26 August 2023
A*STAR leads New R&D Electric Vehicle Drivetrain Programme

Partnering with 10 industry partners, A*STAR intends to develop high-performance EV components and boost the local EV supplier ecosystem.

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has recently launched a new R&D programme, with the aim of fostering local capabilities for manufacturing high-performance electric drivetrains, a high-tech core component in electric vehicle (EV) systems.

This new programme, dubbed Electric Traction Module Open Technology Platform Collaborative Industry Project (E-TraM OTP CIP), is expected to expand and uplift the pool of industry partners in the electric drivetrain sector, as well as create new technological capabilities and value chains for Singapore’s EV ecosystem.

A*STAR is also partnering with 10 key industry partners for the programme. These comprise of local start-ups, SMEs and MNCs representing suppliers, manufacturers and end-users.

  • Akribis Systems Pte Ltd
  • BorgWarner Singapore Holdings Pte Ltd
  • Giken Sakata (S) Limited
  • Infineon Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
  • ION Mobility Pte Ltd
  • MMI Holdings Limited
  • Neo Performance Materials (S) Pte Ltd
  • Nidec Singapore Pte Ltd
  • Proterial Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
  • Sanwa Plastics Industry Pte Ltd

Beneficial for all

The driving force behind this is a mission to supercharge the energy efficiency and torque performance of electric drivetrains. In simple terms, they’re out to make your EV go the extra mile.

The conglomerate is starting this electrifying journey with a focus on electric two- and three-wheelers, and A*STAR is creating a local hub for all things electric drivetrains. The programme will embark on a three-phase odyssey:

  1. Explore: They’re scanning the industry landscape, identifying gaps and opportunities in the world of electric drivetrains.
  1. Innovate: It’s all about forming dream teams. They’re rallying companies to join the EV revolution, boosting their street cred by co-developing some seriously cool EV components.
  1. Create: This is where the magic happens. Think labs buzzing with innovative and futuristic offerings. It’s all about giving birth to new tech stars and propelling companies up the value chain.

This programme is also in line with the increase in EV adoption in Singapore. When asked about challenges that may potentially impact the pace of EV adoption, A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) main aim is to focus on technologies that can enable drivetrains to become more efficient, including new motor topology that enhances regenerative braking efficiency, advanced thermal management techniques and multi-objective drivetrain optimisation approaches.

These innovations can potentially add an additional 10 to 20 per cent improvement on the overall efficiency. The team is also looking to improve the torque performance of electric drivetrains, enabling more powerful acceleration at lower speeds.

How testing will be conducted 

A*STAR’s SIMTech will be using the Electric Traction Module Open Technology Platform (E-TraM OTP), which refers to lab facilities that can support the testing of new technologies. 

While testing is usually done in-house or by commercial entities, this E-TraM OTP will serve as an experimental and collaborative effort that brings together participating companies, providing a common platform to demonstrate innovations to potential customers as well as to benchmark and identify gaps for electric drivetrain improvement. Performing these tests in-house first can also result in a shortened time and cost of the homologation process.

Some of the aforementioned industry partners and institutes of higher learning (IHLs) also have a wide range of facilities that can perform rigorous testing according to automotive standards.

ION Mobility

Mr James Chan, CEO and Founder of ION Mobility, shared that ION Mobility has teams across 4 countries (Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and China), and they are in a good position to prototype, test and industrialise the output of collaborations under A*STAR’s E-TraM OTP CIP programme.

The company is looking to commercialise or industrialise any useful technologies that come out of the E-TraM OTP CIP programme, as well as test new technologies in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and China as well as other South East Asia markets.

Akribis Systems

Another great example is Akribis Systems, where they are able to perform all electrical and mechanical drivetrain testing required in-house.

Mr Kong Yong Min, CTO of Akribis Systems, also adds that the company has a climatic chamber to test the motor at cyclical temperature and humidity conditions, and a dust chamber to test the motor in dusty environments, ensuring they handle well in adverse conditions.

Laying the foundation for future innovation

“The new programme seeks to catalyse Singapore’s growth into a one-stop solution provider for the electric drivetrain. As Singapore and the SEA region embrace the electrification of transport, strong R&D partnerships and new capabilities in manufacturing will allow us to meet growing demand for electric vehicle components and uplift our local manufacturing ecosystem,” said Dr David Low, Executive Director of A*STAR’s SIMTech.

The programme is not limited to 10 partners too, and A*STAR A*STAR’s SIMTech will continue to engage the industry to find more like-minded partners. The electrification of the automotive sector is an emerging trend, and A*STAR has programmes planned in the pipeline that will address different technological challenges in this domain.

Photo credits: A*STAR

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