China's GAC spotlights concept car, work with JV partners

  • 17-Jan-2013 01:47 EST
GAC's E-Jet concept.JPG

The E-Jet concept was one of three vehicles featured by the GAC Group during a Jan. 15 press conference at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.

While the E-Jet project underscores the development work that GAC is doing independently, the Chinese automaker is expanding its passenger car manufacturing and sales in China via an agreement with Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. and Chrysler Group International LLC.

“Following the successful launch of the first product of our joint venture, the Fiat Viaggio launched last September, this agreement is another milestone of our partnership with Fiat and Chrysler Group,” Zeng Qinghong, General Manager of the GAC Group, said in a press release issued by the involved parties.

According to the agreement, the joint venture between GAC, Fiat, and Chrysler Group International means local production of additional models from the Fiat portfolio as well as Jeep production in China for the Chinese market only. Currently, the Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Compass, and Patriot are sold in China with all production in the U.S.

The agreement was signed Jan. 15 at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI. On the same day, GAC officials hosted a press conference at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit to showcase the E-Jet range-extended electric car concept, a BEV prototype version of the Trumpchi GS5 sport utility vehicle, and a 4x4 hybrid version of the Trumpchi sedan. All three vehicles were engineered and developed by GAC.

Compared to the conventionally powered Trumpchi sedan, the 4WD hybrid version has an integrated starter/generator positioned between the engine and the transmission at the front axle; an electrical rear axle drive (ERAD) motor; and an advanced lithium-ion battery pack located behind the rear seat.

During a gear shift, the ERAD motor can provide power assist from the rear axle when the clutch is opened at the front, which essentially permits a seamless gear shift of the five-speed robotized mechanical transmission. The hybrid car's technology enables an automatic switch between 2WD and 4WD drive modes, depending on the driving situation.

Propulsion technology is featured on the BEV prototype SUV. An ac induction motor is controlled via an integrated power electronics unit. The motor provides 225 N·m and up to 150 kW to enable 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration in approximately 8.5 s.

The prototype SUV has a 35-kW·h Li-ion battery pack. An 18-kW high-power charger allows for a recharge time of 2 h. The charger features bidirectional power capability, enabling vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-vehicle power flow.

Concept E-Jet’s drive motor system features a 95-kW (peak) permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) and a 13-kWh Li-ion battery pack. The all-electric driving range is projected to exceed 100 km (62 mi). The concept car uses a 1.0-L gasoline engine and a 30-kW PMSM as the range-extender to provide a driving range of more than 600 km (373 mi) with a fuel consumption of less than 2 L/100 km.

Dr. Xiangdong Huang, Group Vice President/President of GAC Engineering, said that being at NAIAS “is so important. Its influence is not only the U.S. but also South America and all over the world.”

Selling GAC vehicles in the U.S. is expected to happen “sooner or later,” according to Huang. In the meantime, GAC’s engineers are striving to enhance “our R&D capability to design competitive vehicles. And we are also focused on developing advanced technologies for the future.”

GAC employs approximately 5000 engineers, according to Huang.

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