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Electric buses are taking over public transportation across the world. Electric buses are built with the same vehicle body as traditional diesel buses. It is critical to lower the unloaded and rolling weight of the electric bus for regular city transit since it will considerably lessen the burden on the electric motors.
The system that causes the propulsion of a vehicle in which that driving force or tractive force is obtained from various devices such as electric motors, steam engine drives, diesel engine dives, etc. is known as traction system. Traction systems may be broadly classified into two types. They are electric traction systems, which use electrical energy, and non-electric traction systems, which do not use electrical energy for the propulsion of vehicles.
In EV/HEVs, electric motor drives are the most essential component. In a series hybrid vehicle, the electric motor drive is usually the only source of torque. The electric motor is the torque source in parallel and series–parallel hybrid cars, providing peak torque (power) to fulfil vehicle performance requirements such as acceleration.
Because fossil-fuel-powered motor cars, trains, and aircraft account for around one-quarter of worldwide energy consumption – and roughly the same amount of global carbon-dioxide emissions – clean transportation is crucial in the battle against climate change.
These emissions are hazardous to both the environment and human health. The needs of the main electric motor (bus drive) is calculated by the traction power analysis of the vehicle. The traction force required to drive the vehicle is influenced by several resistances that act while the vehicle is moving.
Hybrid EV drive unit.
Clean transportation has a critical role in the fight against climate change, because fossil-fuel-powered motor vehicles, trains, and planes account for approximately one-quarter of the world’s energy consumption – and about the same proportion of global carbon-dioxide emissions. These emissions are harmful for both the environment and for human health.
Some of the primary benefits of a Battery Electric based bus are that it runs entirely on a cheap and reasonably sustainable energy source, that it requires less maintenance owing to the reduction in moving parts, and that it uses energy efficiently due to the use of a single pedal drive. In the most recent development of the market, the manufacturing stakeholders are improvising upon the traction motor effectiveness.
Governments across the world are focusing on laws for the shift of public transportation from the conventional engine buses to electric buses. For instance, the government of India recently announced a law that estimates the shift from conventional ICE buses to electric buses by the year 2022. Such laws have been passed by governments rising a demand for electric buses in the public transportation sector driving the market of the traction motor used in these buses.
Nidec based in Japan is all set to produce over 10 million traction motors by the year 2030 as ordered by the leading OEMs across the globe. The company has lined up the e-axle models which include a variety of motors from 50 kW to 200 kW. For the year 2020, the company released the fully coupled electromechanical model. In 2021, the company has announced plans to launch the Ni70 Ex series which will be available for 70 kW applications and the Ni50 Ex series and Ni200 Ex series in the year 2022 and 2023 respectively.
The most recent dynamical change has been the water-cooled, permanent magnet motor with a high-efficiency inverter but without the need for a separate transmission. As a result, the drive system is providing a low-weight solution, which enables less energy consumption during operation and a range increase. In the most recent expansion requirements, Germany has a government policy regulation and support on the grounds of a national strategy to increase the construction application technology of traction motors for EVs to be formed as a manufacturing hub of mechanical motor requirements for Electric buses on a large-scale production line.
The Global Electric Bus Traction Motor Market can be segmented into following categories for further analysis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused sectors around the world to experience disruptions in the supply chain operations due to travel restrictions, lockdowns as well as due to halt in the manufacturing activities. Many motor manufacturing and development companies are codependent on raw materials and intermediate products, whose supply disruptions have caused significant impact on the manufacturing and delivery of finished products.
For instance, China and Taiwan are the key electronic and critical parts manufacturers in the world, whose manufacturing units have been under regulation and lockdown disrupting the supply chain of the entire world.
The automotive market suffered significant revenue reduction during the first quarter of the year 2020. The net sales of the company BorgWagner decreased by 43% in the second quarter of 2020 as compared to the year 2019. However, the company recovered in the third quarter when the net sales increased by 2%. The company Schaeffler recorded a decrease in the net sales by 22.9% during the first half of the year 2020.
The market is set to recover due to the expanding demand for zero-emission vehicles globally with massive research and development investments which have been aiming for improved efficiency and performance. Traction motors being the major operating parts of an electric vehicle, are likely to drive the expansion of this market. The incentives and subsidies awarded for the purchase of EV across the globe as well as the rising fuel costs for conventional vehicles is expected to enhance the demand for Evs and with further extension, the demand for traction motors.
In August 2021, the company Siemens announced it is building a 2-pole electric motor with efficiency of more than 98% for a Chinese company. The company will also deliver a starting frequency converter.
In May 2021, the company e-Traction launched RetroMotion which is an in-wheel motor based electric drivetrain to be incorporated in the conversion of commercial bus fleets towards electrification. According to the technology, companies do not have to completely replace their fleets that use conventional ICE technology with new electric buses, rather the same buses can be adapted to electric drives with RetroMotion. It ensures the integration of the mechanical, electrical as well as the software integrations with the drivetrain.
In May 2021, German based company Mahle started the development of a new magnet-free electric motor which will not require the use of rare-earth materials. The central feature of the motor will be inductive to provide contactless power transmission with efficiency of over 95%. In 2020, Nidec launched new traction motor systems named the kW Ni200Ex and 50 kW Ni50Ex which are based on the company’s conventional 150 kW E-Axle.
In February 2021, BorgWarner launched its new 800 V electric motor – HVH 320 to power a variety of hybrid and electric applications to be used for commercial vehicles. The motor delivers 97% peak efficiency and over 400 kW of power. It also announced the development of a power integrated drive module (iDM) for Ford motors which will incorporate a complete BorgWarner thermal management system with gearbox integrated with motor and power electronics.
Drive systems for electric bus drive motors must be as efficient as industrial motors in manufacturing plants and commercial buildings. The size and weight of the engine is maybe more essential. For these reasons, a permanent magnet motor with high performance magnets is likely to be the first motor type considered for vehicle drives.
The most recent trend has been the propagation of a possible integrated system of operations featuring high-RPM permanent magnet electric motors, power-dense electronic inverters, and advanced controls that enable electric vehicles which includes mostly E buses to meet the highest standards for efficiency, reliability, and performance. These systems are efficient turnkey solutions optimized for passenger cars and commercial vehicles up to class 2.
There are new ultracompact flameproof high voltage motors, which ensures maximum safety and very reliable operation, even in highly explosive environments. The reason for the unique power density is a revolutionary cooling concept. Very space-saving and efficient in harsh environments. The water jacket-cooled version designed using CFD optimization also offers significant higher power ratings with no change in unit size. These form to be one of the most essential technologies for integration within the electric traction motors used under the electric bus modules.
The SDT Drive Technology has been introduced on a wide range of high-performance brushless motor drives and a method of control embodied in electronic component architecture and software code (Phase Advance Control) that allows high-speed operation above the base speed that is achievable with constant DC bus voltage.
There has been constant technology battery adoption and automated control system implementation within the EV traction motors requirements under the electric buses segment of operations. The major stakeholders are involved in implementing new strategies of technology to have a better and safer ride for the customers.
The company e-traction, leading producer of retrofitting solutions for buses, has partnered with ViriCiti which is a leading company to provide telematics solution technology. The companies have announced that ViriCiti will now become the standard upgrade option for all electric buses from e-Traction and will be incorporated in the company’s The Motion2.0 EV powertrain.
In November 2020, the Mahle group announced the commission of a test bench for electric drives in the city Stuttgart, Germany. The company has sanctioned investment worth $3.5 million for the testing center. The equipment will be used to test and develop e-drives and e-axles for a range of hybrid as well as electric vehicles. The facility will include an e-axle unit which consists of two oppositely mounted load machines with permanent magnet synchronous motors. In February 2020, the company ABB signed a contract with Chittaranjan Locomotives Works to supply them with traction equipment worth $26 million.
ABB released the financial results for the second quarter of the year 2021, where the company recorded orders worth $8 billion which was a 24% comparable increase from the second quarter of the year 2020 which were $6 billion. The revenue came out to be $7.4 billion, an increase of 14% comparable from the same quarter of 2020 which recorded $6.1 billion. The company acquired ASTI mobile robotics group in order to drive the next generation flexible automation sector with autonomous mobile robots.
Siemens AG recently announced the results of the third quarter for the year 2021. The company recorded total revenue worth $23.9 billion in the third quarter of the year 2021, which was a significant increase from $16.2 billion recorded in the third quarter of the year 2020. The company is set to partner with the automotive component supplier Schaeffler to develop an intelligent diagnostics drive system. The company will integrate its IIoT platform Sidrive IQ with Schaeffler to deliver the drive system.
Ametek announced the results for the second quarter of the year 2021, where the sales were $1.39 billion which was a 37% increase over the second quarter of the year 2020. The operating income of the company increased 39% to $316.6 million.
Nidec Corporation announced the acquisition of the shares of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Machines Tool Co. Ltd. in August 2021. The company has undertaken the three subsidiaries of Mitsubishi heavy industries which specialise in the design, development and manufacture of machine tools. The company also released their financial results for the second quarter of the year 2021 with net sales of $4.07 billion which was a significant increase of approximately 33% from the net sales of $3.06 billion recorded in the year 2020 for the same quarter.
The company partnered with Hon Hai technologies and the Foxtron Vehicle technology of the Hon Hai group for a joint venture. Under the agreement, they will develop electric vehicle drive systems. They will supply products equipped with Nidec’s traction motor system e-axle for customers all over the globe. In February 2020, the company also announced expansion of its operations by installing three new manufacturing plants in Poland, Mexico and China. These manufacturing units are set up to reduce the cost of electric motors.
Magtec EV buses are part of the much-required manufacturing requirement of the most essential component of operations in the EVs. It has recently introduced the P211 and P180 Traction motors wherein The high performance P211 and P180 traction motors are suitable for most rear-wheel-drive vehicles up to 18 tonne GVW that forms essential under the Electric Buses integration
The P180 motor is suitable for single-decker buses up to 14 tonne and offers 150kW output power, 2000 Nm output torque and a maximum output speed of 2650rpm. The P211 motor is designed for double decker buses up to 18 tonne and offers 200kW output power and drives the differential via a conventional prop shaft. The power controller ensures smooth and reliable traction control during driving and braking. The power controller ensures smooth and reliable traction control during driving and braking.
The DANA TM4 has been another stakeholder involved in production of custom-made traction motors for electric buses at various stages of the production line as per the ordered requirements. The TM4 SUMO HP HV900 is available with control algorithms that are optimized for generation applications where continuous power generation is the main operating mode. In a series-hybrid, the combined use of the electric traction system, the optimized gen-set and electrified accessories can result in a minimum 50% fuel economy compared to a conventional vehicle.
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