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Innovative electric motor set for track tests

oxford-motorA lightweight electric motor designed by Oxford University engineers is to power a new four-seat coupe, 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. Engineering firm Delta Motorpsort aims to install the motor in its coupe for track tests later this year.

“The motor can achieve high torque for its weight, which ultimately means a smaller and cheaper motor,” said Malcolm McCulloch of the Electrical Power Group at Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science. “Torque is the twisting force that accelerates the car, and the peak torque we’re aiming for is 500 Newton metres from 25 kilograms.”

McCulloch added, “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.”

More than half of the world’s electricity goes to power electric motors, so improving motor efficiency could produce dramatic energy savings.

“We believe electric motors are the only way forward for road cars,” said Nick Carpenter, technical director of Delta Motorsport. “All road cars will be driven electrically, regardless of how the energy is stored in the vehicle.

“It is an incredibly exciting time for the automotive market,” Carpenter continued. “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. We’re delighted to have been so involved in the design of a viable, cost-effective, high torque density motor.”

The Oxford University Challenge Seed Fund is supporting the project with investment to build a prototype for use in test cars.

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