The race is on to reduce EV weight with a ground up reappraisal of every structural material and every component and subsystem.
We have reported on T-Ink, Inc printing and laminating lighting and controls and replacing copper wire with printed electrical systems. T-Ink is saving 30-40% weight and space for these components in the next generation of electric cars. CEHMS is replacing wiring for sensors and actuators with wireless devices that generate their own electricity locally and Fiat is well advanced in developing wireless lighting and other clusters. Nothing escapes the search for reduced weight, cost and volume.
Fiat, BMW, Nissan, Siemens AG and others see electric traction motors as key enabling technology. Now Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has developed a compact lightweight motor controller unit for use in electric power steering systems. It reports that the new unit is half in volume and about 70% lighter as compared to existing units, thus making it the world's smallest and lightest motor controller unit.
In addition to resultant fuel savings, Mitsubishi said that the optimisation of the motor's electromagnetic design results in and enables a 30% improvement in performance. The new unit features a unique control algorithm to improve steering sensation and stability.
Electronic power steering systems have increasingly been adopted in vehicles and currently 40% of the world's new vehicles incorporate these systems. Advanced power steering systems lead to 34% improvement in fuel efficiency over a conventional hydraulic steering system.
Mitsubishi expects its new solution, which consists of motor and controller integrated into a single unit, to be popular amongst automakers. Nothing is said about cost, but most of the space and weight savings planned for the next electric vehicles involve a cost saving as well.
For more attend: Future of Electric Vehicles which uniquely covers the whole electric vehicle market - land, sea, air whether hybrid or pure EV - with emphasis on future breakthroughs. Early Bird Bookers get a free copy of the new $3000 report, "Electric Buses and Taxis 2011-2021" and there are visits to Kleenspeed and SunPods.
Image: Mitsubishi Electric's next generation motor controller unit.