The i-flow concept. Click to enlarge.

Hyundai staged the global debut of its i-flow diesel hybrid concept car at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Fuel consumption for the hybrid is 3L/100 km (78.4 mpg US) and CO2 output of 85 g/100km. Hyundai’s first diesel-electric hybrid powertrain uses the new U2 1.7-liter engine augmented by two-stage turbocharging and Hyundai’s Lithium Ion-Polymer battery partnered with a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

The i-flow is a test bed for new energy harvesting ideas, ranging from flexible solar panel roofing to a thermo-electric generator. The key technical components of the vehicle have been developed by Hyundai under the Blue Drive banner in cooperation with BASF.

BASF and Hyundai R&D engineers developed thermal engine encapsulation, which ensures that the engine reaches optimum operating temperature more quickly, by retaining heat when the car is at idle. Where a non-insulated engine would take three hours to drop to 40 °C, the i-flow will stay above that temperature for 14 hours. This translates into fuel savings and emissions cuts of 5% during summer and up to 9% during winter.

Another technique introduced in collaboration with BASF is thermoelectric waste heat recovery. This process equates to further reductions in fuel consumption, 5% at highest driving. Up to half of the electrical energy consumed by i-flow at 80 km/h—250 watts—can be recovered through the work of a thermoelectric generator. Harvested energy from hot exhaust gases is recaptured by this generator which is fitted into the exhaust manifold. The thermal electric generator then converts the wasted heat into useful electrical energy to help power auxiliary systems.

Adaptive aerodynamic features also increase fuel efficiency. Elements such as the arch-like roofline, streamlined front, the boat-tail shape and kick-up lines contribute to an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd.

An eco-driving guidance system is present to encourage super-efficient motoring. The system includes fuel consumption and gear shift indicators, and an active ECO function which adjusts the powertrain to its ultimate condition by adapting the engine and transmission control units. An “eco route” function uses real-time traffic conditions and three-dimensional road data to calculate the most fuel-efficient way of reaching the desired destination.

Blue Drive

At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Hyundai revealed the latest additions to its growing collection of eco-focused Blue Drive innovations. Five new vehicles have resulted from the program: the i10 blue, i20 blue, i30 blue, i30cw blue, and ix35 blue.

  • The i10 blue, which goes into production at the end of 2010, employs the new 1.0-liter Kappa gasoline engine, which produces 69 PS at a lower rpm level of 6200 rpm while generating 94 N·m of torque, and is fitted with a dual continuous variable valve timing (CVVT) system. By tweaking the aerodynamics and refinements to the power train, CO2 emissions in the i10 blue have been reduced to just 99 g/km.

  • The i20 blue features the U2 1.4-liter diesel engine, designed and engineered at the R&D center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, and produces 75 PS at a lower rpm level of 4000, while generating 220 N·m of torque. The power train is mated to the latest 6 speed manual transmission. Producing 98g/km of CO2 emissions, the i20 blue is scheduled to go into production in 2011.

  • The i30 blue and its derivative CW utilize the U2 1.6-liter engine, which produces 90 PS at a lower rpm level of 4000 rpm, while generating 240 N·m of torque. The power trains are mated to a 6-speed manual, the latest generation of fuel-saving transmissions. As production commences in 2011 at the Nosovice plant in Czech, CO2 emissions of just 98 g/km and 99 g/km for the hatchback and estate models, respectively, will translate into an extremely attractive package for customers.

  • The ix35 blue, which goes into production at the end of 2010 offers CO2 emissions figure of just 135 g/km, positioning it not only as a rival to leading C-segment SUV models but also to C-segment hatchbacks. The U2 1.7-liter diesel engine, also designed and engineered at the Rüsselsheim R&D centre, produces 115 PS at a lower rpm level of 4000 rpm, while generating 260 N·m of torque and mated to the latest 6 speed manual transmission.

All of these blue models employ the latest energy-efficient power train technology to come out of the Hyundai R&D Centres in Korea and Europe. The new, downsized 1.0-liter Kappa gasoline and 1.7-liter U2 diesel engines, for example, are coupled with high-performance, low-friction engine oil, to considerably reduce driveline friction; dual continuously variable valve timing; improved combustion efficiency; gear ratio optimization; and engine control optimization to increase engine efficiency.

Hyundai is also adding an Idle Stop & Go system and an alternator management system to maximize energy regeneration during braking and to provide good acceleration performance by minimizing the alternative workload.

To improve these new Blue Drive vehicles’ aerodynamics and lower their rolling resistance, a variety of measures have been implemented. Under body panels have been installed on all models to cover the wind drag cavities that exist on regular vehicles and negatively affect fuel efficiency. Certain models also feature reductions in brake-pad drag on the discs and wheels fitted with low rolling resistance tires, inflated to a higher pressure.