A lightweight electric motor designed by the Electronic Power Group at the University of Oxford is to power a new four-seat coupé, with track tests scheduled for the end of 2009. Isis Innovation, the technology transfer company for Oxford University, is managing the intellectual property and commercial agreements for the electric motor project.
Nick Carpenter, technical director of engineering firm Delta Motorsport has worked for F1 teams, but also programmes in environmentally related technologies and aerodynamic analysis. Delta are aiming to install the motor in their coupe for track tests later this year.
Nick Carpenter said: ‘We believe electric motors are the only way forward for road cars. All road cars will be driven electrically, regardless of how the energy is stored in the vehicle.’
Dr Malcolm McCulloch of Oxford’s Electrical Power Group explains: ‘The motor was developed for the Morgan Lifecar in 2008, and we now have funding to adapt it for high-performance electric vehicles, and we’re also looking at aerospace, renewable and industrial use.’
The Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund is supporting the project with investment to build a prototype for use in test cars.
Dr McCulloch adds: ‘The motor can achieve high torque for its weight, which ultimately means a smaller and cheaper motor. Torque is the twisting force that accelerates the car, and the peak torque we’re aiming for is 500Nm from 25kg.’
‘We’ve optimised the materials and design, so that the motor is lighter and more effective, giving half the volume and twice the torque for the same power output.’
‘Over 50 per cent of the world’s electricity powers electric motors, so it’s extremely important to improve the efficiency of motors. This motor can be adapted to achieve better performance in a whole range of applications.’
Nick Carpenter said: ‘It is an incredibly exciting time for the automotive market. There hasn’t been a rate of change like this since the first few years, and we think that electric drive is going to be the one common theme.’
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