Ricardo set to receive funding to research efficiency and performance of electric vehicles

UK powertrain and engineering firm Ricardo has been awarded funding from the UK Government’s, Office of Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) – this was done through a partnership with Innovate UK. The funding will be used to investigate the use innovative advanced thermal management methods, which its hoped will improve the performance and efficiency of electric motors along with any power electronics that are used in electric and hybrid vehicles.

The project will run for six months, and aligns with the UK Government’s aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing traditional combustion powered vehicles and replacing them with electric vehicles therefore increasing electrification across a range of transport sectors.

Ricardo’s received OLEV grant funding of £190,000 that will be primarily used for the development of an electric motor concept, Ricardo hope that the motor will achieve a 15-20 % improvement in performance compared with that of current leading electric motors already in use. If the project is successful, Ricardo believes that they will be able to provide the solution to vehicle manufacturers as early as 2021, allowing OEMs the capability of developing products which are able to meet UK targets for 2030.

By virtue of its enhanced performance, the concept will enable a 10-20 percent motor downsizing and therefore a weight reduction, this will improve vehicle packaging opportunities. The reductions should also assist developers to bring down the total cost of each vehicle, Ricardo say that the design principles demonstrated in the new motor can also be applied across aerospace, off-highway and other markets.

Using Ricardo’s Model Based Development advanced thermal and electromagnetic digital design and analysis tools, their engineers will be able to develop the concept and then analyse results in a relevant automotive environment, using legislative and real-world driving cycles. Engineers hope to get several opportunities to evolve and update the design and analysis tools which they say can reduce development time of motors and drives by 20 to 30 percent. Ultimately it should provide tangible benefit to OEMs that should enable them to bring their products to market faster and at lower costs.

The ultimate goal for the project is a well-developed concept design, supported by thorough analysis, which hopefully will be used to guide global vehicle manufacturers developing electric vehicles, speeding up the process and lowering cost, this is especially important as electric vehicle development becomes increasingly competitive.

Richard Gordon, Ricardo Head of R&D said: “Ricardo’s R&D in novel and disruptive cooling technologies and thermal management is already much in demand with global vehicle manufacturers. We are very appreciative of this latest award of funding which will enable our research to deliver near-term, significant efficiency and performance benefits for global transport manufacturers as they seek innovative technology solutions to accelerate the development and introduction of electric and hybrid vehicles.” Ricardo also received funding for another electric vehicle research and development project, to digitalise electric and hybrid vehicle development that again will reduce cost, risk and time to market for OEMs.