Valeo Management Services

Starter-Alternator Designed by Valeo and PSA Peugeot Citroën Wins 2004 "Engineers of the Year Award"

    Paris (ots/PRNewswire) - Valeo and PSA Peugeot Citroën yesterday received the first "Engineers of the Year Award" in the sustainable development category. "We are honored to receive this award presented by 'Usine Nouvelle', 'Industries et Technologies' and the National Council of French Engineers and Scientists (CNSIF). This trophy not only recognizes the team that designed and developed a new automotive function; it also encourages all engineers in the Group to continue developing new systems that combine high performance with respect for the environment," said Thierry Morin, Valeo Chairman & CEO.

    "What a wonderful job engineers have! They design and develop the technologies and objects of the future, serving as the link between science and the public," declared Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Nobel prize-winning physicist and prestigious co-sponsor of the event, along with around 30 major company directors (Alcatel, Arcelor, Areva, Danone, EADS, France Telecom, L'Oréal, Michelin, Total, etc.).

    In October 1998, PSA Peugeot Citroën's Automotive Research and Innovation Department started working on the application of various environmentally friendly powertrain technologies to be marketed around 2008. Research showed that switching motors to standby mode when the vehicle is at a standstill is a quick, effective and competitive solution for reducing CO2 emissions. However, previous experiments had been inconclusive due to three major difficulties: engine re-start time, starter noise and insufficient reliability.

    At the same time, Valeo, who already supplied alternators and starters to the PSA Peugeot Citroën Group, presented an innovative system on which it had been working since 1997: the belt-driven reversible starter-alternator. Since this system uses the alternator to start the engine, there is no need for a conventional starter motor.

    A new approach to automaker/supplier relations

    The idea therefore arose to create a partnership to develop a major automotive innovation in terms of environmental protection: Stop & Start (the PSA Peugeot Citroën name) or StARS (the Valeo name). The mission of the project teams, comprising a total of 60 people, was to optimize and implement technical solutions that would enable this new function to be applied across all PSA Peugeot Citroën Group platforms.

    Valeo took responsibility for designing the electrical machine and the power and control electronics, areas in which it has considerable industrial experience and engineering expertise.

    PSA Peugeot Citroën focused on vehicle integration, defining the control strategies of the Stop & Start function, the human-machine interfaces and finding a belt-driven solution to link the alternator and the crankshaft.

    The specifications were extremely rigorous:

    - noise- and vibration-free starting and stopping of the engine,

    - instant engine re-start at the slightest signal from the driver,

    - optimized reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions,

    - automated control of the Stop & Start function, guaranteeing driver-friendly operation.

    The project's leitmotiv was the use of simple, cost-effective solutions which are easily integrated into vehicles and quickly adapted for mass production.

    A useful and environmentally friendly automotive function

    The Stop & Start function turns the engine off automatically when the vehicle comes to a standstill (red lights, temporary halts, traffic jams, etc.) and restarts the engine instantly and silently as soon as the driver releases the brake pedal or accelerates. Drivers are not required to alter their usual driving habits. Depending on the vehicle and the engine, the Stop & Start system provides fuel savings of around 10% for city driving and 6% in standard combined cycles.

    Tests have demonstrated that in built-up areas, vehicles are stationary for 35% of driving time on average. In addition to the improved fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions provided by automatic engine cut-off, drivers and the environment alike benefit from total silence during the frequent periods when vehicles are at a standstill.

    The StARS starter-alternator from Valeo: a brand new way of functioning

    Using the 12V power network with a conventional battery, a special electronic unit has been added to allow the alternator to take over the functions of the starter motor.

    In inverter mode, Valeo's reversible starter-alternator transforms 12V direct current from the battery into three-phase current to supply the alternator, which is effectively used as a starter motor.

    In rectifier mode, Valeo's reversible starter-alternator generates the electricity required for the vehicle. It also offers a significant increase in efficiency (up to 15%), intelligent control of the drain current and high outputs of up to 180 amps. These three Valeo-developed solutions lead to additional savings in fuel consumption and optimized battery recharging on PSA Peugeot Citroën vehicles.

    The reversible starter-alternator's electronic management module communicates with all other body controllers in the vehicle with no modifications necessary; this facilitates the deployment of the function for several engine and vehicle applications.

    The engine starts silently thanks to the accessory belt, a new function enabled by a special material and hydraulic damping of the tensioner.

    The fuel injection strategies (for both gasoline and diesel engines) developed for Stop & Start ensure that restart is instantaneous (400 milliseconds, i.e. twice as fast as a conventional starter motor) and pollution free (thanks to an accelerated temperature rise in the pollution control devices: catalytic converters, particle filters, etc.).

    Zero noise, zero consumption and zero pollution at standstill

    The Stop & Start system is a first step in the hybridization of vehicles for the general public.

    The concepts developed and retained, each of them innovative in their area (55 patents filed for this project) are the result of the ongoing drive to find simple and reliable solutions which can be manufactured in the short term, while maintaining the current automotive standards in terms of mounting (using the fixings of a conventional alternator), operation (air-cooled and belt-driven) and electricity (conventional 12V network).

    An innovation that combines driving pleasure and respect for the environment

    The Citroën C3 Stop & Start, the world's first vehicle to be equipped with the StARS system, available since last month, will be followed by other Peugeot and Citroën models. Valeo has also announced developments with other automakers (Ford, Hyundai, etc.). This system will be used for larger engines (gasoline and diesel) in the short term, but will soon become more compact and offer new functions leading to further fuel savings and even lower emissions.

    The pro-environmental stance adopted by Valeo and PSA Peugeot Citroën satisfies a key expectation of "responsible drivers" who will appreciate the new function not only for its silence, ease of use and fuel economy, but also for its drastic reduction of noise and atmospheric pollution in built-up areas. This innovation contributes to improving both cabin comfort and the general quality of life in urban areas; in other words it provides harmony between the car and the city.

    Valeo is an independent industrial Group fully focused on the design, production and sale of components, integrated systems and modules for cars and trucks. Valeo ranks among the world's top automotive suppliers. The Group has 130 plants, 65 R&D centers, 9 distribution centers and employs 70,200 people in 26 countries worldwide.

ots Originaltext: Valeo
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