Chrysler Group LLC has entered a 5-year, $18.2 million partnership with McMaster University, with funding support from the Canadian government, to develop next-generation, energy-efficient, high-performance electrified powertrains and powertrain components.
The partnership was announced today by the Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology. It will see Chrysler Group invest $9.25 million in cash and in-kind contributions, with an additional $8.93 million coming from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the lead agency within Automotive Partnership Canada (APC), an initiative that supports industry research at Canadian universities and government laboratories.
Work will be centred at McMaster University, where 20 engineers from Chrysler Group’s Global Electrified Powertrain Group and seven McMaster research engineers will team with 16 faculty members and 80 graduate and undergraduate engineering students.The partners will also use Chrysler Group laboratories and test vehicles.
McMaster’s Dr. Ali Emadi is the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) for Hybrid Powertrain Research. Sponsored by Canada’s federal government, the CERC program supports universities in their efforts to build on Canada’s growing reputation as a global leader in research and innovation.
To advance Chrysler Group’s electrification strategy, the partnership will develop multiple prototypes of critical components, platforms and tools that will strengthen the company’s future product lines. Six facets of vehicle electrification will be explored:
– Electrified powertrain architecture and optimization
– Power electronics
– Electric machines
– Motor control
– Energy management systems
– Embedded software
Because low production volumes and the associated high component costs have conspired to limit market penetration of electrified vehicles, affordability will be a hallmark of the technology that emerges from the Chrysler-McMaster partnership. For example, the electric machine activity will target ways to reduce rare-earth mineral content in the magnets that enable electric motor function.
Component reliability, durability, weight, size and scalability will be primary considerations as commercial applications are expected to span a variety of powertrains and a range of vehicle segments. Energy storage solutions such as ultra-capacitors also will be a key focus.
In addition to the technological gains Chrysler Group will reap from the partnership, students will benefit from training in an area of growing importance to the auto industry.
The project consists of three phases, each building on the achievements of the previous one. The final phase is scheduled to conclude in March of 2018.
The partnership builds on Chrysler Group’s current electrification endeavours, such as the 2013 launch of the widely acclaimed Fiat 500e battery-electric vehicle and the company’s research into vehicle-to-grid technology.
Chrysler Group’s ongoing cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy has produced test fleets that included the first factory-assembled vehicles with vehicle-to-grid capability and the first factory-assembled Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicles to pair plug-in hybrid technology with V-8 engines.