TM4, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, is receiving $3.7 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech Fund, through the ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative, to develop low-cost wheel motors for electric and hybrid vehicles.
The objective of this project is to design an in-wheel motor electric drive system with one of the highest power densities in the world, and at the lowest possible cost. This system will consist of one or more power converters and electric machines, to be assembled and bench tested, and then tested on the road in an electric vehicle.
Several experimental prototypes of engine and electronic power subcomponents will use innovative materials and/or concepts. This project will allow an entire chain of expert Canadian suppliers to take part in the development and eventual commercialization of this new powertrain topology.
TM4’s wheel motor development and design dates back to 1982, when a group of researchers started working on an innovative compact motor system that could be embedded inside a regular-size wheel. Since then, TM4 has designed three generations of wheel motors.
In 2006, TM4 developed the electric motors used in the Citroën C-Métisse. This vehicle features a diesel hybrid drivetrain that combines a diesel combustion engine in front coupled with a 15 kW (continuous), 300 N·m TM4 direct drive electric wheel motor in each rear wheel. (Earlier post.)
Based on the same platform as the proven CO150 traction inverters, the CO150-HVF offers a CAN-based interface that allows the dynamic control of the frequency and output voltage for electric vehicle accessory applications (i.e. pumps, fans or compressors) using a 3-phase AC induction motor.
This feature opens the door to the use of variable speed accessories and reduces the average consumption of auxiliaries. In addition, several information available on the CAN allow to know the status of the inverter and its load, therefore enabling advanced control functions.
TM4 was created in 1998 to market the electric propulsion technology developed by Hydro-Québec’s research institute, IREQ. Today, it provides customers in a dozen countries with patented technologies and distinctive expertise in electric motors, generators and inverters for the transport and energy markets. Products include customized electric drivetrains for electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle manufacturers, and generators for wind turbine and gen-set manufacturers.