The European MotorBrain project has presented a prototype of a lightweight electric motor system that integrates the motor, gear drive and inverter, and requires no rare earth metals.
The prototype motor system is three quarters the size of models from the beginning of the project in 2011, and, at less than 77 kg (170 lbs), is also approximately 15% lighter.
Rare earth metals are prized for their strong and constant magnetic fields, but they are expensive, and obtaining them can be environmentally harmful. The MotorBrain electric motor uses readily available and less expensive ferrite magnets. A specially developed high-RPM rotor compensates for the lower performance level of ferrite magnets compared to those with rare earth metals.
The three-year MotorBrain project, which has a goal of increasing the range and safety of EVs, is one of Europe’s largest electromobility research projects. Led by Infineon, the team consists of 30 partners from nine countries, including universities, research facilities, OEMs, component suppliers and semiconductor manufacturers. The project has a budget of some €36 million ($50 million).