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Oerlikon Graziano to showcase new multispeed EV transmission and innovative supercar transmissions at VDI Congress

18 June 2012

Oerlikon Graziano SpA will exhibit a family of electric and hybrid vehicle transmissions (earlier post), plus examples of its latest high-performance supercar transmissions, at the VDI Congress in Germany on 19 - 20 June. The electric transmissions displayed at VDI include four-speed seamless-shift transaxles using e-DCT technology, as well as single- and dual-speed transaxles, providing solutions for a wide range of electric vehicle applications.

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The two-speed electric vehicle transaxle. Click to enlarge.

Supercar transmission displays include the dual clutch gearbox from the McLaren MP-12C and the ultra-fast shifting automated manual transmission (AMT) from the Lamborghini Aventador.

For high performance electric GT car applications, the company will exhibit a rear-drive transaxle assembly with twin 125kW electric motors. For hybrids and passenger or light commercial vehicles, a similar arrangement using twin 35kW or 25kW motors will be displayed. Both systems are four-speed types, providing seamless shifting between ratios without clutch or synchronizers.

Dual-speed seamless-shifting transaxles for a single electric motor, that are scalable from passenger car to light commercial vehicle applications, will also be exhibited, as will a single-ratio speed-reducing transaxle for electric passenger cars.

Efficiency is a core motivator in modern automotive design for both EVs and supercars. Packaging constraints are becoming tighter and so a greater emphasis is placed on increasing torque density. Our eDCT EV transmission is a direct result of the experience and expertise we have gained from years of supercar development. Weight and size are as critical for EVs as they are with supercars, and operational efficiency is crucial to increase performance while protecting operational range.

—Claudio Torrelli, Oerlikon Graziano’s head of product development

June 18, 2012 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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What are the real (essential) gains, for non-cargo hauling EVs, to have a multi-speed costly transmission?

A single speed transmission has the disadvantage that torque conversion is also constant. The physical attributes of an electric motor are such that it will draw the necessary power from the battery to produce the required torque. A transmission does not only convert a speed ratio, it also converts torque. I.O.W., a properly designed multi-speed transmission is also a multi-torque converter and is far easier on a battery than a single speed transmission.
Taking huge gulps of current when accelerating from nil to any point upwards on the scale is detrimental to battery performance as well as battery life. As long as batteries remain the most expensive single item of an EV, I'd personally prefer a properly designed multi-speed transmission that eases the physical stress on a battery.

The talk about packaging constraints raises the issue of the ultimate in reduced space consumption:  the in-wheel motor.  If a 2-speed transmission could be integrated with it, the remaining applications for conventional transaxles could become few indeed.

The in-wheel motor is not as attractive as it seems to appear. It increases the unsprung mass of the wheel and subsequently increases tire wear and decreases comfort and handling. I don't have data to support the following but I'm sure the wear and tear on the motor itself also increases.

Not every vehicle needs the ultimate in handling, and wheels and tires can be lightened to compensate.  Going to all-wheel drive distributes the extra weight to all 4 corners and allows improved handling through 4-wheel full-time traction control.  Wear and tear on the motor doesn't matter as long as it outlasts the rest of the car; given that there are motors running today which are many decades old, a motor which starts giving out after 20 years of pounding on the road ought to be sufficient.

Yes...future lighter in-wheel traction e-motors could be mass produced at a much lower cost than two heavy central motors + transmissions for AWD operation. Secondly, repairs/maintenance wound be as simple and easy as changing the damaged wheel.

By the way, two (out of six+ found so far) new very large rare earth mines will open soon in Northern Central Quebec and Ungava regions. Both have very large deposits to support 24/7 operations for up to 300+ years. Those rare earth mines are so large that they may provoke a worldwide surplus by 2020/2025 or so. A North-South railroad and/or industrial roads will have to be extended by 700+ Km to the deep sea ports on the St-Lawrence Gulf.

The same extended railroad could transport other minerals such as Lithium, cobalt, uranium, Iron, Copper, Silver, Gold mined in the same area.

Over $100B will be invested to develop varioujs mines in the area during the next 20 years or so. Another $100B will be invested into Hydro/Wind power projects in the same area. Nines will be supplied with locally produced Hydro/Wind electricity.

Two ultra light In wheel smaller traction motors can be used in each wheel for added braking energy recovery. With 2 e-motors in each wheel, added
redundancy would become very interesting. Long life rugged small e-motors can be mass produced (in you know where) at very low cost. Producing 400+ million powered wheels a year should not be a major challenge.

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