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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

German OEMs Plan 350 kW Fast Charging Network Across Europe

BMW, Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick build-up of a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This will be an important step towards facilitating mass-market BEV adoption.

The projected ultra-fast high-powered charging network with power levels up to 350 kW will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The build-up is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020 the customers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most BEV drivers to date. The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.

The network will be based on Combined Charging System (CCS) standard technology. The planned charging infrastructure expands the existing technical standard for AC- and DC charging of electric vehicles to the next level of capacity for DC fast charging with up to 350 kW. BEVs that are engineered to accept this full power of the charge stations can recharge brand-independently in a fraction of the time of today’s BEVs. The network is intended to serve all CCS equipped vehicles to facilitate the BEV adoption in Europe.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Daimler ups-the-ante to €10 billion for electric vehicle R&D

Daimler is planning to invest up to €10 billion ($11 billion) in electric vehicles research and development, up from €7 billion announced only 6 months ago.

"By 2025 we want to develop 10 electric cars based on the same architecture," Thomas Weber told Stuttgarter Zeitung's Saturday edition.

"For this push we want to invest up to 10 billion euros," he said, adding three of the models will be Smart branded cars and that thanks to larger batteries they will be able to increase their cruising range up to 700 kilometers.

In September, a person familiar with Daimler's plans said that the car maker plans to roll out at least six electric car models as part of its push to compete with Tesla and Audi.

Separately, Daimler said on Friday that it will continue to sell diesel-powered vehicles in the United States, in contrast to German rival Volkswagen.

"There is currently no decision nor are there considerations to withdraw diesel from the U.S.", a company spokesman said, denying a report from weekly magazine Der Spiegel, which had said the carmaker was considering stopping its sales of such cars in the U.S. next year.

Diesel-powered cars account for less than one percent of the Mercedes brand's car sales in the U.S. this year, he added.

That compares to a diesel car share of about 5 percent several years ago, Der Spiegel said.

Daimler is conducting an internal investigation of its certification process for diesel exhaust emissions in the United States at the request of the Justice Department, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would review all light-duty diesel vehicles.

According to Der Spiegel, the potential pullback of diesel cars from the U.S. market is not related to this probe.

Volkswagen said on Tuesday it would drop diesel vehicles in the United States and refocus on sport utility and electric vehicles, in the wake of a damaging diesel emissions cheating scandal.

Tesla to offer Zero Marginal Cost Mobility

We've all witnessed first-hand how in just two decades the internet has digitised industry after industry to deliver an increasingly zero marginal cost society (Marginal cost is the cost of producing an additional unit of a good or service after fixed costs have been absorbed.)

While I don't subscribe to the entire zero marginal cost society thesis, it is a good explanation for the effects that have transformed information industries like media, music & software. The same now applies increasingly to energy. While the fixed costs of the harvesting technologies to generate green electricity are decreasing exponentially, the marginal cost of producing renewable energy is near zero. The sun and the wind are free and only need to be captured and stored.

At a recent shareholder meeting, Elon Musk said Tesla's new solar shingles will cost less than a "normal roof" and the energy would essentially be free. Does this mark the dawn of mass market zero marginal cost mobility? Popular Mechanics recently ran the experiment, powering three electric vehicles with a conventional rooftop PV system. They concluded that buying a rooftop PV system to power your electric vehicle is comparable to prepaying three years worth of gasoline, based on $4/gallon, and never having to pay for it again.

We think the payback time for a retrofitted rooftop PV system can be even shorter! Based on average annual motoring of 15,000 km/year, a small 1.5 kW PV array (PM used 7.5 kw) could power a typical EV like a Nissan Leaf (114 Wh/km quoted energy consumption) on it's daily commute for 25+ years at an average cost of < $0.004/km.

Eliminating the $240/month a typical household spends on vehicle fuel, a modest rooftop PV system would pay for itself in just 6 months. Ticking the box to have Tesla tiles fitted to your new house eliminates the payback stage altogether. It is effectively a rooftop perpetual fuel pump where the per kilometre cost is zero from day 1.

Combine Tesla's solar shingles and EV powertrain which, irrespective of their "infinite Mile" 8 year warranty, is expected to last well in-excess of a million miles, (true for all EVs) with the ever growing installed base of rooftop PV systems (25% of households in some Australian states) and we could soon see zero marginal cost mobility becoming reality at internet speed, hammering another couple dozen nails in the coffin of ICE cars.

Monday, November 21, 2016

VW to Invest €3.5B in Battery Cell & Modular Electric Drive Plant

Volkswagen will invest €3.5-billion (US$3.7-billion) in e-mobility and digitalization for its German plants.

To bring Volkswagen up-to-date in the future-oriented areas of e-mobility and digitalization, the company will be making a massive investment in new technologies. The German plants are to enter the field of developing and producing electric vehicles and components. A pilot plant for battery cells and cell modules is to be developed. Volkswagen will be investing €3.5 billion in the transformation of the company.

New competences in future-oriented areas are to be developed at the various locations. About 9,000 additional jobs with a secure future are to be created. Volkswagen will mainly be filling these vacancies with existing employees and will also be recruiting specialists from outside the Group. Over the next few years, Volkswagen will be cutting up to 23,000 jobs via natural fluctuation and partial early retirement, taking the demographic curve into account. It is expressly stated that this reduction in the workforce will be accomplished without compulsory redundancies.

The pact for the future includes agreements on new future-oriented vehicle products. The plants at Wolfsburg and Zwickau are to assume responsibility for the production of electric vehicles based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). In order to ensure efficient capacity deployment, a further model is to be produced at the Emden plant. At Wolfsburg, an additional Volkswagen Group vehicle will also be produced.

Future-oriented work is to be divided between the main German components plants. Brunswick will continue to produce the battery system for the Modular Transverse Toolkit and will also be developing and producing the battery system for the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB). Kassel is to develop the MEB drive system and to be responsible for the assembly of the entire system in addition to electric transmission production. Salzgitter will produce and supply MEB drive system components. In addition, the plant will be building a pilot facility for battery cells and cell modules.

By 2020, the Volkswagen brand intends to be completely repositioned.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Axial Flux Induction Motor for Automotive Applications

Hybrid and electric vehicle technology has seen rapid development in recent years. The motor and generator are at the heart of the vehicle drive and energy system and often utilise expensive rare-earth permanent magnet material.

Existing hybrid and electric vehicles, such as Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and BMW i3 all use high-energy-density permanent magnet (PM) machines for electric propulsion. The magnetic material is usually sintered neodymium–iron–boron (NdFeB).

Squirrel cage induction motors (IM) have been successfully used in electric vehicles (GM and Tesla) and commercial vehicles (buses and trains). They are much cheaper and more robust although they can struggle to get the same torque density.

Figure 1

Currently, the interior permanent magnet synchronous motor (IPMSM) is the most common machine in use, but manufacturers are keen to develop drive motors with much lower magnet content. High torque density and efficiency are required, as well as a wide constant power range.

In an effort to improve the torque density of automotive induction motors Evans Electric have developed a double stator, copper rotor, axial flux induction motor. (AFIM) Like a typical squirrel cage induction motor, the AFIM eliminates the need for rare-earth permanent magnets entirely, yet matches the IPMSM for torque density and energy efficiency.

Axial Flux Torque Density (Nm/L)

The earliest electrical machines were axial flux motors with the first prototype built by Michael Faraday in 1831. Axial flux machines [Figure 2] (aka. Pancake motors) offer high torque and power density values. A double stator architecture offers the highest torque density coupled with balanced axial forces. Further, the short axial length and solid-core copper rotor construction (patented by Evans Electric) further enhance torque density values when compared to radial flux motors.

Figure 2

Conventional radial flux motor geometry [Figure 3] requires azimuthal travel of magnetic flux through the rotor. Azimuthal flux path volumes result in substantial parasitic eddy current losses unless laminates are used. A double stator, single rotor axial flux geometry [Figure 2] has a shorter flux return path that inherently avoids parasitic eddy current losses and results in a much smaller total rotor volume. Radial flux machines weigh an average of 40% more than axial flux machines at the same output.

For example, the Telsa Roadster AC induction motor outputs similar torque values but is dimensionally 3x the volume of the Evans Electric AFIM which was designed to achieve output torque density of 100 Nm/L.

AFIM torque density can be further increased by reducing the impedance of the machine and increasing the bar number. Typical pole numbers are 6 to 8 while the use of high rotor bar number increases torque and decreases torque vibration.

The use of copper in the disc rotor lowers rotor resistance which improves efficiency but can restrict starting torque.

To obtain high efficiency the machine should be running at low slip so that higher pole number is usually required along with low rotor resistance. However, this can restrict the starting torque. This means that the input impedance as a whole needs to be low which does lead to high input current. However, to get high power factor the input reactance should be low compared to the input resistance. This leads to the need for compromise.

Figure 3

In industrial motors deep bars or double cages can be used but these options are not available in an axial flux design. However, the solid steel rotor aids the starting torque since this appears as an effective high resistance rotor. The maximum torque can be increased by reducing the impedance of the machine and increasing the bar number.

Efficiency – Comparing IM and PM Machines

Efficiency is important for hybrid electric vehicle drive motors. With energetically ‘free’ excitation, low fundamental reactance and the ability to have a high pole count, permanent magnet machines can be extremely light in weight and highly efficient. This is particularly true for industrial applications that involve a restricted speed range, meaning a fixed terminal voltage.

In such applications the design strategy is to build in a high internal flux (which permanent magnets do admirably), so that torque is produced with minimal input current. Then efficiency is high, and the motor can be made light in weight and physically small.

Traction motors for applications such as automotive, are different in that they must operate over a wide speed range. Automotive traction motors require a certain torque (‘base torque’) at low speeds, up to what is called the ‘base speed’, and then a roughly constant power over a speed range from the base speed to a maximum speed that might be several times the base speed. In traction motor applications using wound field DC machines, this torque-speed characteristic is accomplished using what is called ‘field weakening’, or simply reducing field current at high speed.

Prius THS II

The requirement for performance over a relatively wide speed range can force some compromises in permanent magnet motor design. It is not possible to turn down the permanent magnet flux to control terminal voltage at high speed. It is possible, however, to counter the permanent magnet flux with armature current, and this can be done in permanent magnet fields if the permanent magnet flux is not too strong.

So permanent magnet machines built for wide speed range operation generally have relatively weak permanent magnet excitation. Then it is necessary to build a high degree of saliency into the machine so that torque can be produced by interaction of terminal current with that saliency. Thus the permanent magnet machines built for automotive traction operation do not have all of the attractive features one would expect of permanent magnet machines.

At low speed and high torque they do not really operate as permanent magnet machines: they are more akin to synchronous reluctance machines, using the interaction between saliency and (large) terminal currents to produce torque. At high speeds they employ much of their armature current capability to counter the permanent magnet flux, and this negatively affects efficiency at high speed. Such machines can be made to be quite efficient at relatively low torque level and intermediate speed.

The Evans Electric AFIM achieves maximum efficiency of 96%.

Evans Electric AFIM

Effective Efficiency of Traction Motors

To understand the impact of motor losses, including PM drag loss on actual machine operation, we now attempt to evaluate the effective efficiency of a machine with a realistic operating scenario.

Recognise that losses in machines come from two sources. First, acceleration force requires current in the windings, so resistive losses occur. Second, rotational speed produces loss from friction, windage and, most important, core loss.

In permanent magnet machines there is always flux present so that there will always be rotational losses. Induction motors can be de-excited so that core loss can be ‘turned off’ when the motor is not producing torque.

In actual operation as a traction motor the induction machine is more efficient and has a substantial advantage because it can be de-excited when it is not producing torque, eliminating electrical loss in that condition. Since those losses are present only when, and to the extent, the induction motor is producing torque, hybrid vehicles are expected to be more efficient when induction machines are used for the drive motor.

Cost Analysis

Rare-earth material costs can be up to several orders of magnitude more expensive than common steel and copper typically found in IM [Figure 1]. The reduced volume of an AFIM further lowers material costs compared to a conventional radial flux IM. A reduction in motor material costs not only improves Hybrid and electric vehicle profitability but also facilitates the long term trend towards multi-motor EV powertrain architectures ie. twin and quad motor AWD.

Source: Evans Electric

BorgWarner Launch Integrated Electric Drive Module for the EV Market

BorgWarner will launch its electric drive module (eDM) with integrated eGearDrive® transmission in two pure electric vehicles from a major Chinese automaker. Production is expected to begin in summer 2017.

"BorgWarner's new eDM combines our know-how in eGearDrive transmissions, first launched in 2009, with our newly acquired expertise in electric motor technology from the former REMY business," said Dr. Stefan Demmerle, President and General Manager, BorgWarner PowerDrive Systems. "Our first application of this integrated world-class propulsion solution will be produced locally in China."

BorgWarner's eDM provides primary or secondary propulsion for pure electric or P4-type hybrid vehicles. The integrated design of the electric motor and transmission enables weight, cost and space savings. Since both functions are combined into one housing, installation is also easier. Based on the vehicle manufacturer's desired propulsion characteristics, performance is optimized with various available gear ratios to provide a completely tailored solution. Featuring patented high voltage hairpin (HVH) technology and optional power electronics, BorgWarner's HVH 250 electric motor delivers superior performance with over 95 percent efficiency. Through its high-efficiency gear train and compact, low-weight design, the eGearDrive transmission contributes to extended battery-powered driving range, which in turn reduces the battery capacity required. An electronically actuated park lock system is also available.

BorgWarner's comprehensive product portfolio also includes numerous other leading technologies for hybrid and electric vehicles, such as the eBooster® electrically driven compressor, cabin heaters and auxiliary thermal coolant pumps. All of these technologies support automakers around the world in designing the clean and efficient vehicles of tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Scientists develop new lithium-sulphur battery w/ 5x the energy density of Li-ion

Scientists have developed a new prototype battery inspired by human anatomy. The prototype – which offers up to 5x the energy density of the lithium-ion batteries – uses a lithium-sulphur cell with an intestine-mimicking design that could finally make these energy-dense batteries long-lasting enough for commercial use.

Headed by the University of Cambridge, this research has managed to overcome one of the major drawbacks to lithium-sulphur cells: the fact that they disintegrate very quickly, despite their superior energy density to lithium ions.

When a lithium-sulphur battery discharges, sulphur in the cathode absorbs lithium from the anode. This interaction causes the sulphur molecules to transform into chain-like structures called poly-sulphides.

After the battery goes through numerous charge-discharge cycles, the reaction starts to stress the cathode, leading to bits of the poly-sulphides breaking off and entering the battery's electrolyte, which joins the two electrodes.

When this happens, the battery starts to degrade, as it loses its active material.

Here is where bio-mimicry comes in. Our gut is lined with tiny protrusions called villi, which absorb nutrients during digestion. The villi increase the surface area of the intestines by 30x. Scientists have now developed a nano-structure made of zinc oxides which resembles and act like the villi. These prototype villi will absorb the polysulphides in the electrolyte, slowing down the degradation process of the lithium-sulphur cell.

In testing, after 200 cycles at 1C, the prototype nanostructure saw only 0.05% average capacity loss per cycle, making it almost as stable as lithium-ion – which ranges between 0.025 to 0.048 percent average capacity loss per cycle.

Source: Cambridge

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jaguar I-Pace EV concept with AWD and 500 km range

Jaguar Land Rover, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Motors, have unveiled their first electric vehicle the I-Pace SUV. On sale in 2018, the all-wheel-drive EV will have 300+ mile range and run 0-60mph in around 4 seconds.

The I-PACE Concept features 2x compact electric motors designed by Jaguar Land Rover. Integrated into the front and rear axles, they offer a combined power output of 400PS and 700Nm of torque, which is exactly the same torque rating as the F-TYPE SVR. Together they also enable all-wheel drive, improving dynamics and traction on all surfaces and in all weathers. “Electric motors provide immediate response with no lag, no gearshifts and no interruptions,” says Ian Hoban, Vehicle Line Director at Jaguar Land Rover.

“Their superior torque delivery compared to internal combustion engines transforms the driving experience. With 700Nm and the traction benefits of all-wheel drive, the I-PACE Concept accelerates from 0-60mph in around four seconds.”

The I-PACE Concept’s electric motors and Lithium-Ion battery are designed to deliver the best possible performance and range. The I-PACE Concept delivers a range of more than 500 kilometres on the NEDC cycle and, using 50kW DC charging, achieves zero-to-full charging capability in just over two hours; 80 per cent charge capacity is reached in just 90 minutes.

With this kind of range and efficiency, there’s no doubt the I-PACE Concept is an electric vehicle that will perform in the real world and compete with vehicles powered by the best internal combustion engines.

BMW Group puts another 40t battery-electric truck into service

BMW and transport and logistics service provider Elflein today put a battery-powered truck into operation in Leipzig. The BMW Group is the first automotive manufacturer in Europe to use a 40-tonne electric truck for material transports on public roads since 2015 to supply the Munich plant. Following this successful pilot phase, the next phase will be followed by the commissioning of an electric truck for the Leipzig plant.

The vehicle built by Dutch manufacturer Terberg is used by the logistics service provider Elflein and commutes daily in the two-shift operation over a 5 kilometer distant between logistics center and the BMW group factory in Leipzig. Different vehicle components are transported, which are required for the assembly of the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid car. The electric truck is charged exclusively with electricity from renewable sources. Compared to a diesel-engined truck, the electric truck will save up to 21 tonnes of CO2 annually. Charging the truck battery takes three hours. Fully charged, the vehicle has a range of up to 80 kilometers. This means that the electric truck can complete a complete production day without additional charging.

"With our electric car BMW i3, we not only pay attention to the product, but have also aligned the entire value chain to environmental protection and sustainability right from the start. For example, we need 70% less water, 50% less energy, and 100% renewable resources to produce a BMW i3 compared to a conventional vehicle. That is why it is only logical that we now also rely on emission-free trucks in logistics and transport, "said Markus Gr√ľneisl, Head of Logistics and Production Control at the BMW Group's Leipzig plant.

A quick look at Formula E Powertrains for season 3 [VIDEO]

Racing technology has come a long way in Formula E over the past 2 years.

With the manufacturers now developing their own powertrains, find out who is using what and how the technology has developed as they enter Season 3.

Interesting to note the video shows three teams, including championship winners Renault, running either dual or single 'pancake' aka axial flux motors.