A major breakthrough in electric vehicle technology has been revealed with the world’s most power dense electric motor under development. The ability to pack in more power and performance at lower weights is the ultimate goal of electric vehicle manufacturers, and this new motor, which is said to offer four times more power density than regular motors, could help reach that target.
Aiming to be the world’s most power dense permanent magnet electric motor, expert electrification company, Equipmake, has teamed up with leading additive manufacturing organization HiETA to develop the next-generation motor as part of a revolutionary project, grant-funded by Innovate UK.
Codenamed AMPERE, the new motor will draw on Equipmake’s expertise in electric motor design and HiETA’s knowledge in thermal engineering and additive manufacturing with the target of producing an extremely lightweight, efficient but low-cost electric motor with peak power density of more than 20kW per kg.
Equipmake and HiETA are targeting peak power of 220kW at 30,000rpm and a weight of less than 10kg for AMPERE. By comparison, even the best standard permanent magnet motors in use today would struggle to muster 5kW per kg. Equipmake’s innovative APM 125, one of the world’s most power dense automotive electric motors, which uses the company’s bespoke architecture to maximize cooling capability, offers peak power of 125kW at 12,000rpm and a weight of just 14kg, giving it power density of just under 9kW per kg.
“We typically reduce the size of thermal management components by five times compared with conventional techniques which will allow next-generation heat transfer features to be integrated into the rotor, stator and electronics cooling. In addition, the freedoms of additive manufacture will be used to optimize structural performance,” said Andy Jones, innovation program manager at HiETA.
AMPERE’s combines its motor design with additive manufacturing, allowing its metal structure to be 3D printed, rather than milled from a solid billet. This brings advantages of more efficient use of metal, thermally efficient thin walls and optimized fine surface details can be combined directly with the motor’s structure, replacing multipart assemblies with a single, complex architecture that has exceptional cooling ability, is lightweight, has low inertia and allows for greatly increased rotational speed.
This approach not only means that AMPERE will use the least amount of high strength alloys in its construction, but also the least amount of expensive active materials – the magnets – too, keeping cost as low as possible.
The first AMPERE prototypes are due to be completed and in operation within 12 months.
“This exciting project has the potential to totally change our concept of what an electric motor can offer – and with such a huge amount of performance in a such a small package at as low a cost as possible, this motor is set to further revolutionize e-mobility, whether that’s in automotive or aerospace,” said Ian Foley, managing director of Equipmake.