MotorBrain goes above and beyond

The goal of MotorBrain, one of Europe's largest e-mobility projects, is to develop a high-performing and reliable powertrain for electric vehicles that is energy, resource and cost-efficient.

A large part of the €36million project was dedicated to eliminating the need for rare earth metals in commercially viable engines for hybrid and electric vehicles.

"Rare earth metals produce powerful and reliable permanent magnets," said Dr. Yves Burkhardt, researcher on the MotorBrain project. "Yet their availability is limited and they can be difficult and hazardous to mine, making them a key cost driver for electric motors."

The team sought to reduce the cost and number of components by using ferrite magnets, as well as speed up manufacturing of the entire powertrain. In doing so, they integrated the electric motor, the gear box and the control of the system into a single housing.

This system saves on space and parts making it cheaper and more robust. In turn, the MotorBrain team applied more sophisticated software with better control algorithms to improve performance. Burkhardt added: "I believe we can expect to see similar electric powertrain systems commercialised in the next few years."

Tom Austin-Morgan

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