EVs go all-wheel drive, reports IDTechEx

December 07, 2016 // By Julien Happich
After it showcased its first electric car at the Los Angeles Auto Show earlier this month, Jaguar Land Rover wants half of its cars to be available in an electric version by the end of the decade. It wants to build electric cars in Britain in what would be a further boost to the UK automotive sector after the Brexit vote.

The Indian-owned carmaker built just under a third of Britain's 1.6 million cars last year and has just showcased its first electric car, which will be built in Austria. I-PACE is a sporty crossover, in keeping with the brand's image.

The five-seat vehicle employs two electric motors, one for each axle, with a combined output of 400-hp and 516 pound-feet of torque meaning blistering 0-60 mph in four seconds - matching the high-performance Jaguar F-Type SVR sports car.

This is in line with the technology roadmap of the new IDTechEx report, Electric Car Technology and Forecasts 2017-2027.
The sophistication of motor design and deployment in cars is now in some contrast to battery application where Tesla, GM and others currently achieve double range by little more than stuffing in twice the amount of battery meaning suffering twice the trading losses.

The big story is not therefore whether battery costs will drop fast enough to prevent some motor manufacturers running out of re-investment. It is how power electronics with motors are expanding in form, function and integration, this boosting everything from performance to economy and the speed of progress towards energy independence.

Some of this is even a work-round for the battery problem. For example, in-wheel motors with integrated brakes and motor controllers can increase range by 15%. Wide bandgap semiconductors in motor controllers can reduce or eliminate the need for water cooling and work more efficiently increasing range by 8%. The effects are multiplicative.

The move to multiple electric motors, at least one of which may be axle-mounted, may eventually include 48V mild hybrid cars and light commercial vehicles coming in in a big way in 2017. They will eventually transition to being true electric vehicles by having brief pure electric, engine-off modes such as take-off, creeping in traffic and active cruising made easier with dual drive.

Nick Pascoe, CEO of CPT, a leading developer of the motor-generators at the heart of that technology, sees them starting as one per vehicle, an example being the engine-integrated starter generators appearing in the Mercedes S Class in 2017, then, in some cases, adding an axle mounted motor generator that does not perform the starter function but optimises traction and performance. One way or another, two or three motors per vehicle is becoming a very popular format in cars, industrial and commercial vehicles.