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BMW i Ventures invests in Software Motor Company; high rotor pole switched reluctance motor system

BMW i Ventures has invested in Software Motor Company (SMC), a Silicon Valley-based company developing reliable, efficient and intelligent motor systems. SMC’s electric motor system is based on switched reluctance technology, managed by advanced cloud software. The Smart Motor system partners a patented high rotor pole switched reluctance motor (HRSRM) with matching motor controller, optional IoT Supervisor, and user-friendly software.

SMC’s vision is to eliminate the 25% of global electricity consumption that is wasted by legacy electric motors, thus accelerating the world’s transition from fossil fuels.

The new funding will enable SMC to further scale its business and accelerate product development.

Electric motors are a massive, $100B market, and they move our modern world, while consuming over 45% of the world's electricity. So investing in a company that can deliver huge electrical cost savings, while selling motor systems that are lower cost, more reliable, and made from more sustainable materials seems like a no-brainer.

—Greg Smithies of BMW i Ventures

To-date, SMC has primarily focused on transforming the HVAC industry, since the operation of buildings is responsible for 40% of global CO2 emissions. This latest round of fundraising will enable SMC to expand its product line to support a complete breadth of HVAC retrofit motors and bring to market its full-stack Building Operating System (BOS) platform to optimize energy and maintenance through intelligent automation.

SMC also has the ability to reduce the energy intensity of the vehicle manufacturing process by retrofitting its demanding HVAC systems. It’s not unusual for large manufacturing facilities to consume tens-of-megawatts of power, and a significant portion of that is typically driven directly by HVAC.

HVAC retrofit was the first step to drive adoption of our technology. Businesses and governments are seeking new energy efficiencies to address the urgency of the climate crisis and their own environmental goals, as well as just spend less on energy and improve the bottom line. But the applications for our software-defined motor systems are ubiquitous, and we foresee adoption into electric vehicles as clear future markets for SMC.

—Ryan Morris, executive chairman, SMC

Electric vehicles will require lower costs and longer ranges to reach ubiquity. SMC’s technology enables lower cost motors, and lowers the cost of the battery for comparable range, thanks to higher efficiency over a wide operating range.

SMC’s unique architecture has the potential to improve the efficiency, cost, and safety of developing electric drivetrains, while reducing dependence on unsustainable rare earth minerals. That is a huge opportunity across all vehicle manufacturers.

—Greg Smithies




My understanding is that one of the pitfalls of SRMs is noise, as the rapid switching of coils causes ringing from the change in mechanical forces.  One wonders if SMC has found a way around this.


You can reduce the pulsating torque of a SRM using several techs. like:

- Different number of stator winding poles and rotor teeth. You need a high number of winding poles for this, so I guess that's what they are aiming for.
- Skewing.
- Wave shape modulation.

My pet tech. is the flux switching motor, which is closely related to the SR motor. Its has the same troubles (vibration due to irregular torque) and the same fixes.


That ringing could replace the audible warning sounds at low speed being legislated.


What deficiencies - if any - may the YASA axial flux motor have?




Yes, I know, that is obvious from their design and description. I should have detailed my question. What I meant was, e.g. do they use rare earth elements in their PMs. Can these be recovered when the motor reaches end of life and to what degree etc.


What efficiency levels are we talking about here? I recall e-motors were upward of 90% efficient to start with. I don't see an efficiency number here.

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