SEG Automotive Is Frontloading Itself Towards Electric Mobility

Interaction March 2019 SEG Automotive Frontloading Towards Electric Mobility
SEG Automotive Is Frontloading Itself Towards Electric Mobility

The Symposium on International Automotive Technology (SIAT) 2019 pondered upon the topic of empowering future mobility through intelligence and safety, while at the same time making mobility cleaner and more efficient. SEG Automotive, a participant at SIAT 2019, is a key player in this domain. Auto Tech Review caught up with Anil Kumar MR, Managing Director, SEG Automotive India Pvt Ltd, to know about new solutions it is bringing to the market.

SEG has completed its first year of being an independent organisation, following its acquisition by Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group Co. Kumar said the company is focussing on retaining and improving customers’ trust as well as continuing product innovations for which SEG has been known for.

SEG had set a product innovation pipeline, which is being carried out in a planned manner. The company has been traditionally known for manufacturing starters and generators, but it has also been focussing on electrification components. Kumar said SEG is frontloading itself towards electric mobility, which will be its focus area.

ELECTRIFICATION

In addition to offering solutions that would help reduce emission levels of internal combustion engines (ICE), SEG is looking to penetrate into the e-mobility segment. Given the prevailing challenges such as power mix, range anxiety, battery cost associated with electrification, the company believes that the three-wheeler segment is where total cost of operations (TCO) would be achievable. Electrification will take-off in segments that act as the last-mile connectivity, an important mode of city transport, he noted.

This led to the development of a high-efficiency electric motor for e-rickshaws – a segment dominated by imports from Chinese suppliers. The motor development was taken up by the company locally, in association with its German counterparts. The new e-motor is scalable in terms of power, beginning from usage in e-rickshaws. Kumar said it will have the ability to be scaled up for usage in e-autos in the future, which have higher power and torque ratings than that of e-rickshaws.

The new e-motor has three unique value propositions – firstly, it is a highly-efficient motor that is about 5 % higher than those commonly available in the market. Secondly, this motor has been developed with in-built protection features due to the high possibility of these e-rickshaws being over utilised, causing severe abuse to the motor. Finally, the motor has been made reliable so that it can survive through the entire service life of e-rickshaws. The combination of reliability and high efficiency ensures a better range, which is a major requirement for any electric vehicle, he noted.

SEG is also exploring about converting its Boost Recuperation Machine (BRM) into an e-motor for use in light electromobility. The BRM is currently used as a cost-effective and easy-to-implement mild hybrid solution. Kumar said technologies can be mixed and matched in order to get the optimal solution required by the market. The experience of over a century with motors is now being used by SEG to enter the e-mobility space. It is continuously looking towards system solutions, where the efficiencies of these systems can be maximised.

DEVELOPMENT OF EMISSIONS-ADDRESSING SOLUTIONS

SEG launched a start-stop system motor for passenger cars with a power rating of up to 1.2 kW, which was co-developed by SEG India and Germany for smaller Indian car models. Kumar observed that this motor was one of the big successes of 2018. Coupled with the start-stop motor is the high-efficiency generator module, which has been received well by the market in 2018. This start-stop system, in combination with the high-efficiency modular generator, provides a good system to enable reduced CO2 emissions, Kumar explained.

This start-stop technology essentially ensures that the engine is turned off when idling, at say a traffic signal. This technology is also training the battery to recharge efficiently with the repeated number of start-stop cycles, which is where the high-efficiency of the generator comes into play. The combination modular system of the start-stop technology along with the high-efficiency modular generator leads to reduction in CO2 emissions of up to 8 %, or even higher.

With regards to commercial vehicles, SEG has developed products that are in line with legislative mandates that the segment has experienced. Kumar said an example of this is the introduction of blowers for commercial vehicles, which have necessitated the requirement for higher power generators. OEMs demand components that address these higher power requirements along with long service life. SEG has recently developed a generator that offers highest efficiency in the market at present, in addition to a starter that offers long service life, Kumar pointed out.

PROGRESS TOWARDS FUTURE MOBILITY

Kumar said BS VI norms (coming into effect from April 2020) as well as Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) norms (applicable from 2022) pose immediate challenges. The entire powertrain is set to undergo change with regards to BS VI emission norms. In the case of CAFE norms, there is a need for drastic reduction of CO2 emissions.

The start-stop modular system can act as a solution to reduce the amount of emissions, but as the overall fleet size grows, this alone may not be enough, quipped Kumar. This will necessitate the move into mild hybrids, where the company’s BRM solution fits well by offering up to 15 % reduction in CO2 emissions. Further, as emissions standards become stringent, there will be a need to move into strong hybrids. Kumar said the jump from ICE to electrification cannot happen without passing through the intermediate solution of hybridisation.

TEXT: Naveen Arul