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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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DS electric future: The Knowledge

Following several seasons of competition in the FIA's Formula E championship, Citroen's sub-brand DS is set to roll out an entire range of all-new electric and hybrid vehicles

 

DS is accelerating the development of electrified cars for its range. Starting with the 2017 DS 7 Crossback, the brand will be releasing a new model every year, all with an electrified version (hybrid or all-electric). DS Automobiles is competing in Formula E - a valuable test-bed for gaining experience and accelerated development. The recent city-located ePrix races held in Monaco, Paris and Berlin, are followed by those in New York and Montreal providing further opportunities to show the advancing technologies that are being tested and evaluated for future production models, with three specific projects already in their advanced stages.

"DS is entering the electrified vehicles scene," explains Eric Apode, DS Product and Development director. "By 2025, more than a third of DS vehicles sold will be hybrid or all-electric. The performance models will be provided by the hybrid versions and the first in the series is DS 7 Crossback E-Tense - the DS vision of hybrid power with 300hp and a 60km electric range."

"A competition series involving all-electric race cars obviously makes an ideal testing environment for our forthcoming technologies," added Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Performance director. "With each successive race or test-session, we’re accelerating this development and every new component to achieve a better understanding of how to optimise the electric motor drivetrain and the management of energy in particular with cooling in mind."

Extended electric range for production models
The connection between the 140mph top speed of the DSV-02 (DS Virgin 2nd gen) race car and the 60km electric range of DS 7 Crossback E-Tense (above) is that both depend on the techniques used for controlling the energy supplied by the battery and the management strategies of its deployment. This became very clear to the DS Performance teams from the outset of their Formula E involvement and this invaluable data has advanced the know-how of the DS engineering team working on the road car’s petrol-electric hybrid project.

The petrol PHEV system available on the new SUV from DS, and arriving in spring 2019, will achieve a range of 60km* in all-electric mode, with no compromise to the car’s dynamic performance. Supplementing the 200hp THP (Turbo High Pressure) petrol engine, DS 7 Crossback E-Tense carries two 80kW electric motors to drive each axle, and is capable of deploying a total deployable power output of 300hp with four-wheel-drive.

Sophisticated electric architecture
Energy loss is the challenge of every automotive engineering team in their constant quest for ultimate efficiency and operational optimisation. All Formula E runners feature the same chassis, front axle system and battery pack, so what makes the difference is the gearbox transmission and the electric motor, and the way the energy is supplied, controlled and cooled - the fruit of each team’s own individual ingenuity. In their year-long work on developing the DSV-02, the team of ten engineers and the accompanying host of technicians identified a number of ways for optimising the operating efficiency of the electric motor and transmission system, and the most-suitable aspects of which are being developed for the road-going petrol-electric PHEV drivetrain of the forthcoming DS 7 Crossback E-tense.

Optimum transmission-motor coupling for an intelligent hybrid drivetrain on DS 7 Crossback
DS 7 Crossback is fitted with the new Efficient Automatic Transmission with 8-speeds (EAT8) located transversely between the petrol-fuelled internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motor. DS experience and know-how is harnessing the inputs from PSA Group and DS Performance R&D teams to ensure the transmission performance operates with optimised efficiency and performance with the 80kW electric motor.

Electric power capabilities for the future of motoring efficiency
The purpose of the DS Performance engineering team is to make the relevant technologies accessible for the optimised development of DS vehicles. For example, the voltage used on electric vehicles; today’s production vehicles use a voltage of around 400V whereas Formula E race cars use 700V. “One of the challenges of the DS Performance team is to fully master component durability, for the power controller in particular at 700V, while ensuring it delivers better operational efficiencies” commented Xavier Mestelan Pinon. Eric Apode added: “Once we have answered all the questions regarding 700V operation, we can go ahead and raise the voltage used on production models, to bring even greater efficiency and potentially longer driving ranges.”

More than a concept
DS E-Tense is much more than a concept car, because it points the way to the DS future, in terms of design and technology. With its two electric motors developing 402hp to the rear wheels, this spectacularly beautiful coupé delivers torque of 516Nm from start-up and boasts a potential top speed of 155mph. Apart from possessing exceptional driving sensations, its lithium-ion battery provides a capability to travel a potential range distance of 167 miles and it is also perfectly suited to everyday motoring applications, as recently demonstrated.

As well as bringing know-how in electric drive technology, and accelerating the development of simulation tools (within the R&D Department) that can be carried over to production models, DS involvement in Formula E racing provides a valuable learning experience guiding engineers to optimum design choices that can be rapidly applied onto DS production road vehicles. DS 7 Crossback, the new SUV by DS, will from spring 2019 also be available in a new petrol-electric hybrid (PHEV) version: DS 7 Crossback E-Tense.

 

14 June 2017

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