Thursday, June 17, 2021

Only electric Fiat from 2030

It is a strong message indeed, which leaves no doubt about the future of electric motors and their hegemony in the automotive field: starting from 2030, the range of Fiat cars will be available in electric version only. This is, in fact, the announcement released by Olivier Francois, CEO of Stellantis Italian brand, on the occasion of the World Environment Day 2021, last June 5th. «Our duty is offering the market, as soon as possible and compatibly with the reduction of batteries’ cost, electric cars that do not cost more than combustion ones. Gradually, from 2025 to 2030, Fiat range will become only electric and this will be a radical change for Fiat».
Only when electric will be accessible for all, it will be possible for Fiat to shift fully to electric, then the symbolic vehicle of this transformation could only be the legendary “500”: «Our icon in the Fifties made mobility accessible to all. Now, in this new scenario, it has the new mission of creating sustainable mobility for all».

Incoming all-electric SUV for Subaru

Every day at least one automotive brand announces good news in the research and development ambit towards a future of real electric mobility. Concerning this, among the news there is Subaru Solterra, the innovative electric SUV developed with Toyota, which will use the shared modular e-Subaru Global/e-TNGA platform.
The SUV name evocates nature: “sol (sun)” and “terra (earth)” and it will be marketed within the half of 2022 in various markets, including Europe, Japan, United States and China.
The e-Subaru Global platform, which has been jointly-developed by Subaru and Toyota, enables to roll out various types of EVs efficiently by combining multiple modules and components, such as the front, center and rear of a vehicle. While the two companies have brought together their knowledge to create a completely new platform, Subaru have aimed to realize superior passive safety and vehicle stability, which Subaru has always been pursuing, also in this BEV dedicated platform.
Not only the platform, the SUV “SOLTERRA” has also been jointly-developed by Subaru and Toyota, and wide range of collaboration includes product planning, design and performance evaluation. In this development, the two companies combine their respective strengths, such as Subaru’s long-accumulated all-wheel-drive technology and Toyota’s outstanding vehicle electrification technology, to create a new SUV with attributes that only an all- electric vehicle can offer.
A brief summary: it seems that for the first time the symmetric integral traction of Subaru might be implemented with a non-mechanical scheme, with two motors, a front and a rear one managed by purposely implemented software and through the e-Subaru Global Platform dedicated to Battery electric vehicles (BEV), specifically designed to assure utmost flexibility.
The capacity of batteries, which will be mounted under the floor, will vary from 50 to 100 kWh for autonomies included between 300 and 600 km.

Gordon Murray Group: investments towards advanced innovative electric vehicles

Professor Gordon Murray, South African engineer, former designer of Formula cars, has recently announced a notable expansion plan for the next five years and relative investment– amounting to £300M – for its future growth.
The last creature born from its Gordon Murray Automotive, founded in 2007, is the supercar T.50 and today his focus addresses electrification more than ever: new division Gordon Murray Electronics being created to help entire Group put sharper focus on designing and engineering advanced innovative electric vehicles. Moreover, the ambitious expansion includes significant investment in Gordon Murray Design; the globally leading design and engineering business is already in the early phases of creating a revolutionary, lightweight, ultra-efficient electric vehicle architecture for future urban passenger vehicles and delivery vans.
Gordon Murray Design is also directing substantial investment towards a “superlight” Research and Development facility to further progress weight and complexity reduction of both vehicle architectures and manufacturing processes. An additional facility at Dunsfold, Surrey is being planned to manufacture “superlight” frames for Gordon Murray Design, and Gordon Murray Automotive vehicle programmes.
A new business unit, Gordon Murray Electronic which is being formed by newly appointed CEO Richie Sibal, will support GMD in developing advanced electrified powertrains for global automotive manufacturers and technology companies.
«While recently – stated Professor Gordon Murray, Chairman Gordon Murray Group – the global spotlight has been on Gordon Murray Automotive and the T.50 models there has been extensive progress and developments made within the wider Group. Today we are taking this to a new level announcing new investments, a strengthening of our leadership team, enhanced R&D, a new Division and a reaffirmation of our philosophy. Core competencies that differentiate us and set us apart in the industry as we build the Group to meet the challenges of the future. “The Gordon Murray Group has a clear mission: pushing automotive and technology boundaries to be the best there is. These new developments are dedicated to pursuing this ambitious agenda. We are building a philosophy and enhancing a team for increased growth and future success, staying true to our vision».
The Gordon Murray Group is set to move its global headquarters to a new site in Windlesham, Surrey, UK where a new technology campus, Heritage and Customer Centre, and bespoke design and engineering facilities are being created. Construction will commence in July 2021 and the first facilities will be ready in 2022, with the entire project completed in 2024.

Incoming the new electric motor for commercial vehicles

Its production will start in 2024 and its mission will be powering a broad variety of hybrid and electric applications in the ambit of commercial vehicles. We are speaking of Hvh 320 electric motor, the newly born in the High voltage hairpin (Hvh) range by BorgWarner, equipped with 800-volt capacity and available in four variants.
«The addition of Hvh 320 to our family of electric motors –Stefan Demmerle, president and general manager of BorgWarner PowerDrive Systems, explained – strengthens the offer and it is an excellent example of our commitment to supplying green forefront propulsion technologies that satisfy the market requirements, significantly shortening the recharge time for a real turning point in the world of electric commercial vehicles».

The new electric 350-kW motor for Hyper-EV

Establishing itself as OEM supplier, Yamaha has presented the prototype of the electric motor for supercars featuring 350 kw, corresponding to about 475 horsepower and 800-V operation voltage. It is a fundamental step for the Japanese player, which can now consolidate its ranking as supplier in the production of vehicles with electric propulsion for Hyper-EV.
Yamaha electric motor is Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous (IPMSM) and equipped with an oil cooling system and it is compact, able to integrate the gear group and the inverter into the same unit.
The official presentation of the new 350-kW unit and of other electric motor prototypes will take place at the Exhibition of automotive engineering 2021 in Yokohama, scheduled from 26th May to 28th May 2021.

Schaeffler, the mass-production of electric motors

Ranking among the leader family-owned companies in the world, for over 70 years Schaeffler has developed inventions and innovations in the motion field for transmissions with low CO2 emissions, in addition to the sector of electric mobility, Industry 4.0, digitalization and renewable energies.

Schaeffler dedicated hybrid transmissions deliver system power ratings of 120 kW

Its production includes high-precision components and systems for drivetrains and chassis applications, as well as rolling and sliding bearing solutions for a broad range of industrial applications. Its numbers are planetary: 83,700 collaborators, a turnover of about 14.4 billion Euros in 2019, year when it counted about 2,400 patent applications.
Coming back to our days, what are the hottest news by the brand? Certainly, the mass-production of electric motors.

The Business division course

The decision of setting up a specific vertical segment for the electric mobility dates back to the beginning of 2018. The company has progressively strengthned its competences in the electric mobility issue through a series of targeted takeovers. In 2016 it took over Compact Dynamics, a specialist in the development of innovative concepts of electric transmissions, in the same period when the joint venture Schaeffler-Paravan Technologie was developing the steer-by-wire Space Drive system, a key technology for the autonomous driving.
Another key operation was implemented with the purchase of Elmotec-Statomat, at the end of 2018, when Schaeffler added new expertise in the winding technology, so achieving comprehensive coverage of all aspects of electric motor industrialization.

Dr. Jochen Schröder, President of the E-Mobility Business Division Schaeffler AG

«We are making excellent progresses – said Dr. Jochen Schröder, President of the E-Mobility Business Division. – Our modular product portfolio enables us to offer customized volume-production solutions to meet any customer requirements. These successes in the E-Mobility Business Division reflect the company’s high standing as an automotive and industrial supplier in general. Schaeffler is a component, system and service supplier, as its comprehensive product portfolio illustrates».

Electric mobility solutions

Today Schaeffler is reaping the rewards of its decision and has started the mass-production for multiple products across all electrification levels for the electric mobility, so
establishing itself as a technological partner able to offer notable component and system know-how.

Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaefler AG

«We have successfully transformed ourselves – stated Matthias Zink, CEO Automotive Technologies at Schaefler AG – into a drive system supplier for sustainable electric mobility solutions. We have been engaged with electric mobility for more than 20 years and we understand the drive-train requirements. Our innovation capacity as a global automotive and industrial supplier plus our strong industrial skills make us a preferred partner for our customers».
This year will see the start of the mass production of hybrid modules, hybrid drive units and all-electric axle transmissions.

Since 2017, Schaeffler has supplied technologies for all electrified drivetrains with mass-production of electric axle transmissions, key component of electrified systems. The company supplies optimum transmission ratios and power transfer from the electric motor to the wheels: a highly versatile component with a wide range of applications.

Since 2017, Schaeffler has supplied technologies for all electrified drivetrains with mass-production of electric axle transmissions, key component of electrified systems

In Audi e tron, for instance, Schaeffler electric axle transmissions, with different structural designs, are used on both axles for all-wheel drive capability. Besides, Porsche Taycan is fitted with a high-efficiency Schaeffler coaxial electric axle transmission to provide the required transmission ratio on the front axle.
Last year, the coaxial electric axle transmission earned Schaeffler the prestigious PACE Award, regarded by industry worldwide as the hallmark for successful automotive projects.
Moreover, another plus that highlights the brand’s excellence in the solution: Schaeffler can also boast the proposal of its complete “ 3in1 electric axles”, which combine the electric motor, drive unit and power electronics in a single system. These are high-performance electric axles with advanced power density.

The technological platform of which Schaeffler avails itself for the production of electric motors is modular and highly integrated. What is brewing, concerning this? Along with a series of mass-production orders for electric motors in the passenger car sector, Schaeffler has recently reached another milestone by entering the segment of heavy-duty applications for commercial vehicles: the mass production of electric motors featuring the “wave wind- ing” technology, which provides high power density as well as advantages during assembly, is just around the corner.

In 2019, Schaeffler ranked second in the list of the most innovative companies in Germany according to DPMA, the German office of patents and trademarks.
Concerning this, shortly after its release, Schaeffler OPTIME condition monitoring system won the Industry 4.0 Innovation Award, prize given to products and innovations that bring
a precious or substantial contribution to the Industry 4.0 matter.
The solution focuses on the monitoring of electric motors, pumps, units and fans, that is to say drives and units that are used in very big numbers and whose conditions have been hardly or only manually monitored until now, owing to the lack of technical and economic solutions.
“Development teams and partners of Schaeffler have demonstrated a high level
of commitment to orienting OPTIME concept towards our customers’ requirements and specific work environment. We are very proud – stated Rauli Hantikainen, Head of the Industry 4.0 strategic business field – of receiving the Industry 4.0 Innovation Award for OPTIME. This prize is an acknowledgement and a motivation to go on developing solutions with pioneering spirit and innovation boost for our customers”.

The electric version of the iconic Panda

Among the special projects devised by Garage Italia, Lapo Elkann’s atelier, there is the new electric Fiat Panda 4×4 equipped with double electric motor, one on the front axle and the other on the rear one. Panda with electric powertrain is called Panda Integral-e and it has been implemented through the retrofit kit of the Icon-e project and starting from a historical Fiat Panda 4×4.
It is possible to select two driving modalities on board: Eco, which privileges traction in favour of the front axle with 80% – 20% distribution, and Sport that provides for a standard scheme of four-wheel drive, evening the distribution on both axles.
The particular customizations feature the interiors of precious Alcantara, a cutting-edge audio system purposely developed and digital instruments in the original cockpit that reports the indications on the electric traction.

Audi: a combination of electric motors for Dakar 2022

To know the details of Audi Sport prototype that will compete in Dakar 2022 we must wait until next July. However, we already know the technical specifications of the electric system powered by thermal engine in special test.
The number-seven season of the competition that will take place next January in Arabia sees the deployment of a new powertrain, a motor generator developed fully independently, by the four-rings company.
The project presentation is expected in July, then development tests will follow.
The prototype is likely to have a scheme with three electric motors, two will perform traction, a motor generator on each axis and a third motor generator to charge the battery while driving.
To face the rally in the desert, the electric traction is completed by a recharge system providing for a thermal engine, 2-litre, turbo petrol.

Seat: target is leading the automotive industry electrification in Spain

Recently, Seat Sa vehicle manufacturer has announced it will release an electric urban car in 2025; a vehicle with which the company will enter the approximately 20,000 – 25,000 Euro segment, essential to make electric mobility accessible for the vast majority of the population and to reach Green Deal goals.
Moreover, on the occasion of the 2021 Budget Conference, the Spanish company presented the ambitious Future Fast Forward plan, whose target is leading the automotive industry electrification in Spain.
The project core concerns the production of electric urban vehicles in Spain since 2025. «We want to produce electric cars in Spain starting from 2025. Our ambition is manufacturing over 500,000 electric urban cars yearly at Martorell, also for Volkswagen Group, but we need an engagement defined by the European Commission» – shared Wayne Griffiths, President of Seat Sa.

The biggest diesel plant in the world shifts to electric

It is one of the most topical 2021 news with Stellantis hashtag: the former PSA French factory, headquartered at Tremery, the biggest in the world for the production of diesel engines, will be fully reconverted to the manufacturing of electric motors.
The mega-structure was inaugurated in 2019 and this year it will produce 180,000 electric motors, with the long-term target of reaching 900,000 units in 2025, afterwards with a production of electric motors exceeding combustion ones’.
«Some years ago – stated Yann Vincent, executive vice-president and industrial director of PSA – we decided investing in the energy transition and making our plants more flexible. Trémery factory is an excellent example of this change».
If on one hand the environment is very grateful, on the other hand much concern regards employment, which might be reduced owing to the minor labour needed for an electric motor versus a conventional one.