With interest in the development of electric vehicles at an all-time high, one company has identified the Ixxat USB-to-CAN V2 interface as perhaps the best way to download operational data for analysis.

About Voltsport

In fact Voltsport started out supplying drives to the marine market, mainly to

the racing fraternity who preferred electric propulsion to heavier, slower diesel

engines. However it has grown its land-based business alongside the growth of

electric vehicle developments, and this now represents the majority of its work.

Setting up electric drives for vehicle applications can be very challenging,

because of the wide range of performance expected of them, as Phil explains:

“Motors driving say industrial plant tend to work in a stable environment and

are required to perform only a small number of different duty cycles – which

are predictable and therefore easily modelled. However a vehicle drive will have

to run equally well on the coldest winter morning and the hottest day of the

year; be able to go uphill and down; run under a wide range of loads, operate

comfortably at a number of different set speeds and offer a wide range of

acceleration and deceleration profiles.”

The Application

Electric vehicles’ motor controllers work hard in real time to

give the smooth driving required and there is a lot of data to

be analysed during commissioning. This data is broadcast at

high rates from the controllers and stored for processing on

the host PC. After performance analysis, we adjust tuning of

settings to improve performance. Visualising data in this way

really helps the customer understand their vehicle.

“We started to use Ixxat because it was the preferred

solution of one of our motor suppliers, Sevcon,” recalls Phil

Eagleton, Managing Director of Voltsport in the North East of

England. “Originally we used a number of different ways to

collect data from our drive systems, but we quickly came to

see the advantages of Ixxat’s USB-to-CAN interfaces”.

Ixxat PC CAN Interfaces

The large Ixxat range of CAN PC interfaces enable

applications to access in-vehicle CAN networks easily. They

are available for PC connetion via PCIe, PCIe Mini, PCIe

104, USB, Ethernet or even Bluetooth. Many interfaces are

modularly designed and can be equipped with up to four

CAN high-speed channels. They can also be used with CAN

low-speed and LIN channels.

The interfaces are available in low-cost passive or active

versions with powerful on-board controllers. Active

interfaces can be used in applications with high demands on

data pre-processing, such as high-precision time stamping or

active filtering of messages on the interface.

They can also connect directly with Ixxat analysis tools,

and with configuration software from a wide variety of

equipment manufacturers.

More challenges to come

Voltsport works with a wide range of developers, including

those making industrial and commercial vehicles such as fork

lift trucks, delivery vans and passenger buses. It also supplies

to research organisations, hobbyists and motor sport teams.

“We are in the record books with two electric vehicles,” says

Phil. 73.9 mph for a full electric ice cream van, complete with

chimes and ice cream maker. Jason Liversedge also claimed

his target, setting a wheelchair record at nearly 67mph!

Final throttle adjustments, made at the start line (via Ixxat of

course) converted 55 mph practice runs into the record. We

have more record plans for 2021, great to keep engineers

“While projects such as these may seem a bit esoteric, they

do generate data sets and performance analyses that can be

very useful in wider research and development projects.”