Cars > Tech

These revolutionary new electric motors promise to make EVs lighter, faster and cheaper

Will we be seeing these in production cars soon?

A German startup promises reduced costs and less weight for electric vehicles with its new motors. PHOTO FROM DEEPDRIVE

Electric cars are nothing new, but the technologies used within them are still evolving. A German company has just unveiled a new type of electric motor that it claims has the potential to disrupt the industry in a big way.

Munich-based DeepDrive has patented Dual Rotor technology that it says will increase the range of EVs while reducing their complexity and price. On top of that, the motor invented by the Bavarians also claims to be smaller than existing solutions and is geared toward environmentally friendly mass production.

Called the Dual Rotor, Radial Flux Machine,” it carries that name because—in the DeepDrive motor—two rotors turn around a stator in between. The stator is a stationary part that, in normal electric motors, consists of a laminated core and coils of insulated wires.

The version presented by DeepDrive follows the same principle, but looks a lot more high-tech. To explain things in simple terms: The new motor is said to be more economical, lighter, and cheaper, which should sound like music to the ears of the automotive industry.

Environmentalists should also be happy about this new motor as it uses 80% less iron and 50% less magnetic material than conventional electric motors. What magnets it does use are rare-earth-free, and the invention utilizes distributed instead of concentric winding. The company has created two types of motors: in-wheel and central drive.

These small hub motors are ideal for both low-cost and high-performance applications. PHOTOS FROM DEEPDRIVE

In-wheel versions are what you would find in cars like the Riversimple Rasa, and they usually have to be as small as possible to fit into tight spaces and reduce unsprung mass.

The DeepDrive in-wheel units are available in various sizes, and range from a tiny 14-inch version with 18kW and 300Nm, to a huge 20-inch version with 250kW of peak power and an almighty 2,400Nm of torque.

Each of these most powerful motors weighs just 37kg, meaning if you combined four of them, you’d get a powertrain that could deliver over 1,300hp and almost 10,000Nm of torque, and weigh less than 150kg. Those are some pretty spectacular numbers.

This tiny central drive unit packs a punch while being more affordable to manufacture. PHOTOS FROM DEEPDRIVE

The central drive unit is no less impressive, and puts out 300kW and 700Nm of axle torque while weighing only 30kg and being 98% efficient.

The chances that motors built by DeepDrive will make it into production cars are also pretty good. The firm has already secured substantial financial backing from companies like BMW and Continental, and is said to be cooperating with a number of big carmakers.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.