Engineering firm Zytek has developed an electric version of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
Designed to demonstrate the capability of the company’s proven, production-ready 55kW E-Drive electric powertrain, the A-Class application provides ‘plug-and-play’ functionality, with the motor, inverter and control electronics integrated into a single unit.
Zytek does not plan to mass-produce an electric A-Class, but completed the project to show how easily its electric powerplants can be developed for car manufacturers.
The complete assembly fits neatly onto the existing engine mounting points with just three additional connections (water, high voltage electrics and low voltage electrics) and will interface with all existing vehicle systems.
For the A-Class demonstrator, a new version of the proven 55kW E-Drive was developed, using a higher current switching system to increase the maximum torque from 120Nm to 160Nm. Zytek also increased the maximum motor speed from 12,000rpm to 13,000rpm to provide a top speed of 70mph whilst providing sufficient torque to ensure good low speed performance and the ability to comfortably climb steep gradients.
Power is provided by two air-cooled sodium nickel chloride battery packs, neatly integrated under the floor of the vehicle so they don’t compromise luggage space or vehicle stability. Range is expected to exceed 120miles in a typical mixed drive cycle and the level of regenerative braking can be easily calibrated to match customer requirements for driveability and refinement.
Zytek Automotive sales and marketing director Steve Tremble said: “One of the reasons for building the demonstrator was to show the flexibility of the high torque 55kW E-Drive in vehicles up to1700kg,” he says. “This is a very nice car to drive, with performance and refinement that comfortably meets users expectations.”
Taking a vehicle like this into manufacture would be relatively simple, says Tremble. “The E-Drive has been designed with homologation in mind, and the modular nature of the unit, with the small number of fixings, means that it can be simply installed on the production line alongside conventional power units. We are already managing this process for one premium manufacturer.”