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‘Breakthrough’ motor delivers 98.4% efficiency

30 November, 2022

A Californian company has spent more than two years developing and testing an electric motor that, it claims, is achieving results “that have never been seen before in the electric motor/generator industry”. 360 Power Group, based in Marina Del Rey, says that that its machine – which can also be used as a generator – delivers an electrical efficiency of 98.4% at 1,800 rpm.

The motor uses three magnets in the rotor to create radial-axial-radial magnetic fields across three precisely controlled air gaps rather than two. Instead of a conventional field coil, it uses modular coils that need a third less copper than usual, as well as reducing the motor’s size and weight by a similar proportion.

The three-field design operates efficiently without saturation or losing flux. It is said to result in high power densities, efficiencies and torque levels at low speeds.

The motor is scalable for rated outputs from 1kW to 500kW and produces full torque throughout its operating range. The design allows continuously variable-speed electronic transmission, switching the three phases of the multiple coils on and off on the fly. It eliminates the need for mechanical transmission, thus saving space, weight and costs.

The low-speed (below 2,500 rpm) operation reduces vibration, noise, heat and maintenance costs compared to high-rpm motors.

Instead of conventional field windings, the motor’s windings are separated into multiple removable coil/ferromagnetic core modules. In the unlikely event of one coil failing, the motor will run at a slightly reduced efficiency until the module can be replaced.

The modular coil design is said to contribute to high thermal efficiency, whether the motor is passively air-cooled or actively liquid-cooled, contributing to longer machine lives. The modular design also cuts manufacturing and maintenance costs.

If used to power an electrical vehicle, 360 Power Group says the motor will boost range by 33% using the same-capacity battery. It can operate in a traditional drivetrain configuration or in wheel hubs.

If used as generator, fuel consumption can be cut by a third, the company says.

A 15kW version of 360 Power Group’s motor-generator (left) on test bench with a similarly rated conventional motor (right).

“This represents a radical innovation in electric motor technology,” says 360 Power Group's chief design engineer, Michael Salerno. “The technology operates as both a motor and a generator, making synergistic power engineering heretofore impossible, achievable.

As a generator, he adds, “the applications become huge because of the power density, small size, and weight compared to conventional technology. Rooftop-mounted wind turbines are now feasible. Even large megawatt-sized generators will be much smaller, with no transmission, and simpler to maintain. The applications of this breakthrough technology are limitless.”

The motor’s characteristics will also make aviation applications feasible because the power-to-weight ratio is far higher than that of conventional motors.

360 Power Group, which has more than 100 US and international patents protecting its technology – and at least 40 more pending – says it is involved in licensing discussions with several potential manufacturers.

360 Power Group is an operating division of Nevada-based Clearwater Holdings.

A video of the motor-generator being tested is available online.

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