Enova developing next-generation electric drive system “ACUMEN” by reaching out for emerging technologies from other sources
Enova, a developer of proprietary hybrid electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the commercial vehicle market, has begun development of its next-generation drive system, code-named ACUMEN. With the completion of its OMNI drive system (earlier post), Enova is now looking to further optimize its ability to interface with all worldwide EV and HEV systems, including those powered by natural gas.
Enova previously announced its new OMNI drive system which combines the 170 kW OMNI Inverter with a new 10 kW OMNI Charger with an entire range of AC induction and permanent magnet motors. While OMNI was developed in-house, with the ACUMEN system, Enova is looking to evaluate and utilize technologies that are emerging worldwide.
Enova believes that recent reluctance in the industry to deploy large volumes of EVs validates the need for groups to compliment each other’s technologies to drive the industry.
The industry is at a position where we are trying to get enough critical mass to move forward, yet there remains extreme caution and a lack of urgency in regards to larger volume EV deployments. Enova’s aggressive approach towards forging worldwide partnerships should further strengthen our ability to control distribution channels and move past the caution that currently exists.—Mike Staran, Enova’s President and CEO
The ACUMEN components are intended to feature a significantly smaller package, improved efficiencies and reduced weight, while achieving close to double the power density of older generation designs and competitors’ products. The new ACUMEN-Series system will be power-source agnostic—including natural gas—and will offer increased application flexibility and ease of integration.
With all-digital control and plug-and-play connectivity, Enova intends to design ACUMEN to be compatible with all vehicle drive systems and motors so that it can be configured for HEV, PHEV and EV applications.
As a result of its initiative to develop ACUMEN using the industry’s most advanced technologies, Enova recently hosted EV France, a consortium of top French automotive manufacturers including Renault, Peugeot and Volvo Truck, suppliers, clusters and research laboratories working in the field of hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles, advanced batteries and infrastructure support. Enova met with EV France representatives at its headquarters in Torrance, California to explore research, commercial and partnership opportunities.
France has the second largest auto market in the EU with more than 2.2 million cars sold in 2011; more EVs were sold in France in 2011 than in any other country in Europe. Germany has the largest automotive market in Europe and after France, the second largest EV market. Enova has also met with a similar group from Germany and will continue to mature these opportunities in its expansion into the European markets. In the UK, the third largest EU EV market, Enova already supplies both Smith Electric Vehicles as well as Optare, who just announced the launch of the Solo SR EV’s trials in Poundbury.