16.10.2017 || Press Report on eMove360
The ALTEN Company and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences are undertaking a mutual research and development project for an economic 4-wheel electric road vehicle drive.
Cologne, Germany – No other agenda is determining the transition in ‘mobile society’ more at the present time, than the electrification of road vehicle drive techniques. New ideas and new concepts are being required – not only with regard to meeting the upper CO2 limits and climate-change protections goals – but also for reasons of economy and cost efficiency; but essentially to achieve success in the current ‘technology revolution.
These are some of the aspects, which the research and development Team around Prof. Dr. Andreas Lohner of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences are mutually addressing with the technology experts at the ALTEN Group, and thus going down the avenue of their actual goal – the research and development of an innovative , efficient and economic all-wheel drive for E-vehicles. Essentially, the challenge is to be able to convert a already introduced and freely available E-vehicle model in serial production, to an electric drive technique of four hub- and rim -driven wheels, and its concurrent implementation.
The ‘SR4Wheel’ (Switched Reluctance 4-Wheel-Drive) Project as such was initiated in 2016 already, and has been promoted and funded by the government of the German Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia and the European Union. An especially researched and developed drive control system is in addition to enhance the concept by setting new standards in driving- safety, -security, -agility as well as for the ‘fun of driving’ in general.
The challenges of dampening vibrations and the driving dynamics in general
According to feasibility studies and initial research and development successes with gearless drive prototypes and integrated performance electronics, the consideration of the problem of ‘NVH’ – Noise Vibration Harshness, represents a core challenge for the project consortium. ‘Our main consideration must therefore be the torque control units, where we need to ensure an optimum torque regulation’, as described by the Technical Project Manager, Mr. Sergej Deleski of the ALTEN Group. ‘The experience’, he said, ‘we have gained from our project research and development practice in the automotive industry, will assist us in developing the appropriate software algorithms for the torque control units, and to be able to test the implementation on the vehicle. However, it will be exciting to see how far we can optimize the mass behavior of the vehicle on the way to achieving ideal drive dynamics’. He then went on to say, ‘The introduction of four permanent actuated but separately switched reluctance drive units opens up an entirely new dimension of driving dynamics. We shall then be able to react on each wheel to address completely any different road conditions and for example actively influence vehicle behavior in road curves’. ‘This will therefore lead to a new kind of driving experience and greater safety in hazardous situations’, Mr. Deleski maintains with certainty.
Improved ecological environment results and less resource dependency
These new innovative E-drive functions represent no reliance upon permanent magnets in the system or electrical windings at the motor rotors. The construction of these require particular raw materials, such as rare ores, for example from China. Even the use of ‘wear-and-tear’ subjected slip- or collector rings and rotor brushes lapses out of principle. This results in further reducing environmental pollution and production can be financed using local resources, which would indicate an additional benefit for the introduction of this technology.
Quite apart from the mechanical integration itself, the Team will be confronted in the coming months, with the research and development of the drive-dynamic algorithms, the verification of the entire system and the optimization of the control facilities. Functional safety in regards to the ISO26262 Standard is another crucial research topic, as well as optimal research and development of a triggering SRM diagram. The research and development work on the ‘SR4Wheel’ Project are set to be completed by the year 2019.
15.08.2016 || Our Team keeps on growing
Wir freuen uns zwei neue Kollegen im Forschungsprojekt begrüßen zu dürfen:
- Ivan Dick, MSc. Technical IT Expert
Ivan has already been working in the Team for three years, and has otherwise been successful in servicing several interesting projects in the automotive field, among others also for the Ford Concern, during this period of time. We are now also glad that he is available for research and development work in our Team and can address tasks such as the programming of the ‘ECUs’.
- Julian Sanna, B.Eng. Mechanical Engineer, and M.Eng. in Renewable Energies (student). (angehend)
Julian is still studying at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences and will address matters concerning the ISO26262 Standard for functional safety with his backup support for the ‘SR4Wheel’ Project. After his activities with the Team as a practical work student, he intends to complete his master’s thesis with the Team within the scope of this project. A warm welcome to the Team, Julian.
27.06.2016 || Initial investigations into the installation space specifications
Is there sufficient room? After the Team project partner had produced initial CAD details and dimensions for an ‘SRM’ (Switched Reluctance Machine) unit in a prototype version for the road vehicle, it was then possible to conduct installation space investigations. The intention was to ascertain whether the wheel case for the rear axle had sufficient space available.
Fortunately, there was enough room! A few modifications were necessary to the braking system on the rear axle, but the SRM (Switched Reluctance Machine) had sufficient space. The future installation of the SRM and the breadth of the tires however required, that the wheel case had to be extended by extra beading, so that the tires did not protrude, and the current suspension springing excursion of the axle and wheels could be maintained. This means, that our Ford Focus Model will have a broader driving and parking aspect on the road.
13.06.2016 || Test Drives | Stage 1
The numerous test drives have commenced. After the installation of a current measuring sensor between the Transmission Control Module (TCM) and the battery, the Team will now commence assessment analyses for-, among other aspects, consumptions in day-to-day scenarios. The intention is to ascertain the energy consumption in the existing road vehicle architecture, in order to use them as a database for comparing to the consumption values after the conversion.
The current measuring sensor thus enables the power consumption of the electric motors to be assessed without influencing any of the other electric loads, and then be able to compare the parameters with those of the ‘SR4Wheel’ Vehicle
02.06.2016 ||Defect Search: ‘Stop Safely Now’
The vehicle is currently on our premises and the initial work for the conversion has been completed. But, the age-old ‘Aha Effect’ accompanies any research and development project at least once. An example of this were the energy consumption parameters after the installation of the current measuring sensor. Upon attempting to start the vehicle and the power unit, the Ford Focus displayed the warning ‘Stop Safely now’. The vehicle did not want to put itself into the ready-to-drive mode. What’s the issue? An examination of all the electrical connections and connectors brought no initial results. However, a renewed inspection of the connectors revealed, that the defect was in the high voltage circuit where a connector was not completely attached after the modification work. This turned out to be the ‘classic’ fault for any technician or engineer.
The investigation, however, also rewarded the Team with new relations in the ‘power train development’ for Ford. A short telephone call resolved the problem and the team was able to commence with the current measuring activities.
18.05.2016 || Project ‘Kick Off’
The initial Project Meeting of the entire ‘SR4Wheel’ Team after more than 2 years of preparations.
At last, the time has come. The research and development work on the project for a gearless switched reluctance machine has begun. On the first occasion, the members of the consortium partners of the ALTEN Group and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences have come together for their ‘Kick-Off Meeting’. Under the chairmanship of Marco Poddighe (of the ALTEN Group) and Prof. Dr. Lohner (of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences), the initial content for project planning, laboratories and workshops, as well as testing scenarios with the Ford Focus Electric for comparisons, were discussed.
Over the course of the research and development project, the vehicle was to be partially disassembled and the entire electrics, the motor controlling and the regulating techniques were to be newly developed, to implement conversion to a new all-wheel drive concept on the wheel hubs and rims. The aim is to equip the original day-to-day feasibility of the Ford Focus with improved driving characteristics.
03.05.2016 || Go-Ahead
The go-ahead for an additional research and development project in Cologne, Germany and thus the ‘green light’ for promotion and funding of the ALTEN Group Research and Development Team in the ‘SR4Wheel’ research and development project.
It had all begun with the idea for research and development into an alternative electrical drive concept and the ‘Leitmarkt’ Competition of the German Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia and the Agency for Mobility and Logistics (Mobilitaet & Logistik.NRW) of North Rhine Westphalia, where the Team came out as winner of the project promotion and funding competition. The positive rating awarded by the Competition Jury for the project sketch and the tender stage, was followed by an intensive stage of project preparations, as well as the actual go-ahead on April 15th this year.
Within the scope of this Project, the Team is conducting research and development work together with its consortium partner, the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, for the day-to-day implementation of a switched reluctance machine as a wheel hub and rim drive on a conventional E-vehicle.
The aim of the Project is to suppress the noise and vibration emissions of such an E-engine, and to integrate four of such engines as wheel hub and rim power units into a conventional E-vehicle. In 36 months, an E-vehicle prototype will be engineered based on a Ford Focus Electric, equipped with driving dynamics going far beyond the now commonplace expectancy. The entire project budget amounts to over EUR 2.7 million and is being promoted and funded by the German Federal State of North Rhine Westphalia and the European Union.
The ALTEN Group however provides up-and-coming engineers and technicians the opportunity, within the scope of this research and development project, of direct active collaborative activities and open up new perspectives in an extremely advanced technological environment. We would extend to our R&D Team at the Cologne location in Germany, our best wishes and much success in the creation of the drive technique of the future!
Bildmaterial: © Ford www.ford.de