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Ricardo to present early results of development of scalable Electric Drive Unit at CTI Shanghai

Ricardo will present the early results of an R&D project to develop a scalable Electric Drive Unit (EDU) for future electric vehicles at the CTI’s 8th International Congress and Expo, to be hosted on 24-25 September 2019, in Shanghai, China.

The scalable EDU being developed by Ricardo comprises a high-performance compact electric machine and power inverter, coupled to a multi-speed powershift transmission.


In addition to offering a scalable solution for future electric vehicles (EVs), the unit is intended to provide state-of-the-art power and torque density, NVH performance and system efficiency.

Its design draws upon the results of the collaborative European research project EcoChamps (European COmpetitiveness in Commercial Hybrid and AutoMotive PowertrainS), including hairpin electric machine winding, and shared cooling for the motor, transmission and inverter.

The purpose of the €28.5-million EcoChamps project was to achieve efficient, compact, low weight, robust and cost effective hybrid powertrains for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles (buses, medium duty and heavy duty trucks) with increased functionality, improved performance, comfort, functional safety and emission levels below Euro 6 or VI. The targeted achievements of ECOCHAMPS were to:

  • Improve powertrain efficiency by up to 20% during representative operation

  • Reduce powertrain weight and volume by up to 20%

  • Reduce hybrid vehicles costs, targeting a 10% maximum cost premium

The specific technical objectives, main innovations and targeted key results were:

  • To devise a modular pre-standard framework (MSF), for the first time, that recommends standards for electric hybrid drivetrain components and auxiliaries for commercial vehicles.

  • To develop a set of electric hybrid components for hybrid powertrains.

  • To develop optimized drivelines for the selected vehicle classes.

  • To demonstrate the key innovations in two light duty and three commercial vehicles at TRL 7.

  • To assess the technology development in terms of its efficiency, cost effectiveness, weight and volume.

Ricardo will also discuss the virtual product development processes used in the project. Ricardo expects to reveal the final results of the EDU development later in 2019.



Ideally, The motor(s) would drive the wheels directly without reduction gearing or a differential; gearing friction causes electric motors to be very lossy.

Ing. A.S.Stefanes

"very lossy" is a bit of exegaration dont you think. Gears are somewhere between 94-97% efficient. That said, direct drive might be better, but it does require motors with more torque compared to motors with a reduction gear. There is always a trade-off. Personally, i'd like to see in-wheel motors.


A good compromise would be 4 motors and near-wheel mounting to avoid an increase of unsprung weight but achieve similar advantages as with in-wheel motors. A two-speed tranny; a low gear (L) up to 60 mph for towing and a high gear (H) for conventional driving; both gears selectable only with activated brakes and car at complete stop. All wheel drive enables easy vectoring and low power motors (ca. 40 - 50 kW each) but high torque. A tranny integrated into each motor.

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