Mumbai: Vitesco Technologies, a leading international supplier of advanced powertrain technologies and solutions for e-mobility, is presenting a world premiere at EICMA 2023 (November 9-12, press and trade visitor days on November 7-8): The M-Two electric SSV (side-by-side vehicle) by German manufacturer Mandrill, one of the pioneers in the e-off-road market. The demo vehicle – a prototype that is already being used for test drives – is powered by the highly integrated electric axle drive EMR3 (3rd generation Electronics Motor Reducer), which Vitesco Technologies has already put into series production in more than 20 passenger car vehicles by European and Asian manufacturers since 2019. The all-wheel-drive vehicle uses one EMR3 each on the front and rear axles. Another component from the passenger car sector is the PDCU (Powertrain Domain Control Unit), which the two-wheeler and powersport specialists at Vitesco Technologies have further developed for use in the M-Two. The company anticipates significant growth in electric off-road vehicles such as SSVs and also UTVs (Utility Task Vehicles), which are SSVs where the main focus is utility.
“Based on the many talks we are having with customers regarding electrification in the powersports sector, we expect a strong increase in demand for electric drives in this segment,” said Torsten Bellon, Head of the 2-Wheeler & Powersports product line at Vitesco Technologies. In the development of solutions for the two-wheeler or off-road segment, he adds, the company has the considerable advantage of having access to in-house automotive products. “And when adaptations or further developments are required, our more than two decades of expertise in two-wheeler and powersports applications really comes into play,” Bellon said. “We are pleased to present Mandrill’s M-Two, the first application of the EMR3 in the off-road segment. It is impressive proof that our automotive background enables us to serve the growing global demand for electrification in this market, which is especially large in North America, with ready-to-use, proven solutions. We are also considering giving our customers access to individual ´ components of the e-machine for future EMR generations.”
Compact, powerful, and robust axle drive
The EMR3 is a compact, lightweight unit that consists of a permanent magnet synchronous motor, power electronics (inverter) and a reduction gear (reducer). This scalable electric drive mobilizes up to 150 kW of power and a torque of up to 2,900 Nm, weighs only 76 kilograms, and its dimensions (40 x 35 x 55 cm) are barely larger than a piece of carry-on luggage. The highly integrated system does not need any internal plugs or cables when connecting the motor and inverter, which also contributes to its robustness.
The automotive axle drive was integrated in the M-Two with no modification required. For this purpose, the off-road specialists at Vitesco Technologies further developed the PDCU control unit to allow the software integration of the EMR3 in SSV applications. Here, the PDCU serves as an interface box containing full functionality and can be adapted to the specific purpose of the off-road vehicle. Compared with their use in passenger cars, the software adaptations required included the development of special algorithms, for example for torque management. Since two EMR3s are used in the M-Two, CAN communication between the PDCU, the two motors and the battery is very complex.
100 km/h in 2.3 seconds and sights set on the Dakar Rally
Mandrill Automotive GmbH develops high-performance electric SSV vehicles for industrial and powersport applications. The forerunner of the M-Two is the prototype M-One, which has been in use as a test and promotion vehicle since mid-2021 and received road approval in May 2022. “Mandrill is pleased to have Vitesco Technologies, one of the leaders in electric drive systems and components, on board. Together we will set a milestone in the completely new segment of electric SSV and UTV vehicles,” said Heiko Bölstler, CEO of Mandrill. “Our vehicles are designed to perform in tough conditions in extreme terrain, whether at minus 30 degrees in a ski resort equipped with a track set, in the desert at 45 degrees, or climbing vast inclines with a full load. The best components on the market were selected for this, and these include the Vitesco Technologies’ EMR3 unit.”
Unlike conventional SSVs the M-Two does not need a drive belt because both axles are driven directly by an EMR3. The all-wheel drive vehicle therefore also provides its maximum output of 150 kW in pure rear-wheel drive. The total torque of 5.800 Nm catapults it to 100 km/h in 2.3 seconds (top speed: 135 km/h). The 43 kWh battery (400 volts) provides a range of up to 300 kilometers and can be charged to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
The waterproof off-roader (to IP67/69 standard) will initially be launched in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. From 2025, Mandrill plans to market the vehicle worldwide, including in North America, the main market for SSVs. The company has also received inquiries from teams who would like to deploy the M-Two in the Dakar Rally.
Vitesco Technologies is a leading international developer and manufacturer of cutting-edge drive systems for sustainable mobility. With intelligent system solutions and components for electric, hybrid, and internal combustion drive systems, Vitesco Technologies is making mobility clean, efficient, and affordable. The product portfolio includes electric drives, electronic controls, sensors and actuators, and exhaust gas treatment solutions. In 2022, Vitesco Technologies generated sales of €9.07 billion and employs a workforce of around 38,000 employees at 50 locations. Vitesco Technologies is headquartered in Regensburg, Germany.