E-mobility and Bonfiglioli? The Italian company is mainly related to off-road and wind power applications. But what we seen at the IAA gives the Bonfiglioli proposal new life among on-road applications. A new challenge already announced during our visit to the company HQ, EVO, in Bologna.
Can you take stock of Bonfiglioli e-mobility?
“E-Mobility at Bonfiglioli focuses on ePowertrain system integration, basing on proprietary technologies of all-in-one eDrive units, configured in several power and torque sizing,” Ottavi said. “All-in-one units include motor, inverter, reducer and DCDC converter, interfacing VCU, battery system BMS and auxiliaries supplied by own or clients partners. Bonfiglioli has embedded the capability to sizing the electrified powertrain system on off-highway and on-highway applications applying digital twins techniques, as functional and physical virtual model and simulations. System integration design is verified and validated at Bonfiglioli’s facilities on virtual (HIL) and physical test benches.”
How is Ennowing taking root among on-road applications?
“The product is an automotive derived, highly compact and price effective. Bonfiglioli doesn’t compete on passenger cars market, the main targets are last mile delivery applications, shuttle buses, urban vehicles and on road applications where a replacement of combustion engine on axles or PTOs for powering hydraulic circuits are needed.”
Is the ‘last mile’ a real development or one emphasized by some propaganda? How does Bonfiglioli view it?
“At a global level, the electric LCV market share is 2%, about four times less than for passenger cars. Even in advanced EV markets, the LCV share barely exceeds 12%. The economic case for electrifying LCVs is stronger than for cars in cases such as urban delivery since LCV fleets are driven intensively, often operate on predictable routes and can be charged at commercial depots China accounted for the largest number of LCVs sales in 2021 at 86 000, showing rapid growth consecutively for 2020 and 2021. Europe was the second-largest market with more than 60 000 electric LCV sales in 2021 and where sales have been quickly increasing. The vast majority of electric LCVs are BEVs, only a few PHEVs are sold in Europe. This may reflect that most electric LCVs are acquired for specific uses within fixed delivery areas and may not need an extended driving range. The average battery size of LCVs is 18% smaller than for passenger cars; this may be due predictable and shorter routes, or because total ownership and operation costs are key factors in fleet owner decisions to buy electric LCVs”.
What other products did you exhibit at the IAA?
“We showed integrated e-powertrains configured for electrifying both mechanical and hydrostatic transmission vehicles. 70kW and 120kW peak power e-systems operating @250-420Vdc.”
Could Bonfiglioli’s exploration of IoT, Big Data and sensor technology be the key to opening the door to the crowded automotive market?
“Bonfiglioli is focusing on Smart Sensors based on proprietary technologies for monitoring reducers and transmission systems and extract the relevant features for diagnosis and predictive maintenance by AI based algorithms. In such a way, Smart Sensors could be considered a completion of IoTwins project, as their design and information management exploit the same technical fundamentals, meaning Digital Twins methods and Big Data management. The availability of a complete technological package represents an opportunity to enlarge the presence of Bonfiglioli in mobility on-highway area, included automotive and light commercial vehicles.”
What about IoTwins?
“Awarded during the A&T 2021 virtual fair and supported by European funding from the Horizon 2020 plan, the IoTwins project, started in 2019 and of which Bonfiglioli is the leader, aims to create a “digital twin” based on big data, capable of virtually reproducing a production process and to evaluate all the possibilities for improvement. It’s designed for more precise, targeted applications capable of supporting an all-around improvement of the production process. The project has been completed in summer 2022 with full success. IoTwins implements a platform that provides services to 12 pilot test benches, and digitally reproduces a system (infrastructure, process, machine) together with its performance, creating digital twins that allow to model the system and its dynamics, to predict evolution and optimize operation, management and maintenance. IoTwins application cases are the simulations already performed and reproducible, provided for predictive diagnosis in the numerous areas of activity in which the industrial partners of the consortium operate, including the creation of a digital twin of a wind farm, but also in the field of machine tools for the production of automotive components, machines for the production of crankshafts and machines for the production of bottle caps.”