Andreas Körner, bildhübsche fotografie, Stuttgart

Stator with hairpin winding from the pilot phase of the AgiloDrive research project at KIT.

© Markus Breig, KIT

Today, electric car motors are produced only in small batches and in partially automated workshops in Germany. But as electromobility gathers momentum, more flexible production systems are needed to increase output and reduce the cost of production in Europe.

The goal of AgiloDrive is to develop agile, cost-efficient processes for manufacturing electric traction drives based on modular products and machinery that can be adapted to different models and requirements. The team draws on expertise from three institutes from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT): the wbk Institute of Production Science, the Institute of Electrical Engineering (ETI) and the Institute of Product Engineering (IPEK).

AgiloDrive1 delivered two demonstrators to provide the proof of concept for the production system. In AgiloDrive2, the three institutes will collaborate with 17 industrial partners to develop modular structures and efficient design and production methods – then to test-drive the equipment.

"Our agile solution approaches make it possible to operate production systems at demand-based operating points and also to use cost-reducing economies of scale through data-based process adaptation across different product series and technologies," explains Prof. Jürgen Fleischer, the wbk project manager, in a press release.

The IPEK team will devise a modular product kit for motor development. The ETI will develop digital process chains for the machinery design. And bringing all together, wbk will optimise all the manufacturing processes. The techniques developed will be transferred to industry – not only for the benefit of German carmakers but to boost electromobility generally.

AgiloDrive2 is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) with 16.4 million euros, within a total project budget of 33.7 million euros over the next three years.