3D-printed electric motor will show unparalleled power density
Equipmake is a UK-based company that is currently developing “Ampere” — a traction motor designed to be the world’s best in terms of power density. The device will have a peak current density of more than 20 kW/kg (12 hp/lb), the outstanding value that the company aims to achieve by implementing various technologies of additive manufacturing.
Currently, the company is focusing on the manufacturing of electric buses, but there is an undergoing joint project with Ariel Motors, an automotive company from the UK. During the framework of this year's promising project called ‘HIPERCAR”, the teams will join their efforts in order to create high-performance electric sports cars. The cars are expected to develop a speed of 0 to 100 kph (0 to 60 mph) in just under 2.5 seconds. The world’s most power-dense motor is anticipated to be ready near the beginning of the next year, so there’s a probability that it just might be found under the hoods of these particular sports cars.
The “Ampere” is designed to be a high-performance motor with unique spoke design, forced cooling and a total weight of less than 10 kg (22 lbs). But don’t be fooled by its diminutiveness, because this motor is expected to supply 220 kW (299 hp) at an unbelievable speed of 30000 rpm, which provides the power density of 20 kW/kg (12 hp/lb). For example, the traction motors of a standard Tesla Model S make 8.4 kW/kg (5 hp/lb), which is 270 kW at 32 kg (360 hp at 70 lb). Another example is Equipmake’s APM 120R, a holder of the current record. It is an electric motor capable of making nearly 9 kW/kg (5.5 hp/lb), which is 125 kW at 14 kg (168 hp at 31 lb). APM 120R uses samarium cobalt magnets with the methods of direct oil cooling and forced cooling of the rotor.
One of the reasons behind such a significant weight reduction is a fact that most of the metal parts are no longer composed separately, but rather one at a time which results in improved cost-efficiency, thanks to various possibilities provided by 3D-printing technologies. Another reason for the implementation of additive manufacturing is a high degree of geometric complexity of some shapes of motor components. The motor is being developed in tandem with HiETA — a Bristol-based company specialized in metal 3D-printing solutions. Based on the project outline, there is a high probability that Renishaw’s SLM 3D-printers are applied in the manufacturing process. The first prototypes of Ampere, the world’s future most power-dense electric motor will be ready to be tested over the course of the next 12 months.