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Imagine an electric car that produces hardly any noise, no air pollution, and is as fast as a Ferrari.
It might become a reality in the near future, thanks to a revolutionary new motor designed by an enterprising team in Wales.
If the IMP motor meets expectations, it could usher in a new age of rapid, clean, electric transport.
As well as high performance vehicles, there are plans for a battery-powered family car with a range of hundreds of miles.
Electric cars to date have been more reminiscent of milk floats than Formula One.
It is hard not to laugh when recalling Sir Clive Sinclair's C5 electric three-wheeler, which was supposed to be the ideal urban runabout, but proved a catastrophic flop.
However the new motor being developed by IMP Ltd, a Welsh engineering company based in Neath, really could put electric vehicles in the fast lane.
The motor is revolutionary in that it contains no bulky permanent magnets.
Instead it relies on transmitting electric pulses across up to seven rotors, arranged in different phases. These are "fired up" in turn, much like the pistons of an internal combustion engine.
There are no gears - the motor provides enough torque at one revolution per minute to put a vehicle into motion - and it spins at up to 2,500rpm.
"Size for size, we can provide 400% more torque than any type of motor currently available," says managing director John Bryant.
He is now hoping to team up with a sports car manufacturer, such as Lotus or TVR.
Theoretically an electric racing car driven by four of the motors - one for each wheel - could hold its own in Formula One.
"Electric vehicles still carry the stigma of the Sinclair," says Mr Bryant. "Forget it. This will outstrip a Ferrari."
At present, providing enough battery life is a problem. But battery technology is improving all the time, and Mr Bryant does not see it as a major obstacle.
If he finds the right automotive partner, a prototype electric car that would put a smile on Michael Schumacher's face could be ready within two years.
NEATH based IMP Ltd is the latest Welsh SME to receive expert guidance and financial assistance from IP Wales.
From its premises in Crynant Business Park, IMP has been working on the development and optimisation of a high torque, low speed silent electric motor which was launched to great acclaim in Hanover in April this year.
IP Wales has given IMP help with taking out a patent for a new design of a 5-stage high torque electric motor. This will be extended to cover not only the UK but also mainland Europe, USA and Hong Kong.
IP Wales Field Officer, David Wooldridge said: “Like other IP rights, patents are territorial in nature. The cost of patent protection over a period can be substantial. Companies like IMP can therefore benefit from IP Wales support funding when they can use it to extend the coverage of their patent across a range of markets.”
IMP was formed to develop this new concept in motor design and is currently involved in producing a complete drive system for an established group of companies. These firms are manufacturing electric delivery vehicles suitable for home deliveries with large superstore companies.
In addition to the motor, IMP is producing a range of high torque gearless speed controlled motors to compete with current motor-gearbox technology.
The motor has no brushes, making it ideal for use in the petrochemical industry and other sectors where sparks present a hazard - meaning it has a huge functional advantage over competitors’ products.
The motor design offers several other important features, which include full torque from 0 rpm, and no gearbox is required. The motor also has 100 per cent speed control with the motor only taking power as and when required.
IMP realised that, with unique features like these, coupled with the company’s aim of marketing the product abroad, the innovation needed protecting.
To date, IMP has received significant interest from vehicle manufacturers including manufacturers of electric wheelchairs, bed hoists and prosthetic devices for artificial limbs, along with several strong enquiries from the aerospace sector.
Originally posted by supafresh
For the cars that do 300 and 400 mph thats pretty amazing but can that be adopted down to the consumer level at a price point that is affordable and that can be introduced into current automotive designs without much modifcation?
Current battery technology is holding back most of these new engines as impressive as they are.
Originally posted by shadarlocoth
if they can build these motor's into the weels I say we just get 4 of them and strap them on my 350z and let the motor idle to provide power when on highway speeds then when I romp on the gas I get my gas motor and the 4 electric motors power boost 8) and if the motors are off then it produces electricty 8)