The Class 6 fuel cell delivery van UPS will begin testing late this summer using not only a unique hydrogen-powered electric drivetrain, but also an unusual type of electric motor.
Most electric-drive vehicles use motors that rely on permanent magnets and require single-speed “gear reduction” transmissions to harness the motor’s power.
UPS, however, has decided to try a “switched reluctance” motor that uses fewer parts and is less costly to manufacture than a permanent-magnet motor.
Additionally, a reluctance motor doesn’t need a transmission at all. Its power output can be regulated electronically through software designed to keep it operating in the most efficient modes under all types of loads, Michael Britt, head of UPS’ fuel cell vehicle development program, told Trucks.com.
“We think we can get more efficiency out of it,” Britt said.
The motor is manufactured by Nidec Motor Corp. to meet UPS’ specific needs. So-called reluctance motors typically are used for simpler applications than powering commercial trucks.