Saietta and HCLTech co-develop cost-effective VCU for LEVs in Asia

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Saietta Group plc, the British electric drivetrain (eDrive) specialist, has completed the development of an all-new Vehicle Control Unit (VCU), that has been co-developed with HCLTech specifically for three- and four-wheeled lightweight electric vehicles (LEVs) in Asia. The addition of the VCU to Saietta’s existing portfolio of motor, controller and transmission products enhances the company’s ability to provide OEMs with complete eDrive solutions that can be quickly and cost effectively tailored to specific applications.

The VCU will be manufactured in India by Saietta VNA, a joint venture between Saietta Group and Padmini VNA. The first units will be delivered as part of complete eDrive solutions to one of the largest three- and four-wheel LEV manufacturers in India. The eDrive supply arrangement, previously announced on 6th December 2022, will see a minimum of 80,000 complete systems delivered over the first five years of the agreement and deliveries are on track to commence in Q4 2023.

The partnership with HCLTech will enable the end-to-end development of a scalable, modular, safe and secure VCU architecture for LEVs, optimizing their operation and multiple other critical vehicle functions.

“As with all elements of our leading-edge eDrive solutions, the VCU is designed to be cost-effective for Asia and is highly modular,” said Tony Gott, Executive Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer, Saietta Group plc. “This allows our engineers to tailor the functionality precisely to a customer’s requirements and thereby deliver a competitive edge. Saietta seeks to work with the very best partners who have a proven track record of delivering insightful innovation at the required scale, on time, on cost and on quality and we view HCLTech clearly as such an industry leader. We are honoured to work alongside them and look forward to evolving this relationship and together helping clean up the air in mega-cities globally.”

A VCU is the ‘brain’ of a vehicle and they are standard components in cars to manage key vehicle systems such as torque control, battery energy management and regenerative braking. The VCU ensures that all these systems work in harmony in the most effective and safe manner.

Lightweight vehicles in Asia, such as rickshaws powered by internal combustion engines, have a simplistic electrical architecture, negating the need for a VCU. However, while LEVs bring many advantages to Asia, their electrical architecture is more complex, having to control functions such as how electrical energy is fed into the traction motors, managing the health of on-board batteries and optimising the charging process.

Saietta believes that future legislation and customer demand for a more refined driving experience will mean that VCUs become the norm in LEVs across Asia. The company therefore co-developed a highly modular VCU with HCLTech which can ultimately be set up to optimise the operation of a complete electric powertrain, managing the operation of the motor, controller, transmission, batteries, and the battery charging process as well as multiple other critical vehicle functions.

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Wesley Doyle is editor of Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Stadia. He has over two-decades experience in publishing during which time he has worked at some of the UK’s leading consumer magazine titles in the health and fitness and sport sectors. Wesley is also passionate about cycling and interested in alternative technologies, particularly in transportation, to achieve net zero.

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