Suzuki self-charging hybrid technology unveiled by its engineers | Environment

Suzuki engineers Yuichi Uda and Kazuki Nagata take a look behind the scenes of Suzuki self-charging hybrid technology

Since the 2010s, Suzuki develops its own hybrid technologies.

Initiated in 2016installed on the Suzuki Swift in 2017, the mild hybridization technology is today for the benefit of a range of passenger cars.

In 2022the Suzuki brand introduced, first on the Vitara, then on the S-Cross, a new self-charging hybrid drive.

Two Suzuki engineers in charge of this program reveal behind the scenes.

“During the development of the mild hybridization system, Suzuki»s first step in the field of vehicle electrification, we began to consider an evolution with a self-charging hybrid technology. » Explain Yuichi Uda. From the start, Suzuki engineers understood that hybridization would be the key to the evolution of engines towards better performance in terms of consumption, but also emissions.

After mild hybridization, introduced by Suzuki in 2016, self-charging hybrid technology is now another important step for Suzuki. “The self-charging hybrid system makes it possible to use only the electric motor, unlike the mild hybridization system, which necessarily combines thermal and electric. » precise Kazuki Nagata.

Designed and developed by Suzuki, self-charging hybrid technology was, for Suzuki development engineers, synonymous with many challenges to overcome: “The thermal and electric motors must be interconnected in order to guarantee greater efficiency of the entire system. » underlines Kazuki Nagata, while Yuichi Uda specifies: “A hybrid system must display excellent environmental performance without compromising responsiveness and driving sensations, strengths of Suzuki models. » Another point, according to Nagata: if hybridization often rhymes with additional weight, it is contrary to the development philosophy of suzuki vehicles whose compactness and contained mass take precedence: “We had constraints to respect in terms of engine size and power to develop a hybrid system that was efficient, lightweight and compact. »

The two Suzuki engineers feel they have accomplished their mission. “Suzuki’s self-charging hybrid system is designed to be both compact and lightweight, and offers attractive value for money while delivering optimal performance. » concludes Kazuki Nagata. “I believe that technologies that are in line with our approach to a sustainable society: “reduce, save, lighten, shorten and rationalize”, are the hallmarks of the Environmental Vision 2050 of the company. » adds Yuichi Uda.

Why did Suzuki decide to develop self-charging hybrid technology?

Yuichi Uda: “The development of the SHVS mild hybridization system, Suzuki’s first step in the field of vehicle electrification, started in 2016, in particular on the Swift in Europe. From that time, we began to consider an even deeper evolution with a self-charging hybrid technology. Knowing that our Auto Gear Shift (AGS) system, or automated gearbox, is light, compact and efficient, we thought that combining the AGS system with an electric motor would bring us many advantages when developing hybrid technology. After launching an A-segment model with a self-charging hybrid system in Japan in 2016, we worked on improving this system and adapting it to European vehicles in higher segments. »

What were the challenges in developing Suzuki’s self-charging hybrid system?

Yuichi Uda: “The idea was to develop a hybrid system by combining an electric motor directly with the AGS system. Exclusive to Suzuki, it is in our view the best choice for light and economical vehicles. In addition, we have been able to take full advantage of the AGS system, thus ensuring that a Suzuki hybrid vehicle retains the responsive driving sensations that our customers appreciate. »

What are the differences with the SHVS light hybridization system?

Kazuki Nagata: “The main difference is that the self-charging hybrid system allows the car to be propelled solely by the electric motor, in certain circumstances, unlike the SHVS system. Another difference is that the self-charging hybrid system recovers the energy produced during deceleration and braking, but also during very low demands on the internal combustion engine. In fact, with self-recharging hybridization, at stabilized speed, the technology uses the electric motor to recharge the battery at the most opportune moment. »

On what aspects have you particularly focused your efforts?

Kazuki Nagata: “I focused on ensuring that all elements of the powertrain work together and with optimal efficiency. For example, the thermal and electric motors must be interconnected in such a way as to guarantee greater efficiency of the entire system at all times; that it is transparent for the client. »

Yuichi Uda: “A hybrid system must display excellent environmental performance, without compromising responsiveness and driving sensations, strengths of Suzuki models. Therefore, by taking advantage of the AGS system, we have optimized the feeling of direct gear engagement with electric motor assistance. Result: a smooth acceleration thanks to the compensation by the electric motor of the latency usually felt during gear changes. »

What was the most challenging aspect of developing this technology?

Kazuki Nagata: “We had constraints to respect in terms of engine size and power to develop a hybrid system that was both light and compact. To integrate a compact electric motor into a self-recharging hybrid system meeting customer needs, all the complexity was to make it possible to make the best use of its performance. »

What did you enjoy and what impressed you during development?

Yuichi Uda: “I was touched by what the Japanese automotive press said, ‘It’s a typical Suzuki hybrid system.’ I was thrilled to develop Suzuki’s self-charging hybrid system, the world’s first of its kind. I am now eager to hear testimonials from European customers and journalists on this subject. »

What does this Suzuki technology mean to you?

Kazuki Nagata: “A hybrid system that uses an expensive, high-performance electric motor can only be fitted to large vehicles. Suzuki’s is both compact and lightweight, and offers an attractive price/quality ratio while displaying optimal performance. It can further be applied to a wide range of vehicles. »

Yuichi Uda: “I believe that technologies that are in line with our approach to a sustainable society: ‘reduce, save, lighten, shorten and streamline’, are the hallmarks of the company’s Environmental Vision 2050. . »

Leave a Comment