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Spin-out to commercialise electric motors

Riversimple CarA new Oxford University spin-out company, Oxford Yasa Motors, has been set up to commercialise lightweight electric motors developed at the Department of Engineering Science. The new technology promises to help firms build more efficient electric vehicles.

Isis Innovation, the University’s technology transfer company, announced that Oxford Yasa Motors Ltd has closed the £1.45 million funding round with private investor Seven Spires Investments Limited.

Oxford Yasa Motors also announced that it has been successful in securing a grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board as part of a £1.89 million consortium to develop a higher volume version of the motor.

“We’re taking technology which has already been proven in a number of vehicles to a wider market,” said Malcolm McCulloch, head of Oxford’s Electronic Power Group. “With Oxford Yasa Motors, we’ll be able to deliver a range of commercial products that will help the UK launch itself as a premier destination for electric vehicle development.”

McCulloch added, “We have optimised the materials and design, so that the motor is much lighter and more effective, giving half the volume and twice the torque for the same power output. This electric motor technology will reduce fuel consumption and also help us move away fossil-based fuels to alternative energies.”

Over the last eight months, the Oxford team has collaborated with engineering firm Delta Motorsports to configure the motor for a new four-seat coupe, which is scheduled for track tests scheduled at the end of 2009. Riversimple also plans to power its new electric car with the Oxford motor.

The motor will also be adapted for aerospace, renewable and industrial applications where improved power-to-weight performance combined with the ability to offer more compact electric drive systems will offer significant commercial advantage to customers.

“This is a great opportunity to participate in world-leading technology at the forefront of a rapidly expanding multi-billion dollar market for electric motors,” said Ian Page from Seven Spires Investments.

The new spin-out company aims to sell a low volume of the motors in its first year, as well as to scale up production and develop new models. Nick Farrant, who has a background in aerospace engineering and spin-out management, will be CEO of Oxford Yasa Motors.

“British engineering spurred the original growth of the automotive industry, and we believe engineering excellence can reinvigorate the industry again,” McCulloch said.

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