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
Brian Fricke and Mahabir Bhandari (2019) Laboratory Evaluation and Field Demonstration of High Rotor Switched Reluctance Motor Technology Prepared for the GSA and DOE by ORNL