Saietta and HCLTech develop VCU for EVs in Asia, Saietta VNA to make in India from Q3 2023
British electric drive specialist and India’s HCLTech co-develop Vehicle Control Unit, which acts as the ‘brain’ of the EV, ensuring that key operating systems perform efficiently and effectively; highly flexible and modular, ensuring an optimal fit for three- and four-wheel applications
Saietta Group, the British electric drivetrain (eDrive) specialist, has completed the development of an all-new Vehicle Control Unit (VCU), that has been co-developed with HCLTech specifically for three- and four-wheeled lightweight electric vehicles (LEVs) in Asia.
The addition of the VCU to Saietta’s existing portfolio of motor, controller and transmission products enhances the company’s ability to provide OEMs with complete eDrive solutions that can be quickly and cost effectively tailored to specific applications.
The VCU will be manufactured in India by Saietta VNA, a joint venture between Saietta Group and Padmini VNA. The first units will be delivered as part of complete eDrive solutions to one of the largest three- and four-wheel LEV manufacturers in India. The eDrive supply arrangement, previously announced on December 6, 2022, will see a minimum of 80,000 complete systems delivered over the first five years of the agreement and deliveries are on track to commence in Q4 2023.
The partnership with HCLTech will enable the end-to-end development of a scalable, modular, safe and secure VCU architecture for LEVs, optimizing their operation and multiple other critical vehicle functions.
Tony Gott, Executive Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer, Saietta Group plc, said: “As with all elements of our leading-edge eDrive solutions, the VCU is designed to be cost-effective for Asia and is highly modular. This allows our engineers to tailor the functionality precisely to a customer’s requirements and thereby deliver a competitive edge.
“Saietta seeks to work with the very best partners who have a proven track record of delivering insightful innovation at the required scale, on time, on cost and on quality and we view HCLTech clearly as such an industry leader. We are honoured to work alongside them and look forward to evolving this relationship and together helping clean up the air in mega-cities globally.”
Saietta-HCLTech VCU capable of controlling key operations such as the accelerator/brake pedals, coolant pump, radiator fan, motor controller, battery control system, handbrake and gear selector.
VCUs: the brains of next-generation LEVs in Asia
A VCU is the ‘brain’ of a vehicle and they are standard components in cars to manage key vehicle systems such as torque control, battery energy management and regenerative braking. The VCU ensures that all of these systems work in harmony in the most effective and safe manner.
Lightweight vehicles in Asia, such as rickshaws powered by internal combustion engines, have a simplistic electrical architecture, negating the need for a VCU. However, while LEVs bring many advantages to Asia, their electrical architecture is more complex, having to control functions such as how electrical energy is fed into the traction motors, managing the health of on-board batteries and optimising the charging process.
Saietta believes that future legislation and customer demand for a more refined driving experience will mean that VCUs become the norm in LEVs across Asia. The company therefore co-developed a highly modular VCU with HCLTech which can ultimately be set up to optimise the operation of a complete electric powertrain, managing the operation of the motor, controller, transmission, batteries, and the battery charging process as well as multiple other critical vehicle functions.
Saietta strengthens its presence in India
The collaboration with HCLTech further strengthens Saietta’s presence in India. In March of this year, the British eDrive developer announced a transmission supply contract with AVTEC, one of the largest independent manufacturers of powertrain and precision-engineered products in India.
Saietta and AVTEC will have the capability to produce a minimum of 150,000 complete eDrive units for customers globally. It is learnt that 80,000 units have already been reserved for the launch OEM in India.
The partnership brings together AVTEC’s expertise in the design and manufacture of transmissions with Saietta’s motor and inverter capability. The resulting eDrives have been designed for three- and four-wheel lightweight electric vehicles (EVs) for its first set of commercial agreements which have been secured with one of the largest OEMs in the Indian light-duty mobility market. Production is on track to commence in Q3 2023.
Saietta VNA will produce the electric motors and inverters in its Indian manufacturing plant and combine these with transmissions from AVTEC manufactured at its plant in India. The resulting 48V-96V eDrive solutions are designed to be lightweight, compact and cost competitive for Indian LEVs.
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