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AKASOL battery pack powering ZF’s electric Advanced Urban Vehicle concept

An 8-module Li-ion traction battery from AKASOL GmbH powers the ZF electric Advanced Urban Vehicle concept presented at the IAA in Frankfurt. AKASOL is a supplier of Li-ion batteries for high-performance applications. (Earlier post.)

The 8 modules of the AKASYSTEM battery are configured 2/3/3 in 3 system units and can thus be placed in the free spaces at the front and rear axle for efficient packaging. The 16.3 kWh battery pack features a charging power of 49 kW.

AKASYSTEM unit. Click to enlarge.

AKASOL acquires cells from cell manufacturers and produces modules and packs. In addition to customer-specific solutions, AKASOL has a standard portfolio of different lithium-ion cells (NMC, LTO, LFO etc.) in the segments high energy (E-traction) and high power (hybrid). The capacity of these cells range from 7 to 60 Ah.

The liquid cooling system developed by AKASOL for the ZF concept not only ensures an even temperature of the battery while allowing high performance with high durability, it also serves as key to the very compact design of the modules.

ZF Advanced Urban Vehicle. Click to enlarge.

ZF built the Advanced Urban Vehicle concept to demonstrate the potential inherent in intelligently networking individual chassis/driveline and driver assistance systems.

The semi-independent rear suspension eTB (electric Twist Beam) provides the propulsion via twin compact drive units located on rear wheels, each of which produces 40 kW. With axle torque of 400 N·m, the vehicle,reaches a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph).

The front axle supports steering angles of up to 75 degrees—enormously increasing the agility and maneuverability of the concept. This chassis concept reduces the steering effort substantially during parking and turning maneuvers, and thus increases the maneuverability of the subcompact car; the turning circle diameter of the Advanced Urban Vehicle is reduced to less than 6.50 meters.

The steering movements at the front axle are supported by the torque vectoring system of the rear-axle drive, which distributes the drive force individually to the two rear wheels and enables the vehicle to move off with this kind of large wheel deflection.

A cloud-based driver assistance function—ZF PreVision Cloud Assist—provides maximum range and driving safety. Unlike purely GPS-based systems, ZF’s concept study not only takes into account geometry data and information on the permissible top speed, but also stores data in the cloud on the vehicle position, currently driven speed, and lateral and longitudinal acceleration for every journey.

If the driver follows the same route again, the system calculates the optimum speed for an approaching corner on the basis of these data. The assistance function then reduces the torque early on before entering the corner, to the point where the corner can be negotiated without any mechanical braking. This not only protects the vehicle’s battery and braking system, but also provides greater safety particularly on blind corners.

The system assists the driver not only in recognizing suitable parking spaces, but can also park the vehicle fully automatically in parallel or perpendicular spaces.

The parking aid obtains its information from twelve ultrasound sensors and two infrared sensors on the vehicle’s front-end, rear-end, and flanks; these sensors help find a suitable parking space. The control electronics process the information and control all the systems involved in the parking function—for example, the electric drive and the required steering angle of the electric power steering.

The driver can interact with the vehicle during the process via the display in the cockpit or trigger the parking function once they exit the vehicle by using an application on a mobile device, e. g. a smartwatch. The Advanced Urban Vehicle then automatically searches the surroundings at walking pace for a suitable gap and automatically initiates the parking process.



An interesting development in urban EV?

Both the selection of Li-ion cells; & then the liquid cooling of the developed battery modules/packs - for longevity - seem to follow the Tesla approach.

{I'm also an LED lighting, & torch/flashlight tragic.
The highly regarded AW cells, similarly being developed [by him] from selected top quality components!}

Of interest the Hyundai i10BEV has a 16.4 kWh battery pack to go with a tonne weight.

In Who Killed the Electric Car it is said that oil interests bought out the patents on large format NiMH batteries.
I suspect that these are about due to expire?

Perhaps time for an updated Toyota eCom!
At 770 kg using just an 8 kWh NiMH battery pack; to give an 80 km range, with a top speed of 100 kph [downhill? ;-]. It certainly appeals to me.
(The price for an 8 kWh Li battery pack being around $3K?)

A super lightweight alternative might be TREV - a Tandem (two seater) Renewable Electric Vehicle developed by students at our University of South Australia.

This was their attempt to produce a BEV version of the 2002 original VW 1-Litre tandem 2 seater car.
(Just 290 kg, with a Diesel engine producing 6.3 kW.)

TREV was around 300 kg, & used a special 5.3 kWh battery pack (costing around a quarter of the total $40K) giving some 7 kW, or 21 kW peak.
A range of some 120 km, with a top speed around 90 kph, is given.
BUT the students had some difficulty in getting their practical results to accord with theoretical expectations :-)

However, there were certainly solid results!!
In 2007 their [crude] hand built BEV traversed our Oz continent from north to south. A journey of some 3,000 km through the heat of our Oz central desert.

And, in 2010/11 it did a 30,000 km round the world trip.
With a beefed up battery pack (around 13 kWh?), & two people on board!

At just half the weight of a F1 car though, I am concerned about the safety aspects.
A problem for the fragile bodies of an aging population?
Perhaps solved with self-driving vehicles.

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