Pi Innovo in three-way deal to create two speed electric drivetrain

Pi Innovo in three-way deal to create two speed electric drivetrain

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Pi Innovo is working with Eaton to develop and produce a two speed transmission and a control unit for an EV application. These will be combined with the PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system from UQM Technologies of Colorado to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT”.

This will allow customers in the medium and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in acceleration and efficiency. The Eaton 2-speed transmission provides a greater speed and torque range from what would normally be possible in a direct drive system, allowing a smaller electric motor to drive large vehicles. The drivetrain allows for better packaging, efficiency, greater payload capacity and lower cost when compared with direct drive or single speed drivetrain strategies.

UQM will have prototypes ready for customers by early fall and start-of-production units ready by early 2017. The development and production of a full electric drivetrain system will support the overarching need for full transmission systems as enhanced performance and efficiency requirements are mandated by customer drive cycle needs as well as the need to reduce battery costs and meet more stringent environmental regulations.

“Pi Innovo’s hardware, software and applications engineers have worked closely with the UQM team to optimize the performance of the system to meet the efficiency requirements demanded by UQM’s customers,” said Dr Walter Lucking, CEO of Pi Innovo. “Working with UQM has been a great experience for our team and we’re looking forward to continuing our close partnership providing controls, ECUs and engineering support to customers looking to use UQM systems on their vehicles.”

“Perhaps the biggest benefit is the fact that the 2-speed transmission keeps the electric motor operating in the highest efficiency region for a greater portion of the drive cycle,” said Josh Ley, Vice President of Technology of UQM. “This, coupled with the extremely high efficiency of the UQM PowerPhaseDT electric drivetrain system, will enable the highest overall vehicle efficiency, saving cost in batteries and increasing range.”

Pi Innovo developed the OpenECU platform that includes the recently launched M110 (above) so that same power electronics hardware can be applied in successive rapid prototyping development projects and fleet trials, or in production vehicles. All the OpenECU modules are designed and manufactured by Pi Innovo, allowing the company to create custom variants from prototyping to production applications.

The company has also been working with gallium nitride devices from GaN Systems for its electric vehicle controllers. It has designed and implemented custom motor control electronics to use GaN on silicon devices with a wide range of input voltages from 12V to 300V. This controller design provides a functional starting-point for the development of 48V and above, high-speed motor-driven vehicle systems. Pi Innovo is now offering design and development services in support of customers looking to adopt this technology for a wide range of electronics design applications in automotive and adjacent markets from prototypes to customized high volume designs for customers looking to go into production.,


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