Jaguar Land Rover has joined forces with Cobham Technical Services and engineering consultancy Ricardo UK to carry out research into the design of a new generation of economic electric motors that dispense with the need for expensive magnet materials.
The aim of the £1.5 million three-year joint research programme, led by Cobham Technical Services, is to produce new super-efficient low emission engines for luxury hybrid vehicles.
The project is also driven by an urgent need to eliminate the use of rare elements, which are in increasingly short supply and which have shot up in price.
Almost all existing electric traction motors employ permanent magnets made from materials such as neodymium-iron-boron and samarium-cobalt.
The Rapid Design and Development of a Switched Reluctance Traction Motor project is co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board.
Cobham will develop multi-physics software and capture the other partners’ methodology in order to design, simulate and analyse the performance of high efficiency, lightweight electric traction motors. Using these new software tools JLR and Ricardo will design and manufacture a prototype switched reluctance motor that addresses the requirements of luxury hybrid vehicles.
The project is one of 16 collaborative R&D programmes to have won funding from the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which agreed to invest £10 million aimed at achieving cuts in CO2 emissions for vehicle-centric technologies. Half the funding has come from the Technology Strategy Board/BIS with the remainder from the project partners.