Royal Enfield and Hero bikes transformed into EVs by UK's Saietta Group

by Ajit Dalvi & Mayank Dhingra 04 Aug 2021


British electric mobility innovator Saietta Group, which has developed its highly efficient, mass-producible Axial Flux Technology (AFT) e-motors, has tested the technology on a range of vehicles including the made-in-India Hero Xtreme and Royal Enfield Continental GT motorcycles.

Saietta , in March this year, has inked a partnership with leading Indian Tier 1 supplier Padmini VNA. The commercial agreement will see Padmini partner with Saietta to develop new opportunities in India’s electric two-wheeler market. Padmini’s customer base includes many of India’s two-wheeler OEMs including Hero MotoCorp, TVS Motor Co, Bajaj Auto and Royal Enfield.

Saietta says it has delivered a step change in motor performance for EVs. Its AFT high-tech electric motors have been shown to provide greater efficiency while also being light, compact and easily integrated into a wide range of e-mobility applications.

Powerful, torque dense, compact and robust, these motors can be easily integrated into lightweight zero-emissions vehicles, including scooters, motorcycles, rickshaws and micro-cars. Engineered to make EVs more technically and commercially feasible, Saietta says AFT can play an integral role in cutting emissions and air pollution in densely populated, high-traffic urban areas.

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Testing AFT on Indian motorcycles
Saietta’s first AFT e-motors – the AFT 140 and AFT 110 – are designed to offer greater efficiency while providing a reliable, cost-effective propulsion solution with zero tailpipe emissions. Their exceptional urban duty cycle efficiency reduces the battery capacity and hence cost of the battery pack required for a given range.

The company has tested the high-power 52 volt, AFT 140 in the Royal Enfield Continental GT, which, it says, is a perfect fit for this innovative electric drivetrain. Saietta has replaced the defunct clutch lever in the electric-powered motorcycle with an electric brake, which can be leveraged to shed speeds while regenerating the on-board battery pack. "It's extremely intuitive and very fun to use," remarks Saietta Group CEO, Wicher Kist in a video released by the company.

Coming to the Hero Xtreme, Saietta has incorporated its 48 volt, AFT 110 electric drivetrain into this 160cc performance-commuter motorcycle popular in the Indian market. "The key innovation in this particular prototype is the swappable battery. We strongly believe that electrification of everything is linked to swappable battery solutions, and it is our duty to demonstrate that; it is completely feasible and enjoyable."

Saietta's Axial Flux Technology is designed to deliver the power and torque required by 100cc+ two-wheelers at just 48V-120V. The company has partnered Padmini VNA for its entry into the Indian market.

Targeting EV OEMs in Asia for AFT
As vehicle manufacturers scramble to decarbonise and develop new EVs, there is a significant and growing demand to make EV technology more accessible. Affordable electric propulsion and battery systems are key to reducing EV cost and enabling widespread adoption. This is an essential step for many emerging economies and cities that are gripped by chronic air pollution, especially in Asia.

Within these regions, the most common forms of transport are lightweight two-, three- and four-wheeled vehicles, which are used by millions of people daily. Following extensive market research, Saietta believes the fastest way to tackle the emissions crisis is to provide viable electric motor alternatives for small, internal combustion engine powered vehicles.

Saietta’s first AFT e-motors – the AFT 140 and AFT 110 – are designed to offer greater efficiency while providing a reliable, cost-effective propulsion solution with zero tailpipe emissions. Their exceptional urban duty cycle efficiency reduces the battery capacity and hence cost of the battery pack required for a given range.

For their size and weight, the AFT motors provide substantial torque and can sustain high power output through the addition of a simple water-cooling system. Perhaps most importantly, they have been specifically designed for highly automated production to further drive down cost, ensuring the perfect combination of practical performance at a price point that is viable for the target markets.

Saietta’s rigorous testing programme saw a fleet of two-, three- and four-wheeled demonstrator vehicles retrofitted with the AFT. The scooters, motorcycles, rickshaws, last-mile delivery vehicles and micro-cars have all helped to highlight the versatility and reliability of the AFT e-motor. Following rigorous testing on the 20 miles of private roads at Saietta’s location in Oxfordshire, the AFT has been fully optimised for the lightweight EV spectrum.

Another pain point for EV manufacturers is motor and controller integration. Saietta addressed this by developing the AFT to be integrated with a broad range of off-the-shelf controllers. In fact, every vehicle in the AFT test fleet uses a different controller, further demonstrating the adaptability of the e-motor. A flexible in-house controller is also under development.

With the AFT now in low volume production, Saietta’s engineering team is finalising the development of a new, high-voltage variant intended for high-performance vehicles.

Wicher Kist, Chief Executive of Saietta Group plc, commented: “Saietta is intent on helping the world go further, accelerating toward a cleaner, more sustainable and prosperous future. We recognise just how critical accessible electrification for lightweight vehicles will be in achieving these aims and we are addressing key market challenges by developing new, leading-edge electric propulsion technologies. Our AFT motors are compact and light while delivering high torque and efficiency at low voltage. This will enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce the required battery size for a given range and, in turn, use less rare materials in their construction.

“Specifically designed for highly automated production, our AFT motors are intended to make lightweight EV adoption more viable by reducing total vehicle cost. They are incredibly versatile and easily integrated into vehicle platforms. By providing the e-mobility solutions of today, we are building momentum towards a more sustainable, electrified tomorrow.”

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