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UK-built electric motor 'world's most power dense'

Equipmake and HiETA collaborate on technology that could revolutionise EV motoring

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, March 4, 2020

What are the common criticisms levelled at electric vehicles? Of course, there are the usual ones about range and charging time, but also the fact that batteries and motors make for a very heavy car. The Honda e is a 1,400kg city car, a Jaguar I-Pace is 800kg more than that (for a car not that enormous) and the Porsche Taycan is 2.3 tonnes. They all do a good job of hiding the mass, though no harm would be done in reducing those numbers.

Which is where 'Ampere' might come in. A collaborative project between Equipmake ('expert electrification company') and HiETA ('leading additive manufacturing business'), Ampere is lighter, smaller and more efficient than conventional electric motors, with target figures of 220kW from a 10kg motor. That would mean more than 10kW per kilo, when the best normal electric motors don't get past 5kW per kilogram. Even Equipmake's most potent motor in the current line-up, its APM 125, only has a power density of 9kW per kg.

The key to Ampere's power density is said to be the additive manufacturing bit, which is described as basically 3D metal printing. It means that weight (and cost) are kept down by only using metal (and magnets) precisely where required, and that cooling is better as well because multi-part assemblies can be replicated with one printed part.

And why should you care? Well, in addition to potentially reducing the weight of existing BEVs - the Ampere is a year from prototype testing - the collaboration is reaching further afield. Equipmake's technology will power the Ariel Hipercar, the former's base at Snetterton designing, making and testing electric motors. And where better to demonstrate the virtues of lightweight battery technology than in a lightweight hypercar? The Ariel, with help from the technology devised by Equipmake (and, now, HiETA as well) could mark a new dawn for low mass EV sports cars. Here's to hoping it does.


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