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Ricardo EV Motor: ‘Next-Generation’

February 23, 2015 in Electric Drive, Technology by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

85 Kilowatts with No Rare Earth Elements

The UK’s Ricardo is promoting a new traction motor for electric vehicles, emphasizing that the 85-kilowatt (114 horsepower) RapidSR design (for switched reluctance) employs no expensive rare earth elements.

Two views of Ricardo's new RapidSR motor for electric vehicles (CAD image at right)

Two views of Ricardo’s new RapidSR motor for electric vehicles (CAD image at right)

“Using a conventional distributed stator winding, the Ricardo synchronous reluctance electric machine is a highly innovative design that makes use of low-cost materials, simple manufacturing processes and uncomplicated construction,” the company says. “It has a rotor made from cut steel laminations, which are used to direct and focus the flux across the air gap.

“By maximizing this flux linkage between the stator and rotor, performance can be optimized within a tightly packaged, low-weight and rare earth element-free design.”

Cobham’s Opera

“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,” Ricardo hybrid and electric vehicle systems business managing director Paul Rivera said in a release.

“The Ricardo prototype,” he said, “demonstrates what can be achieved by using the latest electric machine design processes in the creation of a high performing, compact, lightweight, and rare earth element-free concept.”

Ricardo says that by developing effective CAE-led design processes as well as prototype designs, its RapidSR team, which has been working since 2012, “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.”

Moving Beyond Simulation

Ricardo’s partners in this research include project leader Cobham Technical Services – which is developing multi-physics CAE design software, Opera, as a part of the project – and Jaguar Land Rover. The research is being co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

“By bringing together state-of-the-art simulation technology with advanced electric machine design we have created a highly credible next generation EV motor concept that shows considerable promise,” said Will Drury, Ricardo team leader for electric machines and power electronics. “The Ricardo prototype is now built and will be rigorously tested over the coming weeks in order to validate the extremely positive results that it has shown in simulation, as a concept that provides an exceptional balance of performance, compact package, light weight and low cost.”

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Source: Ricardo with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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