Q&A: Walter Ferraris, Engine System Engineer at Fiat EMEA
The newest technological advancements in electric motor technologies were all up for discussion at Automotive IQ's Advanced E-Motor conference.
The event's focus is on new designs and architectures for lighter, more efficient and compact e-motors, innovative materials to replace rare earth magnets, and shielding against fault overloads. Topics also include better thermal management for EVs, as we discovered in this interview with engine system engineer at Fiat EMEA, Walter Ferraris:
What are the main challenges when it comes to thermal management optimization?
I think that the vehicle integration of such complex systems, and holistic control strategies development, will be the biggest challenges, and also the solutions at the same time for achieving targets in terms of temperatures for the batteries but also cabin comfort.
These are the two main topics for thermal management in BEVs and HEVs. The other important devices which have to be considered in terms of optimization are the PTC heater for the cabin and HV heater for the battery. In a BEV there isn’t any kind of heat source available, so actually, electric heaters are extremely diffused; but range extension will be achievable thinking mainly on these components and trying to avoid using them. So, in my opinion, all the solutions have to be focused on this direction: trying to achieve the heating temperature targets through other, more efficient systems.
In your opinion, what does the future of thermal management in batteries look like?
I’m not really a specialist about the batteries, but I think that the materials will play a key role. Gap fillers will maybe help to achieve homogeneity of the temperature inside the batteries, as well as all the solution useful to reduce the effort that we have to provide with the additional cooling or heating systems which have to be connected with the batteries themselves. I think that there will be also space for heat pipes – this is an amazing technology already used in aerospace applications and in small electronic devices, laptops, smartphones, and so on. The batteries will be, of course, bigger and heavier, but the architecture will be simplified.
How has the demand for systems from OEMs changed, now that the majority of them have announced that the will be going either fully-electric or hybrid by 2025?
First of all, the OEMs have to understand the market trends and decide what kind of business will give more profits. So I’m figuring out that if you want to go, for example, in the direction of a small car, car-sharing, or city cars – this segment maybe can use a different approach compared to solutions with hybrid vehicles or long-range cars.
The demand is different. This aspect will have an impact also on the subsystems design and solutions. I’m quite convinced that the different application will drive different design approaches. The way to achieve the targets will be simplification, so if you can design and develop such a simplified system, you can achieve the cost targets together with the performance requirement achievement. For the OEMs this is the main target.
- Walter Ferraris was a speaker Automotive IQ’s Advanced E-Motor Technology conference. For information on all of our forthcoming conferences, check out the Events page.