Now that we can no longer escape the fact that we are facing an electrified future, it is nice to see that the centuries-old electric motor can still do better. And far better too.
The British engineer Ian Foley has several years of experience in Formula 1. He has developed various suspension and KERS systems for Williams, but recently he has focused more on electric propulsion for the less fortunate. Now, with his company Equipmake, he is coming up with an almost completely new electric motor that on all fronts is an improvement on the one that is now commonly used.
The major difference is that the magnets of the electric motor are placed in a different way. They are closer to the axis and are positioned around it like spokes. The magnets are also simply rectangular in shape (the magnets in today’s motors have a slight V-shape). The advantage of this is that they are much cheaper to manufacture, perform better and leave more room for cooling.
Especially the latter is important because more cooling allows you to ask more of smaller magnets before they overheat. Manufacturers are currently addressing this problem mainly by using more expensive magnets that are better able to withstand the heat. This of course makes the electric motor more expensive than desired.
Foley is the first engineer to tackle this problem by developing a forged aluminum casing. This makes building the new engine easy and very inexpensive.
All in all, the Englishman claims that his engine can generate 25% more power with 25% fewer magnets. In addition, an average electric motor made in his company is 50% smaller and 80% lighter than a comparable electric motor currently in use.
Ian does not dare to say how much cheaper the motor will be, but since the production process is easier and less material is needed, he dares to say with certainty that it will cost less.
Equipmake is currently working with several car manufacturers to see what is possible in the future. Ariel has already launched a project: the Hipercar will have an Equipmake AMP200 motor behind each wheel. The aim is to put the 1,195 hp strong car into production by 2020. In addition, cheap electric drivetrains for buses must also come from Foley’s company.