Aisin's Wide Range of Electrification Technologies Contribute to BEV evolution
Aisin Technology on Toyota’s bZ4X Shows Future of Electrification
An electric vehicle (EV) converts electricity stored in batteries into motive power to drive the wheels, thereby reducing the amount of fossil fuels needed to fuel the vehicle. The automotive industry has been accelerating the electrification of vehicles to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality in society through CO2 emissions reduction.
EVs can be divided into four major categories:
(1) HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles) are powered by both a gasoline engine and an electric motor to drive the wheels.
(2) PHEVs (plug-in-hybrid electric vehicles) are HEVs that can be charged from an external power source.
(3) BEVs (battery electric vehicles) are powered only by a motor using electricity stored in batteries to drive the wheels.
(4) FCEVs (fuel cell electric vehicles) are equipped with fuel cells, which generate electricity using chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
Affordable and available energy sources vary from country and region, and lifestyles vary between vehicle users, so it is important to offer a variety of locally available EV options that best suit the country, region, and user.
Among these EVs, BEVs are not powered by gasoline and thus emit zero CO2 while providing excellent dynamic performance and a tranquil driving experience due to electric motor drive. For these reasons, BEVs are in the spotlight for electrification of vehicles. How do BEVs help us in our daily lives, and how will BEVs evolve further?
Aisin’s technologies behind the evolution of BEVs
Longer drive in a BEV
Since BEVs are powered by electricity stored in batteries, their driving range depends on how much electricity they can store (battery performance and capacity) and how efficiently they can use the stored electricity.
A BEV’s efficiency in using stored electricity can be quantified as “electric mileage” or “range.” As mileage on a gasoline car indicates how many kilometers it can travel per liter of gas, electric mileage indicates how many kilometers a BEV can travel per certain amount of electricity.
AISIN develops and produces a wide variety of products that contribute to increasing electric mileage.
Aisin, BluE Nexus,*1 and DENSO have jointly developed eAxle, a driving source of BEVs that integrates a motor, an inverter (a motor control), and gears. The new model of eAxle, which was released in April 2022, employs new technologies, including the optimization of motor magnet arrangement and the use of low-viscosity oil for electric units, contributing to top-class electric mileage among electric units.
*1 Jointly established by AISIN and DENSO in 2019, BluE Nexus specializes in developing, adapting, and selling electric systems and electric driving modules.
Another key to increasing electric mileage is effecient use of regenerative braking, which charges the batteries when the vehicle slows down. With regenerative braking, energy that used to be wasted in the slow and stop of a vehicle, can be recovered and recycled as electricity to power the vehicle. ADVICS, a company of the AISIN Group, sells a cooperative regenerative braking system as its flagship product, boasting top-level cumulative production volume. This braking system achieves both energy recovery and a great braking feel through the well-combined use of regenerative brakes and conventional computerized hydraulic brakes.
Safety and security are top priorities for all vehicles
The importance of safety and security in vehicles is unwavering, regardless of the car’s electrification status. The automotive industry will continue to relentlessly pursue automotive safety and security. It is not enough simply to maintain product performance and technologies that have been built so far. Measures for automotive safety need to be reviewed, and those specific to EVs need to be taken.
When it comes to BEVs, the precious cargo is more than just the passengers – the batteries, which are often installed in the underfloor area, also need to be protected in the event of a collision. Even in the case of an enormous impact on a BEV, batteries need to be fully protected to prevent a breakdown or secondary disaster.
Aisin’s Rocker EA (Energy Absorption) material is attached to both the right and left side of the underfloor battery case to protect the batteries from a side collision. In the event of a side collision, the material is designed to crumple in a controlled way, thereby absorbing collision impact to minimize the impact on the batteries.
Aisin developed this ladder cross-sectional structure after repeated tests with its original simulation analysis technologies and actual prototypes.
For smoother and more convenient battery charging
With the growing popularity of EVs, battery charging stations and equipment have been increasing in number. For a comfortable drive in a BEV, the vehicle needs to have both a long driving range and a convenient access to charging stations and equipment.
A BEV driver may sometimes wonder, “I forgot to charge the batteries yesterday. How much farther can I drive?” or “The battery level is running low. Is there a charging station nearby?” If BEVs relieve these concerns, you can drive them with peace of mind.
Based on its accumulated technologies, Aisin offers a car navigation system with many useful functions, including a circular driving-range display, charging station search, and travel support. Aisin carefully meets the needs specific to BEV users with advanced and reliable technologies, contributing to a comfortable drive in a BEV.
Variety of Aisin products equipped on bZ4X, the first model of Toyota’s bZ Series
In May 2022, Toyota Motor Corporation will start the lease of bZ4X. The Toyota bZ4X is the first medium-segment SUV-style BEV of the company’s bZ Series. Meeting the requirements specific to BEVs, including driving range and safety, bZ4X is a new vehicle that pursues attractive driving as well as an unparalleled and enjoyable occupant experience. With bZ4X as a starting point, Toyota will roll out a full lineup of BEVs.
Equipped with many products for electrification, including eAxle and the cooperative regenerative braking system, bZ4X will be a big step toward the realization of what Aisin considers the future of electrification.
Aisin will offer a full lineup of the products, technologies, and knowledge it has developed in a wide range of fields. It will also propose functions and performance that match the characteristics of each vehicle. By doing so, Aisin will meet the expectations of all customers, thereby realizing its corporate philosophy: “Inspiring ‘movement,’ creating tomorrow.”
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