[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
SAE New Energy Vehicle Forum: China’s focus on NEVs may have profound impact on future of transportation
November 13, 2013
China has a number of critical economic and environmental imperatives driving its pursuit of vehicle electrification, said the roster of plenary speakers at the SAE 2013 New Energy Vehicle Forum held in Shanghai this week. These include the increasingly problematic pollution and haze in cities; China’s projected increased reliance on imported oil; the need for rationalized multimodal transportation systems in ever more congested and space-limited cities; the growing dominance of the China auto market; and the desire to have China become the leader in the next generation of automotive technology, vehicles and mobility systems.
The shift from fossil fuels to electricity—while held in common with other countries—will be based on the “specific situation” in China, making the best use of China’s own advantages and innovations, but also with international cooperation, said Dr. Zhixin Wu, Vice President of the China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC). The details of that specific situation may result in an electric vehicle parc somewhat different than in Western countries, other speakers noted, and may indeed—given the obvious scale of the China market—herald a major transformation in transportation, including the type and role of personal vehicles, others suggested.
JRC study finds 8 metals for low-carbon energy technologies at risk of shortages; EVs, wind and solar, and lighting the applications of most concern
November 04, 2013
A new European Joint Research Centre (JRC) study looking into the supply of raw materials for the manufacture of low-carbon energy technologies found that eight metals were at high risk of shortages. The applications, i.e. technologies, of particular concern as a result are electric vehicles, wind and solar energy, and lighting. The risk arises from EU dependency on imports, growing demand worldwide and geopolitical reasons.
The study builds on a 2011 effort which looked into the six key applications of the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan: wind, solar, nuclear fission, bioenergy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and the electricity grid. In the new study, these were re-assessed and considered along with 11 other technologies—including fuel cells, electricity storage, electric vehicles and lighting—treated in the new report, this time evaluated on the expected supplies of the metals and not on the current situation as in the first report.
Chrysler Group in 5-year, $18.2M partnership with McMaster University to develop advanced electric and hybrid powertrains; funding from Canadian Government
October 25, 2013
Chrysler Group LLC has entered a 5-year, $18.2-million partnership with McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, with funding support from the Canadian government, to develop next-generation, energy-efficient, high-performance electrified powertrains and powertrain components. For McMaster, the project partnership is one of three new partnerships with Chrysler, the federal government and other auto industry leaders worth a combined $24 million.
Chrysler Group will invest $9.25 million in cash and in-kind contributions, with an additional $8.93 million coming from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the lead agency within Automotive Partnership Canada (APC), an initiative that supports industry research at Canadian universities and government laboratories.
BRUSA picks up awards at eCarTec Munich 2013 for wireless charging and electric truck; synchronous motor shortlisted
October 17, 2013
|The two components of BRUSA’s Inductive Charging System. Click to enlarge.|
BRUSA won two of the eCarTec Awards presented at eCarTec Munich 2013 trade fair. BRUSA’s new ICS inductive charging system and the E-FORCE electric truck won in their particular categories, while BRUSA’s synchronous motor was shortlisted in the category of “Drive Technology, System Electrics, Testing Systems”.
BRUSA Inductive Charging System. BRUSA’s ICS was the winner in the category “Energy, Infrastructure, Connection Technology”. The new system only comprises a floor and vehicle plate—the required power electronics are integrated.
DSD 3-speed EV transmission with Oxford YASA axial flux motor to be integrated in Range Rover Evoque_e research vehicle
September 09, 2013
|Compared to a single-speed EV or HEV transmission, DSD’s MSYS 3-speed system provides a 40% weight saving and 10-15% lower energy consumption. Click to enlarge.|
Specialist engineering consultancy Drive System Design (DSD) has been named as a member of the £16-million, 27-month Evoque_e program (earlier post) to develop new modular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology.
DSD will be responsible for integrating high speed E-machines, clutches and clutch strategies associated with torque management and delivery to the wheels. The pure electric research vehicle will feature the company’s novel MSYS multi-speed traction system developed by DSD and Oxford YASA Motors (earlier post), which incorporates a three-speed powershifting gearbox and axial flux motor.
Jaguar Land Rover to lead $25M Evoque_e collaborative research project to develop new modular HEV, PHEV and BEV technology
September 04, 2013
Jaguar Land Rover will lead a £16.3-million (US$25 million) “Evoque_e” collaborative research project to develop new modular hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery-electric vehicle (BEV) technology. Evoque_e is a two-year UK government Technology Strategy Board project.
Jaguar Land Rover will contribute £4 million (US$6.3 million) to the project and will lead a consortium of 12 selected partners—eight from industry and three universities. The partners include Zytek Automotive, GKN Driveline, Motor Design Limited, AVL, Drive System Design, Williams Advanced Engineering, Delta Motorsport, Tata Steel, Bristol University, Cranfield University and Newcastle University.
Toyota provides some details on Yaris Hybrid-R 420hp powertrain; three 45 kW motors
August 26, 2013
|The Yaris Hybrid-R features three 45 kW electric motors, one on each rear wheel and a third between the engine and transmission that operates as a generator. This third motor can act as an advanced traction control system. Click to enlarge.|
At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Toyota will showcase the Yaris Hybrid-R concept, created as a showcase of possible ideas for the development of hybrid technology for maximum performance and increased driving pleasure. (Earlier post.) Toyota has now provided a few additional details about the powertrain in advance of the show.
The front wheels are driven by a 300 hp (224 kW) 4-cylinder 1.6 turbo gasoline direct injection engine specifically developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) according to the rules of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) for a Global Race Engine to be utilized in various motorsport disciplines.
BMW’s hybrid motor design seeks to deliver high efficiency and power density with lower rare earth use
August 13, 2013
With its introduction of the eDrive motor—a proprietary hybrid synchronous motor designed to exploit both permanent magnets and the reluctance effect—in both the BMW i3 (earlier) and i8 (earlier post), BMW is advancing what it sees as an answer to achieving the highest possible power density and efficiency coupled with minimum possible use of magnets containing rare earth materials.
The 50 kg electric motor powering the BMW i3 generates a maximum output of 125 kW for a specific power (SP) of 2.5 kW/kg. The motor offers linear power delivery extending into high rev ranges, with maximum revs of 11,400 rpm. As one point of comparison, the permanent magnet motor in the 2011 Nissan LEAF was rated at 80 kW from a 58 kg motor, for a SP of 1.38 kW/kg.
Project developing lightweight motors and their production technologies for EVs; fiber-reinforced plastics
July 22, 2013
In cooperation with four other companies, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is developing flexible technologies for the series production of lightweight electric motors under the “ProLeMo” project (website scheduled to go live 15 August). ProLeMo is a 3-year, €3.3-million (US$4.4-million) project is managed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology(BMWi) is providing €1.7 million (US$2.2 million) of the funding.
ProLeMo is funded under the German government’s “e-mobility, positioning along the value chain - Electric Power” program, and will seek to replace metals in motors with fiber-reinforced composite materials and soft magnetic composites. At the end of the project, KIT will set up a complete demonstration manufacturing cell.
JRC assesses EU RD&D investments in electric-drive vehicles; controls and energy storage top the list
July 20, 2013
|Distribution of total investments and public co-funding in publicly co-funded R&D projects. Controls and energy storage top the list. Source: JRC. Click to enlarge.|
A report from the JRC on research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects on electric drive vehicles (not including fuel cell vehicles) in the EU finds that increased exchange of information and more coordination between projects would result in a better leverage of the investments—at this point, some €1.9 billion (US$2.5 billion), 65% from public funding. The JRC (Joint Research Centre) is the European Commission’s (EC’s) in-house science service.
The report is the third in a series that deals with aspects of electromobility in Europe. Its goal was to collect the information on all on-going or recently concluded RD&D projects on electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which received EU or national public funding with a budget of more than €1 million (US$1.3 million), in order to assess which of the electric drive vehicles (EDV) challenges are addressed by these projects and to identify potential gaps in the RD&D landscape in Europe.
BRUSA electric drive components now available in 750-volt versions; targeted for commercial and very high performance
July 13, 2013
|BRUSA 750V electric drive components. Click to enlarge.|
BRUSA Elektronik AG is now offering its proven electric-drive components—including motor, controller, power electronics, battery pack and chargers—in 750-volt versions. The new 750-volt products are suited for use in commercial vehicles and applications demanding very high output performance.
Increasing the voltage reduces the current with the performance remaining the same. Lower current leads to a reduction of cable thicknesses and bending radii. This will directly result in weight and material savings—especially with commercial vehicles of a certain length such as trucks or buses, BRUSA says.
Oerlikon and Continental to cooperate on motor and transmission systems for hybrid & electric vehicles
May 28, 2013
Swiss high-tech industrial Group Oerlikon and international automotive supplier Continental have entered into an agreement to cooperate on the development and marketing of integrated axle drive motor and transmission systems for hybrid and electric vehicles featuring optimized overall powertrain efficiency.
Oerlikon Graziano SpA will contribute its know-how in the development, production and design of high-performance transmissions, while Continental’s Powertrain Division will bring to the table its expertise in the development of conventional, hybrid and all-electric passenger car powertrains.
Chalmers team developing new high-power integrated motor and battery charger; “rotating transformer”
April 30, 2013
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have developed a new type of high-power integrated motor drive and battery charger for electric vehicles. Compared to today’s electric vehicle chargers, the new system could shorten the charging time from eight to two hours, and to reduce the cost by around $2,000, according to the developers.
Dr. Saeid Haghbin at Chalmers proposed the system which uses the components in the traction circuit—such as the electric motor and the inverter—in the charger circuit to reduce the size, weight and price of the on-board charger. In essence, the proposed system uses the motor as a grid-connected generator with extra terminals.
Honda progressing with transverse flux motor for hybrid powertrain
April 26, 2013
|Left: Structure of original TF motor. Right: new TF motor. -32% is the relative reduction in axial length compared to a conventional motor. Takizawa et al. Click to enlarge.|
Honda has proposed and is developing a Transverse Flux motor (TF motor) in order to shorten the axial length of the motor for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). At the 2013 SAE World Congress, Honda engineers described their progress in improving the new type of three-dimensional magnetic circuit motor.
In contrast to conventional stators composed of a stator core (made from magnetic steel sheet) and winding wires, the TF motor’s stator is composed of a soft magnetic composite (SMC) core and a coil. While reducing axial length and achieving a simple stator architecture comprising only five parts, the new motor raises issues including the need further to improve motor efficiency (currently at 83.7%) and the development of techniques for the manufacture of rectangular wave-shaped coils.
Linamar introduces Agilit-e rear axle hybrid power unit for OEMs; FWD Cadillac SRX converted to AWD plug-in hybrid as demo
April 18, 2013
|The Linamar Agilit-e unit contains the two motors, gears, power electronics, and cooling. The ECU, which is discrete in this first demo application, will be subsequently integrated into the main unit. Click to enlarge.|
Global automotive supplier Linamar Corporation has developed a fully-integrated, compact, modular and scalable twin-motor bolt-on rear axle unit to enable hybrid all-wheel drive applications: the Agilit-e Hybrid Power Unit. The company presented the unit, applied in a conventional front-wheel drive Cadillac SRX now converted to an AWD plug-in hybrid, at the 2013 SAE World Congress in Detroit.
The demonstration unit features twin independent 75 kW motors (150 kW total output), each coupled with a single-speed reduction gear (8.4 ratio), which is bolted to its respective half shaft. Coupled with a 330V, 9 kWh Li-ion battery pack in the SRX, the system enables an all-electric range of up to 30 km (18.6 miles) with a maximum all-electric speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).
Navigant forecasts global sales of LDV electric drive motors to hit 3.7M by 2020
March 27, 2013
|Electric vehicle drive motor revenue by region, world markets: 2013-2020. Source: Navigant. Click to enlarge.|
Unit sales of electric drive motors for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) will reach 3.7 million by 2020, growing from 1.5 million in 2013, according to a new report from Navigant Research (formerly Pike Research). Total global market revenue will grow from just less than $1 billion in 2013 to more than $2.8 billion in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.6%.
The market for electric traction motors is determined by the demand for electric and electrically assisted vehicles, which varies across the three major automotive market regions in the world (North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific), Navigant notes. While sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are increasing, the growth is slow and steady rather than exponential. Cost remains the main barrier in the short term, with the battery pack being by far the most expensive component.
California Energy Commission awards more than $5.5M for green transportation projects and $1.8M for 20 energy research projects
March 21, 2013
The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved $5,580,773 for clean-energy transportation projects including biodiesel production, power control electronics for medium-and heavy-duty battery electric vehicles, and buydowns for propane vehicles. The awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
In addition, CEC awarded $1,815,274 to fund 20 energy research projects in the areas of transportation, electricity, and natural gas. Funds for these projects—which span areas as diverse as a new crossover valve for the split-cycle Tour Engine (earlier post) to a new solar thermal storage device capable of integration with utility scale solar thermal power plants—come from Commission’s Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) program.
DOE to award more than $50M for new plug-in vehicle technology research projects
March 09, 2013
The US DOE has released the final version of a new funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000793) that will award more than $50 million in funding for new projects intended to accelerate the development of advanced plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) technologies to increase vehicle fuel economy and improve performance. DOE had earlier requested public comment on a draft of the solicitation. (Earlier post.) The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will select new research projects—an anticipated minimum of 30 and maximum of 50—that focus on lowering the cost and increasing the efficiency of PEV components, as well as the development of models and tools to predict these vehicles' performance and help improve fuel economy. The Department will fund projects across five major areas of research and development that cover 12 areas of interest (AOIs), including:
AC Kinetics to showcase next-generation motor control software at ARPA-E Summit; 10-40% reduction in energy consumption and improved performance
February 05, 2013
Motor control company AC Kinetics, Inc. will introduce its next-generation motor control technology at the upcoming ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit in Washington, D.C., 25-27 February. AC Kinetics was selected as a Semi-Finalist in the Future Energy Pitching Event at the Summit.
The advanced AC Kinetics software (ACKS), supported by real-time adaptive algorithms, runs on standard drive hardware for motorized equipment in the consumer, industrial, and transportation markets. The drive software controls the motor to optimally generate torque on demand in a maximally efficient manner.
DOE seeking comment on draft $50M solicitation for new projects over 11 areas of interest to improve vehicle performance and decrease fuel consumption
February 02, 2013
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program is seeking public comment on the draft of an upcoming solicitation (DE-FOA-0000793) totaling more than $50 million for new research projects that will develop advanced technologies to improve vehicle performance and increase fuel economy. As part of the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between DOE and the Department of the Army, the Army plans to contribute $3.5 million in co-funding for several areas where there are joint development opportunities. The FOA supports the President’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. (Earlier post.)
DOE will release the final version after a period of public comment and revision. The FOA contains a total of 11 areas of interest (AOIs) in the general areas of advanced lightweighting and propulsion materials; advanced battery development; power electronics; advanced heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems; and fuels and lubricants. Specific AOIs are:
Ames Lab team to head new $120M Critical Materials Institute; addressing shortages in rare earth metals and other materials
January 09, 2013
The US Department of Energy selected a team led by its Ames Laboratory for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish an Energy Innovation Hub that will develop solutions to the domestic shortages of rare earth metals and other materials critical for US energy. The new research center, which will be named the Critical Materials Institute (CMI), will bring together leading researchers from academia, four Department of Energy national laboratories, and the private sector. (Earlier post.)
Many materials deemed critical by the DOE are used in modern clean energy technologies—such as wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicles, and energy-efficient lighting. The DOE’s 2011 Critical Materials Strategy reported that supply challenges for five rare earth metals (dysprosium, terbium, europium, neodymium, and yttrium) may affect clean energy technology deployment in the coming years. (Earlier post.)
ORNL researcher explores impact of motor/generator and battery pack sizing on medium-duty PHEV; optimization framework
January 04, 2013
|GHG emissions in PHEV post-transmission configuration as an example of the optimization study output. Source: A.A. Malikopoulos. Click to enlarge.|
Using a new optimization framework, Dr. Andreas Malikopoulos of the Energy & Transportation Science Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has explored the impact on fuel economy and GHG emissions of varying the size of the motor/generator and battery pack in pre- and post-transmission hybrid configurations of a medium-duty PHEV. The paper is currently in press in the Journal of Energy Resources Technology.
Broadly, he found that for the PHEV pre-transmission configuration, there is a trade-off between fuel economy and GHG emissions when the motor/generator and battery size increases. In post-transmission PHEV configurations, however, a combination of a big motor/generator size with a big battery size appears to be beneficial both in terms of fuel economy and GHG emissions as it enhances energy recovery during brake regeneration as a result of the physical location of the motor/generator.
Updated Nissan LEAF available in Japan; range improved by 14%; new motor uses 40% less dysprosium
November 20, 2012
|Nissan’s grain boundary diffusion process allows it to reduce the use of dysprosium in the traction motor in the updated LEAF by 40%. Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. released the updated Nissan LEAF electric vehicle (EV) in Japan. The battery-electric LEAF, now in its second iteration, is now available at Nissan dealers nationwide. With the updates, range at full charge on the JC08 cycle is expected to be 228 km (141 miles)—a 14% improvement over the original version of the LEAF with a 200-km range (124 miles) on the JC08 cycle.
Among the enhancements to the updated LEAF is a newly developed electric motor that will reduce the use of the rare earth element (REE) dysprosium (Dy) by 40% compared to conventional EV motors. The new synchronous AC motor offers the same power output (80 kW) as its predecessor, but less torque: 254 N·m for the new motor, vs. 280 N·m for its predecessor.
GM looking to combination of internal R&D and external investments for new technology; focus on five key areas; the importance of generational change
General Motors is leveraging two separate organizations—its internal R&D group and the recently formed GM Ventures—to accelerate innovation and to introduce new technology to keep the company on the forefront of the technology revolution now taking place in the automotive industry, according to John Lauckner, GM’s Chief Technology Officer; Vice President, Global Research & Development; and President, GM Ventures.
During a talk at the recent Electrification Experience symposium (earlier post), Lauckner briefly outlined GM’s efforts to leverage three sources of technology: technology developed in house, through R&D or advanced engineering; technology from outside the company from startups; and technology from suppliers and engineering firms. GM is focusing on five key areas, Lauckner said: