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Hartree Centre and Diamond Light Source to help transform electric vehicle technology

7 August 2020

A new research and development project that aims to transform electric vehicle powertrain technology, will be supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC’s) Hartree Centre. In addition, Diamond Light Source, which is funded by STFC and the Wellcome Trust, will provide access to X-ray facilities for measurements.

Both facilities are working closely together on the three-year OCTOPUS Project, a multi-partner research study funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in partnership with Innovate UK, as part of UKRI.

The OCTOPUS project involves a number of academic partners as well as a mix of small, medium and large enterprises. This includes the luxury car brand Bentley, that aims to integrate the technology developed into a high performance car to demonstrate its potential.

The consortium led by Advanced Electric Machines (AEM), a spin out from the University of Newcastle, will be collaborating to develop a new high-speed automotive powertrain, the components of a vehicle that convert the engine’s power into movement.

Michael Gleaves, Deputy Director of STFC’s Hartree Centre said that their contribution will speed up the time needed to develop the new powertrain:

“We will be providing a computational model that promises to transform electric vehicle powertrains. This will be a multi-physics model, or ‘digital twin’, of the innovative new motor and associated electronics. We will also provide the High Performance Computing platforms required.

The model we create will then be verified against highly accurate measurements taken at Diamond Light Source.”

Diamond Light Source works like a giant microscope, harnessing the power of electrons to produce bright light that the technologists can use to measure parts of the engine with a high level of precision. It will take measurements from physical engines using the unique Joint Engineering, Environment and Processing (JEEP) beamline (I12). I12 will be used to image the motor at full speed and measure temperature changes, as the performance is pushed and the temperature in the motor increases. 

The data collected will then be used by the Hartree Centre to verify the accuracy of the computational model. This will enable the project to use the precise measurements to aid power delivery to the motor, something that will improve the overall efficiency of the powertrain, ultimately creating innovative high-performance electric vehicle technology.

More information

The Hartree Centre located at Sci-Tech Daresbury in Cheshire accelerates the application of high performance computing, data science, big data analytics and cognitive techniques into industry.

Diamond Light Source, based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, is the UK’s national synchrotron, providing industrial and academic user communities with access to state-of-the-art analytical tools to enable world-changing science.

OCTOPUS stands for “Optimised Components, Test and simulation toolkits for Powertrains…”

In this project, the consortium is combining the motor with the rest of the powertrain to produce an E-axle sub-assembly and develop several modelling tools to help with power delivery to the motor. The powertrain will use a fully integrated, free from rare-earth magnet e-axle that works well with electric vehicle design architecture.

The project brings together the following partners with distinct roles and responsibilities:

Last updated: 07 August 2020


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