Electric vehicles are very trendy now. The field essentially shaken up by American car manufacturer Tesla now is getting very busy. Recently Audi revealed its e-tron quattro concept, which is rather impressive with its 500 km. range and futuristic design. However, there is a British automotive manufacturer, called Jaguar Land Rover, which earlier this month introduced its new unique electric drive module that in the future will be used in company’s low and zero-emissions vehicles.
Company says that this module is capable of producing twice the power and torque of any electric motor-generator in production today.
This module can be inserted between any engine and transmission and can be used to create three types of environmentally friendly vehicles: Battery Electric Vehicle, Plug-In Hybrid and Mild Hybrid. Even though research of the next-generation hybrid and battery-electric powertrain technologies began back in 2013, now Jaguar Land Rover is showcasing this technology.
Although electric drive module was developed in-house by the company, there were other parties in the development of this program – research was partly funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK1 and involves 12 UK technology partners. Company proudly says that this project brought together leading engineers and technologists from academia, the supply chain and industry and resulting innovative solutions which, according to Chief Executive at Innovate UK Dr Ruth McKernan, are making UK a world-known hub for automotive innovation.
The electric drive module that is still being researched will likely be used only after 2020. That is why company is exploring three different types of environmentally friendly vehicles and is already presenting prototypes.
First one, Concept_e MHEV, is a mild hybrid, based on a Range Rover Evoque donor vehicle. It is powered by 66.2 kW diesel engine and a 48V electrical system. It is rather hard to explain the technology of the powertrain of this vehicle, but in short, mild hybrid means that it does not have an electric-only mode.
While it is coasting, braking or standing still, engine might be turned off, but will start again as soon as throttle is pressed. Powertrain of the Concept_e MHEV integrates a 15 kW crank integrated motor with disconnect clutch within a hybrid module sandwiched between the engine and 9 speed transmission. System is powered by an advanced 48-volt electrical system and 48-volt lithium ion battery pack.
Another prototype vehicle, Concept_e PHEV is a plug-in hybrid, based on a Range Rover Sport donor vehicle. It is rather similar to Concept_e MHEV, but uses a petrol engine with power output of 220.7 kW. Electric motor, used in this set up, is capable of up to 150 kW and also takes up the function of the starter motor. It is powered by 320-volt lithium ion battery packaged situated in the boot of the car. Unlike in the previously described concept, here company mounted the same 8 speed transmission and he full time four-wheel drive system from the normal Range Rover Sport.
Third prototype, called Concept_e BEV, does not even look like a car yet. It is only a demonstration vehicle, used to showcase possibility to make a full electric car. It has a 70 kWh HV lithium ion traction battery and electric axle drive (EAD) units mounted to the underbody of the vehicle. In the front there is 85 kW electric motor coupled with a single speed transmission, while 145 kW electric motor and a twin speed transmission takes care of the drive at the rear.
Dr Wolfgang Epple, Director of Research and Technology, Jaguar Land Rover, said that green technologies are a priority of the brand. He 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”.
And, while on this mission, company will rely on any kind of powertrain they can develop, as long as it fits the image of the cars they make.
Although it is very interesting to see this technology still being developed, we will have to wait and see when it will be fully implemented. It is not the first time Jaguar Land Rover are experimenting with hybrid technology, but this time, unlike with their C-X75 concept, this is aimed at the future we will actually see and drive one day.