|Founded||Boucherville, Québec, Canada (1998)|
|Headquarters||Boucherville , Canada|
TM4 Inc. is a subsidiary of government-owned public utility Hydro-Québec established in 1998, active in the development of electric car motors and related power systems. Hydro-Québec intends to set up a joint venture with a world-scale auto parts manufacturer to facilitate the mass production and marketing of the electric powertrains designed by its subsidiary TM4 while continuing to develop new products.
Pierre Couture, a Canadian inventor and engineer, has developed a wheel hub motor in 1982. TM4 supplies engines, generators and inverters for the two markets it serves: TM4 is also engaged in the scale-up of its technology - first used in the transportation industry - to power wind turbines.
On August 19, 1994, the Premier of Quebec, Daniel Johnson, had announced a C$100 million project to develop an electric car for the year 2000. On August 30, 1994, Hydro-Québec had presented their first prototype based on a Dodge Intrepid. The economy in fuel consumption was evaluated between 80 to 85%. The project was cancelled in 1995 and many have seen the abandonment of this project as a repetition of the history of the CF-105. In 1998, Hydro-Québec worked on a prototype with a joint venture between Dassault Group and Société de Véhicules Electriques, the first prototypes based on a Renault Kangoo were built in 2006.
Hydro-Québec has been criticized for not having taken advantage of some of its innovations. An electric wheel motor concept that struck a chord with Quebecers, first prototyped in 1994 by Pierre Couture, an engineer and physicist working at Institut de recherche d'Hydro-Québec (IREQ), is one of these. The heir to the Couture wheel motor is now marketed by TM4, a subsidiary that has made deals with France's Dassault and Heuliez to develop an electric car, the Cleanova, of which prototypes were built in 2006. Hydro-Québec announced in early 2009 at the Montreal International Auto Show that its engine had been chosen by Tata Motors to equip a demonstration version of its Indica model, which will be road tested in Norway. IREQ's researchers are also working on developing new battery technologies for electric cars. Current research is focusing on technologies to increase range, improve performance in cold weather and reduce charging time.
In 2012 TM4 and Prestolite Electric Beijing Limited (PEBL) entered into an agreement for the creation of a sino-foreign equity joint venture company named Prestolite E-Propulsion Systems (Beijing) Limited (PEPS). Leveraging TM4’s licensed technologies, the new company will focus on providing high-end solutions for clean transport and sustainable mobility by developing, manufacturing, selling and supporting electric traction systems for trucks and buses, as well as commercial, off-road and marine vehicles. The new joint venture will target clients in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN countries.
The first commercialization of the systems started in 2004 with the interest of Cleanova and Peugeot. Citroën had presented their new diesel hybrid Citroën C-Métisse equipped with the TM4 motor at the Paris auto show in 2006. In 2009, 110 units were delivered to the Miljø and Tata Motors demonstration project in Norway. In 2011, Tata Motors expect to sell up to 5000 of their Indica Vista EV in Europe, and to be able to face this demand, TM4 has upgraded its production facilities in Boucherville to be able to produce up to 10,000 units of their MOTIVE powertrain systems per year if needed. The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) will replace the aging fleet of buses with a new family of buses powered by TM4 engine. All buses that run on the network of the STM in 2026 should run on electricity. The STM will procure 312 hybrid buses by 2012 and eventually a new family of buses equipped with wheel hub motor developed by TM4, possibly in the 2013-2014 time frame. The current fleet of 1,600 buses need 50 million liters of diesel each year. The plan would eliminate the need of diesel and eventually reduce the greenhouse gas.
Over the years TM4 has diversified its product range based on the needs of two segments of the transportation industry. Its MOTIVE systems are compact and power dense in order to be integrated into light-duty on and off road vehicle platforms while the SUMO motors are high torque, direct drive system optimized for buses and commercial vehicles.
Expansion in China
China being one of the biggest market for electric buses, TM4 announced in 2012 the creation of a 50/50 joint venture in China. In partnership with Prestolite Electric Beijing Limited (PEBL), TM4 created Prestolite E-Propulsion Systems (PEPS). Under this agreement, PEPS will produce the technologies developed by TM4 under license and will market them to the commercial vehicle and bus industry (the TM4 SUMO systems). In 2014, TM4 and PEPS announced the beginning of high volume production in the Beijing plant as well as its first large scale commercial orders, from major Chinese bus manufacturers such as Foton Motor
The TM4 MOTIVE is a powerful and lightweight high speed permanent magnet electric motor developed by TM4. The motor offers 96% efficiency. The MOTIVE is considered to be the best power-to-weight ratio in its class.
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