Romax Technology has been selected as part of a consortium led by the EU to deliver an optimised solution that will ultimately reduce costs and drive mass-production of electric vehicles (EVs) across Europe.
The three-year ODIN (Optimised Electric Drivetrain by Integration) project is part of an EU initiative to stimulate growth of EVs by reducing overall vehicle costs while ensuring performance and maintaining automotive component and quality standards.
According to research from the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT), the UK saw a rise of 20.5 per cent in the number of hybrid and electric vehicles being registered across the country in 2013. Ensuring that this level of growth continues across Britain and the rest of Europe involves continual innovation in the R&D of EVs.
The ODIN project looks to address one cross-section of this technology area by looking specifically at the powertrain of the EV, optimising the integration of mechanical and electrical components into one e-powertrain.
The e-powertrain has to be both cost-attractive and power efficient, and therefore in order to meet these objectives, fundamental engineering problems such as the need for efficiency have to be simulated and optimised at the earliest stages of the design process. Through its innovative software design and consulting expertise, Romax was selected to be part of the consortium.
Through its RomaxDESIGNER and CONCEPT products, Romax is able to simulate various configurations and multi-speed gearboxes, different types of gear sets and different ratios at the initial design stage, allowing the consortium to whittle possible designs down to specific preferred choices.
By providing this level of analysis at the earliest design stage, component integration issues can be easily identified, allowing the engineers to make an informed choice as to where changes need to be made in order to avoid reworking later in the design process - in doing so significant cost reductions can be seen, all without compromising powertrain efficiency.
Barry James, Chief Technology Officer of Romax, commented: "In order for the EV market to grow we need to look at ways to reduce overall vehicle costs. A smarter integration of gearbox, motor, and power electronics is needed across the vehicle powertrain, and that is what the ODIN project aims to address.
"Properly integrated powertrains have a potential to reduce costs by using high-speed electric motors - in doing this the objective is to create a cheap and compact drivetrain without compromising on power capability. To achieve this, as things become smaller and more power dense, it is essential to address component integration issues from the earliest stages of design and that is what we seek to do at Romax.
"Identifying the right calculations, including appropriate simulations in the initial stages, mean that we are able to see what works, as well as highlighting potential problems earlier."
The ODIN project is co-funded by the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development (FP7), with consortium partners including Bosch, GKN and Renault.