You seldom hear about BorgWarner, but the chances are the car you are driving now uses components made by the Michigan-based company, which is one of the largest Tier One suppliers to the auto industry. As the EV revolution gathers steam, BorgWarner is developing today many of the components that will be used in the electric cars of tomorrow.
New technology always works great in the lab, but it needs to be subjected to real world testing to make sure it will work great outside the lab as well. When BorgWarner went looking for a vehicle to serve as an R&D test bed, it could have chosen the ubiquitous Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. Instead, it chose the Ariel Nomad.
When cars are used for racing, a roll cage is fitted inside the body to protect the driver from impacts and rollovers. Ariel makes vehicles that dispense with the body altogether. They are the roll cage, with the wheels and driveline bolted to it. For BorgWarner, the Arial Nomad is ideal because it makes it easy to install and remove components for testing. It also makes it easy to observe those components while in use.
The modified Ariel Nomad is crammed full of high tech electric car parts, from motors and gearboxes to DC/DC inverters, battery cooling systems, and experimental battery packs. “Our new high-voltage demonstration vehicle illustrates BorgWarner’s leadership in electrification and gives us a fantastic tool to showcase our extensive capabilities, collaborate with industry partners and evaluate BorgWarner’s current and future technology at a system-level,” says Hakan Yilmaz, the company’s chief technology officer, in a press release.
“We will continue to embrace projects such as this EV demonstration vehicle that help us validate next generation products and, ultimately, propel the industry toward a cleaner, more energy efficient world.”
Cascadia Motion, a wholly owned subsidiary of BorgWarner, developed the rear wheel drive system, which features two BorgWarner High Voltage Hairpin 250 electric motors and eGearDrive transmissions. With a separate motor powering each rear wheel and the ability to select how much regenerative braking each contributes during deceleration, new levels of vehicle control are possible. Not only can the direction of the vehicle be controlled by the steering wheel, it can also be influenced by the torque vectoring available from the innovative drivetrain.
BorgWarner is also exploring advanced battery and inverter cooling technologies via its joint venture with Romeo Power, a leading-technology battery pack and module supplier. That collaboration allows for the testing of different battery configurations and validate particular battery pack applications for specific vehicle goals or driving experiences.
The modified Ariel Nomad is completely impractical for any normal driving situation. That doesn’t mean I don’t want one.