Development of a new method to assess fuel saving using gear shift indicators

Christopher Vagg, Christian J. Brace, Roshan Wijetunge, Sam Akehurst, Lloyd Ash

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European regulations set the emissions requirements for new vehicles at 130 g CO2/km, with an additional 10 g CO2/km to be achieved by additional complementary measures, including gear shift indicators. However, there is presently little knowledge of how much fuel or CO2 could actually be saved by the introduction of gear shift indicators, and there is no consensus on how these savings should be quantified. This study presents a procedure which allows these savings to be quantified over a New European Driving Cycle, and explores the trade-off between fuel savings and drivability. A vehicle model was established and calibrated using data obtained from pedal ramp tests conducted at steady speed using a chassis dynamometer, significantly reducing the time required to generate a calibration data set when compared with a steady-state mapping approach. This model was used for the optimisation of gear shift points on the New European Driving Cycle for reduced fuel consumption subject to drivability constraints. During model validation the greatest fuel saving achieved experimentally for a warm engine was 3.6% over the New European Driving Cycle, within the constraints imposed using subjective driver appraisal of vehicle drivability. The same shift strategy for a cold start driving cycle showed a fuel saving of 4.3% over the baseline, with corresponding savings in CO2 of 4.5% or 6.4 g CO2/km. For both hot and cold tests the savings were made entirely in the urban phase of the New European Driving Cycle; there were no significant differences in fuel consumption in the extra-urban phase. These results suggest that the introduction of gear shift indicators could have a substantial impact, contributing significantly towards the 10 g CO2/km to be achieved by additional complementary measures when assessed in this way. It is not clear whether these savings would translate into real world driving conditions, but for legislative purposes an assessment procedure based on the New European Driving Cycle remains a logical choice for simplicity and continuity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1630-1639
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part D: Journal of Automobile Engineering
Issue number12
Early online date31 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2012


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