Sevcon is a 60 year old business – we started life as a supplier of motor controllers for the first electric “milk floats.” Your readers may not know that most British homes had milk delivered early each morning and electric vehicles proved ideal for this application. The advent of large supermarkets has reduced the use of these but some still exist.
Sevcon is a leading developer of motor controllers. Please give a brief account of your products used in electric and hybrid vehicles. What is the production capacity? Customers?
Sevcon supply hundreds of customers with electric controllers, these applications range from low speed airport support vehicles, through two-wheeled scooters and up to very high performance electric super cars. Plus we control many applications that use electric motors for ancillary or non-traction applications. Our capability ranges from 24V to 800V and from 1kW to 400kW. One named customer within the public domain is the Renault Twizy, Sevcon supply all the controllers for this vehicle.
The Gen4 are the latest range of controllers launched by Sevcon. What makes these controllers best suited for use in electric cars, and their advantages over its previous generation?
These controllers are robust and specially designed for demanding vehicle use. They are compact in size and highly reliable. Our global team of support engineers are skilled at helping customers configure these to control virtually every type of electric motor.
Sevcon is a leader in motor controllers but there are other products including battery chargers and convertors. Please give us more detail on these additional products.
We are also a leading supplier of DC:DC convertors, and most EVs require at least one of these. We also have a range of battery charges, displays and other ancillary equipment.
Sevcon recently launched a DC version of the Gen4 motor controller. Tell us more about the new product and target markets.
I’m pleased you raised this point. This controller is designed to provide a reliable and high quality DC motor control at a very competitive price point. Sevcon see that emerging markets require growing quantities of affordable DC powered EVs to enable the mobility of their people. This is to provide personal transport without adding to pollution levels. This product will enable these vehicle designers to select a great product at an excellent price point.
Any insight into R&D activities? Any specific technologies in EV controllers domain which Sevcon is pioneering?
Sevcon obviously have to remain tight lipped about specific development plans – what I can say is we see a growing market for motor controllers and we will continue to innovative and expand our offerings. We try to provide solutions to customer needs so we provide controls for a very wide range of powers and motor technologies.
Recently, Sevcon also joined hands with Swedish company Clean Motion to develop a three-wheeled passenger vehicle for the Asian markets. Please tell us more about the collaboration and what is the latest development on that?
We are delighted to be working with Clean Motion whose three wheeled vehicle has some cutting edge design features. Sevcon are supplying motor control technology for the vehicle – production has currently started in Europe however Clean Motion have plans to produce the vehicle in other locations too – the first of these will be Indonesia.
Sevcon supplies controllers for two-wheeled electric vehicles and industrial vehicles? What is the growth potential in these product segments, especially as we see on-road electric car sales slowing down?
We foresee growth in all these markets – however we have always been dubious of commentators that predict explosive levels of EV ownership. The economics of the EV, and in particular battery costs, mean that we expect growth to be driven by dynamics besides simple money saving. We see pollution and emission control as a key driver for pure EVs. We also expect to see many more hybrid solutions, those that make economic sense as well as provide fuel savings.
As an EV component manufacturer, how do you foresee electric vehicle industry in the US and around the world? Any plans to foray into the Indian EV market?
The electric vehicle industry globally has a very bright future and what we can say for certain is that every year more and more electric vehicles are being produced. India is a market with huge potential and as I explained we already have a solid platform of business in the region. We are visiting the market regularly as we also have live R&D projects with new clients – we obviously can’t disclose details as these are confidential however we certainly view India as a key market in our future growth strategy.