UK consortium to develop new drivetrain technology for hybrid & electric vehicles to reduce dependency on rare earth metals
UK-based motor control specialist Sevcon Ltd (earlier post) is leading a collaborative project that includes Cummins Generator Technologies and Newcastle University’s Power Electronics and Drives Research Group to develop a new type of electric traction drive for use in hybrid and pure electric vehicles that will use steel to replace the rare earth magnets used in motors.
The project being undertaken by the Sevcon-led group will work on the development of a novel “no rare earth metals” electric drive system for EVs using advanced high torque density switched reluctance motor technology.
The group has secured more than £500,000 (US$782,000) in matched funding from the from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) in the latest round of national support for work on new low carbon vehicle technologies.
The partners anticipate that the project should be ready for volume production within four years.
The advanced design being developed by the team also seeks to replace traditional electronic control systems with new technology based on advanced power electronics. As well as providing sufficient power, the new generation system will also be designed to be both cost-competitive and suitable for high volume manufacture.
This is an exciting, cutting edge project in a market sector that has great potential. We are already very active in the low carbon vehicle sector and the performance capabilities of our advance technology motor controllers are ideal for this sort of application. We are delighted to be bringing our automotive drivetrain engineering expertise to this project.—Dr. Peter Barrass, Sevcon Vice President of Engineering
The UK Technology Strategy Board and Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) have jointly agreed to invest £10 million (US$16 million) in grants to sixteen collaborative research and development projects that focus on achieving significant cuts in CO2 emissions for vehicle-centric technologies in low carbon vehicles. (Earlier post.)