Altair develops simulation technologies that allow OEMs to accelerate next generation mobility solutions development. Known for its 3D applications, its products help to match the vehicle development phase, allowing to improve designs and enhance the efficiency of productions. R Srikanth, Senior Director, Altair India, speaking to APF, believes that electromobility is an inevitable future of the auto industry and with the pace at which it is moving, it is important to reduce the time spent in production cycles, while ensuring safety and preformance.
What makes electromobility different from fossil fuel powered mobility?
When it comes to electromobility, the requirements are complex. The end customer will be looking at ‘range’ as an important criteria in his decision making. The OEMs will have to address this via parameters like lightweighting, thermal management, embedded systems and system efficiency.
One major difference with electromobility is that it is multiphysics and multidomain in nature. By that we mean, you no longer can look at powertrain separately and structure separately as with conventional vehicles. The vehicle or system has to be taken has a whole and studied. Traction motors call for electrical engineering while structures call for mechanical engineering and these have to work together. The second major difference is the importance of control systems (predominantly electronics and embedded system software) that is going to ensure efficient and safe operation of the vehicle. This not only influences one system but has a multi-system effect. For example, a thermal management system for batteries may simply indicate it controls the temperature of the batteries but it cannot work in isolation. It has to interface with BMS and other cross systems. A simpler example would be a hybrid vehicle where there are two powertrains and there is a need for supervisory control to decide when to activate the electric and when to activate the IC engine. The third major difference is the importance of connectedness to be future ready and to improve customer experience. Altair has invested and will continue to invest in platforms and solutions to enable IoT in the context of electromobility. Altair Carriots Analytics is the IoT platform and we can help build customised apps to satisfy customer requirements.
What impact will electrification have on the industry in general?
Electrification of personal mobility is really disruptive and it affects not only the OEMs but also the tier 1 and tier 2 suppliers. It is anticipated that, unlike in conventional vehicles, EVs will be more a of supplier game than an OEM game.
With conventional vehicles, servicing was an important touch point for OEMs with the customer and this can disappear in the physical sense and move to a virtual space. Government and future industry policies will decide whether this will boost employment as several components will be redundant.
Overall, there will be a lot more collaboration and co-ordination with more players in the ecosystem.
As companies are moving towards BS VI, is there still any need for electrification?
Electrification is not a switch that one can turn on. It is a gradual adoption process. You cant have all fossil fuel vehicles now and then start driving EVs the next day. BS-VI not only looks at the vehicle, but also the fuel which is a good thing.
The importance for need for alternatives cannot be underrated. The end customer should have a choice and it is the duty of the government and the industry to be technology neutral and open in instances such as this. Electrification is another opportunity for India to give importance to design and develop areas such as materials engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, and chemical engineering.
How can product optimisation help the move towards electromobility?
Our solutions enable optimisation throughout the development cycle, empowering design teams to create innovative solutions that meet the challenges of e-mobility vehicle development. Engineers can produce rigorously accurate development lifecycle models that integrate virtual testing and validation requirements, all while fostering multi-disciplinary team work. Taking dynamic interactions into account enables the use of feasibility studies to explore system architecture with multiple configurations. With solutions for light weight architecture starting even before CAD is ready; body and chassis design solutions to enhance safety, perceived quality and energy efficiency; solutions for powertrain electrification / hybridisation and meeting EMC requirements; solution for system modeling and smart control, Altair is helping design the future of e-mobility.