Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Jaguar Land Rover and Wolfspeed, silicon carbide for higher efficiency

A strategic partnership that is attracting the market attention is the one between Jaguar Land Rover and Wolfspeed, Inc. which are shaking their hands for the supply of silicon carbide semiconductors intended for state-of-the-art electric vehicle, offering more autonomy and efficiency of the powertrain.
In the ambit of its Reimagine strategy, Jaguar Land Rover is becoming an electric-first company, to reach the target of net zero carbon emissions within 2039, in its whole chain of suppliers, products, services and operations.
The advanced technology by Wolfspeed will be specifically used in vehicles’ inverter, managing the power transfer from the battery to electric motors. The first Range Rover vehicles with this advanced technology will be available since 2024 and the following year on the new Jaguar all-electric brand.
The partnership starts from the relationship existing between Wolfspeed and the winning Jaguar TCS Racing team, who competes in the world ABB FIA Formula E championship, where the advanced silicon carbide technology has been used to speed up efficiency and performances on the track.
The agreement is the last of Jaguar Land Rover programme in establishing strategic partnerships with sector leaders for its future vehicles, expression of the modern luxury: in February 2022, Jaguar Land Rover has announced a partnership with NVIDIA, focused on advanced automated drive and software-defined systems for state-of-the-art vehicles, starting from 2025.
Wolfspeed technology powers electric propulsion systems in the whole voltage range, from 400 V to 800 V. The solutions for silicon carbide power supply devices will be produced by Wolfspeed factory of Mohawk Valley at Marcy, New York, inaugurated in April 2022 as the largest plant of 200- mm silicon carbide chips in the world.

Acc and Siemens together to heighten the battery manufacturing

A lot goes towards the electrification direction and, consequently, batteries. Siemens has signed a partnership agreement with Automotive Cells Company (Acc) for the supply of appliances and technologies that will be used in the new factories that manufacture batteries for electric vehicles.
The Digital Twin technology by Siemens will speed up the start of the factories of Acc at Billy-Berclau Douvrin, in France, at Kaiserslautern, in Germany, and eventually in Termoli, in Italy, according to what communicated by Siemens.
Acc, joint venture among Stellantis, Mercedes Benz and TotalEnergies, has a plan worth 7 billion Euros to build the three mega factories, which will have a capacity of 40 gigawatt-hour (GWh), by 2030, to support the growing production of electrified vehicles.
According to the agreement, Siemens will become the privileged supplier of Acc for automation, digitalization and electrification technologies.
The platform, based on the cloud, which will include hardware, software and digital services, is part of Siemens target of making its digital business grow by 10% per year versus the 5.6 billion Euros generated in 2021.
Siemens will give Acc the access to its portfolio of hardware and software resources for digital enterprises, from the manufacturing engineering to the product design, from the product lifecycle management to energy management systems.

Simulation, the method that reduces NVH problems

The engineering company Drive System Design (DSD), specialized in consulting on propulsion systems for electric vehicles, has recently developed an innovative simulation method able to highlight problems connected with the NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) sector, in the ambit of powertrains for electric vehicles, when the project is still in modelling phase».
Jordan Craven, Senior Engineer by Drive System Design stated: «The shift from internal combustion engines to electric ones has significantly reduced the acceptable level of NVH parameters in vehicles and, consequently, now the problems of late expensive NVH have turned out to be more common.
Drive System Design (DSD) has developed a modelling approach at level system by using correlation tests of components and subsystems to simulate accurately the NVH behaviour of new propulsion systems for electric vehicles.

Aiways U6, powertrain in-house developed

Stemmed from the previous Aiways U5 model, the new SUV Coupé Aiways U6 implements an electric motor in-house developed, based on MAS – More Adaptable Structure platform. Among the primary features, which confer power to the permanent-magnet bipolar synchronous electric motor, there are 16,000 revolutions per minute and -15% of weight. The new AI-PT (Aiways Powertrain) makes the automotive company one of the few manufacturers that design and implement the powertrain.
What about performances? The improvement of the maximum torque allows the vehicle to pass from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.9 seconds. Besides, they have developed special filtration strategies to control the harmonics in the electric circuit of the motor, assuring a noteworthy reduction of the perceived noise and notably increasing the travel comfort.
A key element is the optimal temperature management to grant higher efficiency: in the Aiways U6 this aspect is managed by a new heat exchanger that not only cools the motor but optimally exploits its residual heat: the thermal energy released by the motor does not remain unused and is not dispersed into the environment, but it is exploited to heat the passenger compartment or to cool the battery pack.
The car will be equipped with a 63-kWh battery with 24-module pack supplied by CATL and it will be possible to recharge it up to 90 kW by a direct current (DC) fast recharge station or up to 11 kW through AC three-phase wallbox.

Equipmake, 3D-printed electric motors in advanced e-axle

At the beginning of September, Equipmake released Ampere-220 e-axle: a compact, lightweight, high-power electric drive system for manufacturers of high-performance electric vehicles.
It combines one of the most advanced 3D-printed electric motors with all power electronics, including the company’s own silicon carbide inverter, and an integrated transmission system in a compact unit that directly powers the vehicle’s axle, bringing a step change in off-the-shelf performance for electric sports cars and supercars.
Extremely lightweight yet efficient and cost-effective, Ampere has peak power of 220kW and a maximum motor speed of 30,000rpm. Weighing just under 20kg, it offers power density of 11kW per kg – more than twice that of a conventional electric motor. The key to its performance is its combination of Equipmake’s spoke design with additive manufacturing, allowing Ampere’s metal structure to be 3D-printed, rather than milled from a solid billet.
Making its debut in the Ampere-220 e-axle, the advanced electric motor is combined with all necessary power electronics, including Equipmake’s high-performance silicon carbide-based inverter, and an integrated transmission system too, resulting in a state-of-the-art, highly compact and lightweight electric drive system that is ready to be integrated into a high-performance electric vehicle.
Debuted in twin-motor specification, Ampere-220 e-axle offers 440kW peak power per axle with a total unit weight of just 85kg. Equipmake can also develop a single-motor e-axle application with 220kW of peak power per axle.
«Equipmake has always been at the forefront of innovation in electric motors, with our APM range offering class-leading power densities thanks to their compact, lightweight designs. Ampere showcases the next leap, and combined with our own power electronics, including our silicon carbide inverter, and transmission system, we have created the Ampere-220 e-axle», said Ian Foley, Equipmake CEO.



European début for MG4 Electric 

The new MG4 Electric, full electric model by the historical automotive British company MG, is incoming on the market. Engineered on MSP “Modular Scalable Platform” it will be proposed with both rear and all-wheel drive and the three different trim levels, standard, comfort and luxury.
The standard is equipped with 51 kWh battery and rear 125 kW electric motor with 250 Nm of torque, a configuration that allows an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.7 seconds, a maximum speed of 160 km/h and autonomy up to 350 km in WLTP cycle. The battery can be recharged in direct current up to a power of 117 kW. In alternate current up to 6.6 kW.
On the other superior set-ups, then comfort and luxury, the 64-kWh battery is offered and a rear electric 150-kW motor with 250 Nm of torque. The maximum speed is always 160 km/h, whereas it takes 7.9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. The maximum autonomy is equal to 450 km (435 km for Luxury). In direct current, the battery can recharge up to a maximum power of 135 kW. In alternate current, instead, up to 11 kW.
In the future, MG4 is likely to be available also in more sportif version with double motor, all-wheel drive and approximate 400 HP power.


Repairing electric axles? Here is the new solution by Schaeffler

It has been recently presented the novelty by the Automotive Aftermarket Division of Schaeffler, which stands out for its know-how concerning the repair of hybrid and electric vehicles. «With our smart repair solutions and the offers of digital services – explained Jens Schüler, CEO Automotive Aftermarket of Schaeffler – we help workshops to face the rising challenges of electric mobility and digitalization».
Concerning this, top products include the repair kit LuK “disconnected clutch C0” for hybrid vehicles, the second generation of Thermal Management INA module for vehicles with automatic on/off or for hybrid transmissions and the new generations of WheelSet FAG ball bearings.
“Schaeffler E-Axle RepSystem – G” is a pioneering repair solution that allows workshops to repair electric axles instead of replacing them completely. Jens Schüler in person underlined it: «The Automotive Aftermarket Division is also operating to support Schaeffler Group in the achievement of its sustainability targets. Our solutions are already extending vehicles’ lifecycles. We are connecting the electric mobility matter with the aftermarket, in strict collaboration with our colleagues of the Automotive Technologies Division, for instance with the new “Schaeffler E-Axle RepSystem – G” for the repair of electric axles. Thanks to these innovative digital instruments, we manufacture and we ship only what the market really needs, saving precious resources».


Test under hot climatic conditions for full-electric Volta Zero

Let us take a step back: Volta Zero is a 16-ton fully electric vehicle specifically created for urban logistics, able to reduce the environmental impact of deliveries of goods downtown. Designed since the early phases with fully electric autonomy ranging from 150 to 200 km, Volta Zero is expected to avoid the production of 1.2M tons of CO2 by 2025.
Recently, Volta Trucks has completed its severe test programme under hot climatic conditions of its full-electric 16- ton Volta Zero. The test programme developed in the lapse of six weeks by Nardò Technical Centre, in Puglia, and was conceived to ensure that Volta Zero grants exceptional levels of reliability and duration when, at the beginning of next year, the mass production of vehicles upon customers’ specification will be started.
The development team has accomplished over 2,500 km of driving cycle, focused on customers’ requirements, at motorway, city and urban speeds. The air conditioning system and the thermal management of the battery and of Volta Zero powertrain have been assessed and taken to the extreme to assure optimal operational reliability, with maximum temperature of 39 °C during the day and 28 °C at night.
Ian Collins, Chief Product Officer di Volta Trucks, stated: «The completion of our test programme under hot climatic conditions marks out another important milestone in the development and in the supply of Volta Zero. Tests allow our engineers to implement their last discoveries in the mass-production of specific vehicles for customers, assuring that Volta Zero will offer a reliable durable experience to future customers».

Bosch kit for the electrification of boats

Bosch Engineering, subsidiary of Bosch Group that offers complete engineering services, from the initial study to the mass production, presents its first electrification kit for the boats under 24 metres of length. The kit is composed by three key components: control unit, 400 V electric motor and inverter with integrated DC/DC converter (INVCON).

The design of Bosch synchronous permanent magnet high-speed 400 V motor grants high power density and efficiency. Moreover, the motor can be supplied with two power variants: one with maximum peak of 90 Kw and a weight of 30 Kg, the other with maximum power of 140 Kw and a weight of 63 Kg. Due to its compactness, the two versions can be easily housed in already existing systems, too.

The inverter with integrated DC/DC converter, with a maximum power of 140 Kw, generates three-phase alternating current with variable frequency starting from the direct current of the battery, while it works in reverse in the recovery phase, when it acts as generator. Due to its small sizes, it is extremely compact and easily integrated into the boat.

Gianfranco Fenocchio, General Manager Bosch Engineering Italia, stated: «The nautical industry and the sea economy in general stake on sustainability and innovation, issues cared by Bosch Group. The electrification of boats represents the most important step to allow the sector to pursue the sustainability way. For this reason, starting from Bosch’s great tradition in the automotive and off-highway sectors, we are going to provide technological solutions in the boating sector, too».

Magnets, fast development and prototyping

How important is it to find the right magnet for an electric motor, actuator or sensor? As much as it can be a difficult and time-consuming process for automotive suppliers. In addition to supplying magnetic components and assemblies, Goudsmit Magnetics based in Waalre, also offer services that speed up the time-to market for automotive manufacturers. Therefore, a key role is played by the knowledge of magnetic calculations, FEM calculations and 3D simulations that contribute to the development of a magnet or assembly that not only meets all requirements but, even before the prototyping phase, provides certainty about the correct operation.

The quality of magnets is essential to guarantee optimal operation. Magnetic measurements and quality control measurements are an important part of determining the quality of a magnet. These measurements provide automotive suppliers with guarantees and are a standard part of the IATF16949 process. Using FEM simulations, engineers and product developers have a 3D visual of how the product behaves within a magnetic system. For example, in terms of the depth of a magnetic field or magnetic flux density on another ferromagnetic object. This not only validates the overall performance of a component, but also shows its magnetic performance. In this way, it is possible to optimize product performance, resulting in the best possible solution for a specific application. Such simulations accelerate the development and prototyping process because the shape, grade and size of a magnetic component can be quickly determined.