Bentley Motors, together with other innovative UK companies, has entered into a new initiative called “Optimised Components, Test and simulatiOn, toolkits for Powertrains which integrate Ultra high-speed motor Solutions”— OCTOPUS, in short. The three-year research study promises to transform electric vehicle powertrains by using a fully integrated, rare-earth magnet-less e-axle that supports electric vehicle architectures. The project reinforces Bentley’s ambition to lead sustainable luxury mobility and introduce the first fully electric Bentley by 2026.
OCTOPUS follows initial 18-month research that delivered a technological breakthrough in electric drive systems for high-performance vehicles. The resulting electric drive system exceeded the latest available permanent magnet motor performance while also removing the need to use rare-earth magnets and copper windings. This resulted in a package that is both cost-effective and recyclable at the end of its life.
The OCTOPUS project is set to add next-generation materials, manufacturing processes, simulation, and test cycles to deliver an e-axle powertrain with unique levels of integration and revolutionary performance characteristics suitable for real-world application by 2026—the same time the first fully electric Bentley comes out.
“We have made no secret of our ambition to lead the way in the delivery of sustainable luxury mobility, Beyond100. We have a clear roadmap to offer a hybrid option for every model by 2023, starting with the Bentayga Hybrid, and our next goal moves towards a fully electric Bentley by 2026. However, there remains challenges and package constraints on the viability and flexibility of electric vehicle powertrains that are able to fully support EV architectures. With the industry, technologies, and cars changing faster than ever before, research projects such as OCTOPUS are crucial to deliver innovative technologies and overcome challenges for the next generation of mobility solutions,” said Stefan Fischer, Director of Powertrain Engineering at Bentley Motors.
The prototype e-axle will be manufactured by Advanced Electric Machines, a motor manufacturing and systems assembly company that is part of the OCTOPUS project, and will be tested to OEM Design Verification standards as developed by the University of Bath—another project participant—and Bentley Motors. This ensures that the e-axle that emerges from OCTOPUS is ready to be considered for use in a vehicle program.
With the OCTOPUS project, Bentley Motors is adopting cutting-edge technologies while still embracing fine craftsmanship that relies on skills that have been handed down through generations.
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