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Valeo Offers New Hybrid Systems

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Valeo's i-StARS combined starter-alternator for 'light hybrid" vehicles

Valeo’s i-StARS combined starter-alternator for ‘light hybrid” vehicles

mattroush Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined WWJ Newsradio 950 in September 2001 to spearhead the...
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TROY — Valeo, the French automotive technology provider with its North American headquarters in Troy, Monday announced two new “micro hybrid” systems, called i-StARS and ReStart.

Valeo says both systems enable stop-start functionality and can help reduce the fuel consumption of a traditional internal combustion engine by two-to-three percent during the standard driving cycle and by up to 15 percent in congested urban traffic.

“The two solutions are part of a complete family of cost-effective stop-start system technologies,” said Valeo Group product marketing director Derek de Bono. “The stop-start function automatically stops the engine when the vehicle is stationary. The i-StARS starter-alternator and the ReStart reinforced starter make it possible for the engine to immediately restart.”

Valeo’s i-StARS, which stands for integrated Starter Alternator Reversible System, is a stop-start system based on a combined starter-alternator solution replacing the conventional alternator. Similar to an alternator, it is linked to the crankshaft through the belt drive. I-StARS enables the combustion engine to shut off when the driver begins to brake and the vehicle has dropped below a preset speed.

For example, one Valeo application example in the market today stops the engine when the vehicle speed drops below five mph and below 13 mph for manual transmissions. I-StARS automatically restarts the engine in approximately 0.4 seconds, even when drivers unexpectedly change their minds during stopping sequences.

I-StARS is a 14-volt LIN-interfaced, belt-driven starter-alternator with integrated electronics that is scalable up to eight kW.  Compared to previous product generations, the advanced design provides increased torque and reliability, while improving cost, packaging and temperature management. In addition to LIN, it can interface with any OEM engine control unit architecture, such as RVC and C-Terminal.

As the vehicle’s alternator, i-StARS’s power electronics improve the system’s electrical efficiency to make it one of the most efficient alternators on the market. The integrated control and power electronics reduce system cost and makes it easier to install during vehicle assembly. The i-StARS+ version is a seven-phase design, making it extremely quiet, giving it best-in-class noise performance. It can be applied to up to 4-liter gasoline and 3-liter diesel engines and easily adapts to both manual and automatic transmissions.

Valeo’s ReStart system, meanwhile, is the second solution in the company’s range of stop-start innovations. This reinforced starter provides the extra durability needed for repeated stopping and starting when the vehicle comes to a complete standstill.  ReStart has minimal impact on engine architecture and can be applied to a variety of engine types and displacements.

Currently, Valeo is developing a reinforced starter capable of restarting an engine, while it is still rotating, for automatic transmissions and to offer additional fuel economy improvement.

Valeo provides a full range of vehicle electrification solutions, from full electric to micro-hybrids. The company launched its first belt-driven starter generator on the Citroen C3 in 2004 and programs with Mercedes, Nissan and PSA soon followed.

“During the United States CAFE urban test cycle, a car is idle about 19 percent of the time or 10 percent for combined highway/city operation,” said de Bono.  “Making automatic engine shut-down and restart more affordable is a viable near-term solution to reducing vehicle CO2 emission and improving fuel economy.”

Valeo’s experience in reversible belt-driven machine design is a valuable asset in its development of higher-voltage belt-driven systems for mild hybrid applications. Its next generation of systems will have the ability to recover braking energy and provide engine torque assistance.

Valeo has 125 plants, 21 research centers, 39 development centers, 10 distribution platforms and employs 67,900 people in 28 countries worldwide. In North America, Valeo has 15 production sites and six research and development centers. The company employs approximately 6,200 people across the United States and Mexico.

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