Controlled Power Technologies (CPT), a developer of vehicle driveline electrification based on switched-reluctance machines (SRMs), has partnered with Ricardo, Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) and Provector, to apply its low voltage electric motor technology to the rear driveline of a B-segment city car through its ‘Project Fever.’

The consortium has secured a funding award from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, which will be contributing GBP1.8m (US$2.6m) of the total GBP3.4m.

The cash injection will help to introduce mild hybrid functionality to mainstream vehicles at reduced cost to that of high voltage plug-in hybrid or pure electric vehicles (Evs), says CPT.

The objective of the two-year project is to achieve a CO2 reduction of up to 15% across the regulatory cycle, through the development of two through-the-road hybrid demonstrator vehicles.

Integrating the electric motor within the rear axle will enable features such as low speed electric driving or e-creep, as well as electrically assisted all-wheel drive, which will deliver additional savings during a typical representative city drive cycle.

The technology will allow a carmaker to reduce the in-use carbon dioxide emissions of such vehicles by around 25g/km maintains the company.

CPT will lead the project and will be responsible for developing the electric motor and control system, as well as supporting their integration into the rear axle module.

Provector has experience in the control and management of advanced lead-carbon battery chemistry through projects such as ADEPT and its involvement with the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium. 

Ricardo’s key responsibilities within the project will be the design and analysis of the integrated 48V rear axle module, development of the supervisory vehicle control system, sub-system testing and project management support, building on its work on the ADEPT and ULTRAN projects.

TMETC (Tata Motors European Technical Centre) will supply the base vehicles, develop the suspension solution and provide support for the application of the technology and overall vehicle integration and testing.

“This programme will require a high level of project management and engineering cooperation,” said project director, Peter Scanes, senior manager responsible for vehicle OEM mild hybrid programmes at CPT.

“Not least in the application of a low voltage high temperature tolerant SRM, which has to be oil-cooled and packaged into a rear axle and suspension module with lead-carbon battery.”

For his part, Ricardo hybrid and electronic systems product group head, Stephen Doyle added: “The mass roll-out of electrification within the urban transportation fleet will require new power architectures that provide a performance, value and emissions trade-off that will be attractive to potential customers.

“Ricardo believes a 48V electrified rear axle offering through-the-road hybrid performance – including significant ‘engine-off’ operation – will be attractive for many market segments but particularly for those that predominate in urban transportation.”

The FEVER project will run for two years and will culminate in the development of two through-the-road, 48V electrified rear axle demonstration vehicles.