PARIS – A three-year research project aims to work on the design of next generation electric vehicle motors that eliminate the use of expensive magnetic materials.
The project, dubbed “Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor”, is led by Cobham Technical Services and gathers partners Jaguar Land-Rover and engineering consultancy Ricardo UK. The project total value amounts to £1.5 million ($2.3 million), half-funded by the Technology Strategy Board/BIS, and the rest by the project partners.
As part of the research program, Cobham said it aims to develop multi-physics software and study other partners’ methodology to design, simulate and analyze the performance of high efficiency, lightweight electric traction motors that avoid the use of expensive magnetic materials. Jaguar Land-Rover and Ricardo said they will use the software tools to design and manufacture a prototype switched reluctance motor that addresses the requirements of luxury hybrid vehicles.
“Design software for switched reluctance motors is at about the same level as diesel engine design software when it was first introduced. Cobham will develop its existing SRM capabilities to provide the consortium with enhanced tools based on the widely used Opera suite for design, finite element simulation and analysis,” declared Kevin Ward, director of Cobham Technical Services - Vector Fields Software, in a statement.
Ward continued: “We will investigate advanced integration with our other multi-physics software, to obtain more accurate evaluation of model related performance parameters such as vibration. Design throughput will also be enhanced via more extensive parallelization of code and developing an environment which captures the workflow of the design process."
Project partners outlined their intention to find an alternative to eliminate the use of rare-earth metals, which are in increasingly short supply and have risen ten-fold in cost in recent years. They expect that, at the end of this three-year program, improved design tools and processes will be in place to support rapid design, accelerating the uptake of the technology into production.
Opera is a software package for the modelling of static and time varying electromagnetic fields, and related fields such as temperature. Partners said Opera's electromagnetic simulation capabilities for switched reluctance motors are being extended to further accelerate the design, analysis and optimization of high torque density models.