Story by:

Anwesh Koley

Working towards increasing its reach in the growing electric vehicle market in India, SEG Automotive has developed a high-efficiency electric motor for e-rickshaws. Completing one year of independent operations in India, the company is scaling up in view of the potential it sees in the rising e-mobility segments in the country. Aiming at the e-rickshaw market to start with, the company is claiming that the new motor is scalable in terms of power. Developed locally, and in close coordination with the German counterparts, the motor, based on the demand, could be scaled up for use in bigger and more powerful electric vehicles. Capable of being scaled up to generate higher power and torque, the motor, according to Anil Kumar M R, Managing Director, SEG Automotive India, is part of a strategy to address the growing demand for CO2 emission reduction. The company is also working on a strategy to offer solutions for further reduction in emission levels of IC engines. Working on a 360-degree campaign that includes efficient IC engines, 48V hybrids, and electrics, SEG Automotive is looking at a significant up-take in activities in India.

Keeping an eye on market requirements in terms of power, range and cost, irrespective of the nature of the propulsion system – whether it is conventional or alternate, the company is working with e-rickshaw manufacturers to help them to offer the lowest TCO. Confident that the lowest TCO could be achieved in three-wheelers ahead of other CV segments, SEG Automotive, in view of the challenges in the area of the power mix, range anxiety, and battery cost for electric vehicles, is of the firm belief that electrification will take a lead in CV segments offering last mile connectivity. Said Kumar, “Electrification will take-off in last-mile connectivity segments, which make an important mode of city transport.” He mentioned that SEG Automotive will help to set new standards in terms of efficiency and durability with the new motor it has developed. Termed as EM1.2-HR, the new motor is based on advanced technology, and is engineered to offer superior performance over a BLDC (brushless DC) motor. Providing a substantially higher range of up to 10 per cent more with the same battery charge, the motor, according to Kumar, is highly efficient.

Global engineering, local application

Developed in close coordination with its German counterparts, the new motor has been completely localised and incorporates high level of local content. To be offered in the domestic as well as export markets, it is said to have been developed by benchmarking against similar products on offer in many markets of the world. Riding on the back of the FAME II policy, which calls for localisation of electric vehicle components, the motor has been developed for the Indian market primarily. It thus has an ability to scale-up. Averred kumar, “We have been developing products that are in line with the legislative mandates that the segment has experienced.” He pointed at the FAME II policy’s push for the development of a local electric vehicle ancillary supply chain, and said that they have been following developments such as the mandating of blowers in CVs. Keen to play an important role in the forward march of the Indian CV industry, SEG Automotive is banking on efficiency, reliability and performance for its products.

Proposing a unique value proposition in terms of efficiency, reliability, and performance with the motor, SEG Automotive in India, will continue to leverage its global knowledge and experience to bring out superior products. The HR motor promises higher efficiency in the region of five-per cent over those motors that are commonly available in the market, revealed Kumar. Addressing the demands of OEMs for high power components, the company has developed a generator that offers the most efficiency. It has also developed a starter that offers a longer service life. For longer service life, the motor the company has developed for e-rickshaws, features in-built protection. It was specifically engineered to withstand abuse. e-rickshaws in India are subjected to much abuse, quipped Kumar.

CO2 reduction

Designed to survive the entire service life of e-rickshaws, the HR motor is reliable, highly efficient and offers a higher range. It leverages the company’s experience in the electric vehicle space, which the company ventured into after it was bought over by China-based ZMJ Group from Bosch. Working to enhance the performance of conventional IC engines with the application of new techniques, the company, according to Kumar, is exploring the possibility of extending the shutdown times of the engine to reduce CO2 emissions. Informed Kumar, that their engineers are working on it. He explained, “The advanced start and stop technology we have developed shuts down the engine even when the vehicle is moving at a low speed and is about to come to a halt.” Up to 10 per cent higher fuel efficiency could be achieved depending on the driving style and traffic with this technique, he added. Developing a Boost Recuperation Machine (BRM) in the area of hybrid technology, SEG Automotive is confident of it scaling new heights. Transforming a conventional internal combustion engine into a hybrid drive with minor modifications to the engine and the wiring, the BRM leads to a reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 15 per cent. It is positioned on the belt itself (P0 topology), next to the engine, and replaces the generator in its assembly space.”

Claimed to offer a significant increase in performance and range in return for simple integration, the BRM recuperates energy as well as saves fuel. The significant reduction in fuel consumption is said to result in CO2 emissions reduction. Promising extra power through electric boosting, the BRM also promises smooth and fast engine start, coasting, hybrid or air cooling and compact packaging as well as integrated electronics. Exploring the option of converting the BRM technology into an e-motor for use in light electro-mobility, SEG Automotive, said Kumar, is exploring the possibility of mixing and matching technologies to arrive at an optimal solution to address the exacting requirements of the market. In this direction, the company is deploying BRM such that it could be converted into an e-motor for use in light electro-mobility. Pursuing the development of new systems and solutions where efficiencies are at their best, SEG Automotive is keen to develop systems that enhance powertrain performance and eliminate the need for high-voltage protection or wiring harness.

Electric vehicle focus

With a firm focus on electric vehicles, SEG Automotive is leveraging its experience of over a century with motors to the fullest. It is providing the company a position of advantage in e-mobility. Leveraging its experience in motors to develop new solutions and systems that offer significant gains in efficiency, reliability, and performance, the company is closely following India’s transformation towards electrification and the possibility of the government announcing a complete shift of two- and three-wheelers to electric over the next one or one-and-a-half decade. Keen to grow in line with the rise in demand for local ancillaries for electric vehicles, SEG Automotive, expressed Kumar, is of the opinion that e-mobility will first gain ground in public transport and shared mobility segments since the payback periods will be shorter. He added, “Last mile connectivity solutions like e-rickshaws are already showing good progress. The FAME II policy will further incentivise such segments.

Keeping an eye on the outcome of government incentives for e-three wheelers, leading to lower TCO and opening up new manufacturing avenues, SEG Automotive is of the opinion that an efficient electric vehicle charging infrastructure should be put in place quickly. Also of the opinion that electric three-wheelers are the most suited in terms of electrification, the company, in the absence of an efficient public charging infrastructure in India, is observing the usage pattern and average driving distance per day of three-wheelers. It is the usage pattern and average driving distance per day that makes them suitable for immediate electrification, said Kumar. “Over one million e-rickshaws are already on the road and providing efficient last mile transport free of local emissions,” he pointed out. Stating that the BSVI norms (coming into effect from April 2020), and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) norms (applicable from 2022), pose an immediate challenge, Kumar expressed that the entire powertrain is set to undergo a drastic change. “In the case of CAFE norms, there is a need for a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions,” he added. Confident of the start and stop modular system acting as a solution to reduce emissions until the overall fleet size grows, post which the next level of the solution will be needed, Kumar mentioned that they are pooling their global experience and knowledge to develop new, innovative solutions.

Customised solutions

Emphasising on the need to move to mild hybrid technology from start and stop technology as the fleet size increases, SEG Automotive, stated Kumar, is looking at a significant play in the alternative fuel space. Already projecting its mild hybrid solutions that offer up to 15 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, the company is pushing for a need to move to pure hybrids. Of the firm opinion that the jump from ICE to electrification cannot happen without passing through the intermediate solution of hybridisation, the company is looking at providing high-functional flexibility and the right solutions for global product platforms. As the need for stringent CO2 requirements increases, SEG Automotive is combining local application engineering and on-site production with global expertise and sophisticated processes in purchasing, production, and logistics. It is offering its automotive clients the benefit of flexible, worldwide production network that guarantees customer proximity and uniform quality standards. Taking pride in the fact that nearly all automotive OEMs are using its customised solutions, the company, without revealing the names of the clients it is working with in the CV space, is keen to be a reliable partner.

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