Bentley Octopus study aims to revolutionise the future of electric mobility

By JAY WONG | 7 August 2020

LONDON: Bentley Motor has announced that it is embarking on a three-year study to help transform the landscape of electric-vehicle powertrains.

The aim of the study is to move away from the reliance of rare-earths and instead employ a more recyclable system for sustainable mobility - especially since the company looks to introduce a fully-electric Bentley by 2026.

“We have made no secret of our ambition to lead the way in the delivery of sustainable luxury mobility, Beyond100. We have a clear roadmap to offer a hybrid option for every model by 2023, starting with the Bentayga Hybrid, and our next goal moves towards a fully electric Bentley by 2026," said Bentley Motors powertrain engineering director Stefan Fischer.

The study has been dubbed Octopus (Optimised Components, Test and simulatiOn, toolkits for Powertrains which integrate Ultra high-speed motor Solutions).

This follows on from an initial 18-month investigation that delivered a technological breakthrough in electric drive systems for high-performance vehicles.

OCTOPUS e-axle - 02

It was found that the electric drive system managed to exceed the latest permanent magnet motor performance without using rare-earth magnets and copper windings - making it cost-effective and recyclable at the end of its life.

The British ultra-luxury coachbuilder, along with OCTOPUS will take this leading-edge motor, power electronics and packaging transmission design, adding next-generation materials, manufacturing processes, simulation and test cycles to deliver a full e-axle powertrain with unique levels of integration and revolutionary performance characteristics suitable for real-world application by 2026.

“With the industry, technologies and cars changing faster than ever before, research projects such as Octopus are crucial to deliver innovative technologies and overcome challenges for the next generation of mobility solutions,” added Fischer.

Octopus is an Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) funded project delivered in partnership with Innovate UK which brings together the following partners with distinct roles and responsibilities:

  • Bentley Motors – Specification setting, vehicle integration plan and system test

  • Advanced Electric Machines Ltd – Motor manufacturing and systems assembly

  • Advanced Electric Machines Research Ltd – Motor and transmission design

  • The Thinking Pod Innovations Ltd & Nottingham University – Power electronics optimisation and alternative wide-bandgap system design

  • The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) at the University of Bath – Integrated system analysis and proof of concept validation testing

  • HiETA Technologies Ltd – AM component design and manufacture for thermal management including stator core housing, power electronics and E-axle oil cooling

  • FD Sims Ltd – Next-generation wire technology development

  • Talga Technologies Ltd – 2D materials development for next-generation winding technologies

  • Diamond Light Source – UK’s national synchrotron light source providing access to X-ray facilities for measurements

  • Hartree Centre (Science and Technology Facilities Council) – Advanced system testing and co-simulation toolkit development