Proton X90 confirmed to get 48V hybrid turbo engine –

Proton’s very first production hybrid car will be launched this year, according to reports by research houses based on an analyst briefing by Proton’s majority shareholder DRB-HICOM on March 2. According to these reports, the Proton X90 will be a mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV).

The MHEV hybrid system is expected to be a 1.5 litre three-cylinder 48V engine+motor combo producing 190 PS at 5,500 rpm and 300 Nm of torque from 1,500-4,000 rpm, which is higher than the 177 PS, 255 Nm non-hybrid version of the engine.

We had already speculated that this would happen based on two reasons. Firstly, Proton has already exhibited this engine at Proton’s Centre of Excellence showroom in Shah Alam back in November 2021. Secondly, this engine is already being used by the Proton X90’s ‘sibling’, the Geely Okavango in the left hand drive Philippines market.

How does the Proton X90’s 48V hybrid system work?

The system takes the regular 3-cylinder 1.5 litre turbocharged engine and adds a number of components to it. The hybrid system can provide 13 horsepower and 45 Nm of assist, which is what brings the 177 PS, 255 Nm numbers of the non-hybrid up to 190 PS and 300 Nm in the hybrid.

The electric assist in this system is provided by a BSG, or Belt-driven Starter Generator. It’s basically an extremely beefed up alternator that can be used to provide some power to the engine.

Unlike other more elaborate hybrid systems which sandwiches a motor between the engine and the gearbox, the BSG provides power through the belt, which is connected to the crank. It runs on a 48V power system, provided by a 48V battery.

The BSG will also be able to charge this 48V battery by recuperating braking energy and turning it into electricity. This is the only way to charge the battery, as there’s no socket for external charging.

There is also a 48V to 12V DC to DC converter in the system, so the 48V system can provide power to the car’s usual 12V system, which runs everything else like the aircond and lights.

Since it’s called a ‘mild’ hybrid system, the capabilities are also modest. The Proton X90’s hybrid BSG motor will not be able to power the car on pure electric drive mode like other more advanced systems like Honda’s e:HEV system or Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive systems.

What it will be able to do is allow the Proton X90 hybrid to have extended engine shutdown at speeds of below 15 km/h, such as when coasting to a stop. The 13 hp and 45 Nm also kicks in when you are accelerating from a stop or even during overtaking moves, providing extra torque when you need it the most. The Proton X90 can also coast at highway speeds with the engine shut off and the gearbox disconnected.

48V hybrid systems are on the uptrend these days such as this are actually more prevalent in the showrooms than you think they are, but they’re just not marketed as hybrids anymore as the industry has transitioned to using the term only for more powerful hybrid systems.

If every 48V hybrid were marketed as a hybrid in first world countries, there would be no more non-hybrids left on sale, especially in the last 2-3 years. For example, both the Malaysian market W206 C200 and C300’s M254 engines use 48V hybrid systems with BSG.

Are you excited for Proton’s first 48V hybrid to hit the showrooms? Or are you more adventurous and are waiting for a plug-in hybrid like Volvo’s T8 hybrids instead? Let us know in the comments.

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