Powering the future

Potenza is the UK electric vehicle battery research
and development centre for FPT Industrial.

Visit Potenza Technology

About Potenza Technology

Potenza Technology is the UK electric vehicle battery research and development centre for FPT Industrial, a brand of CNH Industrial, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles.

Based in Coventry, Potenza has been established for over 20 years and is at the forefront of electric vehicle design, research and development. They have extensive experience in the design, build and integration of high voltage systems and batteries for automotive applications, across a range of industry sectors including automotive, motorsport, marine and aerospace.

The Potenza contribution to the Aura project has been to provide an electrified spaceframe chassis, carrying two high energy batteries and the electric motor propulsion and control system. In addition, Potenza has provided an innovative single wire distributed lighting and low voltage power management system utilising power line carrier (PLC) technology.

Key Areas of Expertise

High Voltage Batteries

Potenza has developed two bespoke
44kWh batteries for Aura.

Battery Management Systems (BMS)

The fifth generation of the Potenza BMS
offers multipack control.

Powertrain Control Module (PCM)

The Potenza PCM operates powertrain control.

Power Line Carrier Technology

An innovative single wire distributed lighting and low voltage power management system utilising power line carrier (PLC) technology.

Powering Aura

Battery architecture

System Voltage:                      500V

System Power:                        88kWh (44kWh each battery)

Cell Voltage:                            4.2V

Cell Size Code:                        18650

Cell Chemistry:                        Lithium

BMS:                                         5th Gen Potenza BMS

Charge type:                            22kW Portable off car charger

Charge port:                            CCS2

Charge time:                            4 hours

Range:                                      > 400 miles

From design to vehicle
Battery design

The chassis selected for Aura had restrictive space requirements. To pack enough cells (almost 8000) into the vehicle, meant splitting the battery into two independent packs (44kwh each); one in the undertray of the vehicle and one in the engine bay.

Potenza designed both in-house, using 18650 cylindrical cells. The undertray pack spans the full lower chassis area, aiming to maximise the usable space while minimising height, to maintain ground clearance. The engine bay pack is a unique shape located at the front of the vehicle.

When calculating the makeup of the battery, the cells must be arranged in series and parallel. By connecting the cells in series, we increase the voltage of the battery, the number of cells in parallel impacts the capacity. A desired voltage and capacity of 500V and 44kWh was set, and the cells were configured to meet this target. By connecting the two battery packs in parallel we maintain the voltage, which is optimal for inverter and motor selected, while doubling the capacity, thereby increasing the range.

Battery build

Having designed the batteries and procured the parts, the build can begin. In the design process the manufacturing team are engaged to discuss practicalities around access of the battery internals, whether HV tooling can be used, securing wiring and suitability of fasteners. This ensures when we reach the building phase, there aren’t any unforeseen difficulties in assembly or removal in service.

Using cylindrical cells compared to pre-assembled modules requires a lot of welding, around 16,000 welds in fact, but with an in-house pulsed arc welder and time, the necessary modules are made. It is important care is applied in high voltage assembly, not just for the obvious safety implications, but also because if one cell is shorted it becomes redundant.

Battery commissioning

After the pack is built we must ensure it has been assembled to our manufacturing standards. In the commissioning process, we test each physical part of the battery to confirm it is working as expected. A short discharge test is completed to check pack function and confirm that energy can be taken out of the pack.

This includes checking: contactors, balance resistors, wiring, sensors (e.g. temperature and current) and CAN communications.

Once commissioned, the next step is vehicle level testing and commissioning. This involves testing at a multi-pack level within the vehicle system.

Controlling Aura

With a dual battery pack architecture in the vehicle, the battery management system (BMS) must ensure safe, coordinated control. The purpose of a BMS is primarily to ensure safe operation of the battery system. In addition, it maintains a measure of battery State of Charge and Health, while controlling maximum charge and discharge currents to prolong life.

The consequences of battery failure can be catastrophic. As such, the BMS is designed with a high level of functionality safety and integrity. Much functional safety work is done on high voltage batteries to put the relevant controls in place, that mitigate the risks identified and meet the safety goals. The Potenza BMS achieves Automotive Safety Integrity Level C (ASIL C).

Potenza’s electronic control units and development processes are designed for high safety integrity. Naturally, this includes powertrain control. The powertrain control module (PCM) serves as exactly that: controlling the powertrain. It monitors many inputs and outputs for the vehicle, from torque requests to pump and fan control.

Powertrain Control Module (PCM)

The powertrain controller integrates all of the systems to operate together. Optimising efficiency and translating driver inputs into control demands to the vehicle powertrain systems.

The Potenza PCM includes independent overseer functionality to manage undemanded acceleration events.

Battery Management System (BMS)

- Flexible software and hardware architecture supports multi-pack arrangements
- Up to 850V per pack systems supported
- Fail safe shutdown on loss of supply
- ASIL C integrity with safety software functions partitioned from customer application code (software developed in Mathworks Simulink)
- UDS, XCP and CAN bootloading supported

Power Line Carrier Technology

- Intelligent modules are distributed around the vehicle
- Solid state switch/fusing with software logic control
- Reduced wiring redundancy for optional feature sets
- Simplified and weight reduction architecture (>80%)
- Built in fault detection
- CAN communications for interconnection
- Ethernet over Powerline for reduced wiring, high bandwidth

Vehicle testing & commissioning

The first milestone in the commissioning of an electric vehicle is getting the motor turning, as it proves out several other systems. Once demonstrated, other elements can gradually be introduced into the system, for example power distribution, additional sensors, cooling and HVAC.

At each phase of introduction, unit tests are conducted along with calibration. Once all the features and components are proven, the real test can begin – the Design Validation Plan. This is a formal test that details the set-up, associated tests against the vehicle requirements, and pass criteria before the vehicle can be released.

Passing this test is the final milestone for acceptance of the powertrain functionality. Now track testing can begin, or in the case of Aura, a lot of motorway driving!

Follow the progress of Aura as we build to a long-range run from Edinburgh to London on a single charge.


FPT Industrial

FPT Industrial is a brand of CNH Industrial, dedicated to the design, production and sale of powertrains for on-road and off-road vehicles, as well as marine and power generation applications. The company employs more than 8,000 people worldwide, in 10 manufacturing plants and 7 R&D Centers.

The FPT Industrial sales network consists of 73 dealerships and about 800 service centers in almost 100 countries. A wide product offering, including six engine ranges from 42hp up to 1,006hp, transmissions with maximum torque of 200Nm up to 500Nm, front and rear axles from 2 to 32 ton GAW (Gross Axle Weight).

FPT Industrial offers the most complete lineup of natural gas engines on the market for industrial applications, with power that goes from 136 to 460hp. This extensive offering and a strong focus on R&D activities make FPT Industrial a world leader in industrial powertrains.

For more information, go to: www.fptindustrial.com

Pictured is the FPT Industrial e-Axle

Contact us

If you are interested in learning more about the capabilities of Potenza Technology, please get in touch with us through the details below.

Email us:

Call us:
+44 (0) 2476 083 029

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