- New £20M Facility Under Construction after APC UK Awards Funding for e-MOTIF Project
A new high-volume manufacturing facility will deliver products developed for the collaborative e-MOTIF project (electric MOTor, Inverter, Flywheel). Utilising the manufacturing capability of Shield Engineering Group, the project will employ EMPEL’s e-Motor and PUNCH Flybrid’s “F-Boost” Flywheel Energy Storage System.
Based in Warwickshire, the facility will be initially capable of producing 25,000 units per year and is expected to be operative from May 2023.
The consortium, led by Shield, including EMPEL Systems, PUNCH-Flybrid, and PFS Manufacturing have committed to a £13.3m project accelerated with £5.63m of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The consortium was one of three applicants to be awarded APC-17 funding as part of a £54M joint industry and government investment in R&D. Funding for the project is accelerating the UK automotive industry capability and supports the transition to net-zero emissions. This is achieved by reducing power usage across a range of vehicles with a combination of electric motors, integrated power electronics, flywheel energy storage systems and integration of these into customer drivetrains.
The e-MOTIF project has opportunities to work with additional OEMs developing evaluation vehicles to test the latest e-MOTIF systems. If interested, please contact email@example.com
“Our insight shows an opportunity upwards of £24bn in the UK supply chain as the industry transitions to electric vehicles, £12bn of that in electronics and electric motors,’ said Zoe Hall, Head of Competitions and Projects, Advanced Propulsion Centre. “As well as supporting green jobs, the e-MOTIF project will help accelerate innovation in low-carbon technology to achieve net-zero transport ambitions.”
The manufacturing facility will enable EMPEL’s electric motor and inverter to deliver fast, high-performance power to commercial electric and hybrid vans, passenger cars, and top-end supercars. In addition, the propulsion technology aims to generate exceptional efficiency and performance to transport, aerospace, robotics, marine, construction, and Greentech sectors, wherein the e-MOTIF benefits will be realised:
• Delivering >15kW/kg power density, the e-Motor solution achieves double the 2035 Automotive Council targets.
• Scalable speeds up to 50,000rpm.
• All variants available with optional, fully integrated 48V, 450V & 800V silicon carbide inverter.
• For Hybrid ICE applications up to 25% CO₂ emissions improvements from fuel savings and brake energy recovery.
Enquiries have since risen after the announcement of e-MOTIF. With 30 client proposals submitted in 2021, the project has already surpassed that figure in 2022.
EMPEL Co-Founder and Director, Jason King, said: “Increasing EMPEL’s speed and capacity for manufacture, this new facility will benefit our team in applying their expertise across the UK supply chain to revolutionise the electric vehicle sector.”
Regarding the new facility and e-MOTIF, Ben Silverstone, Head of the National Electrification Skills Framework initiative, is hopeful for new opportunities: “This is a once in a generation shift in technologies that will create huge numbers of career prospects in the UK. It will be critical to ensure that highly skilled staff are developed here, and that we provide them with the opportunities to grow and develop. The National Electrification Skills Framework is very pleased to support this expansion and the career opportunities it will create.”
Chris Shield of Shield Engineering Group said: “We at Shield are delighted to be involved with this market leading investment into electric motor manufacturing. By working closely with our collaboration partners, we have been able to develop motor products to meet many customers’ technical applications at a highly competitive price with the highest quality componentry and assembly.
The initial capacity of 25,000 units is easily upscaled when required after the completion of the initial manufacturing lines. It is predicted 7,500 units will be sold in the first year.
- Investment in Ansys Advanced CAE Software
Since its founding, EMPEL Systems, a leading UK manufacturer of electric propulsion technologies, has invested heavily in Ansys computer-aided engineering software (CAE) to aid in the development of its state-of-the-art propulsion systems. The investment over the past three years is providing significant assistance to the development of EMPEL advanced electric motors and power electronic systems, along with the multi-physics challenges these productions bring, such as electromagnetics, thermal-transfer, mechanical interactions, and rotor-dynamics disciplines.
With the Ansys Workbench, the EMPEL CAE team are now able to operate computer-aided design (CAD) along with physics simulations and post-processing all in one place. Complimented by EMPEL’s own in-house analysis tools, Ansys addresses all aspects of system performance, including:
• Electromagnetics analysis
• Linear and non-linear mechanical finite element analysis (FEA)
• Heat transfer
• Fluid Flow (Ansys Fluent)
• Electronics thermal performance simulation
• System reliability and robustness
• Dynamic modelling
Electromagnetics analysis is at the heart of EMPEL’s product development system. Using MotorCAD and Maxwell packages within the Ansys Workbench allows for fast and accurate 2D and 3D simulation of all variants across the EMPEL range, from small EM75 compressor motors to the company’s largest EM300 traction motor-generators for vehicle propulsion and advanced applications. Furthermore, EMPEL utilises Ansys optiSLang to automate simulation toolchains and study the effects of thousands of design variations at once, such as multi-factorial design exploration, optimisation, robustness, and reliability analysis. Ansys CAE allows for faster identification of design combinations that benefits meeting our customer objectives.
In addition, the application of Ansys Mechanical FEA enables detailed analysis for a wide range of thermo-mechanical FEA issues, such as motor housing stresses, inverter power electronic heat transfer, and vibration behaviour in the elements of propulsion systems.
Throughout 2020 and 2021, EMPEL has invested over 5000 hours of analytical and design resources into its cooling system design, critical to achieving high levels of continuous torque or power. With the use of Ansys Fluent—the industry-leading fluid simulation software—EMPEL has created a cooling package that has met the needs of its motor and inverter systems, outperforming industry benchmarks by a significant degree.
“EMPEL Systems has greatly benefitted from its investment of the Ansys range of CAE software, boosting speeds of production and streamlining design challenges. All these benefits translate directly to customer satisfaction, which we strive to ensure with each of our services.”EMPEL Co-Founder and Director, Jason King
- EMPEL Systems partners with Cenex and Romax Technology on project to develop autonomous vehicles of the future
A consortium of businesses is developing an electric powertrain that will meet the demands of future vehicles.
Electric powertrains (motor, inverter, gearbox, battery) will need to be more robust and durable in order to withstand the strenuous duty cycles that connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) will cover in their lifetimes.
Current vehicle powertrains are typically designed for a lifetime of 150,000 miles, however the CAVs of the future will be heavily utilised in cities achieving that mileage in under a year. Therefore, there is a need to design ultra-durable powertrains to cater for this heavy-duty drive cycle.
Cenex, EMPEL Systems and Romax Technology, funded by Innovate UK’s Smart Grants competition, will collaborate on project RUBICON – ultRa-dUraBle electrIC pOwertraiNs – to design a novel powertrain by considering its entire economic and environmental “cradle-to-grave” life cycle.
Cenex will provide driver data sets and explore the unique differences between CAVs and existing passenger vehicles. This will involve investigating their commercial usage, high-utilisation mechanical drive cycles within autonomous mobility services and the increased emissions and costs of manufacture.
EMPEL’s expertise in electric motor design and power electronics combined with Romax’s 30 years of experience in performance simulation, testing and design will allow the consortium to improve on the current state-of-the-art powertrains, that have suboptimal life cycles, by taking this innovative and integrative system approach to the design.
Victor Lejona, Technical Specialist at Cenex, said:
“Autonomous vehicles in cities will be a reality in five to ten years. These driverless vehicles will have to withstand high utilisations of around 200 to 400 thousand km per year, which would deplete the powertrain life of current vehicles in under a year if they were designed as today. Therefore, there is a need to research the feasibility and benefits of designing powertrains for these heavy-duty drive cycles.
“We are delighted to participate in this Innovate UK project with Romax and EMPEL to characterise the use cases and driving cycles for autonomous vehicles and powertrains of the future. It is key to research the environmental and economic implications for the whole life cycle of these vehicles and not just their well-to-wheel impact.”
Henry Tanner, Principal Engineer (R&D) at Romax, said:
“It is understood that future of mobility will be Electric, Shared, Connected and Autonomous. However, what is not understood is exactly how these trends will impact vehicle powertrains from an economic, environmental or design perspective. This project is an exciting opportunity to explore new ways transport will be consumed in the future and understand how these new usage archetypes can be used to optimise powertrains for the next generation of passenger cars.”
Jason King, Founder & Director at EMPEL Systems, said:
“EMPEL Systems is looking forward to working with Romax and Cenex as part of this Innovate UK project, supporting with jointly developed analysis tools to better understand how future electric motors and inverters designs will need to evolve.”
- EMPEL Systems awarded grant from the Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator Competition
EMPEL Systems is proud to have been selected as a winner of the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s (APC), Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator (ARMD) Competition.
Launched in June, the aim of the fast-start competition was to support UK Industry continuation with R&D after the COVID-19 pandemic and further accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles. The programme, designed as a green recovery support initiative, was conceived and launched within just two months and received 50 applications, out of which 12 exciting demonstrator projects have been funded. The outputs will be displayed at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle show in September 2021. All projects have been contracted in record time to maximise the benefit to Industry and have now commenced. Once successfully concluded, the 12-month projects will be used to seed future development programmes nationwide as well as overseas investment into the UK.
The small-scale collaborative projects are being led by a range of OEMs and SMEs, focusing on products and processes across energy storage & management, power electronics, electric machines, lightweighting and hydrogen. They will demonstrate a range of digitalisation techniques including the creation of “digital twins” to advance the development of each project’s prototypes or processes, covering vehicles ranging from passenger cars and buses to all-terrain vehicles and LCVs.
Zoe Hall, Head of Competitions and Projects, from the APC said: “The competition has been a great success and we’re delighted to support these aspirational projects, which will help contribute to a thriving future in UK Industry. The whole process, along with the review of so many applications, has proved extremely beneficial in showcasing the continued demand for R&D support in this space.”
As part of the application process, entrants needed to demonstrate how a grant for their project would result in accelerated development of their product and a potential route to market. Combined with potential for scalability or providing a competitive advantage for the UK against other competing markets the projects needed to demonstrate significantly improved and low emission technology in order to support the UK market’s transition to Zero.