Electrification company, Equipmake, and 3D printing specialist Hieta are collaborating on an innovative new electric motor. 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 first prototypes are set to be up and running in 12 months. Equipmake and HiETA are targeting peak power of 220kW at 30,000rpm and a weight of less than 10kg. By comparison, even the best standard permanent magnet motors would struggle to muster 5kW per kg.
The so-called AMPERE motor will weigh less than 10kg but provide a peak output of 295bhp. For reference, the Jaguar I-Pace’s two electric motors weigh around 40kg each and produce 197bhp. The Ampere’s 27bhp per kg output gives it a better power density rating than any conventional electric motor on sale.
Grant-funded by Innovate UK, 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 approach means this prototype will use the least amount of high strength alloys in its construction, and least amount of expensive active materials – the magnets – too, keeping cost low.
Explaining the functionality in details, Ian Foley, managing director, Equipmake, said: “This exciting project has the potential to totally change our concept of what an electric motor can offer – and with such a huge amount of performance in a such a small package at as low a cost as possible, this motor is set to further revolutionise e-mobility, whether that’s in automotive or aerospace. We are grateful to Innovate UK for their support and are looking forward to getting the very first AMPERE prototypes up and running very soon.”
This brings many advantages. Firstly, the metal is only put where it is needed. Secondly, thermally efficient thin walls and optimised 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.
Andy Jones, manager, Innovation Programme at HiETA added that “AMPERE provides the opportunity to apply both HiETA’s thermal management expertise and complex, thin walled structure manufacture enabled by additive manufacture to electric motor design to realise ambitious power densities. We typically reduce the size of thermal management components by five times compared with conventional techniques which will allow next generation heat transfer features to be integrated into the rotor, stator and electronics cooling. In addition, the freedoms of additive manufacture will be used to optimise structural performance. We are integrating these benefits with Equipmake’s advanced electric motor design from the ground up and are looking forward to manufacture and test in the near future.”
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. AMPERE has applications across many sectors, from automotive to aerospace and marine.