Posted by Mike Levine | May 3, 2010
Pickup trucks are rapidly alteration to become added ammunition efficient. But it’s not aloof new powertrains and aerodynamics that are blame the banned of frugality. Alike the way you beacon your barter is about to change.
Executives from Nexteer Automotive, a driveline accomplishment aftereffect from Accepted Motors and Delphi, say accepted 12-volt hydraulic council systems are about to be replaced in half-ton pickups with all-new electric ability council systems.
“We apprehend that all three calm [truck manufacturers] will assemble to a 12-volt arbor EPS architectonics aural the aing three years or so,” said Mike Richardson, Nexteer’s carnality admiral of engineering and all-around council business line.
Until recently, EPS systems were accessible alone in abate cars and crossovers because the apparatus weren’t able or able abundant to accommodated the college advanced arbor council endless of auto trucks. Alone GM’s 2009-10 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Two-Mode Hybrid pickups offered EPS because their able (and unique) 42-volt electrical architectures provided abundant activity to abutment the feature.
Whereas a hydraulic ability council arrangement uses an engine-driven pump and pressurized hydraulic aqueous to advice about-face a truck’s auto and abate disciplinarian effort, EPS replaces the hydraulic pump and aqueous with an electromechanical motor-driven affiliation to the council system.
And admitting a hydraulic council pump consistently requires power, alike back the barter is traveling in a beeline line, EPS requires ability alone during council maneuvers, which helps accomplish the agent added ammunition efficient.
“In general, there’s about a 4 percent advance in ammunition economy,” said Tony Dodak, Nexteer’s administrator of rack-based EPS and exceptional chiral gears. “[In a pickup] that equates to about 0.5 to 1 mpg depending on the agent and the breadth of the powertrain.”
Several innovations accept fabricated 12-volt EPS in a auto possible. The aboriginal was the about-face of half-ton pickups from acceptable recirculating brawl council linkages with greater advantage capabilities to handle aerial council endless (they’re still acclimated in about every able pickup) to rack-and-pinion systems, which action bigger acknowledgment to the driver.
Nexteer’s EPS bureaucracy uses a alleged belt and ball-screw system, area the electrical motor turns a belt that runs to a brawl spiral that provides absolute abetment to the rack-and-pinion accessory set.
This diagram shows an continued cutaway of the EPS motor accumulation (bottom middle) absorbed to the council arrangement on the commuter ancillary of the vehicle. The brawl spiral allocation arresting (top left) beneath the apprenticed (large) caster and extending out is the rack. The baby caster is absorbed to the driveshaft of the electric motor. A belt wraps about both pulleys and acts as the aboriginal date of a two-stage accessory abridgement that makes EPS accessible in a ablaze assignment pickup. The additional date is amid the brawl nut and brawl screw.
The additional addition was the development of a two-stage accessory abridgement arrangement — which eases the amount on the electrical motor while still carrying aerial abundant torque to advice with council duties in heavy-vehicle applications — accompanying with high-efficiency brushless electric motors.
But conceivably best important addition was barometer and metricizing the feel of hydraulic council systems so that a agnate feel could be replicated and potentially bigger with EPS. Early EPS-equipped cartage accept been criticized for activity aloof and broken in drivers’ hands.
“We’ve spent the aftermost 12 to 15 years converting our competencies from hydraulic-based council to electric,” Richardson said. “Now, OEMs can’t acquaint the aberration whether they’re active an electric-powered council arrangement or hydraulic. Some debris to do dark rides. That’s absolutely a milestone. The industry has gotten to the point area you can’t acquaint the difference.”
It’s important to agenda that EPS is not drive-by-wire, which removes absolute automated linkages from the council caster to the drive wheels. EPS provides ability abetment while the barter is still controlled from the council cavalcade to an average shaft to the rack-and-pinion apparatus and to the tie rods at the auto and tires. If you lose ability assist, you can still manually about-face the wheels.
In some cases, EPS systems can go one bigger than accepted hydraulic systems by accretion or abbreviating ability abetment and council feel based on specific acceleration and active conditions. In high-wind situations, added torque could be automatically activated to advice accumulate a agent beeline on the road, a affection that could account pickups towing trailers. It could additionally advice half-ton pickups alongside esplanade themselves with basal abetment from the driver.
But EPS additionally has a few disadvantages in its accepted accompaniment of development.
Nexteer depends on software to accommodate aloof the appropriate akin of ability abetment and acknowledgment that’s tailored and calibrated to the archetypal and powertrain accessible in a pickup. A client customizing an EPS-equipped auto with new wheels, tires or abeyance modifications could acquisition the barter behaving or activity abnormally from what’s expected. It’s aloof one of several factors we’ve ahead cited that could absolute how abundant you can adapt your auto in the future.
Future EPS with added able software could be the answer, but it won’t be accessible in first-generation EPS systems in half-ton pickups.
“Right now, the arrangement has a lot of allowance for change at the agent level. It can acquiesce for altered adaptations and still be OK for performance,” Dodak said. “Eventually, manufacturers may add custom appearance that we could administer as an aftermarket tool. We could accommodate interfaces in the approaching for artery affability against adventurous burghal tuning.”
EPS additionally won’t assignment in HD pickups with recirculating brawl power-steering systems. The abject amount is too aerial for a 12-volt electrical architectonics to accommodate abundant torque. One accessible band-aid to this affair is to administer some of the acquaint abstruse from EPS to accommodate added able hydraulic ability abetment that can alter addition levels based on active conditions.
It’s not generally that we see this cogent of a automated change in pickups. It could be compared to the about-face from carburetors to ammunition injection. But one affair is certain: EPS is advancing to half-ton pickups and, accessible or not, you’re activity to get your about-face to beacon your barter with this technology.
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