A UK automotive industry supplier is claiming to be developing what it claims to be the world’s most power dense permanent magnet electric motor
Equipmake, has teamed up with leading additive manufacturing organization HiETA and grant-funded by government backed Innovate UK to build the motor codenamed Ampere. Claiming lightweight and low cost production, the motor is said to be capable of a peak power density of more than 20kW per kilogram (2.2lbs) – more than four times as power dense as a conventional electric motor.
The developers say the key to its performance is its combination of motor design with additive manufacturing, allowing its metal structure to be 3D printed, rather than milled from a solid billet. Advantages are that metal is used only put where essential and thermally efficient thin walls and optimized fine surface details can be combined directly within the motor’s structure. This process replaces multi-part assemblies with a single, complex architecture that has improved cooling, is lightweight, has low inertia and allows for greatly increased rotational speed.
This use of high strength alloys in its construction is kept to a minimum but also the least amount of expensive active materials, the magnets, keeping production costs as low as possible. The developers are targeting peak power of 220kW at 30,000rpm and a weight of less than 10kg (22lbs) for the Ampere motor. They say even the best standard permanent magnet motors in use today would struggle to muster 5kW per kg. The first prototypes are set to be up and running in 12 months’ time.
Ian Foley, managing director of Equipmake, said: “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.”