Promoting Innovation in Manufacturing

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A low cost power management system enables SMES to compete in the electric vehicle market.

With electric vehicles seen as the future for sustainable transport, high costs mean the market has been dominated by large vehicle manufacturers. Thanks to the SafeDrive open platform power management system, SMEs can now compete for the first time.


The European hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicle industry represents 1,600 SME manufacturers and suppliers. These vehicles do not meet customer performance demands, at a price point which is competitive with internal combustion engines. SafeDrive addresses this technology gap though the development of an open platform power management system, with customisable performance and efficiency.

The SafeDrive project will enable SMEs across Europe to compete in the electric vehicle market for the first time. The innovation – an open platform power management system – means SMEs can now produce low-cost, mass market, low-emission vehicles and compete with the currently dominant larger vehicle manufacturers.

Larger capacity cells

Project managed by Pera Technology and backed by over €3m of funding through the EC FP7 programme, the SafeDrive project enables smaller vehicle manufacturers to reduce battery mass, volume and costs through the use of larger capacity cells with greater energy densities. Suitable for high volume manufacture, the SafeDrive drive train is built on a common platform and comprises a DC modular motor, batteries, supercapacitors, power management system and DC-DC converter.


The power management technology will include customisable performance and efficiency functions with an open standard architecture developed specifically to support SMEs. The drive train can be taken as a whole or in part as building blocks. This inherent flexibility allows SMEs to design new electric vehicles or convert existing vehicles, and is easily modified for different vehicle designs.

High torque

Power is not compromised. The low cost technology will be sufficiently high torque to drive the wheels at high speed, without an intermediate gearbox. To drive down costs, the Safedrive power management platform could use the housing of the liquid cooled drive motor as a heat sink for a high current power converter. By eliminating lethal voltages, the Safedrive platform will also significantly improve the safety in the event of an accident.

Reduced cost

The commercial benefits of SafeDrive are clear. It enables SMEs to reduce development time by 20% and component cost by 40%. The modular drive motor platform will reduce the total vehicle cost by up to 13%, with imports of new drive motors also being reduced, increasing European revenues by €257m and profits by €51m.


  • The European Association for Battery, Hybrid and Fuel cell Electric Vehicles
  • Avere France
  • Avia Ingenieria Y Disegno
  • Green Energy Technologies Ltd
  • The UK Intelligent Systems Research Institute Limited (A Pera Technology Company)
  • John Bradshaw Limited
  • Metallisation Limited
  • Novamina
  • Scimar Engineering Ltd
  • Swiss Association for Electric and Efficient Road Vehicles
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
  • Moravian-Silesian Automotive Cluster (MSAC)
  • Cogent Technology Ltd


Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)