ARB Awards $500K to Support Commercialization of Three Clean Air Technologies
Australian Cellulosic Ethanol Company Building Pilot Plant

Controlled Power Technologies Acquires Micro-Hybrid Technology from Visteon

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


Rafael Seidl

SR machines are suitable for operation at very high speeds but require a very small air gap and exhibit considerable torque ripple. One application SRDL and Visteon had been working on was TIGERS, a small turbine genset powered by the hot exaust gases from a naturally aspirated gasoline engine.

Separately, Caterpillar presented an electric turbocompound device for heavy duty applications, featuring what appears to be an SR machine.

Using an SR machine as a starter motor is an interesting concept, as those need to deliver high torque at very low speed. Usually, claw pole designs are used but these typically have to be disconnected from the engine once idling speed is reached. An SR-based solution would likely be belt-driven and feature a private gear stage. Since it is suitable for high-speed operation, it could remain connected at all times and eliminate the need for a separate alternator.


Visteon is one of the big car component manufacturers that has been trying to find its way since being spun off from Ford, if memory serves.

When I think of the original Silverado pickup "hybrid" from GM, it had a start stop system that replaced the starter. The flywheel gear is huge and the motor would really have to operate a speed...maybe a good application there.


Good to see somebody exploiting the obvious idea of a zero-drag electric turbo-supercharger turbine bottoming cycle.


The BMW turbo steamer creates 15 hp from waste heat. Several attempts have been made to make an exhaust turbo generator in the past. The heat, speed and patent protections have all had an effect on the outcome.

I think turbochargers are brilliant. If you are going to have pumping loses, you might as well have boost to more than make up for it. There have been attempts at electric turbo charging as well. The speeds required are formidable and maybe this design can do the job.

SRDL has done some impressive things. More than I would have thought possible with this technology.

Henry Gibson

Ten years ago I thought that Switched Reluctance Drives should build an engine with a switched reluctance rotor as the flywheel to eliminate engine idling. It has been done, but the high price of power electronics keeps many SRDrives from the market. The new carbon foam battery from Firefly makes the combination cheaper and an additional inverter could be built to supply large amounts of emergency power from the car in case of grid failures. It is nice to finally see the SRDrives appear in something besides washing machines, as they have weight and efficiency advantages over even copper injected induction motor rotors. All fans, pumps and refrigeration compressors could be driven far more efficiently from the flywheel generator. Both the heater and the air-conditioner could be run for many minutes with the engine stopped on the new battery from Firefly. The air condioning compressor would need no hoses and be hermetically sealed, as it would be mounted on the car body. It would also be of the much more efficient free piston design sold by LG. Much of the technology from the SRDrives could be used to make solenoid valve actuators that would allow the engine to use any or none of its pistons for highest efficiency. For starting up at a stop there would be no compression load, and even air hybrid technology could be implemented at low additional cost.
Electronics has come to the point that 100 amps at 0.7 volts can be delivered to a computer processor. It is now time for SRDrives in many places. MetGlass laminations will make them even more efficient as it does transformers. There is a place for SRDrives with air bearings for turbocharging systems. A SR flywheel system was built to store electricity in combination with wind generators and diesel generators. An independent SR flywheel is a very good choice to replace the hybrid battery in a PRIUS and others. It is probably the ideal flywheel motor/generator. Everyone who is interested in hybrid cars, should also learn about the Kitson-Still hybrid locomotive. If it had been invented by the Southern Pacific Railway, they would be still in use today. SP had to burn oil anyway in most of its steam locomotives, as almost no coal has been discovered in California. That is also why californians have taken a stance against coal electricity while they are selling the oil at high prices to make far more pollution with cars..HG..

The comments to this entry are closed.