Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Ricardo unveils low-cost EV motor

A new prototype 85kW synchronous reluctance drive motor, designed primarily for electric vehicle traction applications, avoids expensive rare earth elements according to Ricardo.

The motor also provides “uncompromised performance at significantly reduced cost”.

The new electric vehicle (EV) motor has been designed and built in prototype form by Ricardo as part of a collaborative research and development project, RapidSR (Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor).

Using a conventional distributed stator winding, the Ricardo synchronous reluctance electric machine is an innovative design making use of low-cost materials, simple manufacturing processes and uncomplicated construction.

It has a rotor made from cut steel laminations used to direct and focus the flux across the air gap. By maximising this flux linkage between the stator and rotor, performance can be optimized within a tightly packaged, low weight and rare earth element free design.

“As the market for electric vehicles grows globally, there is an imperative to explore alternatives to permanent magnet traction motors which require the use of expensive and increasingly difficult to source rare earth elements,” claims Paul Rivera, managing director of Ricardo’s hybrid and electric vehicle systems business.

“The Ricardo prototype demonstrates what can be achieved by using the latest electric machine design processes in the creation of a high performing, compact,

Since its launch in 2012, the RapidSR project has been researching the design of next-generation economic electric motors that avoid expensive and potentially difficult to source rare earth elements typically used in permanent magnets.

By developing effective CAE led design processes as well as prototype designs, the team has created a framework for the future design and manufacture of electric vehicle motors that offer the performance, compact packaging and light weight required for EV applications, but at a significantly reduced cost compared to permanent magnet machines.

Ricardo’s partners in this research include project leader Cobham Technical Services – which is developing its multi-physics CAE design software, Opera, as a part of the project – and JaguarLandRover, the latter reinforcing the already close links between Ricardo and the Tata Motors-owned car maker. The research is being co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

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