An 85-kilowatt synchronous reluctance drive has been developed by Ricardo for electric vehicle traction applications.The motor is said to be high performing, compact, lightweight, and rare earth element free.
3/17/15 5:00 am chumakdenis 1
Electric vehicles are known to be 100% eco-friendly and tend to become transport of the next-generation displacing non-electric vehicles. But as it turned out, there is nothing perfect.
Electric vehicles were criticized for their use of rare earth metals in their motors. Mined mainly in China, rare earth metals are used to create the powerful permanent magnets used in millions of electric motors. The mining process is environmentally destructive and the refining process highly polluting. Equally troubling, from a national security perspective, China essentially owns the global monopoly on the metals. Finding a way to eliminate the use of rare earth magnets in electric motors has become an important research goal within the electric vehicle industry. One of the features touted in the brand-new 2016 Chevrolet Volt is that one of its two traction motors is now rare earth metal-free, while the second motor uses fewer permanent magnets than the first generation Volt.
2016 Chevrolet Volt
Solution of the problem
In order to solve this problem, Ricardo has designed and built the new electric vehicle motor as part of a collaborative research and development project, RapidSR (Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor). Using a conventional distributed stator winding, the Ricardo synchronous reluctance electric machine is a highly innovative design that makes use of low-cost materials, simple manufacturing processes and uncomplicated construction. It has a rotor made from cut steel laminations, which are used to direct and focus the flux across the air gap. By maximizing this flux linkage between the stator and rotor, performance can be optimized within a tightly packaged, low weight and rare earth element free design.
"As the market for electric vehicles grows globally, there is an imperative to explore alternatives to permanent magnet traction motors which require the use of expensive and increasingly difficult to source rare earth elements," commented Paul Rivera, MD of the Ricardo hybrid and electric vehicle systems business. "The Ricardo prototype that we have announced today demonstrates what can be achieved by using the latest electric machine design processes in the creation of a high performing, compact, lightweight, and rare earth element free concept."
Since its launch in 2012, the RapidSR project has been researching the design of next-generation economic electric motors that avoid expensive and potentially difficult to source rare earth elements typically used in permanent magnets. By developing effective CAE led design processes as well as prototype designs, the team has created a framework for the future design and manufacture of electric vehicle motors that offer the performance, compact packaging and light weight required for EV applications, but at a significantly reduced cost compared to permanent magnet machines. Ricardo's partners in this research include project leader Cobham Technical Services and Jaguar Land Rover.
"By bringing together state-of-the-art simulation technology with advanced electric machine design we have created a highly credible next generation EV motor concept that shows considerable promise," told to us Dr Will Drury, Ricardo team leader for electric machines and power electronics. "The Ricardo prototype is now built and will be rigorously tested over the coming weeks in order to validate the extremely positive results that it has shown in simulation, as a concept that provides an exceptional balance of performance, compact package, light weight and low cost."
When will the testing of the prototype start?
Testing of the prototype will begin in the coming weeks to validate the promising capabilities demonstrated in early computer modeling and simulation. The results hope to demonstrate a concept that provides an exceptional balance of performance, compact package, light weight and low cost, stated Dr. Will Drury, the Ricardo team leader.
Well, let's wish them good luck and hope that the testing of the prototype will go smoothly.