Ever since Toyota introduced the Prius in the 1990s, hybrid vehicles have become an exciting new development area in the Auto Industry. With ever increasing fuel prices and environment concerns, hybrid technology will increasingly play an important role in the automobile of the 21st century.
Hybrid vehicles use a combination of power from an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric motor is powered by a battery, which is typically charged during braking and decceleration. The battery can also be directly charged from an external electric source (these vehicles are known as ‘plug-in hybrids’). Hybrid vehicles typically deliver significant double digit savings in fuel economy and emissions.
Last week Pune based KPIT Cummins and Bharat Forge announced a joint venture for the design and development of a plug-in hybrid solution. PuneTech interviewed KPIT Cummins SVP, Anup Sable, to get more details about this ….
You announced a joint venture with Bharat Forge last week in the exciting new area of hybrid vehicles. Can you explain the new solution that you are planning to develop?
The hybrid solution developed by KPIT Cummins is a plug-in parallel hybrid solution that consists of the following key components:
- Electric motor
- Electronic motor controller
- Battery pack
- Mechanical assembly & coupling
- Proprietary software for control algorithms of the motor & batteries
- Intelligent battery management system that enhances battery performance and battery life
- Plug-in: The batteries used in the solution can be charged from a standard external electricity source such as a domestic power outlet.
- Parallel hybrid: The motor and engine work simultaneously at all times. The vehicle will, at no point, work like an EV (electric vehicle) only and hence will continue to operate as a conventional fuel vehicle if the batteries are fully discharged. The solution is battery-agnostic, in other words, it can be adopted to work with various types of batteries such as lead acid batteries or Lithium Ion batteries. The tests were performed using a lead acid battery based solution. The solution works without any interaction or interference with the existing Engine Management System (EMS) of the vehicle. The system is thereby also adaptable to vehicles without EMS and without electronic engines. It requires low maintenance and has a reliable three phase AC induction motor.
11 global patents have been filed in areas such as integrated system, motor design, motor mounting, and control system and battery management.
Is this a full-fledged hybrid vehicle you are building, or a sub-system that will be sold to Auto OEMs?
Our solution can be retrofitted in every car – new and used. Small, mid-size and large. This will not be a complete vehicle that we build.
Can you talk about the advantages of plug-in hybrids over other conventional hybrids?
- Doesn’t interfere with Manufacturersâ in-vehicle systems
- It is battery chemistry agnostic
- Is compact yet delivers high peak power
- Fuel efficiency improvement of over 40% as observed during tests at ARAI. The solution however provides 60% to 80% improvement during city driving conditions & above 50% during highway driving.
- Solution is capable of reducing GHG emissions by over 30%.
- Since the consumption of fuel will go down on account of the hybrid solution, the government would be able to save through the reduction in subsidy and foreign exchange outflow.
- Retro-fitment of this solution can be expeditiously done in 4 to 6 hours.
- Solution does not require additional infrastructure investments from the government.
What markets do you see for this technology?
After-market, vehicle owners & OEMs
What unique capabilities does KPIT and Bharat Forge bring to the table?
The technology for this intelligent plug-in, parallel, full-hybrid solution has been designed and engineered by KPIT Cummins, while the solution for automobiles would be manufactured through a joint venture (JV) between Bharat Forge Limited and KPIT Cummins Infosystems Limited. As part of the joint venture, KPIT Cummins will license the technology to the JV while Bharat Forge would bring in its manufacturing, assembly & integration expertise to the JV. The solution will be marketed to OEMs and fleet & individual vehicle owners through a network of certified and authorized dealerships
A general question – how do you see the future of embedded electronics space evolving in the next few years?
The embedded electronics space will see growth in its application in the Indian Vehicles at a rate faster than what happened in Europe, US and Japan. The key difference between application of electronics in the vehicle in Western world and in India would be that in western world it evolved with the advances in technology(and regulations) but in India it will be driver by market demand at the appropriate price.
About Anup Sable – SVP, Automotive and Allied Embedded and Tools, KPIT-Cummins
Anup heads the Automotive line of business which is a leading product engineering partner to the automotive industry.
He is responsible for managing relationships with customers and helping them to globalize & standardize efficiently. He has been instrumental in creating a robust delivery ecosystem which supports clients in bringing complex technology products and systems faster to markets.
Passionate about technology in cars, Anup began his career as a research engineer at the Automotive Research Association in India (ARAI). He joined KPIT Cummins as a software engineer in 1994. With over 15 years of experience in the field of automotive electronics, Anup has played a key role in setting up the Automotive Electronics practice at KPIT Cummins.
Anup has done his engineering from Government College of Engineering, Pune.