The UK's national centre for composites (NCC) is working with UK engineering specialist Drive System Design (DSD) on a new project to seek to improve the efficiency of the integrated electric Drive device (EDU) in electric vehicles.
The 12-month project, funded in part by Innovate UK, will explore the use of composites to increase power density and reduce device size, giving carmakers greater capacity and efficiency advantages.
Markus Hose, DSD's head of mechanical engineering, said: "extending the vehicle's range on a single charge at a reasonable cost remains one of the biggest obstacles to widespread adoption of electric vehicles.
So the technology that can increase mileage through efficiency without significantly increasing costs is critical.
As automakers seek to incorporate higher performance EDUs into their latest designs, they face increasing space challenges, so increased power density will provide a key competitive advantage."
He added: "NVH and efficiency have always been at odds in the development of vehicle power systems, but with this project DSD aims to overcome this challenging challenge.
Traditionally, attributes are managed independently; for example, efficient designs that can be created require iteration to overcome the resulting NVH (noise, vibration, and irregularity).
The project considers NVH issues from the beginning and is central to any decision making so that you can get an EDU optimized for practical use."
The project addresses the challenge of "effectively balancing NVH with efficiency" in two parallel workflows.
The first workflow is to increase the efficiency of EDU through the targeted use of composites. For example, if the NVH damping properties of composites can be utilized, EDU will be more tolerant to NVH input by motor and transmission.
Since NVH and efficiency often compete, this increased tolerance to NVH gives designers greater freedom to improve efficiency.
The second workflow is to use composite sleeve to encapsulate the rotor in a way suitable for mass production to obtain higher power density eMotors, which help reduce unit mass and size.
Aliya Valiyff, NCC's automotive technology programme manager, said: "NCC looks forward to working with DSD to develop moulds and processes to achieve efficient, integrated drives through the targeted use of composites.
With the UK moving towards an all-electric transport future by 2040 (other countries have similar targets), both for the domestic market and for exports, there is a huge market opportunity.
In partnership with DSD and innovation UK, the NCC will enhance the UK's strengths in power electronics, machinery and drive technologies by consolidating existing skills and developing new technologies.