New traction system for the next generation of Audi electric vehicles

2 December 2021
Nuevo sistema de tracción para vehículos eléctricos

Lighter and more energy-efficient vehicles with lower emissions, which are safer and more dynamic

TECNALIA has designed a vehicle digital twin that will speed up the development stage and carry out tests before physically integrating the solutions in the actual vehicle. Furthermore, thanks to this digital twin, work can be carried out in parallel on various highly complex models, thus saving 15% of time.

The ultimate goal is to achieve a lighter and more energy-efficient vehicle with lower emissions, and which is safer and more dynamic thanks to the innovative power sharing: it increases autonomy by more than 11%. The challenge is to come up with a traction control system that guarantees safety in all driving conditions.

New vehicle architecture

TECNALIA is working on the ACHILES project, alongside companies such as Audi and Continental. The technology centre is in charge of the new vehicle architecture, as well as technology development. Audi will integrate this technology into the next generation of electric vehicle prototypes, like the electric version of the Q2. This new model includes the development of a chassis and a traction system that integrate four innovations:

1-. Electric braking system that is lighter, requires less maintenance and has a lower particle emission.

2-. Propulsion system with an engine on each front wheel, which means that the interior is more spacious and the vehicle is more dynamic.

3-. An innovative algorithm to control the new wheel engines and share the power between them, to improve energy efficiency and increase vehicle autonomy.

4-. A control platform that centralises all the technologies in order to reduce the number of devices and, therefore, the weight.

Other organisations are also involved in the project, like Vrije Universiteit Brussel as a coordinator; Ikerlan; Fraunhofer Gesellschaft; Continental, providing the innovative braking system; Elaphe and TTTech.

Electric vehicles: mobility alternatives

Electric vehicles are one of the mobility alternatives that aim to reduce emissions globally. However, the technology that they use still has a long way to go in terms of improving the performance, as they offer solutions based on architectures that stem from the development of conventional engines.

Currently, manufacturers basically remove the combustion engine and install an electric engine with a battery in its place, without taking into account the modular benefits of the latter for traction systems (propulsion and braking).

This means that a single engine in the centre would not strictly be necessary, but there can be several ways of configuring the vehicle, like engines on the wheels, where each engine moves an axle; or two engines, one at the front and one at the back, to produce different levels of power and efficiency.