GM and Maplesoft to Collaborate on Electric Vehicles

A new five-year, $10.5-million partnership between General Motors of Canada, Waterloo-based Maplesoft Inc., and a multidisciplinary research team at the University of Waterloo is tackling the challenges of next generation electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries. Through model-based design and prototype testing, the team will investigate crucial technologies for achieving more widespread use of electric vehicles.

“Vehicle electrification is a key pillar of our energy diversification strategy,” said Kevin Williams, president and managing director of GM of Canada. “Building on our leading R&D commitments in Canada, this project better positions us to exceed customers’ expectations with respect to the performance, safety, and sustainability of our electric vehicle technologies.”

The research is being supported by the Automotive Partnership Canada (APC) with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) as the lead agency. APC is contributing $3.6 million, in addition to $2.5 million from the Ontario Research Fund.

“General Motors’ continued commitment to R&D in Canada is bringing long-term benefits to Canada’s automotive industry, and is helping to keep us on the cutting edge of innovation,” said Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo, on behalf of The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. “This technology is an exciting example of made-in-Canada innovation resulting from the Automotive Partnership Canada program."

“We’re very excited about the APC project,” added Dr. Tom Lee, Maplesoft’s vice-president, engineering applications. “This project will result in powerful new software tools that will speed up the design and analysis of electric vehicles.”

The development and validation of key enabling technologies such as vehicle stability control, power management systems, and battery monitoring and charging devices will be important focus areas for the research team, led by Dr. Amir Khajepour from the University of Waterloo.

Importantly, the technologies originating from Waterloo will also be tested by GM vehicle development teams. Engaging the research team in the vehicle development process will provide them with a unique opportunity to gain insight into bringing new technology concepts to market, and help transform the research findings into a truly integrated technological solution.

"Electrification of automotive systems presents complex challenges for a vehicle’s powertrain, control systems, battery health monitoring, thermal management, and safety,” added Dr. Khajepour. “With the APC funding and the support of General Motors, we plan to tackle these challenges to develop the next generation of key electric vehicle technologies.”

Maplesoft, a leading developer of high performance physical modeling and simulation software, will incorporate the researchers’ innovative ideas into new design tools that GM’s staff can apply during their routine engineering work. Maplesoft is particularly interested in using its modelling capabilities to help improve the batteries deployed in electric vehicles.

Headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) employs over 9,000 people across the country and is a recognized leader in green manufacturing. GMCL markets the full range of fuel-efficient Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles and related services through Canada’s largest automotive dealer network, which employs over 23,000 people dedicated to delivering a top customer experience. GMCL also plays a leadership role in automotive design and engineering, engaging in innovative research and development partnerships with leading Canadian universities and research institutes. In addition, through its Canadian Engineering Centres, GMCL conducts development activities ranging from cold weather testing to the advancement of key electric vehicle and green technologies.

Maplesoft™, provider of high-performance software tools for engineering, science, and mathematics, offers a product suite that reflects the philosophy that given great tools, people can do great things.

Maplesoft’s core technologies include an advanced symbolic computation engine and revolutionary physical modelling techniques. Combined together, these technologies enable the creation of cutting edge tools for design, modelling, and high-performance simulation.

Engineers, scientists, and mathematicians use Maplesoft’s products to reduce errors, shorten design times, lower costs, and improve results. The Maplesoft product suite includes Maple™, the technical computing and documentation environment, and MapleSim™, the high-performance, multi-domain modelling and simulation tool for physical systems.