Transmission specialist Oerlikon Graziano will present its innovative hybrid transmission system at European All-Wheel Drive Congress in Graz, from 10 to 12 April 2013.
The Company developed a front electric module, transforming the legendary Lancia 037 rear-wheel drive, an icon in the world of rally cars, in an innovative hybrid 4WD vehicle.
Looking at environmental and economic needs of more efficient energy use and emission reduction, electric vehicles represent an interesting option of development. But full electric vehicles have to face a difficult trade off between the available range and cost, weight and dimensions of batteries. At the moment hybrid solutions are more feasible, without penalization in terms of range and offering opportunities of efficiency
improvement and consumption saving. Hybrid systems can be proposed not only for small and medium size cars, but also for powerful sports cars, focusing on maintaining performances in addition to reduction of fuel consumption.
The opportunity to test on a vehicle the new hybrid concept came from the historic Lancia 037 rally car, that was modified to implement a 4WD hybrid parallel system. The results can be evaluated in comparison with the original Lancia 037 rear-wheel drive in terms of driveability, performance and drive feeling.
“The modification involved the original chassis of the rally car, in order to install an electric front axle as addon system, keeping the original rear axle powered by the internal combustion engine coupled with the manual transmission” said Stefano Bertolotto, Oerlikon Graziano Design Engineer for Electric Vehicles.
“The front axle with longitudinal layout is made of power and control electronics, electric motor connected to a transmission integrated with a self-locking differential and the battery packs. The achieved advantage is significant looking at low speed dynamics and cornering, especially on low grip tracks”.
Looking at future developments, the prototype vehicle allows to test new strategies of energy management. In addition the rear axle can be improved, aiming at the integration of rear powertrain with a generator. The rear gearbox can be designed with integrated electric motor, realizing a compact hybrid system. In this way several additional functions can be obtained, like electric boost, replacement of 12 V starter motor and alternator. While at the front axle multiple speed transmissions can be tested to improve performances, optimize energy consumption and evaluate possible downsizing of the electric motor.
Bertolotto will be presenting the technology at European All-Wheel Drive Congress in Graz on April 11th at 15:30. On April 12th the Lancia 037 4WD-Hybrid will participate to demonstration sessions on road, at the Red Bull Ring.