The field of electric motors is always subject to change. Its always in a state of flux (pun intended). We keep trying to make up rules about how motor families relate based on their technology, but right about the time you think you know what’s going on, something new changes the rules. And sometimes the rule changes come from seemingly unrelated areas. The switched reluctance motor that was abandoned 20 years ago due to its high cost of control has re-emerged with the availability of low cost microcontrollers and power semiconductors to control it.
With all the interest in electric cars, the electric motor and the battery are the key components. And the motor is certainly undergoing some major change. And as a person with more than average interest in electric motors, the latest innovations continue to amaze.
Among the recent entrants are Apex Drive Labs new axial flux motor that is being used on the Porteon family of electric cars. Porteon is not in production yet, but they are very close to release of their new family of cars. Porteon is focused on the neighborhood electric vehicle, 45mph max speed in a small footprint. The big news is that they are focusing on the manufacturing strategy integrating modular components and applying processes that will reduce cost without compromising safety.
The interesting innovation is the power dense electric motor Apex Drive Labs. While Axial motors are not new, these guys came up with some interesting variations that radically alter the manufacture of the stator and seem to improve energy density at the same time. Cranking out 20 HP in a 50 pound motor at low RPM is quite a feat, especially for a motor that is only 11″ in diameter and flat enough to fit inside a wheel. Which is a great combination and just what is needed in an electric vehicle application. This kind of power density will create some very exciting 2 wheel and 4 wheel drive options. And the efficiency at greater than 90%, will enhance battery drive range, the key to successful EVs.
PML Flighlink has changed to Protean Electric and appears to be showing on the new Fiskar sport sedan that is intended to compete with the Tesla. Protean gained some press for a Cooper Mini that was retrofitted with their in wheel drive and really impressive acceleration. Protean came up with a completely unique in wheel drive with integrated electronics that actually adjust to your driving style and manage all the wheels together to improve vehicle safety and stability.
Truly amazing engineering. And there is surely more to come.