Retrofitting of current ICE-powered vehicles with cleaner sources of power is one of the ways companies are meeting their commitment to sustainability. CVW reports on one business which is doing just that.
Quattro Plant Ltd is one of the UK’s leading cross-sector plant hire companies and, like many organisations operating a fleet, is committed to reducing carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. One of the ways it is looking to achieve this reduction is the retrofitting of existing vehicles to be cleaner and greener.
One such vehicle was a road sweeper where the diesel engine was being swapped out to be replaced with an EV powertrain consisting of high voltage (HV) motors and inverters and the associated power electronics. As part of the conversion a complete EV cooling loop was required.
Quattro Plant’s in-house R&D department initially contacted Technical Services as a component provider for the cooling loop. This opened the opportunity for Technical Services to share its expertise in the design of complete cooling systems and to work in collaboration with Quattro on the wider cooling loop.
By working at a system level, with collaboration from both engineering teams, Technical Services was able to understand more about the application. One of the main drivers was the cooling loop needed to work with non-conductive dielectric coolant. This was achieved by integrating a range of premium components including the pump – a keystone to the cooling loop – that had been subjected to enhanced durability testing, specifically with dielectric coolants.
Dielectric coolant is a non-conductive heat transfer fluid. It is specifically used to flood the high voltage high current internal areas of components that need to be thermally managed to take the heat away without causing a short. Therefore, careful application engineering was needed due to the wide changes in coolant viscosity when using a dielectric oil versus a glycol-based coolant.
The cooling system schematics and CAD drawings, defining the architecture and component selection for the cooling loop was approved. For ease of installation the complete cooling loop was supplied to Quattro Plant with semi-constructed sections and components to speed up installation.
Technical Services collaborated closely with the engineers throughout the project and helped supervise the installation process.
The cooling loop was successfully installed and provided the required solution enabling the engineers to seamlessly convert the road sweeper vehicle from diesel to battery electric. Retrofitting the vehicle proved to be a cost-effective and efficient way of upgrading the road sweeper to be compliant with Clean Air Zones and Ultra Low Emission Zones where charges apply for diesel vehicles. Testing and validation of the vehicle has been carried out with excellent results and positive feedback from drivers.
Working at a system level gave Technical Services insight into the performance range of individual components and the combinations of components in different configurations. This included everything from looking at the architecture and layout to the power and control strategies. By successfully balancing the cooling system Technical Services achieved the desired outcome for the application ticking all the boxes for efficiency, durability, and performance.