UK-based electrification company, Equipmake, has teamed up with additive manufacturing organization HiETA to develop a next-generation motor as part of a project grant-funded by Innovate UK.
Codenamed AMPERE, the new motor will draw on Equipmake’s expertise in electric motor design and HiETA’s knowledge in thermal engineering and additive manufacturing with the target of producing an extremely lightweight, efficient but low-cost electric motor with peak power density of more than 20kW per kg—more than four times as power dense as a conventional electric motor.
The key to AMPERE’s performance is its combination of an advanced motor design with additive manufacturing, allowing its metal structure to be 3D-printed, rather than milled from a solid billet.
This brings many advantages. First, metal is only put where it is needed. Secondly, thermally efficient thin walls and optimized fine surface details can be combined directly with the motor’s structure, replacing multi-part assemblies with a single, complex architecture that has exceptional cooling ability, is lightweight, has low inertia and allows for greatly increased rotational speed.
This approach not only means that AMPERE will use the least amount of high strength alloys in its construction, but also the least amount of expensive active materials—the magnets—too, keeping cost as low as possible.
Equipmake and HiETA are targeting peak power of 220kW at 30,000rpm and a weight of less than 10kg for AMPERE. By comparison, even the best standard permanent magnet motors in use today would offer 5kW per kg.
Equipmake’s innovative APM 125, one of the world’s most power dense automotive electric motors, which uses the company’s spoke architecture to maximisze cooling capability, offers peak power of 125kW at 12,000rpm and a weight of just 14kg, giving it power density of just under 9kW per kg.
The first AMPERE prototypes are set to be up and running in 12 months’ time.
At the end of last year, Equipmake opened its all-new factory in Snetterton, Norfolk, where the company provides the complete electric vehicle solution, offering the capability to design, test and manufacture everything from motors to fully electrified platforms, supporting the automotive and aerospace sectors. On site, it designs and manufactures its fully-integrated electric bus chassis for an increasingly international customer base. Its APM range of motors are used by its EBus chassis and will also power the upcoming Ariel HIPERCAR.