Electromobility is about to take off

The Electric Drive System Department at CampX is working on replacing the combustion engine with an electric motor and control unit, and the Volvo Group has reached the point where large-scale production of electric vehicles is possible in some applications within years to come. A real technology change is now imminent after decades of research and development.

The team is led by Azra Selimovic, Director Electric Motor Drive System, who has worked with alternative drivetrains since 2005 when the Volvo Group started with early development of their hybrid trucks and buses.  

“It’s fantastic to be part of such an enormous technological change. It can actually be compared to when Ford Motor Company started their mass production of cars in the early 1900’s. This will have a great impact for future generations,” says Azra Selimovic.

Electric buses from Volvo have been on the roads for some years, but other vehicles are still in their early stages. Series production of the Volvo Electric FL and FE is starting with a limited number of trucks for the European markets in the second half of 2019. Other applications are still in early phases of the development.

Electrification instigates challenges as well as opportunities for the Volvo Group.

“One challenge is to create highly efficient and still affordable products.  We need to look at the system as a whole and see to it that improvements in for instance the electric drive unit give us the energy savings we need, so we can decrease the number of batteries and consequently lower the cost of the system,” says Azra Selimovic.

Over the years we have developed tools and methods to do this and for every new product we solve these problems faster and faster.

Another challenge is the fact that the electric motor is to be used in many different types of vehicles: buses, trucks, and construction equipment as well as marine and industrial applications. It needs to match the desired performance and last over the lifecycle of these vehicles.

“We have looked for common denominators and have developed a platform that can be used, with adjustments, for a majority of our applications,” explains Azra Selimovic.

“It’s is obviously a complicated process, but it also gives us an advantage compared to many competitors. We benefit from synergies and economies of scale, as we don’t work with just trucks or buses.”

The electromobility team is now focusing on making the products installable, that is, easy to assemble, and increasing production volumes so that the prices can be lowered. According to Azra Selimovic: “That’s when the real take-off will take place.”

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