PRODRIVE / ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY / CASE STUDIES

CASE STUDIES

Prodrive Advanced Technology has worked with many different clients, in many different sectors on a wide variety projects using a range of skills here is just a selection.

Ford Tranist Plug In Hybrid (PHEV) prototype in London

AUTOMOTIVE : ELECTRIFICATION

FORD TRANSIT HYBRID

We helped Ford create the first Transit PHEV (Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicle).  We were responsible for the integration of the hybrid powertrain systems into an existing Transit platform without any modifications to the engine bay or load capacity.  We also built the first 20 vehicles, to near production standards for year long trials in London.  The vehicles were so good that, in the words of Mark Harvey, Ford director, Urban Electrified Van programme: “This trial is the first time Ford has given such early prototype vehicles to customers, and we’ve been able to incorporate their feedback directly into the production van.  The response has been overwhelmingly positive – operators don’t want to give them back.” 

 

AUTOMOTIVE : ELECTRIFICATION

VOLTA ELECTRIC TRUCK

We are working with Volta Trucks to help bring their zero emission, fully electric mid-sized truck to fruition as fast as possible. Volta is designing its city delivery vehicle from scratch to fully exploit the benefits of an electric powertrain; optimising its payload and creating a safer truck for urban roads.  We are currently building the first working prototype in our workshops ready for initial customer drives.

Volta Trucks Volta Zero  16 Tonne fully electric truck prototype
 
Commecial Jet Engine Close Up

AEROSPACE : ELECTRIFICATION

ROLLS ROYCE

We have been working with Rolls Royce to help them develop electric fuel pumps for their commercial jet engines.  The complex motor control software used an new architecture called FlexRay which allowed us to control the test rig motor using one, two or three phases.

 

DEFENCE : CHASSIS

NEW CHASSIS / SUSPENSION APPROACH

This programme, to investigate and develop a chassis/suspension system for military vehicles which require a paradigm shift in capability to meet future generation platform targets, was completed in just 78 days. Engineering feasibility was determined, issues were identified and consideration was given to factors such as occupant comfort and hardware scalability. The level of robustness achieved in the results was enough to justify the allocation of additional funding to progress the concept further. It is precisely this kind of funding go:no go milestone that demands the optimum combination of accurate yet timely information.

Military 8x8 Chassis and Suspension Simulation Virtual Model
 

AUTOMOTIVE : INTERIOR SYSTEMS

RANGE ROVER SV AUTBIOGRAPHY​

Prodrive designed and manufactured the rear centre console module for the Range Rover SVAutobiography. It is the most sophisticated interior system for a car ever created and features electrically deployable tray tables for both rear occupants, as well as a drinks chiller and all the controls for the in car entertainment system.  Prodrive manufactured up to 20 units a week and supplied them direct to the Range Rover production line.

 

AEROSPACE : POWER ELECTRONICS COOLING GALLERIES

As part of a project to develop a high power 70kW inverter for use in a commercial aircraft engines, we had to model both heat transfer and the fluid flow properties of the coolant, which in this case was aviation fuel.  The success of the modelling led us to design a complex cooling gallery that had to be manufactured through 3D laser sintering.

Aerospace Power Electronics Cooling Galleries CFD Simulation
 

AUTOMOTIVE : COMPLEX CONTROL SYSTEMS

ACTIVE AERO

We developed the electro-hydraulic control system for the most sophisticated active aero system on any road car.  The forces of up to 6000 N on the rear wing meant we had to look outside the automotive industry for suitable hydraulic systems. We subsequently manufactured this system and delivered them to the production line.  We are also working on further similar systems for other vehicle manufacturers.

 

MARINE : ELECTRO-MECHANICAL CONTROL

LAND ROVER BAR AMERICA'S CUP

We developed all the control systems for the Land Rover BAR America's Cup yacht.  Our hydraulic systems controlled the foils enabling Sir Ben Ainslie to precisely balance the boat to optimise its performance, we also the develop the control systems for the 'wing' (sail) and manufactured the electrical wiring harnesses to withstand the extreme wet and salty environment.

 

AUTOMOTIVE : CHASSIS

LARGE SUV MODELLING

We have created a virtual model of a well-known large SUV to perform kinematics and compliance testing, and various manoeuvres.  Using data from ‘real world’ vehicle testing the model, which incorporates the Cosin FTire tyre model, was tuned to achieve close correlation to physical results.  Model parameters that were tuned include bush stiffness, damping values, un-sprung mass, tyre pressure, top/bottom mounts and engine mount stiffness.  The model will be used by our customer to understand the vehicle performance and how to influence its behaviour in ride quality without adversely effecting handling.

 

This video shows how the vehicle reacts in three different manoeuvres.

 

AUTOMOTIVE : CHASSIS

BASE CHASSIS DEVELOPMENT

We designed and developed a new rear independent suspension system from concept to production for a major vehicle manufacturer. Its application was on six new premium vehicles across two platforms.  As part of the project, we identified a tier one production partner and set up a resident engineering team at the client from the early concept phase. We also designed, sourced and manufactured the prototypes and supported the build of the mule vehicle at our client’s premises.

Rear Indpendent Suspension System CAD Model
 
Silicon Carbide Multiport DC to DC Converter

MULTI-SECTOR : ELECTRIFICATION

MULTIPORT DC-DC CONVERTER

We developed a silicon carbide-based multiport DC-DC converter

which controls power flow between multiple energy sources.  Silicon carbide devices operate at a much higher frequency than equivalent silicon components with a significant reduction in switching losses. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the size of the magnetic components and has enabled the converter to a class leading efficiency of 98.7%, a gravimetric power density of 10.5kW/kg and a volumetric power density of 20kW/litre

 

AUTOMOTIVE : CHASSIS

ACTIVE CHASSIS SYSTEMS

Our Active Torque Dynamics (ATD) system has been applied to more than 20 vehicles ranging from high performance front, rear and four-wheel cars to SUVs and even a CAT six wheeler off highway dumper truck.  Our ATD system was the forerunner to the now commonly termed 'Torque Vectoring'.

CAT Six Wheeler off highway dumper truck Active Torque Dynamics
 

AUTOMOTIVE : INTERIOR SYSTEMS

VOLVO S90 ​EXCELLENCE

The Volvo S90 Excellence removes the front passenger seat to give the rear occupant optimal space and legroom.  Prodrive has created the lounge console which deploys a screen and has a lockable compartment.  The prototype was put through 15,000 cycles to prove its reliability has passed all crash testing and all the strict NVH targets set by Volvo.  Prodrive will also assemble the units at its headquarters in the UK

 

AUTOMOTIVE : POWERTRAIN

ASTON MARTIN VULCAN

We helped Aston Martin develop the 800 bhp V12 engine for the Aston Martin Vulcan, a limited edition track only car.  

We also built all 24 engines at our in house engine test and development centre.

Aston Martin Vulcan V12 800bhp engine build
 
Pandemic Open Source Ventialtor

MEDICAL : OPEN VENTILATOR SYSTEMS INITIATIVE

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prodrive took an original concept from Cambridge University' Whittle Laboratory and in just five weeks turned it into a full working prototype ready for production. 

 

With components from outside the medial supply chain, it can be brought to market far quicker and cheaper than the current range of commercially available ventilators. Prodrive also developed electronic and software designs from scratch.

Recognising exceptional examples of engineering in the service of society in the context of pandemic challenges, the project  has received The President's Special Awards for Pandemic Service from the Royal Academy Of Engineering.

 

CONSUMER PRODUCTS :

HUMMINGBIRD FOLDING BIKE

During original development Prodrive Advanced Technology provided lightbulb-to-finishline technical support, including Design For Manufacture, validation, manufacturing & assembly. Prodrive completed structural optimisation and analysis at both component and system level to help Hummingbird achieve its record-breaking mass.


Prodrive Advanced Technology is the assembly partner alongside Prodrive Composites as the manufacturer of the carbon fibre frames. Our Prodrive Ventures division has used their breadth of skills and experience to help establish Hummingbird as a game changer in the market with its simple but design-led solution for the urban cyclist.

Hummingbird Folding Bike
 
SUV With 4 Wheel Steer

AUTOMOTIVE : 4-WHEEL STEER SUV

An automotive OEM required a 4-wheel steering demonstrator vehicle of one of their luxury SUV for a director level review.

 

With a quick turnaround of just 6 weeks from brief to vehicle delivery, Prodrive designed components, fitted them and ensured the prototype was working to required specifications and prescribed legislative standards.

 

Achieving a 5.5m kerb to kerb turning circle, with no loss of wheel travel or rear seat space, the client was delighted that Prodrive exceeded the brief and their expectations for fit and finish.

 

AUTOMOTIVE : HIGH PERFORMANCE CONVERSION AUTO TO MANUAL

Asked to convert an OEM’s existing high performance V8 sports car with automatic AWD vehicle into a manual RWD version to create an “Ultimate Drivers Edition”, we integrated a new gearbox, along with the associated vehicle systems, defining and manufacturing new parts where required. 

Delivered ‘right-first time’, verified by the absence of any issues during the OEM’s extensive testing programme, the prototype had outstanding performance. As well as mechanical and electrical integration, Prodrive also revised the interior to production quality finish, all in twelve weeks.

Manual Gear Lever Conversion
 
Hypercar Hydraulic System beingn built in a clean room

AUTOMOTIVE : HYDRAULICS

HYPERCAR ACTIVE AERO SYSTEMS

A hypercar manufacturer needed to develop their existing design into a fully working electro-hydraulic system but had extremely tight space constraints and deadlines. Prodrive designed and manufactured the electrical harnesses to suit mechanical integration using our on-site clean room.

A working prototype allowing the progression of the Hypercar’s overall testing schedule was manufactured to work robustly within extreme temperatures, vibration, and pressures. Subsequent versions of the design have been developed and delivered as various prototype iterations of the Hypercar have been evolved

AUTOMOTIVE : HYBRID-ELECTRIC OIL MANAGEMENT INTEGRATION

Spun out of Castrol’s Innovation Hub, Nexcel operates as an exciting start-up business in its own right. Having developed the technology principles, Nexcel needed Prodrive’s assistance in integrating its hybrid-electric oil management system into vehicles to demonstrate the technology to OEMs.

Prodrive has completed the successful initial integration of the Nexcel product into both Nexcel’s own demonstrator vehicle, a Toyota Prius Hybrid. further integrations into several different OEM's vehicles. Each project requires bespoke integration given the complexity of the engine bay differences between OEMs, and even from model to model.

Nexcel Oil Change System in Hybrid Car
 
 
48v DC to DC Converter

POWER ELECTRONICS :

WORLD'S FIRST 48V DC-DC CONVERTER

With the dramatic projected growth in 48V systems, Prodrive has used its extensive experience in power electronics, to create the world's  first 48V-12 V DC-DC converter to meet the latest ISO21780 standards, thus enabling mild hybrid systems on cars.

The architecture of the unit can be modified to include additional digital inputs/outputs or to change the housing to suit a particular application in a vehicle, boat or aircraft.

 

AUTOMOTIVE :

ACTIVE SUSPENION TECHNOLOGY

In order for ClearMotion's active suspension technology to be fitted to various OEMs’ models as demonstrators, various original arm and stabiliser bar assemblies needed redesigning to accomodate the new parts. Prodrive were drafted in to redesign and fit the OEM parts without compromising their existing performance levels.

A CAE study in Hypermesh® and CAD interpretations were used to create functional, manufacturable parts for both front and rear suspension on several vehicles. Designed, manufactured and fitted all at Prodrive's single facility, ClearMotion have been able to demonstrate the benefits and further develop their products.

ClearMotion Active Suspension Technology