|Torque in a switched reluctance motor is produced by the magnetic attraction of a steel rotor to stator electromagnets. Click to enlarge. Source: SR Drives.|
Controlled Power Technologies Limited, a UK startup formed by automotive executives to focus on carbon-reduction solutions for vehicles, has acquired from Visteon Corporation a portfolio of production-ready, near-term solutions focused on providing micro-hybrid functionality.
A key part of the acquisition arrangement is the transfer of licensing and technical development agreements with Switched Reluctance Drives Limited (SRDL)—a wholly-owned subsidiary of Emerson Electric Company that is based in Harrogate (UK). The new business will continue and extend the technical relationship previously established between Visteon and SRDL.
In addition, Controlled Power has signed licensing and collaboration agreements with Switched Reluctance Motors Limited (SRML).
The acquisition from Visteon covers a family of lower-carbon powertrain-related products already at an advanced stage of development, including an electronically-controlled supercharger, a stop-start system and an exhaust energy recovery system. All of the products utilize switched reluctance electric motor technology to deliver micro-hybrid vehicle functionality.
The switched reluctance SR Drive system comprises a simple brushless motor with a dedicated electronic controller. Torque is produced by the magnetic attraction of a steel rotor to stator electromagnets. No permanent magnets are needed, and the rotor carries no squirrel cage or windings.
The rotor’s position relative to the stator is detected using a simple hardware sensor or by electronic sensorless means. The controller then energizes each stator winding only when it can produce useful torque. By suitable timing of the stator excitation, the machine can operate as a motor or generator, with efficiency over a wide range of speed and torque.
Guy Morris, the engineering director, and Richard Quinn, advanced engineering manager, both transferred from Visteon to join the Controlled Power Technologies management team. A number of other employees have also had previous involvement in the origination of the technologies being acquired.
Switched reluctance motor and control technology is uniquely well suited to the demanding requirements of these new automotive applications. The technology provides robust, reliable and compact solutions with excellent energy efficiency and controllability as well as low manufactured costs.—Guy Morris
...while fully variable valve control and gasoline direct injection technologies offer cost effective improvements, they both require a substantial base engine redesign and as a result, very significant investment. By comparison, our switched reluctance technologies can be used to add incremental benefits to any engine, whether it is a low cost legacy unit or the very latest design—Dr Richard Quinn
As well as the intellectual property, the acquisition from Visteon includes an advanced development facility at Westmayne, UK. The acquisition includes prototype hardware, demonstration vehicles, product-specific development tools and test equipment.
Controlled Power Technologies will continue the investment program initiated by Visteon and SR Drives in developing these new technologies. The continuing relationships with original equipment manufacturers include ongoing development projects with production intent testing expected to commence in early 2008.
These technologies can help address a large and growing mass market need. Two years ago the market had little interest in carbon reducing technologies and fuel economy. Today they’re screaming out for it … but it takes time for the vehicle manufacturers to select, implement and launch appropriate solutions. Our technology has years of product development behind it and is either ready or almost ready for production. Approximately 20 million vehicles will be built and sold in Europe this year and 70 million or more will be produced globally. That’s a lot of CO2 emissions and a lot of vehicles needing cost-effective carbon reducing technologies.—Nick Pascoe, CEO, Controlled Power Technologies