Ricardo plc, a global
multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation and
strategy, has designed and built in prototype form a new electric vehicle (EV)
motor. This is part of a collaborative research and development project, RapidSR
(Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor).
Ricardo’s partners in this
research include project leader Cobham Technical Services – which is developing
its multi-physics CAE design software, Opera, as a part of the project – and
Jaguar Land Rover. The research is being co-funded by the UK’s innovation
agency, Innovate UK.
In a press release, the
company stated that by 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 maximising
this flux linkage between the stator and rotor, performance can be optimised
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,” he
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.
“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,” added 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,” he noted.
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