New technology promises to take electric vehicles into volume production

A new electric vehicle (EV) powertrain is being developed by a UK technology specialist with a background of EV design, manufacture and operation spanning more than 15 years.

According to Zytek Automotive, the unit will 'significantly simplify' the introduction of next generation electric vehicles, from niche models to high volume global programmes.

Neil Heslington, Zytek's managing director, believes that the steps required to progress from the current low volume trials to future fully homologated production vehicles are substantial. Heslington said: "Everything has to be re-evaluated, from development processes to dealer training. This new powertrain, combined with our substantial experience of EV and hybrid vehicle production programmes, will take time and cost out of this activity while helping to deliver the quality, refinement and driving experience that discerning customers demand."

Zytek says the turnkey package is compact and in air-cooled configuration is up to 45% lighter than today's production EV powertrains. The water cooled version, suitable for demanding drive cycles, is said to be up to 30% lighter. Available in sizes from 25kW, the modular system has been designed to be configured for a range of vehicle sizes, applications and architectures.

At the heart of the powertrain is Zytek's new permanent magnet synchronous motor. The high maximum machine speed of 14,000rpm has enabled generated torque and hence machine size to be reduced considerably. When used in conjunction with the Zytek Electric Vehicle Control Module, torque delivery is scheduled in a way that further improves overall efficiency, whilst also eliminating the harshness that can occur during changes in torque demand.
Parallel design and integration of the major subsystems is said to allow a high level of optimisation. An example is the integration of the charger within the inverter, which Zytek claims reduces the number of separate enclosures and connectors required in the vehicle.

A new transmission, designed specifically for use with the new electric machine, is being developed by transmission specialist Vocis. The width across the gearbox is 138mm and transmission weight is 10kg. The compact dimensions of the new drivetrain make mechanical integration with the vehicle much simpler. The main connections required are high voltage (to the traction battery) and low voltage (for electrical interface with the vehicle).

The Zytek electric vehicle control module interfaces with all standard vehicle systems such as ABS and ESP, while providing a complete range of expected diagnostic information as well as its own range of diagnostic codes.

Chris Shaw

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