StARS attraction

A project aimed at producing the second-generation of starter alternator reversible systems (StARS) could help boost Europe’s carbon reduction efforts by cutting emissions and fuel use in cars.

Led by global automotive supplier, Valeo, the EUREKA i-StARS project is developing a micro-hybrid start-stop system to replace the alternators currently in mass production.

It is hoped that this will fulfil global demands for more energy efficient vehicles following the introduction of new European Union legislation designed to reduce the average carbon dioxide emission for new cars from 160g/km to 130g/km in 2012.

Existing hybrid solutions have a high level of integration between the electrical machine assisting the internal combustion engine and the associated power and control electronics.

This causes thermo-mechanical constraints on the system that pose difficulties to the automotive industry in terms of flexibility and cost.

Project leader, Valeo, already has experience developing the first generation of alternator-based start-stop systems for Citroën, Smart Cars and Mercedes Benz A and B class vehicles.

Through this project, the company hopes to build on the existing model by reducing its size to a single integrated package and therefore eliminating the need to incorporate a separate box of electronics.

Derek de Bono, marketing director of Valeo, said: ‘Not only will it be possible to reduce consumption emissions without any major change to engine design, but this translates into a six per cent saving in fuel use for the car driver.’

Microelectronics specialists, ON Semiconductor and Freescale, will be working alongside Valeo to help develop the two application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and the power-switching transistors.

Bono added: ‘EUREKA labelling provided credibility at a national and European level. It is also enabling us to get the technology to market faster, speeding European access to cleaner technology and opening up global markets for our equipment.’

According to market forecasts, around one million vehicles a year will be using these systems by 2010, with a four per cent global penetration of the market by 2015.

The Peugeot-Citroën group has announced that it will use the new second-generation technology in more than a million cars a year as of 2010/11.

The project has also registered interest from automotive manufacturers in US and Asia.