL) or gas to        mixed with 80 percent petrodie-                        percent.                                  • Reduces foreign energy dependence and contributes to the
                                                                                                    Depending upon the blend,                domestic economy
                                                                                                at colder temperatures biodiesel
                                                                                                is slightly more viscous (thicker)        Possible Drawbacks to Biodiesel
                                                                                                than diesel No.2, which may cause         • Fuel economy may be lower with higher blends (B20 or more)
                                                                                                problems. Also, as temperatures           • On older diesels, biodiesel can chemically affect rubber seals,
                                                                                                drop, clouding (solidifying) may            hoses and O-rings to cause leaks
                                                                                                occur (depending on the blend)            • Acts as a solvent to possibly cause filters to clog with (petrodiesel)
                                                                                                to clog fuel filters.                        residue from tanks and fuel lines
                                                                                                    Further, biodiesel acts like a        • Colder temperatures raise biodiesel viscosity compared to petro-
                                                                                                detergent to loosen and dissolve            diesel; flow properties increase by about 5 degrees for B20; could
                                                                                                fuel tank sediment, which can               possibly coke nozzles / injectors (causing poor atomization)
                                                                                                clog fuel filters—as operators of          • Cloud point tends to be higher with biodiesel. Use of anti-gelling
                                                                                                diesel powered vehicles and boats           additives and/or engine block heater may be advised.
                                                                                                have discovered the hard way!
                                                                                                And higher concentrations (above
                                                                                                B20) of biodiesel can act like a sol-
                                                                                                vent to cause swelling and leaking                           Biodiesel’s Physical Characteristics
                                                                                                on older fuel systems which use              Specific gravity                                         0.87 to 0.89
                                                                                                rubber seals, hoses, etc.
                                                                                                                                             Kinematic viscosity @ 40°C                                3.7 to 5.8
                                                                                                    The bottom line: always check
                                                                                                with the engine manufacturer                 Cetane number                                              46 to 70
                                                                                                to determine what blend is safe              Higher heating value (btu/lb)                   16,928 to 17,996
                                                                        Photo: Courtesy NAFTC

                                                                                                to use.
                                                                                                                                             Sulfur, wt%                                            0.0 to 0.0024
                                                                                                Is Biodiesel Safe?                           Cloud point °C                                            –11 to 16
                                                                                                According to the National Biodie-            Pour point °C                                             –15 to 13
                                                                                                sel Board (NBB), “Biodiesel is the
                                                                                                                                             Iodine number                                             60 to 135
                                                                                                only alternative fuel to have fully
                                                                                                completed the health effects test-           Lower heating value (btu/lb)                    15,700 to 16,735
Most biodiesel in the U.S. comes from soybeans.                                                 ing requirements of the 1990

                            Part of a continuing series on alternate fuel vehicles and advanced vehicle technology; all past articles in this series are available at
                                              If you have comments or questions, contact ASE’s Bob Rodriguez at 703-669-6634 or

ASE Blue Seal Tech News • Volume 14 • Summer/Fall 2007                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 5
Biodiesel: What’s the Story? (continued)
refueling stations remain the                                                             Further Thoughts                    Along with on-road diesel
same, but their tanks will need                                                           Starting late in 2006, Ultra    vehicles, biodiesel holds clean air
cleaning. Using biodiesel requires                                                        Low Sulfur Diesel fuel          promises for non-road applica-
no special training.                                                                      (ULSD) became manda-            tions like construction and ag
                                                                                          tory for on-road diesel ve-     equipment; for ships and railroad
Where Can I Buy                                                                           hicles. With sulfur content     applications, for use in under-
Biodiesel?                                                                                reduced from 500 to 15          ground mining equipment, and
From a marketing perspective,                                                             ppm, ULSD has enabled           more. Oil heat fuel suppliers, in an
it makes sense to promote do-                                                             diesel engine manufac-          attempt to “clean up” their prod-
mestically produced fuels, and                                                            turers to install NOx and       uct (and image), have reduced the
companies are aggressively bring-                                                         particulate filters to meet      sulfur content of No. 2 heating oil
ing biodiesel to market. The U.S.                                                         tightened EPA emissions         from 2000 to 500 ppm. Soy-based
Navy and Marines are big users of                                                         standards. But when the         “bioheat” fuel oil can be blended
biodiesel. Archer Daniels Midland                                                         sulfur is steam-processed       5 percent with low-sulfur petro-
and others have invested heavily                                                          out of petrodiesel, lu-         leum heating oil to burn clean
in soybean growth and produc-                                                             bricity is lost. To remedy      with less soot and residue—a real
tion facilities.                                                                          this, vehicle owners and        plus to homeowners.
    Fleet owners can purchase                                                             operators can add as little         All told, using biodiesel in
biodiesel in bulk from suppliers,                                                         as one percent biodiesel        efficient clean diesel vehicles
and motorists can buy it at filling                                                        to restore lubricity, or use    appears to be a win-win for our
stations; albeit mostly in Southern   Waste vegetable oils, fats, and greases are         fuel additives to protect       economy, our environment, and
and Midwest grain-belt states.        all suitable for making biodiesel.                  their equipment.9               our security.
Yet according to the National
Biodiesel Board (NBB), biodiesel      imized soot/black smoke; and no
can be made available anywhere        sulfur oxides or sulfates (which              Footnotes
in the U.S. The NBB (www.nbb.         form acid rain).7 According to                1
org) maintains a list of registered   the Alternative Fuels Data Center                 Wikipedia: go to
fuel marketers.5                      (AFDC), “Emissions of nitrogen                    NREL: go to
                                      oxides [NOx] increase with the                    NBB: go to and
Emissions and Global                  concentration of biodiesel in the        and
Warming                               fuel…roughly two percent for            
Most agree that biofuels contrib-     B20. Some biodiesel produces                      U of M: go to
ute fewer harmful emissions to the    more nitrogen oxides than other,                  guides/agengin/g01991.htm
atmosphere during production          and some additives have shown                     Visit the NBB website at
and use than petroleum, in part       promise in reducing the increases.                fault.shtm or call the NBB at (800) 841-5849
thanks to their completing the        Additional research and develop-                  CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere as plants grow. The crops
“closed carbon cycle.”6 A 1998        ment is needed to resolve this                    are then processed for fuel, and CO2 is released back to the
biodiesel lifecycle study, jointly    issue.”8                                          atmosphere when the fuel is burned. For more info go to www.
sponsored by the U.S. Department                                              
                                          Biodiesel is registered with the          7
of Energy and the U.S. Dept. of                                                         For detailed emissions data, go to
                                      EPA as a fuel and as a fuel additive.
Agriculture, concluded [that] 100                                                       fuelfactsheets/emissions.pdf
                                      It meets CARB clean diesel stan-              8
percent biodiesel reduces net CO2                                                       EERE: go to
                                      dards. The U.S. Dept. of Energy
emissions by 78 percent [as] com-                                                       html For more biodiesel basics info go to http://www.earthbio-
                                      recognizes 100 percent (“neat”)
pared to petroleum diesel.                                                    
                                      biodiesel as an alternative fuel              9
   Additionally, biodiesel offers                                                       Stanadyne and other companies offer quality diesel fuel additives,
                                      for EPAct credit purposes. Some
95 percent lower HC; 50 percent                                                         including lubricity enhancers. Visit
                                      states require a minimal blend of
        lower CO; 30 percent                                                            ppt/ppt_dfa.asp
                                      (B2) biodiesel in petrodiesel sold
           lower particulate/min-     at the pump.

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