British electric motor specialist Equipmake and Perkins, a subsidiary of Caterpillar and diesel engine manufacturer, have partnered to develop an innovative hybrid system designed for off-road vehicles. The project has received financial backing from the UK government through its Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) with an investment of £11.14 million (nearly €13 million).
The primary purpose of this project is to support the development and demonstration of a highly electrified and environmentally friendly hybrid propulsion system, aimed at the global off-road vehicle market. Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake, expressed his enthusiasm “for this collaboration with Perkins on the innovative hybrid electric powertrain project. Equipmake has always led innovation in electric motors and inverters.”
An Innovative Project for Less Pollution
The project, led by Perkins, incorporates Equipmake’s electric motor technology and is supported by Loughborough University in the UK, which performs advanced engine analysis and emission control. The project encompasses the design, development, and demonstration of a multi-fuel hybrid powertrain system, intended to replace the diesel solutions used in current off-road vehicles. Its goal is to support the efforts of industries in the UK and around the world “to achieve net-zero emission targets.”
The hybrid system has the ability to operate using various low-carbon emission fuels, such as biomethanol, synthetic fuels, or even carbon-free options like hydrogen. It will incorporate a custom-designed electric motor and inverter capable of extracting high torque density. Additionally, all necessary power electronics will be developed in-house by Equipmake.
Over the past five years, this company has been supplying electric propulsion systems for heavy vehicles. Among its works is the conversion of buses and coaches from internal combustion to electric. The new development is already underway and is expected to last 42 months. It employs its vertically integrated inverter and motor technology. Equipmake states that its new hybrid powertrain system designed for this latest project with Perkins can be configured to provide power between 45 and 250 kW, depending on each application.
“This project is a fundamental component of our growth strategy. It gives us access to a global off-road vehicle market through this decarbonization technology and, over time, will significantly expand our large-scale production capabilities,” says Foley.”