Crate EV powertrain aims to simplify switch to electrification for niche vehicle manufacturers
Swindon Powertrain has introduced a new compact 80 kW crate powertrain designed to make it easier for specialist OEMs to electrify their low-volume sports cars, light commercial, and recreational vehicles. The company says its high-power-density (HPD) EV system "will ease the transition for manufacturers currently frustrated by the lack of compact, high-power EV systems available to buy in low volumes."
“To date, niche manufacturers have not had access to compact, high-power EV powertrains they could source in low to mid volume, leading to a vacuum of supply,” said Swindon Powertrain’s Managing Director Raphaël Caillé. “When you factor in development costs, specialist OEMs haven’t been able to electrify their vehicles as quickly as they would like. Our ready-to-install ‘crate’ powertrain will accelerate EV adoption in sectors poorly served by the larger tier one manufacturers and integrators.”
Funded by the Niche Vehicle Network and working in partnership with electric motor manufacturer iNetic and automotive specialist Code, Swindon Powertrain says its HPD project will "create a turnkey crate transverse system with the highest power/volume ratio on the market." The 70 kg HPD EV powertrain is reportedly so compact—600 mm wide by 440 mm deep by as little as 280 mm tall—that the motor, inverter, single-speed transmission, and cooling system assembly fits under the hood of a classic Mini, in a quad bike, or under the loading platform of a light commercial vehicle.
The HPD project will reportedly develop tooling, including castings, and identify manufacturing techniques to have the unit in production by June 2020. Core R&D and validation will be covered by the program, easing development costs further for integrators, according to the company. This project follows Swindon Powertrain’s program earlier this year to electrify an original Mini, integrating an all-new EV system into its tight confines.
The company says that multiple mounting points and flexibility for inverter and cooling pack locations will enable it to fit a range of vehicles from sports car through to commercial vehicles, while waterproofing options make it suitable off-road leisure and recreation vehicles.
Other sectors set to benefit include OEMs that could use it as an e-axle for hybrid passenger car applications as well as the growing number of retrofit classic cars being converted to EVs. “Some of these classic EVs currently use second-hand parts of unknown provenance,” added Caillé. “The HPD project draws on our engineering expertise from over 48 years in motorsport to offer a reliable, compact, and durable solution for this sector too.”