UQM, Eaton and Pi Innovo collaborate on electric drivetrain

UQM Powertrain

UQM Technologies (NYSE MKT: UQM) has partnered with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo to develop an electric powertrain system for the medium- and heavy-duty commercial EV market.

Eaton will supply a 2-speed transmission, Pi Innovo will provide the transmission control unit, and UQM will contribute its current PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system. The complete electric drivetrain system will be called the UQM PowerPhaseDT.

According to UQM, the 2-speed transmission provides a greater speed and torque range than what’s possible with a direct drive system, allowing a smaller electric motor to drive large vehicles.

“Perhaps the biggest benefit is the fact that the 2-speed transmission keeps the electric motor operating in the highest efficiency region for a greater portion of the drive cycle,” said Josh Ley, UQM’s VP of Technology. “This, coupled with the extremely high efficiency of the UQM PowerPhaseDT, will enable the highest overall vehicle efficiency, saving cost in batteries and increasing range.”

“We have done extensive market research and believe that this offering will be the ideal drivetrain solution for electric and range-extended commercial vehicles,” said UQM CEO Joe Mitchell.”

UQM expects to have prototypes ready by fall and to begin production early in 2017.

 

Source: UQM Technologies

  • mipak

    2 or more speeds will be essential for trucks that are towing. There are just too many situations were you have 30 degree or steeper slopes for example–when backing into a lake with a boat they can sometimes be quite steep. A single gear might get you in trouble without enough power to power over rocks and stuff when on a steep slope. One size doesn’t fit all!

    • Perttu Lehtinen

      Trains are single speed…

      • mipak

        Trains don’t pull 30+ degree slopes nor do they occasionally have to crawl over rocks and other debris, rutted ice on streets, backing up boats down steep slopes that are sometimes muddy, don’t navigate muddy roads, etc, etc, etc. Think flat rails for trains.

        • scratch24

          Trains are electric because of their massive torque. They haul long trains of coal cars up steep snow covered mountains.Electrics are so efficient the trains have diesel engine generators to power the motors.

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  • Eco Logical

    Tesla tried 2-speed transmissions on their early production cars. They had so many problems with the 2-speeds they had to abandon them! Tesla now uses 1-speeds on all their cars…

    • Electric Bill

      That does not really apply here.

      That problem was due in part because Tesla was squeaking by on a shoestring budget that skipped beta testing before showing their demo car off to the press.

      It was also due to very bright but inexperienced designers and engineers, which led to gear teeth shredding under heavy load. With the right alloys, a now-seasoned Tesla design team using the same computer modeling that has helped SpaceX do the near-impossible, and fully testing such hardware before putting it into production, it is inconceivable they will have similar problems in the future.

      Tesla has designers working on a second-generation Roadster designed from the ground up; the original Roadster used a “glider” body supplied by Lotus, which meant designing the drive train and battery pack “around” the body, which resulted in an impressive but not exactly ideal design package.

      I suspect Tesla will go with a Roadster body which borrows design cues from the original, but which is designed from the ground up to use everything they have learned in the latter years.

      Musk is a performance car lover; the first vehicle he bought once he had a windfall to do so was a million-dollar McLaren F1, which he wrecked very soon after delivery. We can be sure he would like to make his newest Roadster out-perform the McLaren, and to do that he would likely want a transmission.

      Despite the outstanding acceleration of the various Tesla models, they have had one performance drawback: with no gearing, they can “only” achieve a top speed of 155 mph or so as opposed to Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and Bugattis that can go 200. I suspect Musk would like to put all gas – powered machines to shame.