News  

Development of hybrid technology for BRP's Can-Am Spyder roadster

12/20/2010

Sherbrooke, December 20, 2010 The Centre de technologies avancees BRP
Universite de Sherbrooke (CTA) receives $11.3 million in financial support to develop
hybrid engine technology for BRP's Can-Am Spyder roadster. This is the only electric
hybrid roadster development project in the world.

An injection of $6.2 million from the Automotive Partnership Canada program and
$5.1 million from BRP will see the project extend over a four-year period. Steven
Blaney, MP for Levis-Bellechasse, Suzanne Fortier, president of the Natural Sciences
and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and Guy Levesque, program director of
the Canada Foundation for Innovation were present for this major announcement, along
with Universite de Sherbrooke's principal, Luce Samoisette, and BRP's president and
CEO, Jose Boisjoli.

First launched in 2007, the Can-Am Spyder roadster is a totally unique way to
experience the freedom of open-air riding. Its distinctive Y-architecture two wheels in
front, one in back creates challenges that push the limits of electric hybrid vehicle
technology. "Our mandate is ambitious and complex," explained Mihai Rasidescu,
president and general manager of the CTA. "Our goal is to develop completely new
electric hybrid technology for a three-wheel vehicle that uses 50% less fuel and reduces
CO2 emissions by 50% while maintaining its speed, power and performance."
"By deciding to establish R & D centres, BRP confirmed its commitment to accelerate
the development of cleaner and more efficient new technologies," stated Jose Boisjoli,
BRP's president and CEO. "The powertrain technologies used in our snowmobiles, side-
by-side vehicles, and outboard engines are already the best in the industry in terms of
fuel consumption, and are milestones towards our goal of providing consumers with
increasingly eco-performing technology."

The CTA is at the heart of innovation, and the cooperation between the Universite de
Sherbrooke and BRP is an unparalleled asset in research and development projects.
"As included in our strategic plan, Reussir 2010-2015, the University is reviving its
distinctive approach to research and pursuing its commitment to socio-economic
development in the Estrie region and the province," said principal Luce Samoisette.
"Without a doubt this applied research project will produce a skilled new generation of
engineers and have a significant impact on several levels." Through this initiative,
20 post-graduate students will become highly trained.


Original design challenges

The project's research team is led by Professor Alain Desrochers from the Universite de
Sherbrooke's Mechanical Engineering Department and includes about 30 people from
the University and BRP. The team will need to be original during the development of the
components. The roadster's compact size alone poses major challenges. Rather than
modifying existing hybrid technology, the researchers will have to design an entirely new
propulsion system.

"Creating a three-wheel vehicle as opposed to a hybrid car poses significant design
challenges that require a very high degree of innovation," said professor Desrochers.
"These challenges include the lack of space to accommodate hybrid motorization,
cooling problems, aerodynamics, vehicle weight, and noise. Everything must be studied
and modified."

Over the next four years the CTA will produce three generations of prototypes and their
components. The final product must pass the test in terms of performance, reliability,
durability, and economic mass production. Any technological innovations will be
potentially transferable to other types of vehicles and products.

About the CTA

The Centre de technologies avancees BRP Universite de Sherbrooke (CTA) is the
result of a partnership between BRP and the Universite de Sherbrooke. Its mandate is
to develop new cutting-edge technologies in the field of motorized recreational vehicles.
Since it opened in 2006, the CTA has developed two technologies that have been
integrated into BRP products: a technology used in manufacturing the hulls of the new
generation of Sea-Doo watercraft, and the five-speed semi-automatic transmission
available on Can-Am Spyder roadsters. The CTA currently employs more than 70
researchers and students, and expects to become self-financing as of 2011.