Pulse news magazine

Volume 26, August 2019

Get to Zero

To address the growing need for more sustainable solutions, we are bringing a competitive, full battery electric solution to market to help our customers Get to Zero.

To address the growing need for more sustainable solutions, we are bringing a competitive, full battery electric solution to market to help our customers Get to Zero.

For more than 20 years, BAE Systems supported clean air initiatives with our low emission electric hybrid solutions. But with more stringent requirements on commissioning zero emission transit solutions, as well as the growing need for more sustainable solutions, we are bringing a competitive, full battery electric solution to market to help our customers Get to Zero.

BAE Systems sold its first electric hybrid system into New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the late 1990s and helped the city earn Calstart's Blue Sky Merit Award, recognizing its contributions to clean air, energy efficiency, and the advancement of the transportation industry. Our product design was purposefully created using a series hybrid architecture, enabling our innovation to easily transition from a hybrid electric system to a full battery electric system when the market was ready to sustain this technology. 

That time is now. More countries and U.S. coastal cities are quickly adopting zero emission legislation and are working to convert their bus fleets from diesel or compressed natural gas powered vehicles to full zero emission solutions, such as battery electric propulsion or hydrogen fuel cell electric propulsion.

The same components used in more than 10,000 BAE Systems electric hybrid systems around the globe are used in today's battery electric and fuel cell electric systems. Nearly 300 of our zero emission systems are in service and helping municipalities reach their clean air goals.

Our products are proven and operating in the heavy-duty transit market, but we are not stopping there. BAE Systems' design and engineering teams are continuing to innovate to bring the next generation of battery electric systems to market, introducing new cutting-edge technology and materials to improve both component and system efficiency and increase the range a bus travels before a charge and the number of passengers on board a vehicle.

"As we prepare to compete in this new, highly competitive global electric vehicle market, our requirements include designing a reliable, low cost, highly efficient system for a wide-range of applications," said Art Lyons, chief engineer for the Power and Propulsion Solutions business area. "That's why our team set its sights on developing modular, scalable power electronics that could be custom configured."

The new optimized battery electric systems will be tested on pilot buses in 2020 and available for low rate production in 2021 and full production in 2022.

The new power electronics include "slices" of capability, enabling customers to choose or essentially build a system that meets their needs. Having the flexibility to include only what’s needed will decrease the component’s size, weight, and cost. To lower our production costs and increase the reliability of this custom-configured system, we developed commonality in the slices.

Rob Vovos, senior product engineer, expressed that he and his colleagues feel fortunate to work on this leading product. Vovos noted, "It's rewarding to get the opportunity to begin integrating these progressive, cutting-edge materials into our products, and move transportation forward."

Our new advanced electronics include materials such as wide band gap transistors, silicon carbide, and gallium nitride to propel our customers into the future.

Highly Efficient Power Electronics
PPS engineers are developing game changing power electronics to lead the battery electric transit market with advanced materials including:

  • Wide band gap transistors, often used in military applications, provide faster switching, generate less heat, and decrease power losses, making our system efficient.
  • Silicon carbide enables improved heat management of power electronics, lower weight, and higher power density​.
  • Galium nitride provides faster processing, decreases size, and is compatible to high voltage requirements.

By Carol Gorenflo, Communications, Endicott, New York