EV Powertrain Designer Claims Simulation Breakthrough

An EV powertrain design system creator is claiming a breakthrough in production processes that can future-proof the technology.

The UK automotive engineering specialist, Drive System Design (DSD) will present a “system-level” approach for EV powertrain design at the 17th CTI China Symposium in Shanghai later this month. It claims its design system could protect future EV powertrains against uncertain global trends in technology development and commodity prices.

In a paper outlining the new design system, the company reveals its Electrified Powertrain Optimization Process (ePOP) which evaluates potential material cost fluctuations such as magnet cost instability and the impact of alternative cost trajectories for batteries and inverter technologies. Its author, Dr Michael Bryant, principal engineer at DSD, believes the key enabler within the process is the “characterization” of subsystem and component design, allowing the process to build complete powertrain variants for simulation.

Bryant said: “ePOP rapidly generates the necessary input data – masses, efficiency maps, etc – for each electric powertrain subsystem, for a range of topologies and layouts. The speedy generation of input data permits the simulation of a large number of powertrain combinations, up to several thousand alternatives in one example.”

The process claims to assess powertrains not only in terms of performance and range but in probable costs both now and in the future. This process was developed, in part, during the ACeDrive APC grant-funded program, a collaboration between DSD, GKN and the University of Nottingham to create a next generation eDrive. The core of the project is to develop an integrated high-speed motor/inverter/gearbox, that will be more power dense, efficient and less costly than any comparable system available.

Lee Sykes, DSD commercial director, said: “While the emphasis for first generation EVs was on shortest time-to-market in response to global emissions concerns, future generations of vehicle will have additional priorities. The foundations upon which these vehicle platforms are based must provide robust commercial viability for the OEMs, regardless of fluctuations in commodity prices such as rare earth magnets, or any re-ordering of the dominance of particular motor or inverter technologies. Our system approach to the design of EV powertrains helps to future-proof them against the uncertainties that lie ahead.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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