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Design challenge: Low pressure needs in electric vehicles

07 June 2024

Electric vehicles (EVs) use electric drive modules (EDM), electric drive units (EDU), or eAxles to distribute torque within the vehicle. These applications require significantly lower average pressures when compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) transmissions and have similar pressure profiles to cooling systems (in the range of 1 to 3bar).

While design engineers may be tempted to use conventional cooling component solutions previously reserved for water-based systems, these methods may not be appropriate to flow oil within an EDU, due to their general lack of precision or performance.

The Lee Company offers an assortment of reliable fluid control components to replace traditional cup or freeze plugs in electric vehicle drive unit design. Cup plugs pose a significant leakage risk when they are used as an external plug. 

With no visual indicators to confirm proper installation, automakers typically need to use an adhesive to seal unseen gaps, adding unnecessary cure time and cost, as well as an additional processing step that can introduce new failure points that lead to rework or scrap. 

The Lee Betaplug is a pre-assembled tapered expansion plug designed to seal cross-holes using the principles of controlled expansion, eliminating the limitations of older solutions. 

It is able to create a leak-tight seal without the use of any threads, O-rings, or sealant which simplifies the installation process and leads to a more reliable and cost-effective manufacturing process. 

Similarly, in-house cooling jets made by drilling a large hole in a cup plug may fail to produce adequate or targeted flow to specific areas within the gearbox as pressures decrease. 

The Lee Company’s targeting orifices allow designers more precisely to cool hot spots, while reducing the amount of coolant needed in their systems.


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