UQM Partnering with Eaton, Pi Innovo to Develop Electric Drivetrain System

UQM's PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter will be paired with an Eaton two-speed transmission and Pi Innovo control unit to create the UQM PowerPhaseDT full electric drivetrain system.

UQM Technologies Inc. announces that it has officially begun a development and production program with Eaton’s Vehicle Group and Pi Innovo, both located in Michigan. The alliance calls for Eaton to develop and supply to UQM a two-speed transmission for an EV application, and Pi Innovo will develop and supply to UQM the transmission control unit. Together, the components will be combined with UQM’s current PowerPhase HD220/HD250 motor and inverter system to create a full electric drivetrain system called the “UQM PowerPhaseDT.”

The benefits of the system will allow customers in the medium- and heavy-duty EV commercial markets to achieve increased performance in areas of gradability, acceleration and efficiency. The Eaton two-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. “Perhaps the biggest benefit is the fact that the two-speed transmission keeps the electric motor operating in the highest efficiency region for a greater portion of the drive cycle,” says 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 increasing range.”

“We are excited to have chosen Eaton and Pi Innovo as suppliers for our system,” says Joe Mitchell, President and CEO of UQM. “Based on proven performance and expertise of the two suppliers, we believe that our 'UQM PowerPhaseDT' system will surpass the requirements and expectations of our customers. We have done extensive market research and believe that this offering will be the ideal drivetrain solution for electric and range-extended commercial vehicles.”

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.

“We are pleased to be partnering with UQM and Pi Innovo for this joint project,” says Marco Rollero, Director, Sales and Marketing, Eaton Vehicle Group, EMEA. “Eaton always strives to provide the most innovative products supporting advanced technologies, and this new full electric drive system is an example of this. This system will help vehicle manufacturers ensure they are providing a product that helps them improve vehicle efficiency without compromising performance.”

Dr. Walter Lucking, CEO of Pi Innovo, says, “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. 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.”

Companies in this article