Monday 14 September 2015

JLR pushes on with zero emission technology

JaguarLandRover (JLR) has revealed some of the new and innovative low and zero emission powertrain technologies it is researching.

Three Concept_e research demonstrators include a new high-performance, modular electric drive module (eDM) developed in-house by Jaguar Land Rover.

These are capable of producing twice the power and torque of any electric motor-generator in production today. JLR researchers claim these can be inserted between any engine and transmission to create MHEV or PHEV, or used alone for a BEV.

The Concept_e technologies are the output of an advanced powertrain research programme for state-of-the-art, next-generation hybrid and battery-electric powertrain technologies which began in 2013.

Led by JLR, this two-year, £16.3m research project is part-funded by the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK1 and involves 12 UK technology partners2. It has brought together leading engineers and technologists from academia, the supply chain and industry to create a number of unique and innovative solutions.  

Team leader is Dr Wolfgang Epple, JLR’s director of research and technology, who is no stranger to electric drive systems. Readers will recall Dr Epple joined JLR in June 2012 as director, product programmes. He joined JLR from Proton, Malaysia's leading auto manufacturer and owner of iconic British car brand Lotus, and where he was a senior director, but more significantly Dr Epple spent 24 years with BMW, primarily in its research and development division where he directed development of several car projects, including the development of hybrid modules. He also served as chief executive officer and president of BMW Hybrid Technology Corporation in Troy, Michigan. So he clearly knows a thing or two about electric and hybrid drives and, at JLR over the last three years has probably found more scope to develop hybrid power trains, and he may be more ‘at home’ amongst other senior ex-BMW colleagues! 

JLR confirmed: "This is a long-term JLR research project exploring all aspects of future hybrid and battery electric vehicle technology. The three Concept_e vehicles will allow us to test and develop exciting new potential technologies that could form part of our low and zero emissions vision beyond 2020.”

"We are serious about helping the UK become a world-wide leader in powertrain technologies,” it added.  “Collaborative research programmes like this allow us to multiply the effect of our own R&D investment and nurture the UK's technology supply chain.  This approach is helping to develop the skills and technologies that will make the UK even more competitive in the future."

The three Concept_e research demonstrators include:

Concept_e MHEV, a Mild Hybrid, is based on a Range Rover Evoque donor vehicle and features a prototype 90PS diesel engine and a 48V electrical system. It incorporates a 15 kW crank integrated motor with disconnect clutch within a hybrid module sandwiched between the engine and nine-speed transmission. The motor-generator is powered by an advanced 48-volt electrical system and 48-volt lithium ion battery pack.

Concept_e PHEV is a Plug-In Hybrid with a similar architecture to the MHEV but with a prototype 300PS gasoline engine and an eight-speed transmission longitudinally mounted within a Range Rover Sport donor vehicle. The electric motor is capable of up to 150 kW and has the function of the starter motor. The motor draws electrical energy from a 320V lithium ion battery packaged in the boot. The hybrid powerplant drives through the conventional automatic gearbox normally fitted to the Range Rover Sport and the full-time four-wheel drive system is retained.

Finally, Concept_e BEV is a bespoke research demonstrator based on JLR's aluminium vehicle architecture. The underbody has been modified to mount the 70 kWh HV lithium ion traction battery and electric axle drive (EAD) units. The front drive unit features a single-speed transmission coupled with an 85 kW electric motor. The rear drive unit features a twin speed transmission coupled with a 145 kW electric motor.

Dr Epple said: "Environmental Innovation is at the heart of our business. We have a wide-ranging low emissions technology strategy, which has created innovations like our Ingenium engine family and lighter vehicles. Technologies like these have already helped us reduce our fleet CO2 average by 25 per cent in recent years”.

"Our future vision is to continue to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency while still delivering the luxury, performance, refinement and comfort our customers expect. Whether it's optimising the internal combustion engine, advanced hybrid and battery-electric propulsion systems, the introduction of new, lightweight materials or the improvement of energy conservation through more efficient heating and ventilation technologies, we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles emit significantly less emissions in the future," he concluded.

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