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48-volt drive from Vitesco Technologies for electric light motorcycles and scooters is close to market readiness

At EICMA, the company is presenting a fully functional demo vehicle with near series components

Vitesco Technologies, a leading international supplier of advanced powertrain technologies and solutions for e-mobility, is on the home stretch with its electric powertrain for smaller two-wheelers: At EICMA 2023 (November 9-12, press and trade visitor days on November 7/8), the company will be presenting a fully functional demo version equipped with its 48-volt system for electric light motorcycles and scooters with 3 to 7 kW output (the equivalent of up to 150 cc for combustion engines), which play a central role in everyday mobility in Asian countries in particular. In comparison to the demo scooter presented in 2022 in Milan, the new version has more advanced components with near-series design. The first market launch of the drive system is planned in India, where series production at the Vitesco Technologies site in Pune is scheduled to start in early 2025.

The 48-volt drive, which we designed in close contact with our target customers, has reached a very high development level. Customers were able to see this for themselves at a presentation in India, where they could also test the vehicle. The feedback was consistently positive. Our customers especially praised the compact design of our products and the scooter’s drivability. We are now further developing the drive system in specific customer projects for upcoming series production. Plans to set up the manufacturing are also already underway.

Torsten Bellon, Head of the 2-Wheeler & Powersports product line at Vitesco Technologies

The complete drive system comprises an electric drive control unit (eDCU) and an electric motor with a special inductive rotor position sensor (iRPS). The integrated eDCU includes both motor control and vehicle control functionalities. It was developed specifically for two-wheelers and is also suitable, for example, for vehicles with removable batteries. This is because the control unit can cope with the use of several batteries and can accommodate them being only temporarily assigned to the vehicle. The drive unit is a compact, powerful, permanent magnet e-motor. Unlike the scooter demonstrated last year, the iRPS developed by Vitesco Technologies is now integrated into the motor. The sensor gives the brushless electric motor the extremely high quality of control required in a fully electric drive to optimally handle challenging driving situations while getting maximum performance out of it. The very light and compact sensor system with magnet-less technology without rare earths is immune to low-frequency magnetic fields and can be used in an ambient temperature range of minus 40 to plus 150° C.

A general advantage of a 48-volt system is that it requires less development effort than high-voltage systems, which demand significantly more comprehensive protection and insulation measures. Furthermore, the latest safety standards for electric-powered motorcycles and mopeds (ECE R 136:2023 and ISO 13063-3:2022) indicate that more strict safety regulations are mandatory for electric vehicles above 60 volts. “While the previous regulations were not entirely clear, we believe that for example 96-volt drives will be considered high-voltage systems in the future,” said Torsten Bellon. “We are also working on solutions here and are already discussing this issue with customers.”

SOURCE: Vitesco Technologies

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