Next-generation electric motor company Linear Labs (LL) closed a $4.5-million seed round led by Science Inc. and Kindred Ventures with participation from investors Chris and Crystal Sacca, Ryan Graves of Saltwater Ventures, Dynamic Signal CEO Russ Fradin, Masergy Executive Chairman and former-CEO Chris MacFarland, as well as Ustream co-founder Dr. Gyula Feher.
LL was established in 2013 after developing an entirely new methodology in the construction of electric motor and generator technologies that create more power while using less energy. The Linear Labs motor is characterized by two main attributes: (1) very high torque starting at low speeds, and (2) high efficiency throughout the speed range.
The funding will be used to market the company’s electric motor—the Hunstable Electric Turbine (HET)—across the electric vehicle (EV) industry as well as the micro-mobility (scooters), robotics, wind turbine and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industries.
Automotive manufacturers are already looking at HET technology as the solution to size, weight and range constraints. With 45 percent of worldwide electricity consumption passing through an electric motor, the number of industries this technology could impact are endless.—Brad Hunstable, CEO of Linear Labs
Linear Labs’ HET uses multiple rotors in new ways and that have the ability to adapt to conditions while in motion. Compared to the top permanent magnet motor on the market, it produces two times the torque density, three times the power density, two times the output per given motor size and minimum 10% more range, the company claims.
Linear Labs motors significantly beat Department of Energy and ARPA-E goals for Cost Density and Power Density.
The motor features a unique magnetic arrangement in which the magnetic forces acting on the rotor are in the direction of motion. This sets the LL Motor apart from conventional electric machines. The data has shown that the Linear Labs (LL) configuration is capable of producing nearly 100% more torque and continuous power than its commercial counterparts within the same frame size and geometrical envelope.
With virtually no end windings, the LL machine allows for reduced copper losses. The data shows that when applying the same frame size as used in commercially available propulsion units, a significantly higher efficiency (especially at the low speed region) can be achieved. This can lead to substantial reduction in onboard energy storage requirements or an extended driving range using the existing commercial Energy Storage System (ESS).
Data indicates that the continuous and peak power density of the LL motor using standard cooling can exceed 1.9kW/kg and 2.7 kW/kg respectively, at a base speed of 3000 RPM.
The LL motors use the same inverter as conventional electric propulsion drives and operate at lower DC link voltage, allowing for a smaller DC link capacitor and reduced switch ratings. This results in a more compact and low-cost power electronic converter at the required power ratings used in commercial propulsion units.
The radial forces in the LL machine are smaller than their commercial counterparts and produce very limited torque pulsation, which provides a very quiet motor drive system.
The HET is suited for mobility applications to include electric vehicles, offering high levels of torque that remove the need for a gearbox, reducing manufacturers’ production costs and increasing efficiency throughout the speed range. Linear Labs currently has 50 filed patents, 21 of which are issued with 29 patents pending.
Linear Labs was founded in 2014 in Texas by Brad and Fred Hunstable. Brad Hunstable is former CEO and Founder of Ustream, a pioneering live-video streaming service that sold to IBM in 2016 for $150 million. Fred Hunstable is an expert in electrical engineering and nuclear power, who led Ebasco and Walker Engineering’s efforts in designing, upgrading and completing electrical infrastructure, environmental and enterprise projects as well as safety and commercial grade evaluation programs.
Brad and Fred Hunstable invented the HET while working to design a device capable of pumping clean water and providing power for small communities in underdeveloped regions of the world. Numerous discoveries morphed into a new electric motor.
The holy grail in electric motors has always been high torque and no gearbox, and the HET achieves both in a smaller, lighter and more efficient package that is more powerful than traditional motors.—Fred Hunstable, CTO of Linear Labs
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Linear Labs has made recent additions its leadership team including President John Curry, coming from KLA-Tencor and NanoPhotonics, and Vice President Jon Hurry, who brings expertise as a technical representative for both Tesla and Faraday Future as well as a background with General Motor’s hydrogen fuel cell program in addition to experience with Lucid Motors.