Thursday, January 20, 2022

Batteries: the new Audi research and test centre

Audi is expanding its development of high-voltage batteries and banking on the Neckarsulm location for that (l. to r.): Fred Schulze, Neckarsulm Plant Manager; Rolf Klotz, Chairman of the Works Council, AUDI AG plant, Neckarsulm; Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board for Technical Development of Audi AG; Stephan Reil, Head of Technical Development, Neckarsulm). (Please note: All persons pictured are in compliance with the 3G rule.)

Neckarsulm factory is at the core of the brand’s strategy that casts its spotlights on batteries and on the electrification process. Next years, the German automotive company will offer various opportunities of advanced training to workers, developing a centre dedicated to batteries to test high-voltage storage technologies. In the laboratory for pilot projects, the workers with more expertise will test the prototypes of new high-voltage storage modules for various electric vehicles. The new multifunctional building for the technical development unit will be accomplished by the end of 2022 and the structure is expected to start operating within 2023.
The decision of locating the development of batteries at Neckarsulm – explained Rolf Klotz, president of the works council – is a first important step to provide the technical development staff in that site with a safe prospect about the future, even after combustion engines will be stopped.
In Neckarsulm site, Audi is already creating the accumulators for plug-in hybrid cars and therefore it is already equipped for the electrification process that will lead the new models to be only electric starting from 2026.
«High-voltage batteries and electric motors constitute an important strategic component of the future value creation in a transformed automotive industry. For this reason, we are systematically enlarging our competence in the development of these important components» – stated Oliver Hoffmann, from Audi technical development.

Here are the three new motors for General Motors

Excellent performances for the electric vehicles where they will be installed and lower manufacturing costs are the targets of the new Ultium Drive motors signed by General Motors, which are part of a scalable family.
Besides the new motors, GM has revealed details on the controllers that share in determining more efficient ways to distribute the torque in three-motor systems: it seems the artificial intelligence and the machine learning are exploited, so permitting a broad array of vehicles, from high-performance cars to work trucks. Moreover, the American player has announced the inverter and other electronic components are directly integrated into Ultium Drive motors precisely to decrease the complexity of its production, then lower costs.
The units featuring 180 and 255 kW are permanent-magnet motors designed with the target of minimizing the dependence on heavy rare earth materials, whereas the 62-kW motor is induction type.
«Twenty years – said Mark Reus, General Motors President – of electric drive system development and more than 100 years of high-volume vehicle engineering are helping GM pivot quickly from conventional vehicles to EVs. Our vertical integration in this space, encompassing both hardware and software, helps give us control over our own destiny and a significant competitive advantage».

In electric … also the Pope

During his official visit in Slovakia, Pope Francesco travelled on the electric SUV EnyaQ iV by Skoda, purposely modified. Among the modifications, there are the rear windows with transparent glasses, and not darkened, to allow faithful people to see him, the supports for the Vatican flag and the official logo of the papal visit on the housings of the outer mirrors and a further handle in addition to the standard equipment to make getting in and out more comfortable.
Waiting for seeing the new full-electric Papamobile (that will be manufactured by Fisker), Pope Francesco has already started the transition towards a zero-emission hyper-technological mobility. As witnessed by the choice of using two EnyaQ iV, Skoda electric SUV, for the official visit in Slovakia to which he is committed precisely in these days.
Skoda manufacturer has intended to enhance the technological interaction at the service of the Pontiff: they have created a specific website that allows faithful people to send greetings that Pope Francesco can directly read on board.
After the Slovak experience in electric, there are high expectations for seeing what will become the new full electric Papamobile. To discover it, we have to wait until 2022: Fisker is at work on a new fully-electric version of Ocean SUV, equipped with a large modern dome fully made of glass to allow Francesco to greet faithfuls. Autonomy will be 480 km and the overall power of 300 HP, due to the use of two electric motors, one for each axis.

Renault, beyond innovation frontiers

Renault Group continues its electric race and it accelerates the strategy by proposing competitive, sustainable and popular electric vehicles, with the target of releasing the greenest mix in the European market in 2025 and 100% electrical vehicles in 2030. «What we announce today – stated Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault Group during the recent Renault eWays event- is a historical acceleration of Renault Group’s and of ‘made in Europe electric strategy. Renault ElectriCity is a compact electric eco-system, able to offer efficiency and high technology in northern France, but also a mega factory dedicated to electric motors in Normandy. We will train, we will invest and will establish partnerships with renowned, but also rising, players, each in the forefront of its competence sector».
Ten new electric models will be released on the market and up to one million electric vehicles will be produced by 2030, from urban cars at competitive prices up to high-end sports models. Moreover, the Group will cover 100% of future releases of its electric vehicles, in all segments, availing itself of NMC (Nickel, Manganese and Cobalt) chemistry and of a standard-cell architecture, which will allow it to implement up to one million of electric vehicles. Going into technological details, Renault will progressively integrate new technological ameliorations starting from 2024 on its wound-rotor synchronous motor: fork stator, glued motor stack, hollow shaft and brushless rotor, to decrease costs and to improve the motor efficiency. Moreover, the Group will be pioneer with an electric axial-flux motor on a broad scale starting from 2025 and it is working also on a more compact powertrain, renowned as “all-in-one” system, which houses electric motor, reducer and power electronics in a single unit.

Mercedes Benz, the fully electric is close

The automotive brands that announce their complete conversion towards electric are increasing. Among the latest news, there is also the one concerning Mercedes-Benz player that will complete this course by the end of the decade, where market conditions will allow it.
Within 2022, Mercedes-Benz will rely on battery electric vehicles (BEV) in all segments where it operates. Since 2025 onwards, all new vehicle architectures will be exclusively electric and customers will have the opportunity of choosing a fully electric alternative for each model offered by the company.
«The transition towards electric vehicles – declared Ola Källenius, CEO of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG – is speeding up, especially in the luxury segment, to which Mercedes-Benz belongs. The turning point is getting close and we will be ready when markets will shift to the fully electric by the end of this decade. This step marks a deep reallocation of the capital. Managing this accelerated transformation and safeguarding our profitability targets, we will assure the durable success of Mercedes-Benz. Due to our highly skilled and motivated manpower, I believe that we will be successful in this new exciting era».
After reorganizing its powertrain activities to manage the planning, the development, the purchase and the production under the same roof, Mercedes-Benz will deepen the level of vertical integration in manufacturing and development and will achieve the electric transmission technology. This shift includes the takeover of YASA electric motor company headquartered in the United Kingdom.
Moreover, Mercedes-Benz will need a battery capacity of over 200-Giga-watts hour and plans to create eight Giga-factories for the production of cells, together with its partners worldwide.

Geely, new brand into premium electric segment

The brand for the Chinese mass market Geely Auto has recently announced the formation of a new company, Zeekr Company Limited, a new electric mobility technology and solutions company based in China that will serve growing global demand for premium electric vehicles.
The first Zeekr vehicles are expected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2021, with production being undertaken by parent company Geely Holding under a light asset strategy.
Zeekr aims at delivering a new electric vehicle to market each year in the coming five years.
Zeekr will create a new ecosystem that is focused on the full integration of the end user into a new super ecosystem focusing on the full service of end user requirements with an innovation as standard approach in terms of sales and servicing.
The Chinese name of Zeekr has been confirmed as Ji Ke.
Zeekr will become the latest electrification initiative within the wider Geely Holding Group, in which other companies such as Volvo have recently announced ambitious zero-emission strategies.
Other electrified vehicle brands within Geely Holding, including Lynk & Co, Polestar, LEVC, Geometry and Lotus Cars are also continuing to expand in different market segments, providing consumers with a wide range of electrified products and unique business offerings.

The new Hypercar Fulminea will have 4 electric motors

Automobili Estrema has recently revealed the details of its fully made in Italy electric hypercar that will be available starting from the second half of 2023: 61 cars in all at the cost of 2 million Euros each.
Its name is absolutely self-explanatory: Fulminea, which will be able to deliver the super-power of 1.5 MW, therefore over 2,000 HP and to sprint from 0 to 320 km/h in less than 10 seconds.
The battery pack has a capacity of 100 kWh and the autonomy expected according to the WLTP cycle is 520 km.
«Automobili Estrema – Gianfranco Pizzuto, founder and Ceo of the brand, explained – is a reality established around one year ago in Modena, where the factory is under construction, and in Turin, where our design and modelling teams work. Our challenge is entering the Italian electric mobility world as absolute protagonists and we start doing that by presenting Fulminea, a vehicle with all the characteristics of a racing car: high performances, forefront technologies and premium materials like carbon, but with a full electric state-of-the-art propulsion, unique in the world. Fulminea is meant as a new made in Italy, made in Modena excellence, where engineering and assembling phases are performed, and made in Turin, city where, thanks to the collaboration with studio Epta Design, Ucif Modelli and Est Mobile the styling and the modelling of our hypercar have been implemented».

The Horse towards the e-mobility: here is Ferrari 296 GTB

When Ferrari automotive company speaks of novelty, the world’s spotlights are cast on the Horse logo. This time, Ferrari 296 GTB is at stake, able to match a new V6 twin-turbo 2.9 with 663 HP with 167 HP electric motor with rechargeable battery.
The great novelty resides in the technological setup: a return to six-cylinder V-shaped architecture given up at the end of 1973 and powertrain with plug-in hybrid system that releases 830 HP.
MGU-K 167 HP electric unit is powered by 7.45 kWh battery positioned in the bottom part of the car. An actuator (TMA-Transition Manager Actuator) allows the management of the powertrain that, therefore, permits to use the entire electric-thermal group to achieve the highest power. Concerning instead the zero-emission performance, the travel autonomy is 25 km.
Regarding performances, the announced ones of Ferrari 296 GTB highlight over 330 km/h for the top speed, 2”9 for the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h and 7”3 for acceleration to 200 km/h from standing start. Record specific power: 221 HP/l.

One thousand engagements in Motor Valley thanks to Faw supercar

After an investment worth one billion, the Chinese Faw, in joint venture with the Americans of Silk EV, will give birth to Hongq S9, the electric supercar designed by Walter de Silva.

Made in Emilia, precisely in Reggio Emilia, this luxury production will enable 1,000 new employments in the Motor Valley.

An outstanding industrial challenge that consistently focuses on the construction of the new manufacturing plant of the electric supercar on an area taking up 300,000 square metres, close to the motorway and the high-speed station.

Everything will be accomplished at the beginning of 2023, but already today the establishment in Emilia of Silk-Faw production pole represents a precious opportunity to attract new talents and new competences.

Supercars’ electric motor…. for all

For over 20 years, the British company Integral Powertrain has been committed to the development of innovative technologies, including also electric motors for cars, especially on high-performance units, like the ones used in supercars and in hyper cars that compete in Formula E.
Recently, its Integral e-Drive division has presented a new series of very interesting electric motors: CTSM242, anyway intended for all vehicles, even if with characteristics for cars featuring much higher performances. It is a motor range based on a particular architecture, the Core Technology, which strategically combines the design of the electromagnetic part with a thermal management system that cools both the stator and the rotor.
This feature allows achieving a compact but extremely performing motor: with a weight of just 30 kg, it can reach a power peak of 400 kW, corresponding to 544 HP, and a maximum torque of 520 Nm, for a peak power exceeding 12.5 kW/kg, and a maximum rotation speed of 15,000 revolutions and efficiency approaching 97%.
This kind of motor is defined off-the-shelf by English people, that is to say produced upon buyer’s demand, and compatible with a large variety of other components, in the specific case transmissions and inverter.