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[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.]

Silicon Mobility introduces new software library and app for optimizing EV, HEV efficiency, battery range and charging speed

March 13, 2017

France-based Silicon Mobility, a provider of semiconductor control solutions for electric motors, battery and energy management systems of hybrid and electric vehicles, introduced a software library (OLEA LIB) and an application (OLEA APP) optimized for its OLEA chips to increase the energy efficiency, the battery range and the charging speed for hybrid and electric vehicles.

OLEA is Silicon Mobility’s family of standard products for automotive applications. OLEA embeds Silicon Mobility’s technologies: AMEC, hardware flexible interface for real-time data processing and deterministic control of actuators and sensors and SILant, functional safety acceleration unit for detecting, containing, correcting and protecting against system faults.

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ConMet and Protean Electric partner to develop electric in-wheel drive system for the commercial vehicle market

March 09, 2017

Consolidated Metco, a leading global supplier of components to the commercial vehicle market, and Protean Electric, the manufacturer of ProteanDRIVE in-wheel motors, are partnering to develop an electric in-wheel drive system to provide hybrid-electric solutions for the medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets.

The ConMet/Protean in-wheel electric drive system is intended to deliver a robust and efficient hybrid propulsion system designed for commercial trucks, tractors, and trailers. This will enable ConMet’s OEM and fleet customers to address the continued tightening of safety and emissions regulations, increasing demands for improved fuel efficiency, weight and drivetrain packaging optimization, and shifts in vehicle demands for long-haul and urban delivery.

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Bosch establishing new electromobility operating unit in Powertrain Solutions; start at beginning of 2018

February 08, 2017

Bosch is forming an operating unit specifically for electromobility. The unit will be part of the new Powertrain Solutions division. From the start of 2018, Powertrain Solutions will include the company’s electromobility activities as well as the existing Gasoline Systems and Diesel Systems divisions. Thus, in the future, Bosch will supply existing and new customers with all powertrain technologies from a single source.

In addition to the 20 million new hybrids and electric vehicles that Bosch esimates will be produced in 2025, there will be some 85 million new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles. Thus, as well as expanding electromobility, Bosch will work intensively on further improving combustion-engine technology.

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Hitachi Automotive Systems and Honda to establish a joint venture for electric vehicle motors

February 07, 2017

Hitachi Automotive Systems and Honda Motor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aiming to establish a joint venture company for the development, manufacture and sales of motors for electric vehicles. Initially, Hitachi will hold 51%, Honda 49% of the new JV, the name of which is still to be determined.

Subsidiary operations of the new Japan-based joint venture are planned for the US and China, each with manufacturing and sales functions. Together with the establishment of these operations, the new company will expand the global supply of motors by creating a robust response to demand from Honda and other vehicle manufacturers.

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New hybrid electric ferry launches in Taiwan with Visedo electric propulsion system

February 02, 2017

The Taiwanese harbor city of Kaohsiung has launched a new hybrid electric ferry. The Cijian Island passenger ferry is retrofitted with a Visedo electric propulsion system, replacing the original diesel engine. It heralds Asia’s first hybrid electric ferry and, if successful, the Kaohsiung City Government plans to retrofit the rest of its diesel fleet to help reduce pollution levels around Taiwan’s largest harbor.

Visedo OY, a leading Finnish manufacturer of electric drivetrains for marine vessels, commercial vehicles and heavy duty applications, worked alongside Taiwan’s Ship and Ocean Industries R&D Center (SOIC) to complete the retrofit.

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UQM partners with Meritor for full e-axle systems for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles; prototypes later this year

UQM Technologies has signed a development agreement with Meritor. The development program is expected to last for two-and-one-half years. The alliance will develop full electric axle systems to address the increasing commercial vehicle market demand requirements for improved fuel economy and reduced emissions through much higher levels of vehicle electrification.

Meritor’s mechanical drivetrain components will be combined with UQM’s motor and inverter technology and hardware to create the Meritor and UQM Electric Axle System (MUQM Electric Axles) for the medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets. The companies anticipate that prototypes will be ready by early fall of 2017.

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NSK demonstrates transmission-equipped wheel hub motor

January 30, 2017

NSK Ltd. has successfully demonstrated the first transmission-equipped wheel hub motor, designed to improve the environmental performance, safety, and comfort of automobiles. Building on the knowledge it has gained from the prototype wheel hub motor it developed, NSK is aiming to commercialize wheel hub components such as the hub unit bearing with built-in speed reducer, the one-way clutch unit, the miniature cage and roller bearing, and the anti-corrosion bearing.

In-wheel motors that can work with various drive systems independent of the body structure of automobiles are attracting interest as next-generation electric drive devices. An in-wheel motor located near the wheel can reduce the weight of the vehicle, control the drive force of each wheel for improved torque vectoring, and enable the expansion of the size of the cabin space, thereby improving environmental performance, safety, and comfort.

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Electric airplane sets ascent record with Siemens drive system

January 29, 2017

An electric-drive Extra 330LE aerobatics plane recently set a world record in ascent in the category of “Electric aircraft weighing up to 1,000 kilograms. The pilot reached an altitude of 3,000 meters in only four minutes and 22 seconds, beating the previous record by one minute and 10 seconds. The airplane rose into the air at 11.5 meters per second.

The plane is equipped with a SP260D electric drive system from Siemens that has a continuous power output of 260 kW, continuous torque of 1,000 N·m, weighs only 50 kg, and thus offers an excellent power-to-weight ratio. (Earlier post.) Pilot Walter Extra broke the previous record set by the American pilot William M. Yates in 2013. The World Air Sports Federation—Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI)—recognized the record-breaking flight.

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Schaeffler Group sees e-mobility and digitalization as key opportunities

January 10, 2017

The Schaeffler Group, a global integrated automotive and industrial supplier, sees e-mobility, Industry 4.0 and digitalization as the key opportunities for the future, said CEO Klaus Rosenfeld at the company’s press conference at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

Schaeffler is placing a strong emphasis on hybrid and electric drive technologies, ranging from P0 belt starter on up to full electric drive. Some of these technologies include P2 arrangements that place the electric motor between the internal combustion engine and the transmission, and electric axle architectures.

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Rinspeed Oasis autonomous electric concept first to be built on ZF Intelligent Rolling Chassis

December 30, 2016

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas next week, Rinspeed will unveil its Oasis autonomous electric concept vehicle. The two-seat runabout—somewhat reminiscent of a modern interpretation of famous Star Wars icon R2D2—can turn on its wheels with almost a zero radius due to a special steering angle, two in-wheel electric motors and torque vectoring, all developed by ZF on Lake Constance.

The “Intelligent Rolling Chassis” (IRC) from ZF offers a highly flexible platform for urban electric vehicles and features ZF’s all-electric drive based on the electric twist beam (eTB) rear axle. The aluminum electric motors at the rear axle are integrated with a single speed transmission that enables the Oasis to accelerate to 100 km/h in roughly nine seconds and, if needed, up to a speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

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Finnish electric powertrain company Visedo raises €20M to support global expansion; SRPM technology

December 22, 2016

Visedo, a Finnish manufacturer specializing in electric powertrains and components, has secured a financing package of €20 million (US$21 million) to support its international growth plans. The financing consists of an equity investment of €13.5 million, an EFSI loan of €5 million and €1.5 million in funding from other sources.

Founded in 2009, Visedo specializes in electric powertrains and components for heavy-duty machinery, commercial vehicles and the marine industry. Its powertrains are suitable for hybrid and electric systems within the power range of 30 kW to 2,000 kW. Visedo’s head office is located in Lappeenranta, Finland, and the company has a subsidiary in the Netherlands. Visedo has a broad, international client base, with exports to Europe and Asia representing 90% of its sales.

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Schaeffler acquires motor manufacturer Compact Dynamics; power electronics agreement with SEMIKRON

December 20, 2016

Automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler finalized a purchase contract with SEMIKRON International GmbH for the acquisition of 51% of the shares of Compact Dynamics GmbH, a manufacturer of high-performance electric motors.

At the same time, Schaeffler and SEMIKRON have agreed a cooperation for the development of power electronics systems and the integration of power electronics components. With this acquisition and cooperation, Schaeffler is expanding its expertise in electric motors and power electronics for the development and production of electric drives.

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Audi developing modular assembly principle as successor to production line; Győr testing for 2018 e-tron electric motor production

December 19, 2016

Audi is developing a new modular assembly principle intended as the enabler of the post-production line assembly era. Modular assembly—intended to address the need for growing complexity and flexibility in production—breaks up the traditional fixed-rhythm production line into individual process steps.

In the latest issue of Audi Encounter, Fabian Rusitschka, managing partner of Ingolstadt-based startup arculus GmbH, Audi’s partner in developing this concept, noted that while the current A3/Q2 production line has around 160 process steps, modular assembly turns that into roughly 200 spatially distinct stations manned by one or two people. The processes each have different timing, and are flexible. Audi anticipates modular assembly will deliver productivity benefits of at least 20%. While development of the principle is ongoing, Audi has begun to use modular assembly in developing the production process for the electric motor for the 2018 e-tron SUV (C-BEV) (earlier post).

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Toyota unveils new TNGA-based engines and transmissions and improved hybrid systems; deployment begins in 2017

December 06, 2016

In Japan, Toyota Motor Corporation unveiled new advanced engines and transmissions and further evolved hybrid systems based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Toyota intends to deploy these new powertrain units in a rapidly broadening range of vehicle models, starting in 2017. The new units will feature in 60% or more of vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China in 2021, reducing CO2 emissions in those markets by 15% or more.

Within the five years to the end of 2021, Toyota plans to introduce 17 versions of nine new engines; 10 versions of four transmissions, including multi-geared automatic transmissions and a new kind of continuously variable transmission; and 10 versions of six hybrid systems.

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New ORNL hardware-in-the-loop capability to integrate advanced combustion, new fuels, and electrification pathways

December 02, 2016

A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has developed a new testing capability which integrates a driver model, full vehicle model, and hardware to explore the synergies of advanced combustion, new fuels, and emerging hybrid vehicle architectures over real-world drive cycles. This new facility is focused on low temperature combustion engines but builds upon the powertrain-in-the-loop expertise established with the Vehicle Systems Integration Laboratory (VSI) at ORNL.

The transient advanced combustion laboratory is initially supporting research on the potential of low temperature combustion modes with new fuel and vehicle technologies. The hardware-in-the-loop setup includes a transient dynamometer cell (AVL 300 kW AC) with a low-temperature combustion (LTC) multi-cylinder engine instrumented for combustion and emissions analysis. The light-duty diesel engine used in these experiments (earlier post) was modified for dual-fuel use for port fuel injection of low-reactivity fuel (i.e. gasoline, ethanol etc.) and a high-reactivity fuel (i.e. diesel, biodiesel etc.).

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Volkswagen investing €3.5B in German plants for e-mobility and digitalization; MEB production, pilot plant for batteries and modules

November 18, 2016

Volkswagen will invest €3.5-billion (US$3.7-billion) investment in the future-oriented areas of e-mobility and digitalization for its German plants. As part of an agreement with its General Works Council (i.e., labor), the Board of Management announced that the Volkswagen brand’s German plants will develop and produce electric vehicles and components based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). (Earlier post.)

The MEB is the foundation for an entirely new generation of long-range battery-electric vehicles that will be connected, autonomous, open and priced for the volume market as required by Volkswagen’s positioning. The first production MEB vehicle, a version of the I.D. concept shown this year at the Paris show (earlier post), will—with a range of up to 373 miles and a market introduction in 2020—be priced approximately at the level of a diesel Golf, before any subsidies.

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DOE to issue $47M FY17 Vehicle Technologies program-wide funding opportunity

November 17, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will soon issue its FY17 Vehicle Technologies Program Wide Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0001701). The FOA will have estimated funding of $47,150,000; DOE expects to post the full announcement (DE-FOA-0001629) in December.

DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office supports a broad technology portfolio of advanced highway transportation technologies. Research, development, and deployment efforts are focused on reducing the cost and improving the performance of a mix of near- and long-term vehicle technologies including advanced batteries, power electronics and electric motors, lightweight and propulsion materials, advanced combustion engines, advanced fuels and lubricants, and other enabling technologies. The upcoming FOA may include the following areas of interest (AOI):

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BorgWarner launches its first integrated electric drive module for the EV market; first application in China

November 16, 2016

BorgWarner will launch an electric drive module (eDM) with integrated eGearDrive transmission in two pure electric vehicles from a major Chinese automaker. Production is expected to begin in summer 2017. This is the first electric drive module from BorgWarner following its acquisition of Remy in 2015. (Earlier post.)

BorgWarner’s eDM provides primary or secondary propulsion for pure electric or P4-type hybrid vehicles. The integrated design of the electric motor and transmission enables weight, cost and space savings. Since both functions are combined into one housing, installation is also easier.

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Dana introducing Spicer Electrified family of e-axles for hybrid, electric vehicles

November 09, 2016

Dana Incorporated introduced the Spicer Electrified family of fully integrated motor, control, and e-drive technologies that advance electric propulsion systems for light-duty, commercial, and off-highway vehicles.

Currently in production, the Spicer EV Drive for electric vans manages speed and torque from the e-motor to the wheels. Planned for launch in 2018, Dana’s new e-axles for electric transit buses and city delivery vehicles feature a fully integrated motor and gear box and leverage the company’s experience in chassis drivetrain applications.

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Roskill forecasts demand for neodymium for magnets to result in supply deficit; substitutions by 2021

November 08, 2016

In its new rare earths market report with forecasts out to 2026, Roskill, a leader in international metals and minerals research, observes that the permanent magnet and catalyst sectors will continue to provide the largest markets for rare earths in the next ten years to 2026. Catalysts will continue to drive growth in the light rare earth elements lanthanum and cerium, while permanent magnets will lead growth in neodymium, praseodymium and dysprosium.

However, Roskill also projects that, driven by rapidly increasing demand for neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) magnets (used in traction motors among other applications), neodymium will fall into deficit in 2016, although demand will initially be met by the drawdown of stocks. Roskill forecasts that the deficit will increase to 2021, making continued growth of NdFeB magnets unsustainable, despite efforts by rare earth producers to increase neodymium supply.

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Nissan introduces series-hybrid powertrain with Note e-POWER in Japan; small pack, small engine, LEAF motor, low price

November 02, 2016

In Japan, Nissan Motor introduced its new series-hybrid drive system called e-POWER along with its application in the Note. This marks the first availability of e-POWER technology for consumers, marking a milestone in the electrification strategy under Nissan Intelligent Mobility.

e-POWER borrows from the EV technology in the Nissan LEAF. Unlike the all-battery-electric powertrain of the LEAF, e-POWER adds a small gasoline engine to charge the high-output battery when necessary, eliminating the need for an external charger while offering the same high-output. Nissan says that although e-POWER uses a much smaller battery than the LEAF (1.5 kWh vs 30 kWh), it delivers the same driving experience as a full EV.

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ORNL team shows 3D-printed permanent magnets outperform conventional versions, conserve rare materials

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and colleagues have demonstrated that permanent magnets produced by additive manufacturing can outperform bonded magnets made using traditional techniques while conserving critical materials. NdFeB magnets are used in a range of applications from computer hard drives and headphones to clean energy technologies such as electric vehicles and wind turbines.

The team fabricated isotropic, near-net-shape, neodymium-iron-boron (NdFeB) bonded magnets at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine. The result, published in an open-access paper in Scientific Reports, was a product with comparable or better magnetic, mechanical, and microstructural properties than bonded magnets made using traditional injection molding with the same composition.

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BMW provides some insight into Dingolfing eDrive competence center; motors, battery packs and more

July 29, 2016

During its Innovation Days 2016 event in Munich, the BMW Group provided some insight into its Dingolfing competence center for the manufacture of electric drive systems (eDrive). Dingolfing supplies the high-voltage batteries and other chassis and powertrain components for BMW i models and the BMW Group’s plug-in hybrid models—current (earlier post) and future.

Beginning with the launch of the first BMW i production models, the Dingolfing plant has produced high-voltage batteries and other powertrain and chassis components for these vehicles. Prior to that, the plant had supplied high-voltage batteries for the BMW Active E; BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid; BMW 5 Series ActiveHybrid; and BMW 7 Series ActiveHybrid. Now, with the market launch of the first plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW core-brand models—for which the plant supplies the rear-mounted electric motors and all high-voltage battery packs—production of BMW eDrive components in Dingolfing is scaling up once again.

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Protean Electric raises $70M to accelerate adoption of in-wheel drive systems for electrified vehicles in China

July 19, 2016

Protean Electric, developer and manufacturer of in-wheel electric drive systems, has raised $70 million in new funding from GO Scale Capital, Zhejiang VIE Science & Technology Co. Ltd., and Tianjin THSG Corporation. Existing investors Oak Investment Partners and GSR Ventures co-invested in Protean’s equity financing round.

The investment follows Protean’s announcement in May that it is setting up a manufacturing site in Tianjin, China to commercialize its model PD18 in-wheel motor in order to meet customer demand. The new funding will be used to ramp up production in China of Protean’s PD18 product line, and for new product development and formation of a manufacturing joint venture with VIE.

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Xtrac introduces Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) transmission system; torque vectoring with dual motors

July 13, 2016

Xtrac has introduced its P1227 gearbox family, developed to address the growing market requirement for single-speed, lightweight and power-dense electric vehicle (EV) transmissions. It offers a range of installation possibilities for fast and powerful electric supercars with front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configuration.

The new transmission system can be integrated with motors supplied by BorgWarner, GKN and YASA, all of which worked with Xtrac on the integration of their technology into this transmission. The dual electric motors of the transmission system also provide an inherent torque vectoring capabilities.

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Daido Steel & Honda develop neodymium magnet free of heavy rare earth elements; Honda Freed hybrid first to adopt resulting new motor

July 12, 2016

Daido Steel Co., Ltd. and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have developed a practical hot deformed neodymium magnet containing no heavy rare earth elements (REE) that still delivers the high heat resistance properties and high magnetic performance required for the use in the driving motor of a hybrid vehicle.

Honda will first apply this hot deformed neodymium magnet with absolutely no heavy rare earth elements to the Honda Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system, a system Honda will use in the all-new Freed scheduled to go on sale this fall. Honda will continue expanding application of this technology to new models in the future.

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First public flight of Siemens 260kW electric motor; to be used in development of hybrid-electric aircraft

July 04, 2016

Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts—five times more than comparable drive systems. (Earlier post.) This record-setting propulsion system successfully completed its first public flight at Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, where it powered an Extra 330LE aerobatic airplane.

The new drive system made its maiden flight on 24 June 2016. Siemens will be contributing this technology to the cooperative project that Siemens and Airbus agreed to in April 2016 for driving the development of electrically powered flight. (Earlier post.)

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DOE awarding $16M to 54 projects to help commercialize promising energy technology from national labs

June 22, 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced nearly $16 million in funding to help businesses move promising energy technologies from DOE’s National Laboratories to the marketplace. This first Department-wide round of funding through the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) will support 54 projects at 12 national labs involving 52 private-sector partners. Among the selected technologies are a number addressing advanced vehicle and transportation needs.

The TCF is administered by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), which works to expand the commercial impact of DOE’s portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities. In February of 2016, OTT announced the first solicitation to the DOE National Laboratories for TCF funding proposals. It received 104 applications from across the laboratory system, for projects in two topic areas:

  • Topic Area 1: Projects for which additional technology maturation is needed to attract a private partner; and

  • Topic Area 2: Cooperative development projects between a lab and industry partner(s), designed to bolster the commercial application of a lab developed technology.

All projects selected for the TCF will receive an equal amount of non-federal funds to match the federal investment.

A selected list of transportation-related TCF selections, as well as the Topic Area 2 projects and their private sector partners is below.

Transportation-related TCF Awards
Technology National Lab Partner Funding
Manufacturing Of Advanced Alnico Magnets for Energy Efficient Traction Drive Motors Ames Carpenter Powder Products $325,000
Direct Fabrication of Fuel Cell Electrodes by Electrodeposition of High-performance Core-shell Catalysts Brookhaven $100,000
Nitride-Stabilized Pt Core-Shell Electrocatalysts for Fuel Cell Cathodes Brookhaven $100,000
Enhancing Lithium-Ion Battery Safety for Vehicle Technologies and Energy Storage Idaho $119,005
Vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus Network Safety and Security System Idaho Mercedes-Benz R&D North America $150,000
Large Area Polymer Protected Lithium Metal Electrodes with Engineered Dendrite-Blocking Ability Lawrence Berkeley $73,831
Cryo-Compressed Hydrogen Tank Technology in an Internal Combustion Engine Application Lawrence Livermore GoTek Energy $431,995
Scaled Production Of High Octane Biofuel From Biomass-Derived Dimethyl Ether NREL Enerkem $740,000
Thermal Management for Planar Package Power Electronics NREL John Deere Electronic Solutions (JDES) $250,000
Assembly Of Dissimilar Aluminum Alloys For Automotive Application PNNL $500,000
Development of Electrolytes for Lithium Ion Batteries in Wide Temperature Range Applications PNNL Farasis Energy, Navitas Systems $375,000
Direct Extruded High Conductivity Copper for Electric Machines Manufactured Using the ShAPE Process PNNL General Motors R&D $600,000
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Acura running 4-motor NSX-inspired EV concept up Pikes Peak; 4-wheel independent torque vectoring

June 20, 2016

Acura will run an all-electric, NSX-inspired EV Concept in the Electric Modified Class at the 2016 Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The Acura EV Concept features a further evolution of the experimental, all-electric, 4-motor Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertrain that won last year’s Pikes Peak Challenge Exhibition class. Acura will field two production NSX supercars in the event as well.

The Acura EV Concept will be driven by Tetsuya Yamano, who campaigned last year’s CR-Z-based electric prototype. The all-wheel-drive electric SH-AWD powertrain enables four-wheel independent torque allocation. The Acura EV Concept’s Electric SH-AWD powertrain produces three times the total system output of last year’s electric prototype and is mated to the NSX body.

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UQM partners with Eaton, Pi Innovo on full MD, HD electric drivetrain system; 2-speed transmission

June 16, 2016

UQM Technologies has begun a development and production program with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo. The alliance calls for Eaton to develop and supply to UQM a 2-speed transmission for an EV application; Pi Innovo will develop and supply to UQM the transmission control unit. Together, the components will be combined with UQM’s current PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT.”

The system will allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of gradability, acceleration and efficiency. UQM will have prototypes ready for customers by early fall and start-of-production units ready by early 2017.

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TI introduces two new motor drivers for high-performance powertrain apps; support for start-stop

Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced two new auotmotive motor drivers that support high-performance powertrain applications. The DRV8305-Q1, a highly integrated three-phase brushless DC gate driver, and the UCC27211A-Q1, a high-current half-bridge gate driver, improve system performance and provide design flexibility to meet a diverse range of automotive system requirements.

For powertrain applications such as transmission pumps or engine cooling fans, the DRV8305-Q1 features a smart gate-drive architecture with programmable slew-rate control that allows easy optimization of MOSFET electromagnetic compliance (EMC). With an operating ambient temperature range of -40 to 150°C, the DRV8305-Q1 meets the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC)-Q100 Grade 0 automotive temperature specification. The device also operates down to 4.4 V to support start-stop functionality. Other features and benefits include the following:

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Mercedes-Benz expands plug-in hybrid rollout with 2 models this year; new battery tech in S 500 e in 2017

June 13, 2016

Later this year, Mercedes-Benz will add the seventh and eighth plug-in hybrids to its line up. (Earlier post.) The new GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e will join the S 500 e; C 350 e (Sedan, Wagon and long version for China); the GLE 500 e 4MATIC; and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC. The hybrid (plug-in and conventional) portfolio from Mercedes-Benz currently comprises 13 models.

The E 350 e will use the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors to deliver top rankings in fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamism. The E 350 e is also the first hybrid from Mercedes-Benz with a high trailer towing capacity of up to 2,100 kg.

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New TM4 SUMO medium-duty electric motors boost torque and speed 45% with SMCs in place of permanent magnets

June 08, 2016

TM4 will introduce three new SUMO medium-duty (MD) powertrain options at the 29th Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition (EVS29), offering an increase of up to 45% in torque and speed, thanks to a new technological advancement.

Until now, the main rotor technology found in TM4’s electric motors was based on surface-mounted permanent magnets. The desire to limit the use of rare-earth magnets has resulted in a technology choice that leverages the reluctance torque of TM4’s external rotor design (earlier post) and decreases by 25% the use of these elements. By substituting some of the magnets with soft magnetic composites (SMCs), variable reluctance adds up to 45% extra torque and operating speed compared with previous technology in same package dimensions.

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European team devises new strategy for rare-earth-free magnets

June 01, 2016

European researchers have devised a new way to make nanoparticles that could replace rare-earth material use in magnets. The researchers used a mixed iron-cobalt oleate complex in a one-step synthetic approach to produce magnetic core-shell nanoparticles.

The resulting materials showed strong magnetic properties and energy-storing capabilities. The approach could signal an efficient new strategy toward replacing rare earths in permanent magnets such as those uses in electric motors and keeping costs stable, the researchers said. A paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials.

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GKN launches new e-axle all-wheel drive technology on global C-segment vehicle platform with BMW

May 24, 2016

GKN is launching electric all-wheel drive technology on a global vehicle platform. A series of new C-Segment vehicles will offer the option of adding plug-in electric all-wheel drive using GKN Driveline’s latest electric axle drive (eAxle) technology.

GKN has secured orders for a major global platform and production is now underway at the company’s eDrive production facility in Bruneck, Italy. The first application is the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer PHEV. (Earlier post.)

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Project FEVER to develop 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle technology; SRM-based e-axle

May 09, 2016

Controlled Power Technologies, a developer of vehicle driveline electrification based on state-of-the-art switched-reluctance machines (SRMs), has partnered with Ricardo, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Provector to develop a 48V through-the-road hybrid vehicle system and demonstrate it in a B-segment city car.

The Forty-Eight Volt Electrified Rear-axle (FEVER) project will apply CPT’s SpeedTorq technology to an ultra-lightweight rear axle module to significantly improve the fuel economy of the target car. The objective of the two-year project is to achieve a CO2 reduction of up to 15% over the regulatory cycle while offering significant savings (around $1,400) in manufacturing cost compared to a full HEV.

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Tsinghua team evaluates impact of types and arrangements of electric traction motors in fuel cell hybrid buses

April 20, 2016

Researchers at Tsinghua University have compared the performance of two different powertrains for fuel cell hybrid buses. Both buses use 50 kW PEM fuel cell stacks (from different manufacturers) as the primary power source, with LiMn2O4 battery packs as secondary power sources. A significant difference between the two powertrains lies in the types and arrangements of the electrical motor.

One powertrain employs a single induction motor (IM) to drive the vehicle via a reduction gearbox and differential (Powertrain A), while the other powertrain adopts two permanent magnetic synchronous motors (PMSMs) for near-wheel propulsion (Powertrain B). A further difference between the proposed powertrains is the supply path for the fuel cell accessories. A paper on their study is published in Journal of Power Sources.

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Siemens and Valeo to form joint venture in high-voltage electric powertrains

April 18, 2016

Siemens and Valeo have signed an agreement to form a joint venture in high voltage powertrains for the entire range of electric vehicles including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles. Building upon the complementary scope and portfolio of the partners, the joint venture will provide substantial synergies in manufacturing and sourcing and create a base for sustained growth and profitability.

Siemens said that the electric vehicle components market is expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% until 2020. According to the agreement, Siemens and Valeo will each hold a 50% stake in the joint venture, have joint control and account for their respective stake using the equity method.

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GM details 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid powertrain design and operation

The 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid (earlier post) is EPA-rated at 46 mpg (5.11 l/100 km) combined, 47 mpg city and 46 mpg highway; the powertrain shares the transmission architecture with the 2016 Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle (EREV), but includes changes to optimize the system for engine-driven charge-sustaining operation in the range of conditions represented by the US EPA 5 cycle fuel economy tests.

At the 2016 SAE World Congress, GM engineers presented a paper describing the development of the new hybrid powertrain for the popular mid-size sedan. Development was guided by four main objectives:

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Saarbrücken engineers developing networked self-analyzing electric motors

March 23, 2016

Engineers from Saarland University are developing intelligent motor systems that function without the need for additional sensors. By essentially transforming the motor itself into a sensor, the team led by Professor Matthias Nienhaus is creating smart motors that can tell whether they are still running smoothly, can communicate and interact with other motors and can be efficiently controlled.

By using data collected from the motor while it is operating, the researchers are able to calculate quantities that in other systems would need to be measured by additional sensors. Further, they are teaching the drive how to make use of this knowledge.

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