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About APC

Capitalizing on the Potential of Vehicle Electrication

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Global energy challenges and increasingly stringent environmental regulations are placing added pressure on auto makers to develop transformative technologies that enhance energy efficiency and curb harmful emissions, without sacrificing performance, cost and safety.

With the potential for low to zero emissions and a host of leading-edge performance and safety features, electric vehicles (EVs) are widely acknowledged as the best possible solution for addressing these imperatives. There are still many challenges, however, hindering the widespread adoption of EVs, including the development and validation of key enabling technologies, such as vehicle stability control, power management systems, and battery monitoring and charging devices.

Surmounting many of these challenges is the goal of a new five-year, $10.5 million R&D partnership involving General Motors of Canada (GM), Maplesoft Inc. and a multidisciplinary research team at the University of Waterloo led by Dr. Amir Khajepour. Supported with a $3.6 million contribution from APC, $2.5 million from the Ontario Research Fund, and the remainder from industry collaborators, the partnership aims to devise innovative design tools that will streamline the design-to-commercialization process to reduce the time and cost of EV production in Canada.

"Vehicle electrification is a key technology strategy for GM," remarks Dr. Justin Gammage, GM of Canada's chief scientist. "We believe this APC project will better position GM to meet customer and social expectations related to the performance, safety and environmental sustainability of vehicles with increasing levels of electric propulsion."

Dr. Gammage adds that the Waterloo researchers are brimming with innovative ideas, and GM is also asking them to ensure that their ideas work in unison with all the other electric vehicle technologies, components and sub-systems.

Importantly, the technologies originating from Waterloo will also be tested by GM vehicle development teams. Engaging the research team in the vehicle development process will provide them with a unique opportunity to gain insight into bringing new technology concepts to market and help transform the research findings into a truly integrated technological solution.

Meanwhile, Maplesoft, a leading developer of interactive mathematical software, will ensure that the experimental knowledge from the university is incorporated into design tools that can be applied during routine engineering by GM's staff. For its part, Maplesoft is particularly interested in expanding its modeling capabilities to optimizing the batteries that will be deployed in electric vehicles.

"We are very excited about the APC project," states Tom Lee, Maplesoft's vice-president, engineering applications. "This project will result in new commercial software that will speed up the design and analysis of electric vehicles, allowing us to expand our market share in the automotive industry."