Pi Innovo in three-way deal to create two speed electric drivetrain

June 17, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
Pi Innovo in Cambridge and its OpenECU are at the heart of a three-way deal to develop and manufacture a two speed electric drivetrain.

Pi Innovo is working with Eaton to develop and produce a two speed transmission and a control unit for an EV application. These will be combined with the PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system from UQM Technologies of Colorado to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT”.

This will allow customers in the medium and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in acceleration and efficiency. The Eaton 2-speed transmission provides a greater speed and torque range from what would normally be possible in a direct drive system, allowing a smaller electric motor to drive large vehicles. The drivetrain allows for better packaging, efficiency, greater payload capacity and lower cost when compared with direct drive or single speed drivetrain strategies.

UQM will have prototypes ready for customers by early fall and start-of-production units ready by early 2017. The development and production of a full electric drivetrain system will support the overarching need for full transmission systems as enhanced performance and efficiency requirements are mandated by customer drive cycle needs as well as the need to reduce battery costs and meet more stringent environmental regulations.

“Pi Innovo’s hardware, software and applications engineers have worked closely with the UQM team to optimize the performance of the system to meet the efficiency requirements demanded by UQM’s customers,” said Dr Walter Lucking, CEO of Pi Innovo. “Working with UQM has been a great experience for our team and we’re looking forward to continuing our close partnership providing controls, ECUs and engineering support to customers looking to use UQM systems on their 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, Vice President of Technology of UQM. “This, coupled with the extremely high efficiency of the UQM PowerPhaseDT electric drivetrain system, will enable the highest overall vehicle efficiency, saving cost in batteries and