Case Study: Triumph TE-1 Project

Developers of remarkable new electric motorcycle discuss intricacies of test program for landmark project

In May 2019, a new collaborative project was initiated between Triumph Motorcycles, Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain and WMG at the University of Warwick, to design and build high performance electric motorcycle technology. After the completion of phase two of the development program, with two more phases to follow, the first prototype images of the electric motorcycle were released. Housing a new battery and powertrain architecture, the bike is said to have produced performance beyond initial targets, surpassing current benchmarks.

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Project TE-1 powertrain specifications

British company Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has been responsible for the development of battery technology. Based on the agreed specification, WAE identified the appropriate cellular technology and battery architecture to meet the performance targets. Using this as a frame, the team then optimized the layout of the battery module to balance mass and positioning within the prototype chassis, taking into account the center of gravity, space, and the relationship with the group. powerplant and load approach.

In addition to the module layout, the team developed a unique new vehicle control unit that is integrated into the battery pack to minimize weight and packaging. At the same time, WAE has also created specialized battery management software to ensure that power is delivered in accordance with battery performance.

Phase 2 of the project, which involved bench testing, would have shown performance results superior to anything on the market in terms of power and energy density.

“In today’s landscape, most electric motorcycle technologies arguably offer compromised performance at low battery charge levels. By using a lightweight and compact solution, we were able to offer the rider all the performance at all times (regardless of the battery charge) and top-notch range. We focused on pushing the limits to reduce mass and optimize the position of the frame to improve handling. We’ve also pushed the limits of battery performance, balancing the design for acceleration and range, with simulations modeled on track driving. In other words, as aggressive as it gets, ”said Dyrr Ardash, senior business manager for Williams Advanced Engineering. “The energy density of this new battery will be a significant step up from existing technology, giving the rider more power for longer. WAE also designed and developed an electronic control unit from A to Z, combining the battery management system with the bike control functions in one package. “

Integral Powertrain (IPT) has developed a unique motor and inverter design. During phase 1, the company worked to integrate the normally separate motor and inverter into a single compact housing. The integration reduces drivetrain mass and bulk by reducing additional boxes on the vehicle, mounting features, coolant piping, and heavy high voltage connections.

The concept of integration is also fully scalable, in which the number of power stages can increase for motors with larger diameter and higher torque, for example. Combined with Integral’s advanced engine technology, the engine has achieved a power density twice the target set by the UK Automotive Council for 2025.

Advanced silicon carbide switch technology is applied in the inverter; this reduces losses and improves transmission efficiency, power output and range.

The first sketches of the prototype chassis built by the TE-1 project partners have been unveiled. The chassis includes a main and rear frame, both of which are optimized alongside the battery and motor packs.

“One of the most influential factors in how a motorcycle behaves and performs well is mass, which is why at Integral Powertrain we have focused heavily on a radical change in the design of the motor and inverter. , by eliminating heavy high voltage cables, for example. This results in a product that is significantly more compact and lighter than anything currently available on the market. The engine produces 130 kW or almost 180 hp, but weighs only 10 kg, much lighter than existing technology and clearly a small fraction of the mass of traditional internal combustion engines, ”said Andrew Cross, Technical Director of Integral Powertrain.

WMG has worked closely with all TE-1 partners to develop representative models to simulate the bike’s systems, including battery, motor and vehicle control. This validated the specification against the intended component selection by evaluating performance criteria such as range and top speed with the initial models.

This allowed Triumph to do software development at an early stage before the hardware was built. Recently, he performed powerbank tests using the IPT powertrain prototype to ensure the simulations were accurate and to confirm that the engine is operating in the system as intended.

“Our creation of initial computer simulation models at the start of Phase 1 helped ensure that the selection of components was appropriate to meet the performance targets set by partners for the TE-1 prototype,” said Truong Quang Dinh, assistant. professor of energy management and control systems at WMG, University of Warwick.

“We continued this work throughout phase 2 of the project, refining the models to a much more complex level to allow us and our partners to mimic other bike components such as braking. , the accelerator, lighting and other systems, and to imitate the real. -World riding to provide development opportunities before components are fully designed. In addition, we have created a hard-wired physical platform with all control units, in order to implement a design validation testing program to ensure that the function of each section is within the allowable range. “

Responsible for the development of the chassis, motorcycle maker Triumph has also designed advanced vehicle control software that integrates all electrical systems to ensure intuitive throttle response, regenerative braking, traction control and all dimensions. that a user expects.

Steve Sargent, Triumph Product Manager, said: “The starting point for us in the TE-1 project was to collect important customer feedback on what motorcyclists really want from their motorcycles and to understand how an electric motorcycle can. deliver the experience runners want. This includes taking into account the type of ride, range, feel and nature of power and torque as well as the ergonomics and controls of the bike. With all of this feedback in mind, we began the chassis design, focusing on bringing everything together on the TE-1 prototype in such a way as to deliver an exciting and new but ultimately familiar driving experience. We began to define the powertrain and battery interaction using software refinement to deliver exhilarating power and throttle response, delivering excellent control and an intuitive feel to the rider.

The program is funded by the UK Government’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. A production date has not been confirmed and will depend on when it becomes commercially viable for Triumph.


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Todd Wurtsbach

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