What’s an E-unit?

Yachts International - - Sternlines -

The ATE ‘E-units’ on the Adler Suprema are high-ef­fi­ciency elec­tric mo­tors that can work as both a mo­tor and a gen­er­a­tor. As part of the hy­brid sys­tem—along with the lithi­umpoly­mer bat­tery, Aradex in­vert­ers and TTCon­trol au­to­ma­tion—they are in­stalled on the shaft be­tween the main en­gines and the gear­box, sep­a­rated with clutches, so they can be used as gen­er­a­tors while the props are not ro­tat­ing. The de­sign also al­lows the Cater­pil­lars to work in diesel mode with the E-units shut off, with­out loss of ef­fi­ciency.

The E-unit sys­tem is key to the tran­si­tion be­tween propul­sion sources: twin diesel, elec­tric and hy­brid, with hy­brid mean­ing one Cater­pil­lar en­gine run­ning as propul­sion on one shaft and one E-unit act­ing as a gen­er­a­tor, cre­at­ing suf­fi­cient elec­tric en­ergy at the sec­ond shaft to power the sec­ond mo­tor. The mode can be man­u­ally se­lected, or the sys­tem can se­lect the op­ti­mal mode depend­ing on the power re­quired and speed, al­low­ing the op­er­a­tor to ac­cel­er­ate through the var­i­ous modes by sim­ply push­ing the throt­tle for­ward. A dis­play in­di­cates which source is ac­tive. —A.P.

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