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Highly Integrated Combustion Electric Propulsion System

HI-CEPS aims to develop highly integrated powertrains and related thermal-electric auxiliaries for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) to be verified at bench and vehicle validation levels. The developed devices have to satisfy both the environmental and final-user requirements for the 2010-12 mass market.

Tags: Road


Past experience:

The ‘modern’ HEVs of the 1980s have been investigated to overcome the limits of battery electric vehicles in terms of allowable range and recharge time.

According to this approach, the solutions developed were mainly based on series-range extender hybrids and parallel architectures with extended pure electric (zero emission) range targets. Their high weight-to-volume battery packs made it impossible to apply these vehicles to the mass market.

Present scenario:

The current HEVs for the mass market have been designed by sacrificing the pure electric extended range and utilising newer generation, higher specific energy and lower cost batteries.

These powertrains can be regarded as co-operative hybrids or electrically-assisted ICEs (internal combustion engines). The electric contribution is aimed primarily at reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions.

The related figures are reassuring as to gasoline engine HEVs, showing an increasing passenger car market in Japan and North America. In Europe, with its greater use of diesel vehicles, it is possible to achieve similar reductions at a lower purchase cost.

Next steps:

To continue with the reductions in regulated and CO2 emissions while developing new solutions with mass-market applicability in Europe.


  1. Develop three different, innovative, integrated series-parallel full hybrid thermal-electric powertrains utilising low-cost and standardised electric devices (e-motors, power electronics and batteries), vehicle auxiliaries and dedicated gasoline, diesel and natural gas engines with specific exhaust after-treatment systems. The adaptation to future fuels and combustion systems will also be taken into account.
  2. To achieve, at vehicle level, both the environmentally friendly requirements (fuel consumption, CO2 and regulated noxious emission reduction) and fun-to-drive characteristics (enhanced transient performance, driveability and comfort) at an acceptable purchasing/operation cost (perceived value).
In order to obtain these results the following three actions will be performed:
  1. Improve the power train efficiency to deliver a larger consumption reduction
  2. Reduce the extra costs through:

    • electric device improvements and standardisation (synergies with the running Hy-SYS IP and among the threee concepts)
    • powertrain component integration and simplification
  3. Act on the ‘final user functions’ (performance, driveability, comfort, etc.) increasing the perceived value.

Description of work

The project is structured into six subprojects (SPs). One SP is devoted to the project management (SP1000) while the other five are devoted to technical activities.

The five technical SPs are subdivided in three vertical and two horizontal SPs.

Vertical subprojects (one for each new hybrid power train):

  • SP3000 - ElectroMagnetic Split Hybrid: with CNG ICE, for passenger cars, up to vehicle validation level
  • SP4000 - Dual Mode Split Hybrid: with gasoline ICE, for passenger cars, up to vehicle validation level
  • SP5000 - Advanced Dual Clutch Combined Hybrid: with diesel ICE, for light delivery vehicles, up to test bench level.

Horizontal subprojects:

  • SP2000 covers the integration of thermal auxiliaries (electrical regeneration, thermal storage systems, air conditioning) and energy management to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, whilst maintaining high thermal comfort for complex hybrid powertrains
  • SP6000 focuses on the boundary condition and load cycle definition, and the final comparative performance and cost assessment of the investigated hybrid systems, taking into account the vehicle safety and powertrain integration needs.


The main expected results are:

  1. Hybrid powertrains assessment, comprehensive validation of the devices and their related control/management strategies for the different operating modes.
  2. Identification of best solutions and operating strategies for thermal and ICE auxiliaries to guarantee:

    • effective integration in the hybrid powertrain architectures
    • complete thermal and energy flow optimisation
    • efficient recovery of wasted energy
    • optimal thermal comfort in the vehicle, both for extremely low and high ambient temperature conditions
    • lower overall emissions and increased life cycle for ICE
    • simplification of exhaust gas after-treatment devices
    • constant emission levels during the vehicle’s lifetime.
The project results will have a useful impact in different application fields. The main ones are:

  • FC vehicles: accelerate the introduction (common electrical devices and management strategies)
  • ICE vehicles: speed up the introduction of new electrically supplied auxiliaries
  • other transportation sectors: synergies with environmental friendly traction systems for boats and/or auxiliaries (buses, etc.)
  • stationary pure electric power generation up to the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) (same electrical architecture and related energy and thermal management strategies) for emission reductions and integration of new functionalities.