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Top producers of electric cars bring their best to expo

2013-05-24 16:41 China Daily     Web Editor: qindexing comment
The Quicc electric vehicle from SinoEV is on display at the expo. [Photo/China Daily]

The Quicc electric vehicle from SinoEV is on display at the expo. [Photo/China Daily]

Zhongguancun's leading companies in the electric vehicle industry will flex their technical muscle at this year's China Beijing International High-Tech Expo.

Beijing National Battery Technology Co Ltd, a subsidiary of State Power Group Co, has a team with 15 years of experience in battery development and a nearly 20-year history of technological cooperation with international counterparts.

The company specializes in the development of high-capacity soft-package lithium iron phosphate battery cells. It is the only manufacturer in the country that produces these on a mass scale, said the company's deputy general manager Zhang Shaoyong.

To improve safety, soft-package battery cells are wrapped in a special membrane instead of a metal shell. They are designed to merely split open in the event of a severe impact, whereas their metal counterparts are prone to explosion, Zhang explained.

Soft-package batteries are also smaller in size, less expensive and have a longer life, he said.

The company offers a product quality guarantee of eight years or 300,000 kilometers.

Last year, the company completed a production line capable of producing batteries with a total combined charging capacity of 50 million ampere hours. It is still building a new plant with annual capacity of producing 300 million AH worth of batteries. It is expected to start trial operations by the end of this year.

The company's products have been installed on cars in some pilot cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Zhang said that future strategy of State Power Group is "to provide optimized overall energy solutions to entire cities" that will integrate green power stations, alternative-energy cars and charging facilities in residential communities.

Jing-Jin Electric, the largest automotive traction electric motor manufacturer in China, now has clients worldwide, including automakers and powertrain system integrators.

It has developed a 150-kilowatt class magnet motor for traction applications, the world's most powerful. It is capable of accelerating an electric car from zero to 100 km per hour in less than six seconds.

The motor has been installed on the Fisker Karma, a plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan developed by the US car company Fisker Automotive.

Recently, the company signed one of the world's largest contracts in automotive traction motors with another leading US automaker, providing it with 30,000 motors a year.

The export of motors to international auto giants "shows the capacity of the company and represents a breakthrough for China's domestically made products", said Cai Wei, founder and general manager of the company.

Another model developed by JJE has the highest torque nationwide. It is expected to seize a 15 percent share of the nation's electric bus market, said Yang Xixian, the company's operation executive.

The company also has a motor reliability testing system, which has the world's highest installed power.

Because of its high power density, the JJE will "remain an industry leader at least in the next two or three years".

"Electrification is a trend in the automobile industry," he said. "One day the motors will take the place of combustion engines."

But he noted that safety and reliability will still be challenges for the industry.

In addition to the National Battery and the JJE, which concentrate on one particular core part of the electric car, Beijing SinoEV Tech Co has a wider focus on overall solutions for the electric car industry, including batteries, motors and control systems.

Wang Shiming, vice-president and head of the R&D arm of the company, said the current development of electric vehicles faces four great challenges - increasing range, reducing charging times, lengthening battery life and addressing safety concerns.

The company has so far designed 10 models of electric vehicles targeted at various markets. It has integrated its R&D plans with marketing operations and has also developed proprietary technologies and standards to optimize the systems in cars.

One of the company's innovations is a bifilar-winding motor and controller system. Combining two motors in one, the system "is like giving two hearts to a car while reducing weight and cost, and improving safety", Wang explained.

He said that the idea has been used in submarines, and SinoEV is the first company in the nation to use it for cars. The system can be installed on buses or station wagons.

In 2012 SinoEV acquired the Dutch electric car developer DuraCar, which designed a multifunctional car named the Quicc that won the award for best purely electric car at the 2008 Paris Motorshow.

The lightweight Quicc can run up to 220 km after one full charge and consumes less than 12 kilowatt-hours of electricity to travel 100 km. It has a theoretical maximum speed of 170 km/h, Wang said.

The company is planning to introduce the model to the Chinese market.

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