Advanced Materials to Make EV Drive Units More Efficient

Drive System Design (DSD), a British engineering consulting company focused on development of innovative powertrain solutions, takes the lead in a new initiative aimed to set a new standard for operating efficiency of the integrated electric drive unit (EDU) of EVs. The promising project will focus on exploring possibilities of using composite materials that may facilitate to enhancement of power density and unit size reduction, providing automakers with benefits that can play a significant role in implementation of their electrification strategies.

EV with sufficient operating ranges at affordable cost is still one of the main stumbling blocks, when we are talking about promoting EVs on the automotive market, so any solution that can reinforce this via adding extra efficiency – without additional production expenses – is essential. Currently, automakers are dealing with significant packaging-related problems as they are looking for ways to integrate more efficient EDUs into latest designs, thus power density gains will provide a critical competitive edge.

In practice, it is often becomes a challenge to smoothly combine NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) and efficiency parameters in the process of the powertrain development, but the new initiative is planned to solve this problem. This project pays close attention to the NVH parameter and takes it into account during any decision making, resulting in an EDU optimization for field operating conditions. To achieve set efficiency objectives, the project engineers came up with the idea to balance NVH and efficiency in 2 parallel directions of activities.

The 1-st direction will be focused on enhancement of the EDU efficiency via proper use of composite materials. For instance, if the NVH dampening qualities of composites can be leveraged, the EDU will be more resistant to NVH inputs for the motor and transmission. The improved NVH tolerance would give engineers the room for maneuvering when it comes to the efficiency enhancement. The 2-nd direction of activities implies the utilization of composite sleeves to include a rotor in a way that is scalable for serial manufacturing, allowing the application of higher power density e-Motors, which in turn facilitates to reduction of the unit dimensions.

As the UK plans to electrify its transportation system by 2040, the project described above can become a true asset for not only the UK manufacturers, but for the global auto industry as well.

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