I got this link in my inbox, see, and thought “now there’s someone I’d like to hear from at the moment”. So off I went with the translator, without looking at the date.
This story, a noted in comments, is one year old now.
My apologies for covering old ground.
Though if you haven’t read it yet, please feel free to go ahead. It’s good to see where things are heading. Kjell ac Bergstrom and his team are the Aces up Saab’s sleeve in this whole reconstruction thing.
Auto Motor and Sport have done an interview with GM Powertrain Sweden chief, Kjell ac Bergstrom.
I met Mr Bergstrom in Sweden back in 2007 and was fascinated by the brief conversation I had with him. Let’s just say that I’d like to have taken his personal car for a ride. He’s been described to me by various parties as both a genius and a mad-man, two characteristics that often go together. Let’s just say that under his oversight, Saab could have a lot of interesting things in the pipeline.
Swedes will want to go through to the original Swedish version at AMS. Here’s the Googletrans for the rest of us.
“Ethanol fuel is a dream!”
Pär Brandt – 2008-06-03 19:26
Swedish engineers at GM Powertrain Sweden have the major responsibility for developing the technologies of the future of General Motors. New, turbo-charged engines, ethanol is the “right size” is just one example. Kjell AC Bergström, manager of GM Powertrain Sweden, talks in an interview about what we can expect in the future.
General Motors is a big family that spans the entire world and with thousands of engineers who develop new models and new technologies. GM has previously found it difficult to ‘understand’ the Saab brand – but now it has become much better – however, it has not had any problems to realize what good engineers there are in Trollhättan and Södertälje.
GM Powertrain Sweden is an important group of General Motors. It develops advanced technology for a variety of car models, including the upcoming Saab 9-4X and the new-generation 9-5 and 9-3. We had an opportunity to sit down and talk with the head of GM Powertrain Sweden, Kjell AC Bergström, and got a little hunch about what we can expect in the near future.
auto motor & sport, ams: What product groups do you work on at GM Powertrain Sweden to develop for GM?
Kjell AC Bergström (KB): We essentially have our hand on three areas: DCT (drive-by double coupling), “charging” (supercharger with turbo and / or compressor) and “control” (control system with a global architecture for the entire GM).
ams: That sounds ambitious! Who decides the priority of jobs?
KB: I am responsible, receive assignments and report directly to the heads at Detroit. Financially, we receive funds from a “pot” that all producers contribute to in return for each make of car to choose freely from all the technical solutions and components. Furthermore, we have a fund that finances new technology, which GM calls the “ATW”, Advanced Technology Workgroup. The heads of Saab in Trollhättan will affect not my department’s work, although we obviously listening and performing tasks. It is Detroit that has the last word.
ams: It seems that the U.S. at long last discovered ethanol as fuel, an area where Sweden has a leading edge and is presented as an example, how does that affect you?
KB: It means that we are developing several new E85 engines that will soon turn up in GM models.
ams: You are engine technologies, how is ethanol fuel?
KB: A dream fuel! Gasoline is as a whole “grog” of various hydrocarbons behave different from burning. Ethanol is more homogeneous, all incinerated at once. Ethanol is so quick to knock sensors do not keep up with, because you must build margins in a different way so that the engine is not damaged.
ams: Today, the ethanol engines, which quite thirsty and inefficient. Would not it be better to invest in efficient diesel engines?
KB: We need several different fuels, but the efficiency will lead E85 and diesel to converge. Diesel engines must reduce its compression ratio to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) while turbo engines that run on ethanol can increase its compression ratio. E85 engines are now about 30 percent more thirsty than equivalent gasoline engines, the next engine generation of E85 engines will drop to 15 percent.
ams: Some other benefits of E85?
KB: There are several but emission is not just about carbon dioxide, which has so far dominated the debate. Now one begins to talk about the danger in the very small particles that dieslar places and they are to some extent with direct gasoline engines. With ethanol, you have virtually no particulate emissions at all! Another area is hydrocarbons, which in an ethanol engine is almost considered a food (alcohol).
ams: E85 lacks rules for emission certification and are not defined. What does it mean to you?
KB: It is very unfortunate. We have hands tied and can not develop engines optimized. Here there is a need for rapid political decisions in the EU, but like common for North America. Then I would personally like to see a requirement for all fuels – including petrol and diesel. Today produced ethanol production as inefficient, but to produce gasoline cost energy is also, something that is rarely highlighted.
ams: some trends you see in the automotive industry?
KB: In addition to focusing on environmental and fuel, it is more and more car manufacturers who seek their own skills. There was a period when everything would be “outsourcing” and made by subcontractors. Today, one realizes that it is the unique solution that allows a car or a model stands out in a crowd. Moreover, it will be cheaper.
ams: Cheaper how?
KB: Take the engine as an example. We develop now a global “GM-box” to sit on virtually all engines and include functions for motor control, ESP, 4WD, hybrid, everything you can think of. We do the work once and can distribute the cost of millions of cars. A subcontractor should have paid for every car model, regardless of effort, and we have to pay when we do not have their own options. But we will have soon!