Magna Powertrain’s e2 Technology Demonstrator vehicle uses a scalable set of building blocks to show different hybridization options, from 48V to high voltage, with front-wheel drive or AWD and torque vectoring. Walter Sackl, Director of Product Management Driveline Systems, Magna Powertrain, explains the thinking behind e2.
Mr Sackl, the US, Europe and China have different ideas about how much electrification passenger cars need. How would you summarize these?
Electrification levels are mainly determined by legal requirements, which differ greatly in the US, Europe and China. Countries with high mobility rates and readily available renewables will try to cut CO2 emissions in the mobility sector with electrification; regions with potential outside the transport sector might use other levers. The countries and regions make very different decisions in that respect. Local emissions restrictions, for example in Europe and China, are a second factor, although their main focus is air quality in big cities. But now electrification, whether BEV or hybrid, is triggering new customer expectations too. In terms of performance, comfort etcetera, we are seeing new opportunities to create enthusiasm among consumers with things that only used to be possible in higher vehicle segments.
Director Global Product Management
What value do these electrified drives add?
One the one hand, obviously, more dynamics and comfort. However, there are other benefits too. In North America, for example, pickups are also being electrified because that enables entirely new functionality. To a certain extent, owners see their pickup as a tool. One of the most important features being discussed right now is the ability to connect 110V power tools to the vehicle. In Japan, plug-in hybrid drives owe part of their success to their ability to power homes during temporary outages in the power grid, for example, when a tornado strikes. The US often has weather situations that impact on public infrastructures too. So using vehicle batteries to store power is not just attractive for drive electrification, it also makes life easier overall for consumers.
“You can make plug-in
hybrid drives fuel-efficient at
constant speed, but only if
you decouple the e-motors:”
Last February you invited people to Sweden for winter tests with the e2 technology demonstrator, which can represent different levels of hybridization. What does this vehicle have to offer, particularly for North America?
Currently many markets, including North America, still define vehicle performance in terms of the combustion engine. We want to show how a system with the same ICE and differently scaled e motors can realize completely different operating modes. In North America, for instance, efficiency over long distances at constant speed is very important. That doesn’t require all that much ICE power. But American motorists also expect fast acceleration from zero up to the speed limit. The e2 drive architecture delivers very high dynamics thanks to the e-motors, plus low fuel consumption on long journeys. The modular concept is also suitable for 48V hybrid drives, but in North America, we mostly expect to see strong interest in high-performance high voltage applications and AWD systems with a rear e-axle.