Daimler AG is setting up an electric drive research program with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) dubbed the e-drive Project House. The university and the automaker will combine work on all the elements of electric drive systems into the new research center. That will include, power electronics, the motor research, energy storage and, of course, the piece that has to tie it all together: the control software. The hope is accelerate to the development of these systems in order to make electric drive commercially viable.

While academic researchers often come up with interesting ideas, a lack of experience in the realities of the industry and the wide ranging driving environment often mean the ideas are not practical. Researchers often simplify the problems by ignoring some of the variables of the real world in order to work on fundamental principles. The hope is that by bringing the Daimler engineers together with the researchers, the ideas can be developed into something usable sooner. The project is open to other research institutions and manufacturers as well. Starting in 2009, Daimler will also fund a "Hybrid Electric Vehicle" Foundation Professorship at KIT.

[Source: Daimler]

Daimler and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology initiate a research cooperation for electric drive systems

  • The "e-drive Project House" is one of Germany's largest cooperation for higher education
  • A unique alliance of competence between science and industry expedites market maturity for innovative technologies
  • Future perspectives for education, research, and employment in Baden-Württemberg
With the establishment of the "e-drive Project House" at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Daimler AG and KIT are initiating a research cooperation for electric drive systems. By uniting the fields of power electronics, control systems, electrical energy storage units, and electrical machinery under one roof for the first time in the "e-drive Project House," valuable synergies are being created for streamlining research activities in sustainable mobility. This unique pooling of expertise from science and industry will considerably expedite the market maturity of pure electric drive and hybrid vehicles. The "e-drive Project House," which is strategically devised as a long-term undertaking, is setting out to attract further scientific institutes and cooperation partners in order to extend the research consortium.
"Baden-Württemberg is Germany's top automotive state. Technological innovations for sustainable mobility are the key to securing the future, to fastening growth, and to creating employment," said Günther Oettinger, Minister-President of the State of Baden-Württemberg, on the occasion of the signing of the contracts. "The 'e-drive Project House' is a prime example of the close cooperation between science and industry, with the objective of rapidly transforming fundamental research into future technologies. KIT is an excellent partner for such an undertaking."
Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: "It is our declared aim to secure a leading role in the field of alternative drive systems. The electrification of the automobile is playing a key role in this endeavor. Together with KIT's excellent scientists, we are demonstrating yet again the high innovative power of the State of Baden-Württemberg."
"Together with Daimler AG, we have developed an innovative cooperation concept that is bringing together these two partners in a particularly close-knit venture, from which we expect good and fast progress," emphasized Prof. Eberhard Umbach, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Karlsruhe Research Center. "With KIT, comprising the University of Karlsruhe and the Karlsruhe Research Center, we intend to set new standards, also in partnership with industry. The 'e-drive Project House' bridges the often lamented gap between industry and science in exemplary fashion and thus has extraordinary innovative potential," said Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler, President of the University of Karlsruhe (TH).
By regularly commissioning research projects, Daimler will ensure full-capacity operation of the "e-drive Project House" on a long-term basis and also involve its own employees. KIT will contribute its scientific staff, its premises, and its laboratory infrastructure. In view of the significance of this future-oriented undertaking for Baden-Württemberg, the State Ministry of Science, Research, and Art will subsidize this cooperation in the area of fundamental research with half a million euros annually. From 2009 onwards, this scientific environment will receive further reinforcement of its existing competencies through Daimler's "Hybrid Electric Vehicle" Foundation Professorship, which will be supported by the Daimler fund in the innovation agency Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.
Future perspectives for education, research, and employment
With Daimler's "Hybrid Electric Vehicle" Foundation Professorship, an internationally competitive research program is to be established in this sector and the conditions for scientific activity in Baden-Württemberg thereby further optimized. The Foundation Professorship, which will cover a period of five years, will concentrate on the key emphasis topics of electrical drive and storage systems.

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