Volkswagen Designs New Drive for All-Electric Family with More Powerful Magnets in Rotor

With more powerful magnets in the rotor and produced using advanced manufacturing processes, Volkswagen’s new drive for the all-electric ID. family generates more power and torque. 

Volkswagen has designed a new generation of drive systems for its all-electric ID. family of automobiles that boosts the power and torque, providing longer-range performance. Among the key elements are more powerful magnets in the rotor, specialized electrical sheets and advancements in the manufacturing process. Produced at the company’s group components plant in Kassel, Germany, the new drives will be introduced in the fourth quarter of this year.

With the new APP550 rear-wheel drive, Volkswagen’s electric model family will receive a completely newly developed power unit that offers higher performance combined with improved efficiency, providing both increased power and range. Volkswagen is planning to deliver the first vehicles with the new drive generation in a 210 kW (286 PS) version from the end of the year. The design basis for the new drive remains the modular electric drive (MEB) matrix, Volkswagen’s vehicle architecture tailored specifically for electric models. 

Volkswagen’s ID.3 Pro S model 

“Because the available space has not changed, we were compelled to develop a new drive that achieves significant improvements in performance and efficiency in spite of being subject to the same constraints,” said Karsten Bennewitz, head of powertrain and energy systems in development. “That was a great challenge for the team of Technical Development and Group Components. The result shows that we were able to reduce the use of raw materials, while at the same time achieving a considerable increase in vehicle efficiency.” 

More power and significantly more torque 

The new powertrain has an output of 210 kW (286 PS) with a maximum torque of around 550 Nm – depending on the vehicle’s gear ratio. The significantly higher torque ensures superior power development, both from standstill and at higher speeds. The new APP550 electric drive achieves its high torque due to an enhanced stator with a higher effective number of windings and a larger wire cross-section. The rotor as its counterpart is equipped with more powerful permanent magnets that have a higher load capacity. The drive was also reinforced to withstand the considerable torque produced. 

Inverter delivers high currents 

The current is a decisive factor for the power of an electric drive. As a further important component, the inverter was developed so that it can supply the high phase currents needed for greater power and efficiency. It acts as the controlling “brain” in the powertrain whose functional software ensures efficient system processes. This applies to the clock frequencies and the modulation methods for generation of the alternating current for the electric drive motor, for example. The drive motor can therefore operate more efficiently, depending on the load phase. 

Optimized thermal management through intelligent cooling 

In order to increase the efficiency of the electric drive, Volkswagen optimized a number of components in the powertrain, including the thermal management system. The new drive therefore has an energy-saving cooling system that operates without an electrically driven oil pump. The system is able to independently cool itself via the gear wheels of the gearbox and specially formed components for oil supply and distribution. The heated oil is cooled by the vehicle’s coolant circuit, which keeps the drive at operating temperature. The outside of the stator is equipped with a water heat sink. 

Volkswagen Kassel as the production center 

The drive system with gearbox, rotor and stator will be produced at the Volkswagen Group Components plant in Kassel. “We have been developing electric drive motors and their gearboxes for 15 years now, and have also been producing them here at our location for over 10 years,” notes Alexander Krick, head of technical development E-Drive, Power Electronics & Transmission at Group Components. “Product and process innovations in the electric drive motor and gearbox result in a significant increase in efficiency and performance. Drawing on our many years of experience, we optimized the overall system through, among other things, the use of special electrical sheets and customized machining processes, and were thus able to significantly increase efficiency.” 

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