MAHLE developing electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles

July 23, 2018

MAHLE Group, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, reports that it is developing new high-voltage traction motors for fully electrified vehicles (EVs), as well as 48-volt drive motors for new-generation hybrids. The group, which has components on 50% of the vehicles produced annually worldwide, produces high-voltage and low-voltage traction motors for full-sized vehicles, as well as for off-road 2-wheel- and 4-wheel-drive leisure vehicles.

J D Kehoe, Director of Product Development, Filtration and Engine Peripherals for MAHLE Filter Systems in North America, stated that greater internal combustion engine (ICE) downsizing, 48-volt hybridisation, and electric traction motors are all affecting powertrain development. “Downsized internal combustion engines, with higher compression, advanced combustion, high boost and electrified turbocharger actuation will be part of the automotive landscape for decades to come.”

“Smaller engines, for example, are expected to deliver 300 horsepower and 30 miles per gallon, with a third less displacement,” Kehoe stated, also noting that 48-volt electrical systems are gaining acceptance. To keep pace with the changing market, MAHLE has developed electrified HVAC systems and electric auxiliary components such as electric oil coolers and hydraulic pumps. Even electrified riding mowers and material handling equipment have become more common, he added.

MAHLE’s 48-volt drive systems are supplied with integrated electronics to govern a typical output of 14 kW (19 horsepower) and have been demonstrated on passenger vehicles such as the SMART. EVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf or Tesla, have achieved high market profiles, though actual sales remain at 2-3% percent of global deliveries, Kehoe continued. Analyst Alix Partners estimates that by 2023, more than 205 electric vehicle models will have entered the market.

MAHLE’s high-voltage traction motors for automobiles employ Imbedded Permanent Magnet (IPM) technology. The motors are liquid-cooled and are governed by MAHLE-designed-and-patented liquid-cooled controllers. Manufacturers may specify voltages from 200-400 volts, based on a motor’s battery pack. The power delivered by each motor, up to 100 kW (134 horsepower), will depend on the vehicle’s design.

The company stated that it also automakers higher-voltage motors. These IPM motors operate in the 400–800 volt range, with up to 96% efficiency and peak power output up to 180 kW, or 240 horsepower. The design is said to be flexible and adaptable to customer requirements.

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