KEB supports e-mobility - from race cars to buses

Future engineers have built an electrically driven racing car for Formula Student. For the Speeding Scientists Siegen Racing Team (S3), KEB Automation is supporting the vehicle drive of the future: e-mobility in the endurance test. But how does this relate to auxiliary power drives for buses?

Kuno Winkelheide, KEB Applications Engineer in the field of e-mobility, says: "At the Hannover Fair 2012, we sealed our co-operation with a handshake. At that time, the young engineers of the University of Siegen in Germany came to the KEB stand in search of suitable inverters for its electric racing car. Of course, we were happy to help out with the products and technical advice."

A few weeks ago, the 2019 Formula Student car was unveiled by the students - christened Molly. Initially, KEB's F5 drives were used, but now the team uses KEB Combivert H6 drives. The advantage of the H6 drive is its modular design, which also makes it a pioneer for KEB's recently launched Combivert T6 APD (Auxiliary Power Drives) e-mobility system. Winkelheide adds: "This allows the S3 Racing Team to adapt the size of the inverter drives to the requirements of an electric racing car."

Consequently the components can be installed where there is space. Enthusiastic about the performance of the young engineers, Winkelheide comments: "To place four times 75 kilowatts in a 'small shoe box' is already an exciting accomplishment by the students."

Transfer of knowledge

KEB is wholeheartedly supporting the S3 racing car team. Winkelheide says: "Of course, racing cars fascinate many people, but for us, it is also an important connection to science." In addition to the transfer of knowledge, several of the engineers of the first S3 team now work at KEB in the area of control and automation.

And it is precisely this that the new e-mobility system for auxiliary power drives in commercial vehicles benefits from. The former racing engineers are now part of the development team for the Combivert T6 APD. In this way, fully electric or hybrid buses, excavators and transporters are already being operated using racing know-how.

In addition, the close co-operation with the S3 team is also exciting for the KEB students and apprentices. At the latest presentation, the roll-out of the new e-Racer, they got a glimpse behind the scenes. This meant they had the chance - apart from their daily work - to see what science projects can involve: the creation of a new racing car in 12 months.

The Formula Student races will take place in various categories from 5 to 11 August 2019 at the Hockenheimring in southern Germany. For more information visit

The drive of the future

The Combivert T6 APD from KEB Automation is a modular, scalable combined drive and controller system for hybrid and electric vehicles. The system can be adapted to suit specific customer requirements and associated drive functions, particularly applications in wholly or partly electrified trams, buses, trains, agricultural and construction vehicles, and light commercial vehicles (LCVs).

In urban transport, conventional vehicles consume up to 30 per cent of the energy purely for the auxiliary drives and so the potential for energy savings is significant. Converting to electric auxiliary drives means improved energy efficiencies and greater controllability. Various applications on the vehicle can be controlled individually (eg power-on-demand) and therefore more efficiently, while optimising processes to meet the precise needs of the vehicle. This can lead to significant reductions in vehicle noise and CO2 emissions.

Regardless of whether energy is produced or provided by diesel generators, fuel cells, battery packs or supercapacitors, the Combivert T6 APD offers a connection or adaptation facility to suit all vehicle energy sources. This means auxiliary drive components such as air conditioning, air compressors, hydraulic pumps, power take-off/shaft substitutes and ventilators can be decoupled from the internal combustion engine (main drive) and installed in the most cost-effective or mechanically favourable position on the vehicle.

The capabilities of the T6 APD controller are efficient, on-demand adjustment of voltage, current and frequency in up to six drive/motor axes. The T6 APD controls all types of electric motor, providing automatic motor identification. The controller provides excellent shaft performance, dynamic speed and torque control, as well as a variety of control algorithms, including open-loop control and SCL (sensorless-closed-loop) for synchronous and asynchronous (A.SCL) motors.

For more information on the Combivert H6 or T6 APD, go to

KEB (UK) Ltd

5 Morris Close
Park Farm Industrial Estate

+44 (0)1933 402220

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