Date: 2017/10/24

Mechanism & Machine Theory Research Lab Attends International Motor Show

The IAA Pkw or International Motor Show of Passenger Vehicles is the largest motor show in Europe, and is held in odd-numbered years in Messe Frankfurt. The venue’s area of this year reached 200,000 square meters, including eight halls and seven outdoor exhibition areas. The show offered 363 innovations including 228 world premieres, 64 European premieres, 32 German premieres, and 39 research studies, and attracted over 900,000 visitors during September 12-24.

The Mechanism and Machine Theory Research Lab of National Taiwan University (NTU) and its research partner Giant-Lion Know-How Company attended the international motor show in Frankfurt this year, presenting innovative designs such as the Dual CVT System, P-Car, L-Car, and Battery with a Multi-Way Plate. The Dual CVT System was developed jointly by Giant-Lion and the Mechanism and Machine Theory Research Lab. Based on DAF’s Variomatic in the late 1950s, this system has the function of a CVT, a limited-slip, and a torque vectoring differential. A prototype of the Dual CVT Module was shown at the booth with a video introduction to the kart with the Dual CVT System. The P-Car and L-Car were small electric vehicles built by Giant-Lion. Their left and right rear wheels are driven by two independent motors controlled by one single controller to reduce the cost and complexity of electronic systems. The range after a full charge is 100 km for P-Car and 50 km for L-Car. These ranges are suitable for car sharing in the city and short-distance commuting. The shape of the Multi-Way Plate is designed to reduce its internal resistance and energy loss, allowing the battery to be charged much faster and more efficiently. Other techniques such as the Double Action Centrifugal Clutch, Power-Split Device for Hybrid Vehicles, and Electric Systems for Stop-and-Go Systems were also introduced using posters.

The motto of the motor show this year was “Zufunft Erleben” or “Experience the Future.” Owing to the recent exhaust scandals, most of the car manufacturers displayed technologies related to electric or hybrid vehicles. Mercedes-Benz showed GLC F-Cell with the plug-in hybrid system formed by a hydrogen fuel cell and Li-ion batteries. Mercedes also displayed sports car Project One, which has twin-motor-driven front wheels and rear wheels driven by a hybrid V6 engine with an electric supercharger. Its main competitor, BMW, displayed various electric and hybrid cars such as the i3 and i8. The sports car NSX, made by Honda, also has the configuration of motor-driven front wheels and hybrid-engine-driven rear wheels. The i-MMD hybrid system and the fuel-cell car Clarity were also displayed at Honda’s booth. Other brands like Volkswagen, Citroën, Kia, and Borgward all showed their own electric and hybrid cars. For parts makers like ZF, AISIN, Schaeffler, Borg-Warner, and GKN, their designs and techniques provided cleaner and more efficient solutions to the powertrain of electric and hybrid vehicles. These solutions included motor modules for integrated starter generators (ISGs), gearboxes for hybrid cars, and e-Axle modules which are the combination of traction motors, controllers, and differentials.

The most interesting place in the motor show was Mercedes-Benz’s hall, which was just like a small museum. Besides the chassis of fuel-cell and hybrid cars, there were also several cut-apart engines for demonstration, from gasoline to diesel, and from L4 to V8. With the aid of augmented reality, visitors could easily understand the features and technologies of each engine simply by walking around the engine with the tablet provided. The animation of every subsystem would then be shown on the screen automatically. Another benefit of this colorful human-machine interface is that the booth staff can discuss in more detail with experienced visitors without having to constantly tend to the crowd of visitors passing through.

At the corner of Hall 8.0, Robert Bosch GmbH presented a novel metal push belt for the CVT, named Single Loopset Belt. The belt has only one steel band, which can be held firmly within the central cavity of the U-shaped blocks. Unlike the traditional Van Doorne-type push belt, of which the two steel bands are easy to be detached from the H-shaped blocks, the new belt can help reduce the power loss of the variator up to 40%, and the maximum torque capacity is enhanced from 350 to 500 Nm. According to the official video introduction, with the aid of the belt, the size of the variator can be decreased by 12%, and the overall efficiency of the CVT gearbox will be 2% higher. It would bring a revolutionary change in the development of the CVT, if the novel Single Loopset Belt could replace the Van Doorne-type push belt which is widely used by entry- and mid-level cars.

Outside the exhibition halls, there were outdoor test drive areas that provided activities including: off-road driving, cone driving, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system trials, and electric scooter test rides. For those who want to take a rest and to recharge their batteries before starting the adventure to another hall, there were kiosks and stands selling various foods, drinks, and even die-cast models. Race car simulators were also provided for Formula 1, WRC, or Le Mans enthusiasts. The 13-day exhibition not only gave us a chance to understand the trend of the global automobile market and the vehicle industry, but was also a gigantic festival designed for all car lovers around the world.

(Source: Hsien-Yu Kuo, Ph.D. Candidate of Mechanical Engineering, NTU)

  • Booth staff of the NTU Mechanism and Machine Theory Research Lab and the Giant-Lion Know-How Company.

    Booth staff of the NTU Mechanism and Machine Theory Research Lab and the Giant-Lion Know-How Company.
    (Photographer: Tyng Liu)

  • Booth staff of the NTU Mechanism and Machine Theory Research Lab.

    Booth staff of the NTU Mechanism and Machine Theory Research Lab.
    (Photographer: Tyng Liu)

  • The entrance of Messe Frankfurt.

    The entrance of Messe Frankfurt.
    (Photographer: Albert Bo-Wei Li)

  • The chassis of Mercedes-Benz Project One.

    The chassis of Mercedes-Benz Project One.
    (Photographer: Hsien-Yu Kuo)

  • The chassis of Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.

    The chassis of Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.
    (Photographer: Hsien-Yu Kuo)

  • A close look at the Single Loopset Belt developed by Robert Bosch GmbH.

    A close look at the Single Loopset Belt developed by Robert Bosch GmbH.
    (Photographer: Hsien-Yu Kuo)

  • Booth staff Introduce the Dual CVT Module and the kart with the Dual CVT System.

    Booth staff introduce the Dual CVT Module and the kart with the Dual CVT System.
    (Photographer: Gina Yang)

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