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Delphi Products Help Cut Vehicle Weight, Increase Fuel Economy and Reduce CO2 Emissions


Innovation, smart design and new materials allow Delphi to substantially reduce system weight and packaging size

FRANKFURT – It’s the great weight debate: How is vehicle mass reduced while maintaining, or even increasing performance, safety, durability, reliability and comfort?

Automakers and suppliers have been asking this question for decades. Delphi Automotive has been at the forefront of the movement towards lighter, smaller, thinner and more efficient products. The result is cars and trucks with better fuel economy and lower emissions that improve consumer comfort and performance. Throughout the company, Delphi engineers are developing smaller components while simplifying design, reducing mass and requiring smaller packaging.

“Delphi has the products and technology to help lighten the load vehicles are carrying, which directly improves fuel economy while maintaining the comfort and convenience drivers expect,” said Michael Gassen, president, Delphi Europe. “Studies have shown that a 10 percent weight reduction can cut fuel consumption more than 3 percent with further reductions if the engine is downsized for lighter weight. This is a significant number for drivers looking to cut fuel costs and vehicle emissions.”

Durability and reliability
Vehicles are increasingly complex, with most utilizing several kilometers of wiring, dozens of computer modules and multiple serial data links. A vehicle’s electrical/electronic (E/E) architecture must support transportation, entertainment, occupant protection and other vital vehicle systems. Because of its size and complexity, the E/E architecture system presents a significant opportunity for weight and space savings.

The harsh and extreme environmental conditions to which automotive primary wiring is exposed had previously limited the introduction of wires smaller than 0.35 mm2 (22 gauge) into vehicle wire harnesses. Delphi has developed ways to slim its high-performance cables to an ultra-thin 0.13 mm2 (26 gauge). This reduced gauge cable provides improved tensile strength, increased pinch resistance and abrasion protection. Compact, lightweight connection systems have also been developed to further reduce weight while allowing high-speed automatic assembly.

Delphi Aluminum Cable offers a weight reduction of up to 48 percent compared to traditional copper core cable. Since approximately 227g of aluminum can replace 454g of copper, about 1.8kg can be trimmed from a typical vehicle. This technology will be on the road next year.

The focus on miniaturization has also allowed Delphi to be first-to-market with an electrical center that uses micro-fuses, among other innovations, to reduce the size of the unit by up to 30 percent. The micro-fuses are 35 percent smaller than traditional mini-fuses and allow more circuits to be placed in a given area on the printed circuit board, which means the electrical center can accommodate more content and functionality to serve the growing sophistication of next-generation vehicles.

Saving Space for Safety
Reducing weight and size while also developing products that can be combined allows vehicle manufacturers to offer more safety features. Delphi’s electronically scanning radar (ESR) weighs 61 percent less than its predecessor. ESR enables many of today’s technologically advanced safety features such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, brake support and headway alert, and its minimal footprint makes it easier to position without compromising vehicle styling. Once only found on premium, larger-sized vehicles, this technology can now be found on compact-sized vehicles.

Delphi’s RACam (integrated Radar and Camera System), the next generation active safety system from Delphi, combines ESR, vision sensing and data fusion in a single module. While reducing weight and size, RACam enables multiple safety features including full autonomous braking when a pedestrian is detected.

Innovative design and engineering on this integrated system has resulted in a module small enough to be positioned on the windscreen side of the rear view mirror, locating the radar away from the vehicle’s crush zone and helping to reduce repair costs in the event of a frontal impact. It is expected to be on the road in 2014.

For Delphi, safety extends to beyond the road. Pedestrian safety has become increasingly important as vehicles get quieter and quieter. Adding sound technology increases a vehicle’s weight and could potentially decrease fuel efficiency or vehicle range. Delphi’s response to this challenge is an innovative sound generator for electric and hybrid vehicles -- a single box solution that can be installed under the bonnet. Substantially smaller, lower cost and more robust than conventional multi-box systems, Delphi’s high-technology sounder is also approximately three times lighter and uses 90 percent less power, making it the most environmentally friendly solution available. It is due on roads next year.

Passenger comfort
Today’s vehicle buyers are demanding higher fuel economy, strong performance and enhanced comfort. To meet this requirement, Delphi is engineering its heating, cooling and entertainment products to be lighter and smaller and to generate better performance.

Delphi was the first supplier to introduce a variable compressor, which has since evolved into today’s high-efficient compact variable air conditioning compressor (CVC). The company continues to develop a portfolio of CVC products focused on improved fuel economy coupled with high-performance. Delphi will soon begin producing a newly redesigned five cylinder CVC that is significantly lighter than its predecessor. With a die-cast aluminum shell, this lightweight, high strength compressor provides improved comfort, fuel economy and dehumidification. Additionally, it is engineered for uninterrupted air conditioning at high engine speeds. Perfect for Europe’s popular small cars, Delphi’s latest 5CVC will be on the road in 2014.

Working with the compressor and the HVAC system, Delphi’s condensers are developed with a focus on mass reduction, enabling increased fuel economy. The company’s new 12mm Folded Tube Condenser – an industry first -- uses a unique fabricated tube construction to provide reduced weight and improved performance in a package that is the thinnest available. Available in 2015, the new 12mm Folded Tube Condenser also supports the efficiency of new R-1234yf refrigerant systems.

Acknowledging that passenger comfort also extends to entertainment, Delphi is applying its weight-saving techniques to the frames and casings of electrical and electronic systems. Delphi’s Ultra-Light Radio incorporates an award-winning plastic composite technology to save up to 0.54kg when compared with a conventional metal-case radio. This patent-pending solution also eliminates up to 30 components while increasing structural integrity by 29 percent.

Also contributing to weight reduction and therefore CO2 emissions reduction is engine downsizing. Automakers are able to replace current engines with smaller-displacement units without sacrificing performance. Delphi has the powertrain technologies to support downsizing concepts and help OEMs meet stringent CO2 requirements while maintaining competitive cost and performance criteria. For gasoline engines, one of the key enablers for performance in a downsized engine is direct injection. Downsizing a naturally aspirated engine by 30 percent to a boosted GDi engine reduces engine mass by 20-30kg. This lower engine mass leads to reductions of 1.0-1.5 percent in fuel consumption and 1.5-2.5g/km in CO2 emissions. Delphi’s GDi fuel system includes a high-pressure fuel pump, fuel rail and Multec® multi-hole injectors, to which an engine controller, software and calibration are added to provide turnkey GDi functionality. A new addition to the Powertrain portfolio is a multicharge ignition coil that helps to enable increased exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) or stratified combustion modes.

Delphi’s new diesel common rail (CR) system includes the latest solenoid-type diesel common rail injector technology with Delphi’s next generation DFP6 fuel pump. Increased focus has been placed on minimizing the FIE system mass to reduce engine and vehicle weight, which helps improve fuel economy and vehicle dynamics. The main contributor to the FIE mass reduction comes from the CR pump, which allows for a mass reduction of 40 percent over previous generation fuel systems.

Helping to control engine temperature and efficiency, Delphi’s powertrain cooling technologies optimize performance, emissions and fuel economy. Delphi’s highly-integrated Front-End Cooling Module, which combines the radiator, charge air cooler, condenser and fan-motor-shroud assembly, can provide a weight savings of 4 kg as well as reduce the electrical power consumption of the cooling fan by 350W.

About Delphi
Delphi is a leading global supplier of electronics and technologies for automotive, commercial vehicle and other market segments. Operating major technical centers, manufacturing sites and customer support facilities in 30 countries, Delphi delivers real-world innovations that make products smarter and safer as well as more powerful and efficient. Connect to innovation at

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