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Danfoss buys Finnish developer of ‘most efficient’ drivetrain

01 November, 2017

Danfoss is buying Visedo Oy, a Finnish developer of smart hybrid and electric drivetrains for commercial vehicles, heavy-duty machinery and marine applications. The terms of the deal have not been released.

Visedo recently unveiled an electric motor for buses which it claims is the most efficient on the market. The liquid-cooled drivetrains are based on a synchronous reluctance assisted permanent magnet technology, claimed to be smaller, lighter and more efficient than conventional technologies such as induction or permanent magnet motors.

“Acquiring new innovative technology is an important part of our investment in growth, and I am excited about the really great Visedo team joining Danfoss and our future journey,” says Danfoss’ CEO, Kim Fausing. “Electrification is a fast-developing area and holds tremendous potential, and Visedo is a great example of how we can focus on customer needs and at the same time strengthen our offering by providing a broader range of solutions.”

Danfoss plans to integrate Visedo into its Power Solutions business. The acquisition is in line with its strategic focus of adding electrical systems as a key competency.

“We see a growing demand for electric solutions within off-highway vehicles and the marine market in response to the more stringent emissions regulations being imposed in these markets, as well as efficiency and productivity gains that these solutions bring,” says Eric Alström, president of Danfoss Power Solutions. “Danfoss will, based on this acquisition, continue to invest in electrification to further strengthen our position in the industry.”

“Joining forces with Danfoss means a quantum leap for our mission to end pollution with our electric solutions,” adds Visedo CEO, Kimmo Rauma. “Together with Danfoss, we will have more capacity and investment for greater innovation and market opportunities.”

Visedo CEO Kimmo Rauma: a quantum leap
Photo: Johannes Wiehn

The acquisition includes Visedo’s subsidiaries in the Netherlands and Hong Kong, as well as a design and manufacturing operation at its headquarters in Lappeenranta, Finland. Exports to Europe and Asia represent 90% of Visedo’s sales. Earlier this year, it signed a production and co-operation deal with the Asia’s largest motor manufacturer, Taiwan-based Teco, to manufacture its machines.

Visedo’s powertrains are aimed at hybrid and all-electric traction applications in the power range 30kW–2MW. Its latest S-model PowerDrum motor offers a 10% increase in power output and improved cooling compared to earlier models, and is claimed to offer the highest efficiency in the market across the entire speed range. Visedo says that the drive is 31% more efficient than average.

Visedo’s CEO, Kimmo Rauma argues that bus drivetrains based on the new motors are effectively “free” because they allow smaller batteries to be used. A typical 100kWh battery for an electric bus costs around €50,000 (or €500 per kWh). A 20% improvement in drivetrain efficiency allows a 20% smaller battery to be used to achieve the same range – saving about €10,000, which is similar to the cost of the motor and its controller.

The compact, robust motors are said to save space while ensuring high tolerance to shocks and vibration. Their high efficiency will increase battery life while shortening recharge cycles. The motor design has been optimised for high-volume manufacture in Finland and Taiwan.

Visedo’s PowerDrum motors are already being used in electric bus projects in Finland and Sweden. The company recently started a project with Ledgent Technology in Taiwan, and announcements about other projects in Asia are expected in the coming months.

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