Saturday, April 1, 2023

Energica, new electric platform for off-road vehicles

Energica Motor Company (Energica), top global original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is collaborating to assess a new line of electric two-wheel vehicles. Energica Inside, a business unit of Energica, is providing design and engineering services.
Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica explained: “Our world needs to become net zero by 2050, which means transportation must become zero emission. I believe that the unique expertise and technology within Energica can help society achieve this goal faster. That is why we formed the Energica Inside business unit, and we immediately attracted a lot of attention from large OEMs looking to offer EV solutions for urban mobility, agriculture, marine, and aviation.”
Energica Inside provided a feasibility study to identify a final configuration for an off-road electric vehicle platform. The company’s engineers and designers performed a technical assessment of the OEM’s existing platform and battery pack to validate the definitive product battery specification. At the heart of the final configuration is Energica’s powertrain, which includes the E2110 motor, a liquid-cooled permanent magnet electric motor weighing just 27kg and a maximum power of 120 kW (161 hp) at 13000 rpm.
“Energica Inside is ready to help OEMs achieve their climate goals and comply with regulations by electrifying their product lines – whether its tractors, watercraft, aircraft, passenger and urban mobility vehicles” stated Carlo Iacovini, General Manager Energica Inside. “Our solutions are built around Energica’s industry-leading, proven EV design, engineering and technology.”
Energica Inside already has several projects underway, including a collaboration with U.S. electric tractor manufacturer Solectrac.

The rare earth-free Indian electric motor

In these days, the Indian start-up Chara Technologies has presented the first motor for electric vehicle fully made by using aluminium, copper and steel available in India, without using rare earths. In the specific case, it is an electric reluctance motor with artificial magnets. To make these powertrains work, some magnets are in fact necessary and rare earths are needed to manufacture them. Rare earths, besides being expensive, hardly extracted and managed, have a chain that China controls by 90% on a global scale. It is a strategy with which India is going to emancipate itself from the dependence on the supplies of minerals from foreign Countries: semiconductors are the only part of these motors recently presented imported from abroad.
Moving to Europe, we remind that in June 2022 Vitesco Technologies presented its new electric powertrain, a unit of EESM kind (externally excited synchronous motors), which does not need the use of rare earths and it is expressly conceived to be more efficient than PMS (Permanent Magnet Synchronous) units, especially at high speeds.

Ferrari, the roar of its electric motor

According to the European Regulation, all electric vehicles produced since 2020 onwards must emit a sound resembling the one of a motor based on fossil fuels, due to a matter of road safety. Noise, in fact, is important to warn both pedestrians and other vehicles about the presence of cars. In the light of this provision, Ferrari has recently registered a patent for its own electric model incoming in 2025. It is a system of sound modulation and amplification that will generate a sound exceeding 90 dB and will be modulated according to drive conditions, irrespective of the electric motor rotation.
The result? The electric Ferrari will have a motor roar also when still at the traffic light, similarly to its endothermic brothers.
Important: the sound signal has such a frequency as not to interfere with the magnetic flux of the electric motor, so avoiding generating torque and movements in the rotor that then would be transmitted to driving wheels, affecting the drive dynamics.

Rotor-stator stacks, big achievement for Feintool

One of the companies that stands out for the high-quality e-motor lamination and e-core stacks is Feintool. Recently, the company has proudly announced it is winning a project extension to supply a further 21 million rotor-stator stacks for electric motors in the industrial sector and extends long-term relationship with its customer. The expected volume will be delivered within five years, that is why Feintool is investing in new infrastructure and upgrading of equipment in the Hungary plant of the Business unit e-laminations in Tokod, Hungary.
The previous news talked about the successful cooperation started in Asia with Sitec: both technology companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to intensify cooperation in the production of metallic bipolar plates for fuel cells and electrolysers in Europe.
Going back to some months ago, here is the announcement by Feintool they have won a substantial contract to supply rotors and stators to a new key customer. The multi-year contract for this renowned European OEM involves a lifetime volume in the triple-digit million Euro range. This success illustrates the importance of Feintool’s strategy which focuses on electrification.

Mega-deposit of rare earths discovered in Sweden: turning point for the EU?

Besides an iron ore mine, the Swedish State mining company LKAB has discovered a deposit of over 1 million tons of rare earths in the northern area of Kiruna, in Lapland. As we know, they are strategic minerals for the production of electric vehicles, wind turbines, chips and hi-tech products. However, until now they are not extracted in Europe, but most of them come from China. Therefore, might this discovery free Europe from this existing dependence on China?
Jan Mostrom, CEO of LKAB explained: «The important thing is that we can identify quite big deposits of this material here inside the European Union, because these materials will be vital for electrification. The deposit is “enormous” and represents a first step towards Europe’s self-sufficiency ».

UK, the direction of hydrogen for heavy vehicles

many different trucks parked in a parking lot of the highway

From the programme Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), HVS, Hydrogen-Electric HGV Powertrain Development, has received 30 million pounds to develop hydrogen fuel cells for heavy vehicles.
The company is one of the five that have received an amount of 73 million pounds collected by the Government of the United Kingdom and by the automotive industry to develop a green transport technology. It is a considerable amount, a piece that sheds light on the most probable direction in terms of trucks and mobility.
Currently, hydrogen fuel cells would be considered essential for heavy vehicles because lithium ion batteries used for heavy vehicles would be prohibitive and would have long recharge times.
HVS CEO, Jawad Khursheed, said: “Our mission to decarbonise heavy-duty transport in the UK has reached a major milestone with the help of the APC grant. The UK Government performed rigorous due diligence in selecting HVS to receive this grant, acknowledging that our advanced technology is a key innovation towards achieving zero-emission targets. We have successfully produced our first driving fuel cell technology demonstrator vehicle and are on track to deliver the UK’s first-to-market hydrogen fuel cell-powered HGV. We have experienced rapid growth at HVS in as little as a year, now with this government support we will boost innovation, create thousands of UK-based jobs, and build upon our goal towards cleaner HGVs.”

Electric motors, innovations for challenging applications

The big player TDK is introducing high-speed TMR front-end IC for demanding EV motor control applications and it is expanding its TMR sensor portfolio with the new Micronas ASA 2310, signal processing IC for high-speed electric motor applications in automotive and industrial environments.
The new TMR analog front-end ASA 2310 offers signal conditioning optimized for TMR-bridge angle sensors including enhanced applicative compensation features and safety supervision.
The sensors, powered and monitored by the ASA 2310, are detecting magnetic-field direction in x-y plane, and providing a SIN/COS analog voltage output which is used as input for the ASA 2310. The sensor interface and signal conditioning of the ASA 2310 are optimized for the TMR-Bridge signals.
New rotor position sensing solutions based on the ASA 2310 offer a high resolution and accurate position measurement at very high rotation speeds of up to 650,000 rpm. This enables high-speed motors to maximize torque and increase efficiency which is essential for hybrid and electric vehicles to obtain maximum range. In addition, the sensor system configuration works independently of the motor pole pair number and therefore does not require complex hardware changes, a major advantage over inductive resolver technologies. This gives more flexibility in the development of the hybrid and electric powertrains of the future.
“The ASA 2310 is a high-performance IC that extends the functionalities of a very precise analog TMR sensor and reduces the influence of noise and parasitic components caused by remote application setups where the sensor module is separate from the ECU and connected by a long wire-harness,” says Frederik Berstecher, Product Marketing Manager for „Fast Hall & TMR“ at TDK-Micronas.
Samples of the device are available now. Start of production is planned for the end of 2023.

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.