ModulED objective

The motor developed in the MODULED project is twice more compact than a state-of-the art motor thanks to the increased rotating speed. This allows to diminish the amount of necessary NdFeB magnets and therefore decreases the dependence on critical rare-earth metal supply. 

To further decrease the critical element content, injected magnets have been proposed as a substitution to sintered magnets as they do not contain any heavy rare earth nor Gallium. The advantages and drawbacks of injected magnets compared to sintered magnets are summarized in the following table 1. 

Sintered  Injected
Only simple shapes allowed (almost) total freedom in shape
Magnets need to be inserted and fixed/glued Magnets fill the perfect shape of the cavities
Contains Dy/Tb and Ga No Heavy rare-earths, no Ga
High electrical conductivity  Eddy losses Low electrical conductivity  almost no Eddy losses
High remanence (1.2T) Lower remanence (0.74T)
Price/kg x needed amount is lower with today’s prices on RE Price x needed amount is higher today due to more complex production process of the powder and lower overall volumes
Standard process Not standard yet

Table 1: Comparison of injected magnets vs sintered NdFeB magnets

Both sintered and injected magnet motors have been designed during the ModulED project. The critical element content of both ModulED motors is shown in table 2.

BPMM1 BPMM2
Total rare earth metal [g] 391 488
Heavy rare earth metal [g] 32 2
Co 17 0
Ga 4 0

Table 2: Comparison of the critical material content of both MODULED motors (BPMM1 is the sintered magnet motor, and BPMM2 is the injected magnet motor)

The injected magnets’ lack of performances in terms of cost and process standardisation is due to the early maturity of this cutting-edge technology. The aim of ModulED’s development is to accelerate product maturity by proposing a new efficient solution to replace sintered magnets.

Design and realization of the injected Mold

The design of the injection mold had to comply with numerous requirements, including mechanical features (maintain of the rotor, force management), injection specifics (simultaneous and complete filling, minimalization of the sprue), thermal management, and generation of a six-pole magnetic field. Details of the design steps and feasibility studies have been provided in the former deliverables. A schematic view of the mold design is shown on the Figure 1. Once all the details have been fixed, the mold has been manufactured and released in January 2020. A view of the interior of the mold is shown on the Figure 2. 

LITEN 1

The first injection experiments were performed with fake rotor pieces to fix all the process parameters without wasting the prototype laminations from the motorist of the project: four complete sets of rotors had been provided by BRUSA, and it was necessary to provide two complete injected sets for the motor tests and the integration tasks. This led to some small modifications on the mold (tooling to extract the rotors, alignment pins…) and allowed to successfully inject the two required rotor sets for the project.

LITEN 2

Figure 3: Injected ModulED rotors

Characterization of the injected rotors

Each rotor was thoroughly characterized before being sent back to the motorist BRUSA for further processing. The magnetic characterization was performed with a Hall probe mounted on a 3-axis motorized system as shown on the Figure 4. 

LITEN 3

Figure 4: Magnetic characterization of the rotors

Two aspects of the magnetic consistence of the rotors were mainly checked with this characterization: 

  • Repeatability of the magnetic signal over the rotor thickness: the magnetic field was measured at different levels of the lateral surface of the rotor (corresponding to the 5 slices indicated on the Figure 4) and almost no difference were observed as shown on the Figure 5. This confirms the homogeneity of the injected magnets.
  • Repeatability of the measurements over the 12 rotor stacks (Figure 6) showed almost no difference between the rotors, proving the process stability and repeatability. Moreover, the measured curves were compared to the simulated curves assuming the nominal remanence of the injected magnets (0.74T). Theperfect correspondence of the simulated curves with the measured ones shows that the injected magnets are properly aligned and magnetized and confirms the validity of the mold design.

Measurement of the mass difference allowed to ensure all the cavities were densely filled with magnetic material. The aspect of the rotor was checked to ensure no deformation was caused by the injection process and confirming the proper maintain of the rotor stacks in the mold.

LITEN 4

Towards latest CEA’s development on injected rotor, the consortium has validated the following performances: 

  • The magnetic field is homogeneous;
  • The rotor injection is reproductible;
  • Remanence of the injected magnets is close to nominal.

Thus, the injected magnets’ lack of performances in terms of process standardisation has been tackled by consortium’s developments. The ModulED project's acquired knowledge is now enriched by the validation of an efficient production process for injected rotors. During the further spin, assembly and insertion tests into the BPMM2 motors, the ModulED’s motor will be able to display the expected power and torque.

 

In recent years, consumer demand on electric car is generating new challenges, mainly focused on the problem of autonomy and safety. This depends on the overall efficiency and power density in the powertrain. To achieve very high-power densities, even with low available current and voltage, additional effort was taken to the design of the ModulED’s motor, in order to offer a both safe and strong technology.

To reduce motor’s active weight and to improve its efficiency, the main goal for the EM (E-motor) development was to save more than 50 % magnet mass compared to existing PMSM (Control Permanent Magnet Sync Motor) with similar power. Many iterations were needed to satisfy all the previously defined drive requirements, described in the following list of main attainment and highlights:

  • Very high efficiency over a wide speed and torque range (Table 2);
  • Great magnetic, mechanical and thermal simulation accuracy compared to measurements;
  • High peak power over a wide speed range;
  • Sinusoidal back EMF;
  • Low torque ripple;
  • Very good overload capability, potential for even more torque and power with higher inverter currents;
  • Well balanced and stable mech. high-speed rotor design;

Brusa article 1

Figure 1: Main motor dimensions

  • Very good cost potential due to low active weight and the magnet mass reduction;
  • Patented rotor shapes;
  • Impressive peak and continuous power density due to high-speed motor design and new winding technology (Figure 7);
  • 3ph or 6ph star- and 6ph independent-connection is possible (1 x 3ph; 2 x 3ph; 1 x 6ph;)
  • Patented stator winding technology (Form litz wire);

Brusa article 2

Figure 2: Form litz wire section (micrograph)

All the previous defined requirements were tested on the BRUSA test bench with a 3ph inverter (see Figure 3). Tests with the integrated motor in the housing with 6ph-GaN-inverter (see Figure 2 and Figure 3) and transmission will be done in the test bench of PUNCH Powertrain.

Brusa article 3

To validate the final e-motor design, tests were done on a BRUSA test bench with the Buried Permanent Magnet Motor BPMM1 (BPMM1: NdFeB magnet rotor; BPMM2: Injected magnet rotor). The battery voltage was set to VBatt = 320 VDC and the modulation factor of the 3ph BRUSA inverter is Umod = 0.95. This corresponds to a DC voltage of 320 VDC x 0.95 = 304 VDC.

Brusa article 4

The 450 ARMS with 3 phases or the 225 ARMS with 6 phases do not yet represent the limit of the machine. Initial tests with higher currents have shown that the motor has potential up to 217 Nm and / 221 kW at 400 VDC and a modulation factor of 0.95. From the torque per amp measurements the linearity of the motor also with higher inverter currents was tested and passed.

The magnet weight of the ModulED motor is significantly reduced from 2 to 2.5 kg for conventional lower motor speed designs to 1.35 kg which is a great achievement.

With a high-speed motor design, it is possible to realize great power density improvements without compromising the motor efficiency or the peak power and continuous characteristics. In Figure 7, the continuous power is linear for appr. 90 sec at 143 kW, before the derating of the inverter starts.

Brusa article 5

In Figure 8, the continuous power measurements show the Formed Litz Wire potential. With a conventional water jacket cooling and a low flow rate, the maximum thirty minutes power is 104 kW at 320 VDC and 12’000 rpm. The temperature of the rotor is higher than the stator at higher motor frequencies. For further continuous power improvements another cooling concept like oil spray could further improve the thermal capability of this motor. Also, the temperature distribution would be better balanced and higher specifications in power and torque could be met. However, the given specifications were met in every single case even without rotor oil cooling.

The motor can deliver 90 s the full current of 450 Arms. This measurement shows the margin of thermal performance of the litz wire stator. The rotor isn’t the limiting factor for short time full power operation points.

The measured peak efficiency is 97.4%, shown in Table 2, which is 0.4% higher than the proposed target of 97%, see Table 1. More important than the peak efficiency is the wide torque and speed area of a high efficiency. This is very important for the WLTC efficiency. The required torque and power in this cycle is quite low. Depending on the gear ratio the torque is below 70 Nm in 2nd gear about 40 Nm. With an optimized gear switching strategy the total vehicle efficiency could be optimized.

In the end, all initial requirements of the ModulED project were met or even exceeded qualified on the BRUSA test bench. Optimizations could be made thanks to the potential improvements identified during the latest developments and will be explored during future tests with integrated motor and transmission, planned on the test bench of PUNCH Powertrain.

Brusa article 6

ModulED objective

An electric car is composed of an energy source (batteries, usually lithium batteries), an energy conversion device with a cooling circuit (inverter by the CEA), a motor (by Brusa), a cooled transmission (by Punch) coupled to the drive shaft and connected to the axle of the car. The powertrain (inverter + motor + transmission + cooling system) must be as compact as possible. The batteries are not part of the drivetrain here. The objective is to have the most efficient, reliable, smallest possible drive train. In fact, the miniaturization of systems is one of the most worrying issues of the 21st century.

GaN innovativeness

Today, electronics mostly uses silicon (Si) based components. Silicon is a plentiful resource on earth and therefore is not expensive. However, Si based components are still facing almost 20% of energy losses. To achieve better performance in both efficiency and size, new components are emerging on the market:

  • The Silicon Carbide
  • The Gallium nitride
Silicon Carbide Gallium Nitride
Energy performance Medium energy performance (less losses than Si based components, reaching up to 94% energy efficiency) Better energy performance (less losses than state-of-art components, reaching up to 98% energy efficiency)
Size and power density Medium chip surface with the same current/voltage rating, reaching a higher power density than Si based component (about 25W/inch3) It has a smaller chip surface with the same current/voltage rating, reaching a higher power density than state of art component (ModulED’s power density : >25W/inch3, below the GaN theoretical performance limit)
Thermal properties Has interesting thermal capacities Has more degraded thermal properties; however, has GaN is generating less losses, it compensates itself

CEA Leti laboratory is oriented on GaN technology. Within the framework of ModulED, we proposed to design an inverter based on GaN component, a less mature technology than SiC (already integrated in Tesla cars thanks to its ST microelectronics partnership), to highlight its performances. Moreover, by allowing frequency rise, GaN component can increase the power density and thus reduce the size of the large passive components (inductance and capacitor) that contribute to the volume of the power electronics system.

A major impact for ModulED is the reduction of powertrain size. In fact, the electronics must be integrated into the powertrain, which must be as compact as possible. This becomes possible with the use of the integrated GaN based components, smaller than Si based components. The electronics have been designed to ease integration and disassembly as modularity is a key point of the project. This allows, in case of failure, to change only the defective parts, instead of changing an entire organ.

A second impact for ModulED is energy consumption optimization: 

Article CEA GaN 1

Figure 1: ModulED's strategy for energy consumption optimization

This also allows for a better reliability of the electronic system (components are less stressed, therefore less risk of breakage).

ModulED GaN inverter

Thus, the latest CEA’s developments (see Figures 2 and 3) allowed the consortium to propose a first version of the GaN inverter.

Article CEA GaN 2

Figure 2: Half bridge + serial switch PCB prototype

Article CEA GaN 3

Figure 3: Experiment full bridge – Single Phase system

By validating its performances at lab scale, the inverter has reached TRL4 and is planned to be tested in real environment by the end of the ModulED project. Today, the current product reaches performances beyond state of art thanks to the following breakthrough results:

  • High adaptability: inverter’s topology allows to put motor phases in series or parallel;
  • Reconfigurable machine, increasing fault tolerance management;
  • Higher efficiency thanks to the latest GaN semiconductor, generating lower losses. Testing proves that GaN inverter with 6 phases full bridges has reached very high efficiencies. In fact, in standard 3 phase half-bridge topology, the inverter’s efficiency with silicon-based components is limited to 97%. With a heavier 6-phase topology, the consortium proved that a near 99% efficiency can be reached.

Article CEA GaN 4

Figure 4: Efficiency vs. torque/speed of the electric machine

The ModulED’s topology is needing 4 times more components than standards architectures. It generates a reduced power capacity compared to traditional power supply topology. However, thanks to GaN properties, the ModulED inverter has reached the same efficiency than conventional inverters. This is an interesting first step and a world’s first for such a GaN technology embedded into a vehicle.

Within the ModulED project, the consortium developed an innovative virtual vehicle model to support a new energy management model and optimize vehicle performances.

To support the modular motor assembly and conditioning phases, numerical models, corresponding to physicals modules are developed. The aim is to compare the test’s results of the mechanical, electrical, thermal and control aspects of physical modules with simulation of virtual modules.

All this unit modules are integrated in a model of virtual vehicle to prepare assessment of vehicle-level performances of the powertrain, mitigation of physical integration risks, and evaluation of components correspondence for powertrain modularity: a Vehicle Energy Management (VEM) model. This model is unique thanks to the integration of all ModulED specific technologies models developed during the project in a unique system (innovative 6-phase motor, high-power GaN inverter, advanced regenerative braking control, …). This task was led by consortium partner SIEMENS.

The VEM model integrates each sub-system (gearbox and control aspects, cooling, and motor) into a full vehicle model. For its set up, interactions were needed with all the partners of the project. A focus is done on the control, especially in the integration of the regenerative braking and the powertrain controller defined by Chalmers. To reproduce some tests based on torque input, an enabler of a torque control mode is implemented. Indeed, the control of the vehicle, especially the regenerative braking is crucial for the range optimization, a major challenge in EV market today.

Article SIEMENS 1

Figure 1: Braking management

Article SIEMENS 2

Figure 2: Powertrain controller

Article SIEMENS 3

Figure 3: Torque control mode enabler

Today, obtained results are the first ones after the design phase: the integration of all modules inside the complete vehicle model. With the project going by, more data will be available to parametrize more accurately the models. A comparison with the measurements on test benches will be fundamental to test model’s predictability. This VEM model will be exploited to virtually expand the demonstration perimeter to non-physically testable operations in the project like driving cycles or weather conditions.

On February 13th 2020, ModulED partner Punch Powertrain participated to IKA's E-Mobility meetup. Dive in to understand what Patrick Debal, from Punch Powertrain, sees as main challenges and benefits of electric powertrain integration!

One of the objectives of the ModulED project is to work on regenerative braking strategies, seeking efficient and safe brake-blending control of the high-speed drive module. This task is led by Chalmers. The integrated regenerative braking control maximizes energy recuperation with dynamic brake-blending of the electric motor and brake system, maintains vehicle drivability and stability, and considers constraints and restrictions from the electric powertrain (battery, motor).

Braking with an electric motor instead of the conventional hydraulic brakes has the ability of getting energy back to the battery and extend the vehicle’s range. The brake force distribution strategy first proposed in (Zhang, Cao, & Du, 2018) is improved to maximize energy recuperation while maintaining vehicle stability. The regenerative braking algorithm design serves two goals:

  • Adapt the brake force distribution strategy to maintain vehicle stability while braking.
  • Blend between friction and regenerative braking.

 

Brake Force Distribution Strategy

When braking in a straight-line, the capacity of front axle braking with the electric motor is increased for energy recuperation. On the contrary, when braking in a curve, it is necessary to lower the braking utilization of the front axle and at the same time increase the utilization of the rear axle to maintain drivability under all driving conditions. The ModulED strategy is further made adaptive for smooth transition from straight-line braking to braking in a curve.

Straight-line braking

Article chalmers 1

Figure 1: Brake force distribution strategies, commonly used and the proposed ModulED strategy

 

ModulED brake force distribution strategy consists of four parts:

  • Low deceleration levels: pure regenerative braking is used on the front axle (0-A),
  • Small to moderate deceleration levels: the rear friction brake is engaged (A-B),
  • Moderate to high deceleration levels: the curve is gradually approaching the constant distribution ratio curve (B-C),
  • High deceleration levels, where vehicle stability becomes critical, the ideal brake curve is followed.

 

Braking in turns

Article chalmers 2

Figure 2: BFD strategies; “ModulED”  is adjusted while steady state cornering (0<a_y<a_(y,lim))

 

The brake force distribution curve is made adaptive based on the predicted lateral acceleration.

The adjustment is done by moving the points [A, B, C] between the straight-driving ModulED strategy and the constant distribution ratio curve based on the lateral acceleration level.

Above the chosen lateral acceleration limit the traditional constant distribution ratio is used entirely, while in between a convex combination of the two is used instead. 

 

Energy Efficiency

 

The WLTC3 driving cycle was simulated with different braking strategies to investigate the effect on energy recuperation and efficiency: while the work of the electric motor and the resistance forces remain the same between the different simulations, the regeneration to friction brakes ratio changes depending on the brake force distribution.

Article chalmers 3

Figure 3: WLTC3 Driving Cycle Energy Content Analysis

To better understand the effect of each brake strategy, the regeneration capability of the different strategies is presented in Figure 4. In this driving cycle the newly developed brake force distribution “ModulED” strategy manages to achieve similar levels of energy recuperation to the maximum possible for this scenario. In Figure 5 the regeneration efficiency is shown instead, which is taken as the energy recuperation achieved divided by the maximum recuperation possible. The “handling” strategy is maximizing stability and drivability (ideal-kerb) while the “conventional” strategy refers to the constant brake force distribution that is commonly used in vehicles.

Article chalmers 4Article chalmers 5

Figure 4: Energy recuperation (left) and regeneration efficiency (right) achieved  for the different braking strategies in the driving cycle scenario WLTC3

Safety and Comfort

Powertrain Controller

When driving and/or braking in a fully electrically propelled vehicle, oscillations occur in the driveshafts, which can be felt by the driver, not only potentially disrupting an enjoyable driving, but also compromising safety. Novel control laws have been developed to ensure that the driver’s demands are met in a stable, comfortable manner. In Figure 6, a motor torque reversal scenario with fast switching from acceleration to braking is presented. The uncontrolled system is governed by big oscillations that is sure to make the driver uncomfortable. The controlled system on the other hand, follows the driver’s request smoothly, ensuring that the comfort and safety requirements are met.

Article chalmers 6

Figure 5: Driveshafts Torque vs Time Switching from Accelerating to Braking: No Control and Control Comparison (ModulED Strategy); V = 50 km/h.

 

Brake-Blending

The blending of regenerative and friction braking on the front axle is developed further to increase the energy recuperation for hard braking maneuvers at high speed:

  • The algorithm considers the current power and torque limitations of the motor. It is therefore dynamic as the motor constraints are speed dependent.
  • The braking performance is improved by seamless coordination between the friction brakes and the regenerative braking by the electric motor.

The figure is exploring different applications through various braking strategies as well as different controller tunings: the controller enhances the braking performance in any case.

Article chalmers 7

Figure 6: Stopping Distance for different controller tunings; Control and No Control Comparison

Integration

The goal of the integration is to ensure that the developed control algorithms are successfully integrated in a demonstrator vehicle for verification:

  • An analysis of the available sensors and their limitations, as well as discretization of the controllers: The sensors that are used for the estimation of the driveshafts torque, required for the proper operation of the controller, are a motor rotational speed, front wheel speed sensors, and a crown gear speed. The first two sensors usually exist in electric vehicles, the first one is required for the motor control, while the wheel sensors are required for the ABS. The crown gear sensor is not typical, but it was seen that it provides essential performance upgrade in the performance of sensor fusion.
  • An estimate of the driveshafts torque: Both the powertrain controller and the brake blending require to know the driveshafts torque to operate accurately and most efficiently. Such sensors though are not widely available. For this purpose, a Kalman filter is established based on the available sensors and their quality criteria, which gives the optimal linear estimate. Initial results comparing the estimate to the truth show very good performance, coming mainly because of accurate modelling practices. 

Reference

Abe, M. (2015). Vehicle handling dynamics: theory and application. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Zhang, H., Cao, D., & Du, H. (2018). Modeling, Dynamics, and Control of Electrified Vehicles. Woodhead Publishing.

The properties of electric drive modules result from the multi physical interactions of the components. To reduce development costs and increase product performance, ModulED’s ambition is to optimise concepts based on a global view at the vehicle, contrary to the classical practices of local optimisation, component by component.

To enable a holistic conception and optimisation of electric vehicle drives, the Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika) at RWTH Aachen University developed an innovative method of integrated component design.

Article IKA

A two-stage design procedure is considered here. The first stage consists of a state-of-the-art rough design (1-3), proposing rated relevant combinations of scaled component parameter sets, simulated against the driving requirements. The basic parameters (power, torque, etc.) of the individual components are a result from the first concept stage. Stage 2 represents the design procedure using a newly developed integrated component design (4-9). Suitable concepts of transmissions, electric machines and inverters are generated on component level within individual design and optimisation procedures. On the vehicle level, valid component variants are combined to integrated drive modules, which resulting system properties such as efficiency, costs, mass and more are then determined.

This procedure was tested and validated on a Volvo C30 electric passenger car, showing that the method is applicable and effective. The analysis can confirm that high-speed concepts are suitable for both loss and cost reduction and that specifically innovative semiconductor technologies are suitable for further efficiency improvements. The technical approach chosen in the ModulED project with a high-speed electric machine in combination with GaN semiconductors can therefore be confirmed as effective. The generated results allow a diverse analysis of the influences of individual component attributes or technologies and can further be evaluated to support ongoing design decisions of the project on specific questions.

Within the ModulED project, the consortium developed an innovative electric powertrain to reach new performances in term of power, comfort and cost reduction.

PUNCH Article 1

The powertrain developed is modular. Modularity implies that the different subsystems can easily be assembled and disassembled. This allows an easy exchange of parts in case of repair but also the development of other powertrain configurations with little extra effort. For example, the transmission design is based on a two-speed technology but allows an ease of integration of a single speed design, with a minimal amount of new parts.

PUNCH Article 2

Figure 1: Modular electric powertrain

The ModulED electric powertrain is fully integrated, with motor, inverter, transmission and cooling into a compact unit. This high level of integration offers clear advantages for OEMs. The integration eliminates several parts and simplifies others. This results into a lower cost powertrain. The assembly of this powertrain into a vehicle involves only one unit and the simplified interfacing with the vehicle involves only the powertrain suspension, the drive shafts, high voltage and low voltage cabling and cooling. The smaller assembly effort also results in a cost saving.

PUNCH Article 3

Figure 2: Compact integrated electric powertrain

The high level of integration also resulted in a compact unit. The size of the powertrain is comparable to electric powertrains of a previous generation that do not include the inverter and offer substantially lower power. The small powertrain volume allows its use as an e-axle driving the rear wheels. In case of front wheel drive vehicles, the compact powertrain leaves space for a frunk.

The ModulED transmission

The ModulED electric powertrain has an efficient two speed transmission. During the development process high efficiency was a key requirement for the transmission configuration selection, gear design and bearing configuration and selection. The result is a 25% reduction of simulated losses when compared to earlier single speed designs.

Further efficiency gains are realized with an oil pump free concept using gravity for oil distribution. Additionally, the gear switching mechanism only requires energy during actuation. This comes at the expense of a short torque interruption. The powertrain control will make these torque interruptions as smooth as possible.

The ModulED Cooling

Although electric powertrains have a much smaller heat rejection than conventional powertrains an effective cooling system is required to guarantee the long life of the power electronic components and the magnetic strength of the permanent magnet material. Due to the compact integration of the ModulED powertrain it was a challenge to develop the cooling system. The use of 3D-CFD was a big help to reach an effective design.

PUNCH Article 4

Figure 3: Coolant flow pattern in inverter and motor

The cooling system of the ModulED powertrain also contributes to the powertrain efficiency. By using several parallel cooling channels both for the inverter cooling and the motor cooling the pressure drop in the cooling system is kept quite low. This allows using a small, low power water pump even when the powertrain operates at high power.

 Chalmers photo3

 

On March 5 and 6, the ModulED consortium gathered at the Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden, just before many countries in Europe decided a full lockdown. 

The meeting gave the opportunity to the ModulED consortium to share latest breakthroughs, especially regarding performance of the injected magnet motor.

The next meeting planned for June 2020 should give a very clear view of the achieved characteristics of all the motor configurations worked out in the project.

Stay tuned!

 

 

Recently, ModulED partner Punch Powertrain gave a lecture at ModulED partner university IKA in Germany.

On the slide presented below, discover the consortium's take on modular integration and how far we got so far!

 

ModulED Integration

EVS paper

In April 2019, the ModulED consortium used the opportunity of the Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS32) to publish a common paper on current developments regarding innovative and highly integrated modular electric drivetrains. Discover the published paper using the following link!

https://www.mdpi.com/2032-6653/10/4/89

Midterm review photo

Already 18 months have passed since the beginning of the project. Now that half the project is over, it is time to discuss everything which has been achieved so far by all the partners of the project.

Punch Powertrain has designed a very compact housing, including transmission, gearbox, GaN-based inverter (power, control and communication part) with associated fluidic cooling, and the electric motor. Punch Powertrain worked closely with ZG on the gearbox and the sizing of the housing, and with CEA regarding the GaN-inverter’s mechanical integration, which will power the electric motor, and which must be as modular as possible for the ease of assembly/disassembly. CEA is also working on the fault detection to guarantee the safety of the driver and in a second time, the equipment inside the car, but the work is still ongoing.

Powertrain 1Powertrain 2

Brusa has designed a new generation multiphase (6 phases) high-speed motor with different technologies of rotors (permanent magnet and injected magnet), which will ultimately fit in the housing of Punch Powertrain and, as of today, will produce the first samples during the second half of 2019.

Powertrain 3


For the moment, the simulated maximum efficiency is over 97%:

Powertrain 4


As this new electric motor has 6 phases, TU/e is working on the motor control, and especially on the winding reconfiguration, to pass from a three phases system, to a six phases system; it will have some advantages at low/high speed to use one configuration or the other.
Chalmers is working on the regenerative braking, seeking efficient and safe brake blending control of the high-speed drive module. The integrated regenerative braking control maximizes energy recuperation with dynamic brake blending of the electric motor and brake system, maintains vehicle drivability and stability, and considers constraints and restrictions from the electric powertrain (battery, motor).


Powertrain 5
Figure 1. Driveshafts Torque vs Time
Switching from Driving to Braking: No Control and Control Comparison (ModulED Strategy); V = 50 km/h.

Next to this work, IKA studied and designed an algorithm to optimize the performance of the overall system for each individual block. The software is not fully finished, but each module can be optimized independently for the moment. 

Powertrain 6

Siemens is now working in collaboration with the partners on the virtual integration of the different sub-systems within Simcenter Amesim. This will result in a model of the vehicle to assess the vehicle-level performances of the powertrain and to virtually expand the demonstration perimeter to non-physically testable operations in the project (driving cycles, weather conditions, etc.).
Since the beginning of the project, Efficient Innovation is helping the consortium on dissemination, communication and realized a full updated project exploitation plan hand in hand with all the partners.
Summer 2019 will be key in the project’s life as the first prototypes will be manufactured, and the life cycle analysis performed by Efficient Innovation to measure the environmental impact of the solution.

TRA2020

On April 27 to 30 of 2020, the European Commission has invited the Electric Drivetrain Innovation Cluster (formed my GV-04 funded projects ModulED, ReFreeDrive and DRIVEMODE) to present their work on the official European Commission booth during Transport Research Arena 2020! Discover our dummy housing during the event and learn more about the technological challenges behind our modular electric drivetrain with GaN inverter.

Eindhoven resize

On the 21st and the 22nd October 2019, all partners of the ModulED project gathered together for the fith time for our Steering committee. The event was organized and hosted by ModulED partner TU/e, on their campus in Eindhoven!

During these two consecutive days, many important technical milestones were met. Indeed, first parts of the ModulED drivetrain were manufactured! Assembling the overall drivetrain is still planned for early 2020 with about 6 months of testing ahead.

Much more information to come soon !

The PCIM Europe is the world's leading exhibition and conference for power electronics, intelligent motion, renewable energy, and energy management.

This is the place where representatives from the fields of research and industry come together, where trends and developments are presented to the public for the first time, and where the entire value chain is covered – all the way from components to intelligent systems.

From May 7 to 9, ModulED partner CEA presented its poster "DC-Bus capacitors influence in a GaN motor drive inverter". The poster explains the sizing of the DC bus capacitors using GaN semiconductors in an inverter powering a multiphase high speed motor for an automotive application.

You can find it here below ! Do not hesitate to contact its author, and ModulED project coordinator, Charley Lanneluc.

EVS (Electric Vehicles Symposium) is the leading international event to address all sustainable mobility issues. The various components of electric mobility will be on display; from markets to vehicle battery technology (hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell); from motorcycles to trucks, and from charging facilities to related services and public policy. The 32nd edition of the event gathers all stakeholders of the industry from May 20 to 23 in Lyon, France.

On 20 May 2019, from 3pm to 4:30pm, ModulED partner Jonas Hemsen from IKA will take the stage to present latest developments and innovation in vehicle drivetrain. Jonas will present one of the first ModulED featured paper written by the consortium. Don't miss it !

All information: http://www.evs32.org/

ModulED: 32nd International Electric Vehicle Symposium
TOPIC B - Electric Power Train - A Deep Dive
• B2 : Innovations in vehicle drive trains

 

On 19 March 2019, from 13:00 to 16:30 CET, the ModulED consortium will participate to the Workshop on high efficiency and low-cost drivetrains for electric vehicles in Brussels.

The workshop will present the innovations that are currently being developed by three EU-funded projects under the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI): ModulED, ReFreeDrive and DRIVEMODE.

All projects are expected to deliver an incremental reduction in total motor and power electronics system costs through optimised design for manufacture. A key challenge is to increase the specific torque and specific power of electric motors by 30%, with a 50% increase in maximum operating speed while halving motor losses. In addition, the motors will cost less because of a reduced need for rare earth magnets combined with new designs which have been optimised for lower cost manufacturing processes.

As for power electronics, the projects are expected to deliver a 50% increase in power density, a 50% reduction in losses and the ability to operate with the same cooling liquids and temperatures used for the combustion engine in hybrid configurations.

Participation to this event is free but registration is required (limited seats available).

Simply click on the following link : http://go.leonardo-energy.org/190319GV04DisseminationEvent_Join.html

Discover ModulED and discuss with our consortium:
- Speaker Charley Lanneluc, project coordinator, CEA, France
- Speaker Patrick Debal, integrator, Punch Powertrain, Belgium
- Participant Jonas Hemsen, IKA, Germany
- Participant Dr Elena Lomonova, TU/e, Netherlands

The FORM Forum organized by EARPA – European Automotive Research Partner Association – have gathered more than 200 participants during this one-day event. It has been a unique opportunity for ModulED project to present at the CEA booth the recent development and expected achievements of the partners in the context of the EU funded projects. In addition to the EARPA members, stakeholders, representatives of the European Commission and industry were here to discuss the research that is conducted by this community and how it reaches societal and economic impact.

EARPA BRUXELLES 023 EARPA BRUXELLES 024

On the 8th and the 9th October 2018, all partners of the ModulED project gathered together for the third time for our 5th executive board and 2nd steering committee. The event was organized by ModulED partner ZG, hosted by FVA GmbH, in Munich.

The technical part of the meeting showed that the project is currently moving forward according to our GANTT Chart. :

  • The initial specifications and end-user requirements are fully finished;
  • The optimized propulsion system design shows promising results but needs slight adjustments;
  • The multiphase motor design with optimized magnetic materials shows 2 very promising designs which should exceed expectations;
  • The GaN inverter design is finished and electrical tests must know be made;
  • The transmission system is being readied;
  • An initial update of the overall project exploitation strategy is currently underway.

First dissemination activities have started and new ones should follow soon.
Be ready to encounter the ModulED partners on conferences and fairs near you !

On the 14th and the 15th March 2018, all partners of the ModulED project gathered in Lichtenstein, very near Brusa’s offices in Switzerland, for the first Steering Committee of the project. All partners presented their ongoing work and coming tasks. After 6 months spent on specifications and initial work on all modules of the modular powertrain, first technical results are expected soon. Stay tuned !

On the 26/12/2017, the ModulED website officially launched. The website is one of the first major dissemination steps towards the industry, researchers and the wider community. It will include all public information regarding the project and other related subjects.

On the 16th and 17th october 2017, the consortium of the ModulED project gathered in Grenoble, France, at the CEA offices. All partners were present and shared their scheduled work. Time was also spent on first work package meetings in which fine adjustments were made to the work programme. The 2 days were also spent to the bonding of all partners as they will now work together on the project for the next 3 years !