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TM4 introduces new motor/generator for heavy-duty hybrid market


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Green Car Congress  /  October 11, 2017

TM4 is expanding its SUMO family of electric powertrains (earlier post) with the introduction of the new SUMO HP line which is dedicated to high-power applications. As part of this new line, TM4 is launching the SUMO HP HV900, a new motor/generator and inverter combination for the commercial heavy-duty market.

The SUMO HP HV900 is currently being used as part of the plug-in hybrid powertrain system being developed in a joint effort with Cummins that was announced in May. (Earlier post.) This new motor/generator will be shown at Busworld Kortrijk, taking place from 20-25 October 2017 in Kortrijk, Belgium.

The SUMO HP HV900 offers 190 kW of continuous power and 915 N·m (675 lb-ft) of torque in a casing of only 200 mm in length. It was purposely developed for series and parallel-hybrid configurations and can be coupled with diesel engines, multi-speed gearboxes or integrated to axles for ultra-low floor buses. TM4 offers this new motor/generator with its well-proven 3-phase CO150 inverter, already used in thousands of vehicles worldwide.

The efficiency of the system reaches 95% and has been developed to match the efficiency of a diesel engine, which is instrumental to optimize fuel savings. In a series-hybrid, the combined use of the electric traction system, the optimized gen-set and electrified accessories can result in a minimum of 50% in fuel economy compared to a conventional diesel-powered vehicle.

Several applications relying on long range and low downtime are not yet suitable for complete battery-based operation without significant infrastructure or battery technological breakthrough. Therefore, our offering of a compact and efficient gen-set is a valuable asset to enabling electrification in urban delivery trucks, inter-city buses and even long-haul trucks.

—Eric Azeroual, Sales and Customer Service Director at TM4

TM4 introduced its SUMO family of powertrains five years ago to assist its customers with cost-effective vehicle electrification. The SUMO HP line is the latest member of this family that already includes the SUMO MD line, dedicated to medium-duty vehicle applications and the SUMO HD line, targeted at heavy-duty vehicle applications.

Earlier this year, TM4 repositioned its operations to focus on motors for heavy vehicles and buses. It is a market with strong growth potential where TM4 has already enjoyed significant success. Its joint venture Prestolite Electric Propulsion Systems (PEPS), for instance, has seen its share of the Chinese market climb from 0.4% in 2015 to 4% in 2016, with a 7% to 8% increase forecast for this year.

TM4’s new product development will concentrate on SUMO motors, while operations relating to the light-vehicle segment will be scaled back. The company will nevertheless remain alert to any new mass production opportunities in the automotive industry.

TM4 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of government-owned public utility Hydro-Québec.

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TM4 and Cummins jointly developing range-extended electric plug-in powertrain for Class 7/8 buses

Green Car Congress  /  May 11, 2017

TM4 and Cummins are jointly developing a plug-in hybrid powertrain for Class 7/8 transit buses that can reduce fuel consumption by at least 50% compared to conventional hybrid buses. The project aims to provide transit authorities with a flexible, more efficient drivetrain and a longer range zero-tailpipe-emission capability for inner-city routes.

The range-extended electric drive system comprises a gen-set (Cummins’ Euro 2019 B4.5 diesel engine coupled with TM4’s LSG130 electric generator); an external 450 kW ultrafast charging infrastructure; a power collector; a 111 kWh onboard Li-ion battery; a TM4 SUMO electric motor directly connected to the differential; a small fuel tank and power electronics.

The Cummins B4.5 is a 4-cylinder, Euro 6-compliant on-road diesel engine that uses a combination of cooled exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR) and variable geometry turbocharging (VGT) on the engine allied to a new aftertreatment system incorporating particulate filtration (DPF) with selective catalytic reduction (SCR).

It has become one of the most widely used engines for lower-carbon diesel electric hybrid buses across the UK and Europe. It is available up to 210ps for trucks and buses, with a strong peak torque of 760 N·m.

TM4 is a leader in electric powertrain development and equipped 5,000 buses in China last year. TM4’s expertise and real-road experience will be instrumental in developing an optimized powertrain for plug-in transit buses.

The TM4 LSG130 generator puts out 135 kW of continuous power at an operating speed of 3400 rpm.

Developed for performance and durability, TM4 SUMO drive systems are optimized for medium- and heavy-duty electric and hybrid vehicles such as 6-18 meter buses, delivery trucks, shuttles, and tow tractors. Direct drive operation reduces powertrain complexity and cost, and yields more than 10% efficiency gains throughout the driving cycle, representing an equivalent gain in battery usage, according to the company.

TM4’s permanent magnet electric motors are based on an external rotor topology, delivering higher power and torque densities as well as increased long-term reliability.

Cummins researchers will optimize the powertrain by selecting the engine with the best architecture to use as an electric commercial vehicle range extender, using the engine to manage the charge level of the all-electric drive battery pack.

Our goal is to offer a system that can achieve 35 km EV range and benefit from the 450 kW fast charging infrastructure to recharge in less than 5 min. The range extender allows for peace of mind and significant flexibility. We are honored to be partnering with Cummins and hope to bring this product to market in the near future.

—Robert Baril, Managing Director of TM4

The range extender will be integrated, using advanced vehicle controls, with the electrified powertrain and other applicable technologies.

The close integration and control of the electrified powertrain with an appropriately selected engine is critically important to developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle system. We believe that through the team's efforts we can become a significant player in electrification of commercial vehicles by providing complete systems to benefit our global customers.

—Wayne Eckerle, VP, Cummins Research and Technology

The plug-in hybrid powertrain will be shown for the first time at UITP, taking place in Montréal next week.


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  • 1 year later...

Quebec’s TM4 part of drive toward electric vehicles

Steve Bouchard, Today’s Trucking  /  March 8, 2019

BOUCHERVILLE, Quebec — In a facility that appears more laboratory than assembly line, a Quebec-based company is looking to play a leading role in the future of electric vehicles.

Boucherville’s TM4 – a former division of Hydro Quebec – once focused on the idea of developing electric motors for automotive wheel ends. These days, though, the focus is on developing electric motors, inverters, and electric propulsion control systems for ever-larger commercial vehicles.

It also has a global partner in the work. Last summer, Dana secured a majority interest in the business. Hydro-Québec still retains a 45% share, and keeps the engineering expertise in Boucherville.

This is more than a research lab alone. The facilities could also produce 5,000 electric motors and related electronics per year. And it’s where TM4 is developing prototypes of engines to run on fuel cells, as well as electric motors for passenger vehicles.

A global presence

The first commercial customer was Novabus, and TM4 has since secured work with start-up Thor Trucks and Quebec-based Lion.

“We have a factory in China that produces about 8,000 TM4 SUMO [medium-duty and heavy-duty] motors a year. If we have a big order, that’s where we produce them. The market is very strong in China, so it is important to be there to benefit from economies of scale,” says Eric Azeroual, vice-president – sales and marketing.

The 12,000 Sumo motors produced to date have traveled a collective 550 million km in commercial service.

The work has hardly come to an end.

During a visit to the Boucherville facility, we saw a new generator, developed in collaboration with Cummins. It will power a hybrid plug-in bus as part of a pilot project with the Transportation Society of Laval.

Using the on-vehicle generator to charge the all-important batteries, this could open up the option of using electricity in an urban center but a combustion engine on the open road.

The TM4 SUMO motor is available in different power ratings, but is largely designed for direct drive applications – replacing an internal combustion engine and transmission. The current focus is on medium-duty trucks, but there are plans to apply the technologies to heavy trucks as well.

The TM4 SUMO has a power output of 350 kW, about 470 hp, and delivers 1,991 to 2,591 lb-ft of torque. It weighs 760 lb.

A question of application

The electric motor and its control system costs less than a diesel engine and transmission, but the price of the required batteries continues to be a barrier. The more range is required, after all, the higher the price of the truck.

“We have to size the battery according to customer needs,” says Olivier Bernatchez, sales manager – commercial vehicles. “If we put enough batteries to drive 500 km, but in the end the vehicle only travels 250 km, we carry unnecessarily weight that is very expensive.”

Says Azeroual: ” The time is over when we bought a big diesel engine and a big transmission in case we went into the mountains once a year. That’s what’s interesting for us with trucking. Fleets are used to making choices based on their needs, and they are able to calculate their return on investment on a given route.”

Beginning in 2021, the business expects to go to market with electric axles used to support Class 8 vehicles.

It’s interesting, he says. “The axle manufacturers will become engine manufacturers.”


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