Ricardo makes 50% performance hike for new e-motor

A low voltage motor for hybrid vehicles has been announced by Ricardo claiming a whopping 50% increase in performance compared to current production machines, writes Paul Myles.

The strategic engineering and environmental consultancy has developed the new 48-volt e-motor as part of its recently completed major European research initiative to achieve more efficient and cost-effective hybrid powertrains for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
The new e-motor and accompanying inverter also claims to offer cheaper hybrid powertrain solutions to OEMs than the existing high-voltage system dominating the automotive market at present. Its design was carried out as a part of the company’s contribution to the European COmpetitiveness in Commercial Hybrid and AutoMotive PowertrainS (ECOCHAMPS) project. Ricardo was one of 25 collaborating EU commercial and academic partners on this project, the focus of which was to achieve both a 20% powertrain efficiency improvement and a 20% reduction in weight and in volume in comparison with baseline the best-in-class full hybrid vehicles on the market at the start of the project. In doing so, the aim was for a cost premium of no more than 10% over equivalent conventional products, considerably less than the additional cost of current hybrid architectures.  The ECOCHAMPS project – which was recently completed – focused on the hybridization requirements of a range of vehicles from ‘C’ and ‘B’ class passenger cars, to light delivery trucks, city buses, and long haul heavy-duty trucks.  The project delivered five demonstrator vehicles – one for each of these categories – in order to demonstrate and validate the full benefits approach taken in creating low-cost hybrid powertrains. In addition to broadly achieving the targets set for all five vehicle classes, the ECOCHAMPS vehicles demonstrated their constituent technologies up to a Technology Readiness Level of 7.
Testing as part of the ECOCHAMPS project was carried out at Ricardo’s UK facilities in Cambridge and Shoreham-by-Sea on three prototype units. Results of this work are expected to be published and presented at the IEEE ECCE at Portland, Oregon in September 2018. This marks the start of a series of presentations being made on the results of the ECOCHAMPS project in China, Japan, USA, EU, India and the UK.
Thomas Gutwald, MD of Ricardo Innovations, said: “Affordable hybridization for mass market vehicle applications is likely to be key to achieving future fuel economy and CO2 emissions targets. The new Ricardo 48V e-motor and inverter that we have announced is a demonstration of the very significant strides that are possible by applying the latest thinking to the engineering of electric powertrain architectures and components. We look forward to working with our partners to help pull forward the technology, which will enable automakers to create a new generation of better performing and highly cost-effective 48V hybrids that offer close to the fuel-efficiency of full hybrids at a fraction of the on-cost.”

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