[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.]
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:
Furtive eGT electric sports car hits 240 km/h on the Nordschleife; small production series for 2013
October 12, 2012
|On the Nordschleife. Click to enlarge.|
The racing driver Sabine Schmitz has tested the battery-electric Furtive eGT sports car from Exagon Motors (earlier post) on the Nordschleife (north loop) of the Nürburgring, achieving a top speed of nearly 240 km/h (149 mph) on the 20 kilometer long Nordschleife. The Furtive eGT, introduced earlier this year at the Paris Motor Show, features motors from Siemens and batteries from Saft.
Exagon intends to build a small production series of the Furtive eGT starting in 2013. Siemens, which has cooperated for a number of years with Exagon at the Andros Ice Race for electric vehicles, says it views the Furtive eGT sports car as an opportunity to demonstrate the efficiency and performance of its motor technology. The Siemens global research unit Corporate Technology developed the powertrain and built a prototype.
Rolls-Royce delivers first rim-mounted permanent magnet tunnel thruster
September 21, 2012
|Design of the new permanent magnet tunnel thruster. Click to enlarge.|
Rolls-Royce has delivered the first of its newly-developed permanent magnet tunnel thrusters (TT-PM) to Norwegian company Olympic Shipping, which will operate the thruster on their vessel Olympic Octopus.
Tunnel thrusters are positioned fore and aft on a wide range of ships and provide sideways thrust for maneuvering and holding position in rough seas. The TT-PM offers numerous advantages over traditional tunnel thrusters, including a 25% increase in power output of from the same size propeller, significant reduction in noise and vibration, and the ability to be removed underwater, eliminating the need for dry docking.
Toshiba develops dysprosium-free samarium-cobalt magnet to replace heat-resistant neodymium magnet in motors
August 16, 2012
Toshiba Corporation has developed a high-iron concentration samarium-cobalt (SmCo) magnet that is free of dysprosium, a rare earth mineral that is in extremely short supply and increasingly expensive. (Earlier post.) At typical operating temperatures, the samarium-cobalt magnet has superior magnetic properties to the heat-resistant neodymium magnets—which contain dysprosium—currently used in motors.
The company has been working on SmCo magnets for a number of years (and has applied a SmCo magnet in a motor for a washer-dryer introduced in 2009). In this latest development, Toshiba used heat-treatment technology to improve the magnetic force of the samarium-cobalt magnet, and in doing so has boosted its performance to a level surpassing that of the heat-resistant neodymium magnet. The high-iron concentration samarium-cobalt magnet exceeds the heat-resistant neodymium magnet in magnetic force by 1% at an operating temperature of 100 °C and by 5% at 150°C.
GE previews new high-efficiency traction motor for hybrid and electric vehicle applications
July 30, 2012
by Jack Rosebro
|The new prototype motor. Click to enlarge.|
General Electric engineers have successfully tested a prototype hybrid and electric vehicle motor with a peak power level of 55 kW and the ability to operate continuously at up to 105 °C (221 °F), using conventional transmission fluid as the motor’s sole cooling agent.
The motor—which GE says is 3 to 5% more efficient than existing motors—could potentially extend the range of a plug-in vehicle. It was developed as part of a $5.6-million US Department of Energy (DOE) project, and performs well over a range of bus voltages, from 200V to 650V.
In-wheel electric drive company Protean receives $84M in funding; to build production plant in China
July 10, 2012
Protean Electric, developer of in-wheel electric drive systems (earlier post), received $84 million in new funding from GSR Ventures, New Times Group, Oak Investment Partners and the city of Liyang, Jiangsu Province, China. This capital will be used to bring Protean’s electric drive technology to production by establishing manufacturing facilities in Liyang.
The funding is led by GSR Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Beijing and Silicon Valley. They will be joined by the New Times Group, a Liyang-based industrial group. Oak Investment Partners, Protean’s first venture investor, is also participating in this round of funding. The city of Liyang is partnering to provide prototype manufacturing support, with favorable industrial policy.
ArcelorMittal unveils iCARe portfolio of electrical steel solutions for hybrid and electric vehicle motors
June 27, 2012
ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel and mining company, unveiled its first electrical steel product range designed specifically to meet the requirements of the electric vehicle (EV) sector at the Coil Winding, Insulation and Electrical Manufacturing trade fair in Berlin. Electrical steels are specialty steels tailored to produce certain magnetic properties; strips of electrical steel are stacked (laminations) to form electric motor stators and rotors (or the cores of transformers).
The result of a significant investment in research and development, the iCARe portfolio has been created to help carmakers deliver lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel consumption for hybrid vehicles, while also contributing to longer range of pure electric vehicles and a lower total cost of electrification.
Honda to begin reuse of rare earth metals extracted from used NiMH batteries before year end; targeting extraction from motors and Li-ion batteries as well
June 20, 2012
|Flow of the reuse of rare earth metals Honda is striving to achieve. Click to enlarge.|
Honda Motor Co., Ltd., which has been extracting rare earth metals from used nickel-metal hydride batteries at the plant of Japan Metals & Chemicals Co., Ltd. from April of this year, plans to begin reusing the extracted metals before the end of 2012.
Honda will pursue the recycling of precious resources by reusing extracted rare earth metals not only for nickel-metal hydride batteries, but also for use in a wide range of parts. Further, in disassembly process of used nickel-metal hydride batteries, Honda is considering efforts to recover any residual voltage from the used nickel-metal hydride batteries and use it as regenerative voltage for the disassembly process.
Cobham, Jaguar Land Rover and Ricardo partnering to develop switched reluctance traction motor
June 14, 2012
Cobham Technical Services is collaborating with Jaguar Land-Rover (JLR) and engineering consultancy Ricardo UK to develop a switched reluctance traction motor. The £1.5-million (US$2.3-million) project is co-funded (half) by the UK Technology Strategy Board, with the rest being provided by the project partners.
Aside from the need to further reduce CO2 emissions from hybrid vehicles by moving to more efficient and lower weight electric motors, there is an urgent requirement to eliminate the use of rare earth elements, which are in increasingly short supply and have risen ten-fold in cost in recent years, the partners note.
Toyota Motorsport GmbH to demo new high-performance electric drivetrain at Pikes Peak
June 07, 2012
|TMG’s high-performance electric powertrain, with dual axial flux motors and inverters visible. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) will demonstrate its high-performance electric powertrain technology at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado on 8 July.
Last year TMG set a new electric vehicle lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife (7 min. 47.794 sec) with the road-legal TMG EV P001 car (earlier post), a record which still stands. TMG’s advanced electric and electronic department spent the subsequent months developing an updated electric powertrain, which is more powerful and more durable than its predecessor.
DOE investing $120M over 5 years in Energy Innovation Hub for Critical Materials Research
June 01, 2012
The US Department of Energy (DOE) will invest $120 million over five years to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub, establishing a multidisciplinary and sustained effort to identify problems and develop solutions across the lifecycle of critical materials such as rare earth elements (REE) (DE-FOA-0000687)
The Critical Materials Hub builds on the Department’s Critical Materials Strategy report (earlier post), which addresses the use of rare earths and other critical materials in clean energy components, products, and processes. The goal of the Critical Materials Hub will be to reduce US dependence on these critical materials and ensure that the deployment of domestic energy technologies is not hindered by future materials supply shortages.
Enova developing next-generation electric drive system “ACUMEN” by reaching out for emerging technologies from other sources
May 24, 2012
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.
SKF BeyondZero portfolio for automotive and industrial; solutions for e-powertrains at EVS26
May 08, 2012
|SKF eDrive Ball Bearing. Click to enlarge.|
Bearings, seals, and mechatronics company SKF introduced its BeyondZero portfolio of products to help its customers reduce their own environmental impacts. Environmental improvements provided by solutions within the SKF BeyondZero portfolio are validated through a life cycle assessment methodology developed by SKF sustainability engineers. Results will be reviewed yearly by KPMG.
Mechatronics is the synergistic combination of precision mechanical engineering, electronic control and systems thinking in the design of products and manufacturing processes. For the automotive industry, the BeyondZero products include: