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Functionally Integrated E-axle Ready for Mass Market Third GENeration Electric Vehicles

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - FITGEN (Functionally Integrated E-axle Ready for Mass Market Third GENeration Electric Vehicles)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2022-09-30

The ongoing activities in the electrification of vehicle technologies are key contributions to protecting the environment by reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In this context, FITGEN has developed a functionally highly integrated e-axle ready for implementation in third-generation electric vehicles by exploiting the potential of a portfolio of electric drivetrain technologies and components delivered at the end of the project at TRL and MRL of 7.

As per Q4-2022, FITGEN has achieved and exceeded its initial targets; the project has been formally closed in Sept. 2022, and the final review meeting was held on Dec. 7th, 2022. The results, presented below, during the final review meeting and extensively reported in the CORE report, have exhibited a 50% increase in performance density of the e-motor, and a 100% increase of the inverter compared to the best-in-class market available technology in 2018, with a WLTC distance-specific energy consumption of 138.9 Wh/km at 400 VDC, and 123 Wh/km at 800 VDC. These results have been demonstrated on a FIAT 500e vehicle, constituting an excellent development platform for future studies on 4WD electric vehicle configurations and multi-phase e-axle operation.
FITGEN has reached by the end of September 2022 its completion, with all the remaining deliverables and final project results frozen and submitted on Nov. 11th, 2022, in preparation for the final project review meeting planned at the CRF facilities in Orbassano (IT) on Dec. 7th, 2022.

Hereunder is a concise overview of FITGEN’s final results:

The FITGEN project achieved in full its scope and ambition and, and under specific metrics, the project exceeded its expected results. The project successfully delivered two fully-functioning specimens of the e-axle (i.e. motor-inverter-transmission, complemented by the DC/DC for installation on the vehicle demonstrator pairing it with a 400 VDC battery); one specimen has been installed, tested, and qualified on the FIAT 500e vehicle demonstrator. The results of the single e-axle components can be summarised as follows:

- up to 6 kW/kg for the power density of the e-motor (+70% compared to SotA 2018, and approximately +50% compared to the SotA 2022, i.e. best-in-class market available motor technology), cutting the magnets’ weight by approximately 40% compared to the SotA 2022 (at the same content of HREE, i.e. 1.35 kg of rare-earth magnets at 4.5 wt% Dy, 0.75 wt% Tb).
- 23,000 rpm of e-motor max. rotational speed (+90% compared to the SotA 2018 and +28% compared to the SotA 2022), with sustained overspeed demonstrated up to 27,600 rpm.
- up to 35 kW/l for the power density of the inverter, (+100% compared to the SotA 2018)

The results of the e-axle tested on the bench (WP5) and in the vehicle demonstrator (WP6) can be summarised as follows:

- e-axle peak efficiency (motor + inverter + DC/DC) of 93.2%.
- WLTP distance-specific energy consumption of 135-140 Wh/km and ~76% efficiency at 400 VDC, down to 123 Wh/km when operated with the 800 VDC (i.e. by excluding the DC/DC). This is equivalent to a WLTP range of 287-293 km at 400 VDC, and 320 km at 800 VDC.
- Freeway driving range (110km/h constant speed) of 205-210 km at 180-185 Wh/km (operated at 400 VDC).
- Freeway driving range from 840-to-1,400 km with 4 battery charges (in a driving speed range from 70 to 110 km/h at 400 VDC).

Moreover, LCA/LCC results exhibit that the FITGEN e-axle is capable of reducing climate impact and energy use by 26% and 38%, respectively. In addition, the Total Cost of Ownership shows that the baseline car is slightly higher (2.7%) than the FITGEN car, while the production cost of the e-axle is estimated at 2,021 €/unit at 200,000 units/year production rate. The ex-post assessment of the TRL and MRL of the FITGEN e-axle was assessed and qualified for the e-motor, inverter, DC/DC converter, and transmission stand-alone and, finally, for the e-axle installed in the FIAT 500e demonstrator. The ex-post assessment resulted for both, TRL and MRL, at level 7 in all its components.

FITGEN also delivered excellent results in the domains of dissemination, communication, and exploitation. Specifically, 12 conference papers and 3 journal papers have been published during the project execution, with 3 more journal papers submitted and one patent application pending. Exploitation-wise, the consortium recognizes that all the technological trends identified at the proposal's submission level have been proven sound and relevant. In particular, the research activities performed to increase the e-motor’s rotational speed, the adoption of SiC power modules in the inverter, the implementation of the superfast charging, and the demonstration activities at the vehicle level are expected to generate a proven impact on the business of the industrial partners, i.e. BRUSA, ST-I, GKN, and CRF.

Note: the attached files report the final FITGEN project results ("FITGEN TRA Poster (JPEG)") as presented at the TRA2022 conference (Nov. 2022) and the FITGEN project photobook (part prototyping and testing, e-axle assembly and testing, vehicle demonstration and testing, consortium picture, "FITGEN Publishable PhotoBook (JPEG)").
The attached table reports a summary of the progress beyond the SotA (i.e. "FITGEN Progress beyond the SotA (JPEG)").

FITGEN, in the opinion of all the consortium’s partners, can be seen as a pivotal project for demonstrating the next-generation electric powertrain technologies.

The project was filed in 2018, and today in 2022, the consortium recognizes that all the technological trends identified 4 years earlier have been proven sound and relevant. In particular, the research activities performed to increase the e-motor’s rotational speed (and consequently the reduction of magnetic materials and transmission speed), the 6-phase/high-voltage architecture, the adoption of SiC power modules in the inverter and the implementation of the superfast charging protocol have had a significant benefit for the industrial partners of the consortium, i.e. BRUSA, ST-I, GKN, and CRF, by impacting their current and future product portfolio. Concerning the vehicle demonstrator, the rear-axle-driven configuration chosen, and the 6-phase / 800V architecture of the e-axle will be of great benefit for CRF, and in general, for the Stellantis Group. In particular, the rear-axle driven FITGEN demonstrator has been already indicated as the development platform CRF will allow for future studies on 4WD electric vehicle configurations with independent e-axles. Moreover, the 6-phase architecture of the e-axle will be relevant in CRF to evaluate the fail-safe operation of the e-axle in anomalous conditions, both for increasing the reliability of the powertrain, as well as in view of the enhanced relevance of multi-phase architecture for the implementation of autonomous driving, connecting with other on-going research activities.

Concerning its impact, FITGEN has achieved in full the expected outcome of the H2020-LC-GV-01-2018 topic and its technologies will strengthen the competitiveness of the European industry contributing to unlocking the societal, environmental, and economical benefits associated with the roll-out of the third-generation electric vehicles.
FITGEN Progress beyond the SotA
FITGEN Publishable PhotoBook