Magnax, a Belgium startup unveils a new axial flux BLDC motor specifically designed for electric vehicles (EV) or hybrid cars. Electric vehicles commonly use electric motors that are powered by lithium batteries to drive. Other EVs use solar energy, but the mechanism is the same since electric motors are the primary drivers of these cars.
Magnax is considering mainstream hybrid cars, aviation as well as motorcycles as the primary targets when it introduces its new axial flux electric motor. The new type of engine is short, and it can operate as a hub inside the wheel or on the car's chassis. The critical feature of this new gadget is that it does not require permanent magnets.
Many sectors that rely on electric motors for their power requirements can significantly benefit from the axial flux motor. Wind turbines, for example, can help through the removal of the complicated and expensive gearbox that many radial flux motors require. On the other hand, axial flux motors can improve efficiency by up to 10% and many general industrial applications can benefit.
In short, the most significant thing is that an electric motor is the heart of an EV. The motor drives the vehicle, and its efficiency determines the level of performance. Unlike conventional cars with varying sizes of engines, this new electric motor is small and reliable.
What Is The Status Quo?
Currently, both battery powered and hybrid EVs use a similar electrical propulsion system comprising of permanent magnets. The method is called synchronous radial flux traction motor, and it mainly derives from industrial and pump motor designs.
The design uses explicitly rare-earth magnets on the rotor, and these are on the outer edges of the plate. The system typically creates attractions that have greater magnetic power compared to standard iron magnets. Asynchronous BLCD motor produces rotation through the interaction of the stator (windings of the copper wire on the rotor) and the magnetic field that comes from permanent magnets.
Through energizing different places of the stator, a rotational force moves to the rotor and the motor spins. The process involves sophisticated power electronics to turn the rotor. The major drawback of a radial flux motor is that it is too big and heavy (weighing over 100 pounds).
The magnets on a radial flux motor are in a position where their poles lie radially. The windings of the stator interact with the magnetic flux that comes from the permanent magnets on the rotor. The flux flows through metal teeth on the stator between both magnets thereby forcing rotation of the rotor.
The Axial Flux Electric Motor
The stator in an axial flux motor is around the rotor, and the permanent magnets are on the rotor's face. The system uses two rotors on both sides of the stator to balance the magnetic forces. The flux loop begins from the magnet on the rotor, and it flows through the gap between the stator and the rotor.
The movement of flux axially passes through the first tooth on the stator and quickly arrives on the second magnet. When two rotors are in use, the flux movement is very fast since it follows a one-dimensional path. In contrast, radial flux motor uses a radial sequence in the flow of flux. As such, the axial flux motor has many benefits compared to a radial flux motor.
Advantages Of The New Motor
The new electric motor is advantageous in that it is short and compact. The main reason for the shortness of the axial flux motor is that the stator windings and the rotor are in face to face position. The rotor has a larger diameter which helps to produce more torque instead of being long like other motors.
Due to their large diameter and short length, axial flux motors are also called “pancakes.” They can produce greater outputs of power due to their robust designs. More power output entails that the engine is efficient. For example, the dual rotor system can improve efficiency by as much as 85%. The use of grain-oriented steel helps to reduce the core loses of power.
The flux path is comparatively shorter in the axial motor than a radial flux motor. The shortness of the flux path is because magnets are far from the axis.
Electric vehicles that use the new axial flux motor are likely to have better performance due to improved efficiency. If the engine is capable of producing more output while minimizing losses of energy, it is expected to perform better. The axial flux motor has the least possible copper loss meaning that it has higher efficiency. Almost all battery energy gets converted to useful motor power.
The axial motor is also efficient in that it has improved cooling. The stator windings are closer to the housing of the electric motor to such that they cool faster compared to radial flux motors. A radial flux motor takes longer to cool because it should transfer the coil heat via the stator windings of the engine.
Magnax’s motors will be able to provide power over a long period due to better cooling capacity. Such a scenario will also result in the development of vehicles that perform better since they can run for more extended periods.
The axial flux motor also has rectangular cross-section instead of standard round wire. Square wire aims to pack more copper such that it can occupy up to 90% of the space. This new development will help vehicles that are going to use this motor to perform better than those which use radial flux motors.
The axial flux motor is lightweight, and it is also compact in its design. The main advantage of engines that are lightweight and powerful is that they are suitable for aviation purposes. The driver can adequately fit on light glider aircraft. Commercial planes are heavy because they use more power to fly compared to small aircraft that relies on solar energy.
For this particular reason, the axial flux motors can also contribute to the development of light aircraft that use solar power. Magnax claims that the engine will have considerable potential to its weight ratio. For example, it can produce 400 horsepower or 300 kilowatts against the weight of about 22.5 kilograms.
The new development could mean the development of fantastic electric cars and motorcycles that are powerful but generally light. The same vehicles can also travel faster which would be a significant improvement from the current EVs. Other appliances that will use this motor can also operate at improved speeds.
Reliability And Cost Effectiveness
Magnax believes that its axial flux motor will outperform other existing engines through improved reliability. The motor is reliable in different ways particularly its improved performance and long running time. The cooling system is guaranteed, and it can also give the engine a long life.
In the foreseeable future, there are no immediate issues that can affect the performance of the new motor. The other advantage of the new gadget is that it will be cost effective because it does not require sophisticated material in its design. The axial motor is easy to maintain due to its compact structure which entails that it is firm.
With rising environmental concerns in both the automobile and aviation industries, the new axial flux motor comes as a blessing. The axial flux motor operates with renewable sources of energy only like wind and solar energy. These sources of energy are friendly to the environment, unlike devices that use combustion fuel for their power generation.
More improvements regarding the performance of the electric motor are crucial since the new technology can apply to other industries. There is hope that the axial flux motor will revolutionize the electric vehicle industry since it is better in many respects.
The New Magnax Prototype Axial Flux Motor
The new prototype motor will weigh 22.5 kilograms with a diameter of 275 mm (10.8 inches). This motor is capable of producing between 300 to 408 kW (400-550 horsepower). The axial flux motor can fit on different types of electric vehicles. The strength is also sufficient enough to propel light aircraft.
Magnax company is also developing smaller electric motors that will weigh 7 kilograms with a diameter of 185 mm (7.2 inches) as well as the power output of 84 kW (113 hp). Despite its light weight and smaller size, this electric motor is the same version as the first one. The mechanism is similar in all functions.
Magnax is envisioning that the use of these new motors will range from electric vehicles and motorcycles as well as aircraft. The engine can still produce the same level of power and performance regardless of the machine it is powering. The company also anticipates that the new axial flux motor can also fit on the turbines when they perform tasks like power generation.
The new electric motor is a multipurpose outfit, and it can work in different industries. Magnax aims to use innovation to revolutionize the manufacturing and motor industries. At the same time, the company seeks to minimize the impact of the carbon footprint from these industries.
Drawbacks Of The Axial Flux Electric Motor
Apart from its numerous advantages, the new axial flux motor has its cons that prospective users should be wary of. Some of the issues may appear to be minor but time will tell once the axial flux motor becomes fully operational. Some of the drawbacks include the following:
Difficulties in Maintaining The Air Gap Uniform
Building an axial flux motor has its challenges, and this is the reason why only one company so far is making it. The primary problem is that the powerful magnetic forces that act between the rotor and stator discs make it challenging to maintain a uniform air gap. The drives can start rubbing against each other; the moment rotor and stator begin to wobble or bend.
When this undesired movement begins, it can lead to damage of the bearing at best. The worst scenario that can happen pertains to total and unscheduled disassembly. The cost to the bearing might not be severe as the complete breakdown that can take place.
However, the company says it can address this possible challenge through the use of two rotor discs. These continually supply equal as well as opposing forces to the stator disc. Since the rotors directly connect through a shaft ring, it is possible for magnetic forces to cancel each other out. The internal bearing does not interfere with these magnetic forces.
The other likely drawback of the axial flux electric motor pertains to the cooling system. The stator winds are found between the rotor discs, and this can make it difficult to let the heat out. When temperature fails to get out, the electric motor overheats, and it can stop functioning until it cools down.
However, Magnax claims that the cooling system of the new motor has no problem. The design of the engine allows standard heat transfer because the windings have direct contact with the outer casing. In other words, the cooling system guarantees long operational hours of the motor.
The manufacturing process of the stator discs poses some challenges in that it is hard to get them right at one goal. It is even difficult to produce these discs in a high volume process. At the moment, discs are built through the manual hand process.
As a result, the process becomes time-consuming and expensive at the same time. However, Magnax claims that it has a solution to this manufacturing challenge. Some "proprietary solutions" in the pipeline will enable it to scale up the building process in a cost-effective manner.
Apart from these drawbacks, it seems Magnax’s new axial flux motor can revolutionize the electric motor industry. It has better quality elements such as high performance and efficiency, lightweight as well as reliability. These advantages outweigh the likely disadvantages of the gadget so that it can bring positive changes to the EV sector.